Macbook freezing up
December 4, 2018 6:21 AM   Subscribe

My 2013 Retina MacBook Pro has taken to freezing up at times. Is this fixable?

It stops responding to trackpad and keyboard completely for 10-30 seconds, then goes back to normal.
Once this has happened, it keeps happening every couple of minutes unless I turn the MB on and off, which makes it stop for a day or so.
I haven't found a pattern, any specific software or condition which brings it on. Sometimes it's in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon after using it all day.
Using High Sierra.
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Give EtreCheck a run and see if it finds any issues. It's in the App Store as well, if you don't feel like downloading from outside the App Store, but it's a slightly different version due to App Store limitations.
posted by deezil at 6:44 AM on December 4, 2018

First thing that comes to mind is overheating. Take a can of compressed air and give the fan vent a good spraydown.
posted by SansPoint at 7:43 AM on December 4, 2018

Does using a peripheral mouse or keyboard stil work? If so, I’ve had this exact issue with a 2013 , which got progressively worse over about 8 weeks and wasn’t resolved by an Apple Store trip (they couldn’t find anything wrong via their diagnostics and suggested sending it off for a full keyboard replacement and coding it as a battery replacement so it would only cost around $200). Instead I read a bunch of forums, found a few people describing similar, and ordered a $12 replacement trackpad cable, which took maybe 15 minutes to install at work with directions from iFixit and the right screwdriver set.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:14 AM on December 4, 2018

I expect you’re not running the original install of OS X and have updated from time to time. Or, have you ever connected to a different external disk, cloud drive, or TimeMacine setup? Often, these hangs are the OS looking for a resource that isn’t there, as a result of some marooned preference/kext file. I had this from an old adandoned Dropbox install, for example. Background Spolight activity is another common issue. Turn it off and see what happens.

Sometimes a clue can be had by looking at the console messages, top, or netstat -a in Terminal. A clean reinstall might be the ticket.

As noted above, some hardware issues would be considered if the relatively simple and free OS refresh does not help.
posted by sudogeek at 8:58 AM on December 4, 2018

Oh, it could be the hard disk about to fail. Be sure your backups are up to date now!
posted by sudogeek at 9:07 AM on December 4, 2018

I know you said there's no pattern, but are you able to associate it with a web browser being open?

This isn't a fix, but if you're familiar with Activity Monitor you could try making it visible at all times in a small window -- so the next time your computer becomes unresponsive you might be able to see what's causing it.
posted by theory at 10:34 AM on December 4, 2018

First I would update to Mojave and see if things improve.

Also, a basic diagnostic trick is to make a new account on the machine and then log into that. If the problems go away, then you have a software problem specific to that user account (e.g a bad prefs file somewhere).
posted by w0mbat at 11:10 AM on December 4, 2018

Booting into Safe Mode is another way to isolate the source of a problem. In addition to running only the bare minimum of system resources, a Safe Boot will also run a diagnostic of your hard drive and clear most of the system caches.
posted by theory at 1:18 PM on December 4, 2018

I updated to Mojave, so far its 3 days without freezing. Thanks!
posted by signal at 11:00 AM on December 7, 2018

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