What to do if you see the Spinning Beach Ball of Death

If you are a Mac user and don’t know what to do if you see the Spinning Beach ball, take it easy and don’t panic! It does not necessarily mean that your system is freezing up.

Part 1: Why the Spinning Beach Ball appears on Mac

When this multicolored pinwheel mouse pointer shows up, it’s a sign that your system got complications in figuring something out, temporary delaying everything and requiring a little of extra patience from the user.

The ball itself signifies that the Mac is not handling all the tasks given at an exact moment. For you to understand better, let’s break it through: every app on your Mac has a window sever. When the app receives more information that it can process, this window server automatically shows up the spinning ball.

If you are lucky, it will disappear in a few seconds. But if you are not, and your Mac insists on processing but nothing happens, it leads the wheel to keep spinning endlessly. It usually takes about 4 seconds for the system to decide if the application is responsive or not.

As above mentioned, there is no reason at all to panic or believe that your system is compromised. The most likely motive that brings up the SPOD is a stalled application. In this case, just pop up another application to the front or clicks on the desktop to stop the unresponsive process. However, if it remains popping up, then follow the tips ahead to fix a Spinning Pinwheel of Death.

Part 2: How to fix the spinning pinwheel of Death on Mac

You don’t know what to do if you see the Spinning Beach Ball? The comprehensive guide below shows different solutions approachfor many problems that may be occurring with your system’s processes. Frozen up is a common issue and fix spinning beach ball on your Mac probably will be necessary at some point of usage.

1. Force quit the application

If it is a specific application that is causing the problem, then you will have to use Force Quit. To fix a Spinning Pinwheel of Death occurring because of a stuck app:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner;
  2. Choose “Force Quit” or just press “Cmd + Alt + Esc”;
  3. Select the app that is not responding;
  4. Click “Force Quit”.

What to do if you see the Spinning Beach Ball-1

If restarting the application worked, then everything is alright. But simply shutting down the program is a brutal way of problem-solving and If it keeps freezing, you need to look deeper.

2. Clean up the DYLD Cache

Mac’s system uses a dynamic link editor (DYLD) to link shared libraries to applications in process of loading. Most of theiOS apps use shared libraries and the job of DYLD is to get the applications in right terms. Also, it stores a cache of recently used libraries, and if it corrupts, may be the reason of the spinning beach ball. There is no conclusion on why the cache corrupts, but cleaning it is capable to fix a spinning wheel of death. Here is the step-to-step on how to clean up DYLD cache:

  1. Open the “Applications” folder, go to “Utilities” and launch the “Terminal” application;
  2. What to do if you see the Spinning Beach Ball-2

  3. At the “Terminal” type the single-lined command below:
  4. sudoupdate_dyld_shared_cache –force

  5. Press “Enter”;
  6. The system will ask you for the administrator password, type it and wait for the acceptance.

At this point, the process of resetting the DYLD cache begins. The Terminal prompt will display some warnings, don’t worry about them if indicates that DYLD cache is being cleared. Also, it will take time to clear all the cache, but when the process is finished, Terminal window will return on the screen and probably you will fix spinning beach ball.

3. Other applications running in the Background

When your Mac is on, there are several processes running in the background and hog resources. So, it brings the possibility that the suspected app is not the main cause of the problem, and instead, it is delivered by another one. Fortunately, you can try a simple trick to discover which app is freezing the system and what to if you see the spinning beach ball.

Try to switch between the apps and see on which one the ball appears. That is the application who is causing the ball and needs to be force quitted. Also, try to keep your Mac running fewer apps as possible because it will accelerate the processes and easier the system’s performance.

4. Reinstall macOS

If any of the given choices not worked, it is a good option to review your software configurations. Despite macOS being very lightest, even Apple’s system fails on performance along with time, for a lot of different reasons. Your system probably will work better if you reinstall it.

To go along with it visits Mac App Store and see if your Mac fits the system requirements to the newest macOS High Sierra version. In thepositive case, update your system. In thenegative, follow the steps for your current version. Before you do any changes, it’s a good idea to do a backup on your Mac.

  1. Open the App Store on your Mac;
  2. Search for “macOS” and select the system you want to reinstall;
  3. Click on the “Download” button from the macOS page;
  4. What to do if you see the Spinning Beach Ball-3

  5. After the download is completed, the installer opens automatically, go through the instructions and complete the reinstallation.

5. Repair hardware

Also, if you still don’t know what to do if you see the spinning beach ball, run an Apple Hardware Test (AHT) to check on hardware issues. By doing it, you will be checking which compound it is causing problems.

  1. Disconnect all external devices (except keyboard, mouse, display, Ethernet connection and connection to AC power);
  2. Shut down your Mac;
  3. Turn on your Mac, then immediately press and hold the “D” key on your keyboard;
  4. Keep holding the D key until you see the Apple Hardware Test icon;
  5. Select your language;
  6. Click the Test button, press “T” or “Return” to begin testing.

What to do if you see the Spinning Beach Ball-4

When the test is finished, review your results in the lower-right section of the window. Depending on the results, check if you can do any hardware updates or substitutions.

6. Check for Viruses or Malware

macOS is a system very secure for viruses or malware, but nothing is completely free of treats. If you are suspicious that your Mac is being affected by that kind of problems, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to your “Downloads” folder and put any install files or files that you don't recognize to the Trash.
  2. If you suspect that you have already installed the malware:

  3. If the app is open, check its name;
  4. Close the app window;
  5. Open the “Utilities” folder or press “Cmd + Shift + U”;
  6. Open “Activity Monitor”;
  7. Choose “All Processes”;
  8. Look for the name of the app you are suspicious about, or an app that you don't recognize, and then “Quit Process”;
  9. Go to the Applications folder and locate the app you just quit the process;
  10. Drag the unwanted app to the Trash;
  11. Empty the Trash.

This will probably free your system from any unwanted applications and it is a good option to fix spinning ball. But remember: it’s an analytical process and you should always scan your Mac for any strange files.


If any of the given solutions were effective, then it is time to look for more specific support, direct from Apple or authorized technical assistants. There is not a lot that can be done to fix spinning beach ball if your hardware is seriously compromised though. So, let’s hope you will discover what is happening to your Mac. In case you don’t, this might be the part where you consider buying a new one.

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