All Apps Crashing On Mac

As Mac OS X users, we have something to be happy about when it comes to app crashes and freezes: rarity. Typically you can work on your Mac for hours at a time without a single issue. However, a crashing app certainly can happen, leading to lost productivity, time and, worst of all, lost work. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to recover from a crashed app, as well as prevent the issue in the first place.

How to fix a crashing app after the macOS upgrade

All Apps Crashing On Mac

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App crashes after the the macOS update is more than a common problem. Some apps freeze or malfunction, some won’t launch, some show no signs of life whatsoever. Why it happens? The most probable reason is that the app is simply not ready for the latest macOS Catalina. Something in its depth turned out to be incompatible with the new macOS.

Now, what can you do to fix an app crashing? Three things.

  1. First, see if you have the latest version of the app by clicking on its name it the top menu and choosing Check for updates.
  2. Second, visit developer’s website (or App Store page) and see if they’ve issued a statement about Catalina compatibility.
  3. Finally, some crashed apps on macOS Catalina can be fixed by running maintenance scripts. Download CleanMyMac X, launch it, find Maintenance tab and run the scripts.

What happens when an app craches: under the hood

Now let's go deeper into the nature of crashed apps, but first, let’s identify the difference between a crashed macOS app and a frozen one. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a notable difference.

Crash

A crash happens when a piece of software stops working altogether, and then closes on its own. In other words, the app quits when you did not tell it to. When this happens, you'll typically see a message noting that the application has 'unexpectedly quit” just as its windows disappears. It’s pretty frustrating — especially if you end up losing all your work.

Freeze

A freeze is when software stops functioning, but continues to run. You can still see its windows, and its Dock icon still indicates that it’s running. However, no amount of clicking or tabbing around will do anything. A frozen app doesn’t quit like a crashed app does, it simply becomes unresponsive. Often no error messages accompany the freeze. Again, it’s a frustrating experience (if you want to know how to deal with it, check out this post on how to fix frozen apps).

When software freezes, you force it to quit, so that you can re-launch and hopefully get on with your work. With crashes, meanwhile, the problem is the app quitting on its own. In this article, I’ll discuss recovering from app crashes, as well as steps that help prevent them in the first place. Let’s get started.

What to do when a Mac OS X app crashes

The good news here is that a crashed app rarely brings down your entire Mac, as the trouble is restricted to that particular piece of software. That means we have a chance to recover. Let’s start with the simplest solutions.

First, just relaunch the app. When an app crashes, you’ll typically see a dialog box that says the software “unexpectedly quit” and you’ll have several options to deal with it, including “Relaunch”. Give that a click and cross your fingers that the crash doesn’t happen again. Oftentimes, you’re good from there. If not…

Try restarting your Mac. “Turn if off and back on again” is almost a punchline at this point, but it usually works. Shut down, restart and try again. Very often this simple task will set things right. If not, it’s time to try something just a little more involved.

Reinstall the app. Deleting the misbehaving app and grabbing a new copy gives you a fresh version to work with. That is, if you delete all of the app’s related files.

See, when you drag an app to the Trash, you aren’t deleting everything. Some leftover parts remain, and if the troublemaker is among them, your problem could persist. It’s a waste of time to delete an app via drag-and-drop, reinstall and then have it crash again. To make things right, you need to get rid of the app’s bits and pieces before you reinstall it, and this is where software like CleanMyMac X comes in handy.

An app that’s simply dragged to the Trash leaves behind a pile of associated files that you don’t see, like caches, preferences (often the culprit in crash-y apps), saved states, and more. You might not even know they’re there, but CleanMyMac X does. It’s smart enough to find the whole lot, safely remove them, and ensure that a newly installed app is just that: a complete fresh start.

In fact, you don’t even have to launch CleanMyMac X to thoroughly and safely delete an app. Simply right-click (or Control-click) the app’s icon and select “Uninstall with CleanMyMac” from Services in the resulting contextual menu. Easy!

Another wise move is to make sure there are no conflicts between the app and the Mac OS. When Apple pushes an update of its operating system to your Mac, that might interfere with your app’s performance, if the app or its add-ons are incompatible with this particular OS X version.

CleanMyMac can help you out here, too. Download it for free, go to its Uninstaller module and find the misbehaving app in the list. If you see a note that this app is incompatible with your system, it means you need to update the app, because your current version doesn’t work on the latest OS X.

How can you stay on top of aging apps? Apple makes it easy with software purchased through the Mac App Store. Simply launch the App Store app, go to the Updates tab, and you’ll see all available app updates. Find the one you need in the list, click the Update button, and you’ll get the latest version to your Mac. It’s a bit different with software acquired outside the App Store: you’ll have to visit the vendor’s website to see if there’s a new version available.

If nothing indicates that the troublemaker app is incompatible with your system, the problem could be with its add-ons or preferences. What you can do in this case is reset the app to its initial state. Again, go to the Uninstaller module in CleanMyMac X, select your app, and click Application Reset. CleanMyMac will make that app just the way it was when you first installed it.

What to do when an app crashes at launch

So far I’ve addressed what to do when an app crashes as you’re using it. But what about the frustrating scenario of an app going down as soon as you launch it? No warning, no dialog box, just a bounce or two in the Dock and that’s it. In this case, it’s time to repair disk permissions.

What’s does fixing permissions actually mean? Think of your Mac’s hard drive as a tree with many branches. The top level of your drive is the tree’s trunk, and the branches represent information about files and folders. These branches, or “nodes,” store information like the location of data and permission rules, among other things. Normal computer use changes this information, and can lead to a conflict or other issue that generates crashes and the inability to use your system. This is what a permission fix addresses.

To repair disk permissions (for OS X prior to El Captian), go to the Utilities in your Mac’s Applications folder and launch Disk Utility. Next, click First Aid. It’ll ask for confirmation and get to work, comparing existing permission files with defaults to find any conflicts.

Or, if you want a slightly simpler way, you can fix the permissions with CleanMyMac X Maintenance Scripts. Just open the Maintenance tab, hit Choose Tasks and then Repair Disk Permissions. This helps resolve improper app behavior like crashing and keeps all of your disk’s files and folders in proper order. And that’s just one of the maintenance tasks available in CleanMyMac X, just try it.

A crashing app is no fun. Fortunately, a little understanding and proactive behavior can keep them to a minimum. CleanMyMac X makes it easy to do just that. Happy computing, and may your apps never crash again!

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Let us begin with reassurance: even if some apps crash after you’ve upgraded your Mac to the latest operating system, there is still a chance it’s a temporary problem. We can’t advise you to wait it out though, because there’s also a chance something went very wrong.

That’s why in this article we’ll go over a bunch of reasons and solutions for your app crashing problem. We’ll review general app compatibility for Mac apps on macOS, because the good people of this world have already created a list of all the apps that work on this system and that don’t. If you find your problematic app on the list, you’ll know why it fails.

We’ll see what could be the reasons apps don’t work and how to find out if they will.

Application compatibility and feature support on macOS

One of the reasons your app crashes could be that it’s incompatible with the new macOS. What it means is that app developers haven’t updated it to run with the new system requirements. For instance, in macOS Catalina, Apple gave up the support of 32-bit apps — requiring developers to switch to the 64-bit infrastructure. If they don’t meet the requirement, 32-bit Mac apps won’t launch in Catalina.

If you don’t feel like looking through a nearly endless list of apps and just want to know if the majority of apps are ready for the new macOS, then yes, they are. Most popular apps are fully-functional on the new system. In case you have doubts, try looking into the About section and see when your app was last updated and to which version. That’s an instant answer to the question “Why do my apps keep crashing?”

What if I really need the incompatible apps?

The easiest advice is — find a compatible alternative. For instance, you can have a huge collection of quality, High-Sierra-compatible apps for all kinds of Mac tasks on Setapp. It’s a subscription service that gives you 150+ Mac apps for a single monthly fee. If you don’t like being nervous after every upgrade and enjoy running updated, compatible software, that’s your best choice. Setapp takes care of the compatibility, so that apps crashing stops being the problem.

An app crashes or doesn't open, what can I do?

Not every app is on Setapp, just yet. So you need a solution on how to fix app crash manually.

The first thing you need to do if you have apps crashing and refusing to work properly, is to make sure they are compatible. If your app is compatible but still crashes, there must be something else at work.

If the app crashes on launch

In this case, when you can’t click on About to see if it’s up to date, check developer’s website to see if you’re running the latest version. Sometimes apps quit unexpectedly and that is also a crash-like issue which you shouldn’t ignore, even if its occasional.

In macOS Catalina, you’ll see a message saying something like “app not optimized for your Mac.” This will (most likely) mean you’re trying to open a 32-bit app. Not gonna work, sorry.

If the app crashes during work

Maybe your Mac doesn’t have enough processing power/memory to run it at full capacity. You can try checking how your Mac is doing in real-time while the app works with iStat Menus. Download the app and use it to monitor hardware indicators, CPU load and RAM usage. Check which apps take up the most resources and decide if you can quit/uninstall them.

If the app prevents your Mac from launching

This app is probably features among your startup items — apps that start together with your Mac when you turn it on. If your Mac freezes or the app prevents other app from launching, try removing it from login items. To do it, open System Preferences > Users and Groups. Select your name and click “Login items” and remove the app in question.

App crashing no more

All Apps Crashing On Mac Pc

Your Mac can be home to any apps if you treat them well. Use Setapp as a solution to troubleshoot software issues.

You apps might be affected by the APFS system

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Another reason why Mac apps keep closing may be APFS. The operating systems after High Sierra use Apple File System. If you’ve just switched, all your files on drives were moved from the old HFS+ to the new one, including apps that weren’t in your Applications folder.

In case the apps that crash are stored elsewhere on your Mac, like on your Desktop instead of the Applications folder and are installed there, they have been transformed into the new file system. And application files don’t do well with it, so if you’re launching your apps from Desktop folder or any other Finder folder (apart from applications) it’s entirely expectable for it to crash.

If you have the latest version and your app is compatible, there are a few things you can still do to try and fix the crashing.

  1. Get a Mac cleaning app like CleanMyMac X and run maintenance scripts. It’s a system-optimizing action that rearranges logs and removes temporary files which helps your new OS operate correctly.

  2. Use CleanMyMac to clean up your system and caches, which is another way of removing possible hindrances for software.

  3. Contact your app’s support team. Send a crash report, describe your situation and maybe there are some app-specific recommendations they can share with you.

  4. Look for an alternative. And, instead of buying new apps one by one, try Setapp subscription. You can simply type in what your app was for, like “email client” or “blogging”, and find a similar one. Setapp has 150+ applications for all possible tasks on Mac, and all of them are always compatible with the latest system.

That’s about it concerning your options. We know having your favorite software unresponsive is frustrating but there’s really plenty of fish in the sea. If the app you loved is no longer supported on the new system — like outdated software in macOS Catalina — maybe it’s time to find a new, better one for the job.

My Mac Keeps Crashing

We hope this guide has been of help, we’re trying to keep it up to date, so if you noticed inconsistencies, please make sure to tell us about them so we could fix it. Thanks and take care.

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