In general, Apple Mac computers tend to be more resilient than Windows PC’s and laptops. The macOS Operating System rarely becomes corrupted and Mac computers are much less susceptible to malware and viruses than Windows computers. Generally, a Mac will do what it’s supposed to do and the Operating System is relatively free of bugs. Having said that, from a hardware point of view, Macs use third party hard drives and Solid State Drives (SSD’s), just like Windows computers, and these can fail in just the same way. This can also be said of other elements of the hardware.
Let’s take a look at a few of the more common issues you might encounter with your Mac.
You switch on your Mac and nothing happens. Or you switch on your Mac and you may or may not hear a chime and see the Apple symbol appear. Whatever the case, your computer fails to boot into the macOS and there’s nothing you can do.
If nothing at all appears on the screen, you may have a power supply failure or a system board issue. A power supply unit can be readily replaced, however the failure of a system board is a rather expensive repair.
If you do see something on the screen, but it doesn’t get as far as the log-in screen, you may have an issue with your boot drive. In this case it may be possible to repair the drive using built-in repair tools. If, on the other hand, the drive has failed completely, it’s going to be necessary to replace the hard drive.
Startup issues and failed hard drives are probably the most common issues I come across. The good news is that a hard drive replacement on any sort of Mac computer is not a difficult job. I would usually then install the most recent version of the macOS and your Mac would feel like a whole new computer.
Aside from the major issue of your Mac failing to start up, there are any number of other issues which can occur. Some are straightforward to resolve, others present quite a challenge.
I dealt with an iMac some time ago which was exhibiting bizarre behaviour. It was able to open certain websites in its browser but not others, whilst other devices on the same network were able to open any and all websites. I checked and double-checked settings, compared with other devices on the network and logged in to the router and checked its settings. Everywhere I looked everything seemed to be configured correctly and I could find no explanation for the unusual behaviour.
As I was almost ready to give up, and as a lost resort, I decided to run a scan for malware. Within a few minutes, malware had been detected and removed and the computer was behaving completely normally. If this computer had been a Windows PC, the presence of malware would have been one of the first things I would have thought of.
It’s often said, and usually true, that Mac’s aren’t susceptible to malware and viruses. However, if your Mac is exhibiting some sort of strange behaviour, the presence of malware might just be the culprit. Another recent client was having all sorts of problems when using Google Chrome, and unable to search the internet using Google. Again, a quick scan for malware eliminated the problem.
Other issues may present themselves, and seem perplexing at first sight. However, they may in fact be straightforward to fix, as long as you know where to look. A recent customer contacted me to report that she wasn’t able to copy/cut and paste when using Microsoft Word. I logged into her computer remotely and she demonstrated the issue to me. When I tried to cut and paste in the same document, it worked perfectly for me, using my mouse remotely. I quickly homed in on the issue as having something to do with her mouse. I opened System Preferences and clicked into the Mouse preferences. There I noticed that the Secondary click was disabled, which meant that a right click of the mouse wasn’t doing anything. As soon as I enabled this setting, my client was able to copy/cut and paste in her document.
Perhaps you have an older Mac which is working fine but inevitably runs much more slowly than it did when you first purchased it. It’s possible to breathe new life into an ageing Mac like this with a simple upgrade. This involves removing its old hard drive and replacing it with an SSD. In doing so not only will it resolve the issue, but it will actually run much faster than it did even when you purchased it.
You may encounter one of the issues described here, or your Mac may have some other problem. In some cases you’ll be able to resolve it yourself, whilst in other cases you may require professional support, such as that provided by Norm’s Computer Services.
This article was written by Norm McLaughlin, founder of Norm’s Computer Services, a local computer repair business in Brisbane, Australia.