Why Won’t the Spinning Wheel on Mac Stop Turning?

Mac errors aren't a common sight, but they do crop up�from time to time.

One annoying error involves�having your cursor replaced by a rainbow-colored spinning wheel. The wheel has many names, from "Beachball" to "The Spinning Wheel of Death."

No matter how you call it, one thing's for sure: you never want to see it.

Fortunately, troubleshooting the spinning wheel on Mac isn't too tough of a task.�Not sure where to start? Here's all you need to know about the spinning wheel and how to make it go away.

Why the�Spinning Wheel Shows Up

In truth, the spinning wheel is simply another type of cursor. It serves as a way for your Mac to tell you that something isn't working as it should.

As a general rule, the spinning wheel will show up when an app doesn't respond. The good news is that the rest of your system is still working fine�it's just one app that's causing the issue. Most of the time, the wheel will go away by itself after a few seconds.

If the wheel doesn't go away, there's likely a deeper issue with either your Mac or one of its apps. Either way, you're best off�fixing the problem before continuing to work on your Mac computer.

Fixing the Spinning Wheel

Stopping the�spinning wheel in its tracks is a simple procedure.�Here's a quick three-step guide that will help you get your Mac in order.

Find the App That's Causing the Issue

Your first move�should be to find the problem app. Press Command+Tab to cycle through your active apps and figure out which one�isn't responding.

If you can't quite pinpoint the problem app, launch Activity Monitor for a closer look. You can do so by going to your Mac settings and searching for it in Spotlight. Then,�go to the CPU tab and select the %CPU column to sort your apps by system usage.

Once that's done, you should see which apps seem to be using more resources than they need. You may also see a "Not responding" message next to the problem app. Once you locate it, move on to the next step of this guide.

Wait for a Bit

Sometimes, the easiest solution is to do nothing at all.

As mentioned, the spinning wheel only appears when an app is trying to do something. That could be anything from rendering a video to connecting to an online server. If you've told an app to do a task, you may as well�try waiting a bit longer�for it to finish.

Keep in mind that some apps do certain things even if you don't request them. For instance, let's say you're importing a set of�images to your Photos app. In this case, the app may try to perform image analysis on its own.

Here's the big question: do your other apps function as normal while the wheel is spinning? If they�do, step away from your Mac for a few minutes and let it work out the issue by itself.�

Force Quit the Problem App

If waiting doesn't help, you'll need to restart the app. This�may cause you to lose any unsaved work, so only do this if there's no other choice.

For starters, try quitting the app as you normally do. Right-click on its icon on the Dock�or press Control and click�and select "Quit." This method might allow you to�keep your unsaved work, but it doesn't always work.

If the app still doesn't�respond, you'll need to force quit it. Right-click on its icon while holding the Option key and select "Force Quit." You can also open the Activity Monitor and turn the app off from there.

What to Do if the Issue Persists

Once you close the problem app, the spinning wheel should disappear. If it sticks around or keeps reappearing, your best bet is to restart your Mac.

This won't always be possible, especially if your Mac is under a heavy load. If this occurs, hold your Mac's power button�or Touch ID on MacBook Pro�to shut it down. Restarting the machine should make it responsive, with no spinning wheels in sight.

Now, what do you do if�you start seeing the spinning wheel too often for your liking? Well, this is usually an indicator of larger issues with your machine. For example, one common cause of the spinning wheel on Mac is a lack of disk space.

See, your Mac needs enough space to function properly. Both your OS and third-party apps will make use of your available storage as needed. To keep the cogs turning, make sure that your Mac has at least 10% of primary disk space available at all times.

The spinning wheel can also keep appearing due to a lack of RAM on your machine. There's not much you can do about it short of upgrading your memory.

Repairing Disk Permissions

Are you using an older version of macOS, such as Yosemite? If so, there's one more thing you can do to stop the spinning wheel from showing up.

Before giving this a shot, make sure you know which Mac version you're running. To do that, click on the Apple logo in the top left and choose "About This Mac." If you're running�El Capitan or later, you can skip this section.

If you're running version 10.10 or earlier, launch Disk Utility by going to Apps > Utilities. Then, choose the main boot drive in the sidebar and select "First Aid." By doing this, you allow your Mac to scan and repair any errors it can find.

More on Fixing the Spinning Wheel on Mac

With some luck, these tips will help you get rid of the spinning wheel of death. What's more, you now know how to solve any future issues with it!

Again, keep in mind that seeing the spinning wheel is kind of a good thing. This means that your issues are likely related to a single app, which is easy enough to fix.

Want to know more about fixing the spinning wheel on Mac? Keep�checking out our Tech section!

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