We wrote this article for internal IT teams (typically Windows-focused) and Primary Contacts at our client locations who often want to try basic Mac troubleshooting before escalating to our Service Desk. Here's some guidance on how to approach an unusual behavior on your Mac in hopes of getting it resolved and getting back to work.
- Restart the Mac. Restarting about once a week is a good practice and can resolve many issues. Restarting once a day is probably excessive, and going weeks or months without a restart can contribute to all sorts of problems. Restarting may also trigger pending Software Updates on your Mac, keeping you secure. If the Mac doesn’t restart (or turn on), see:
- Restart the troubled app. If the app will not quit, then see how to force an app to quit on your Mac.
- Confirm the web version works. Many apps today have a desktop version and a web version. It’s best to test the web version before troubleshooting the Mac version. Confirm the internet connection is working (can the Mac visit apple.com?) and try the web app. If the web app doesn't authenticate or function, it may be a network or service problem rather than the Mac app.
- Authentication Issues? You may need to reset the password or escalate to the team who manages this account. If you're not sure who manages the account then submit a support request.
- Is the app/site down? Check the appropriate status page or ask others if they are having any issues accessing the site.
- Look at the device details in Vision-Bot for common trouble areas and what they mean.
- Confirm the version number of the troubled app and macOS. (Both can be verified in Vision-Bot.) Make sure the third-party software applications in use are compatible with the version of macOS running. Sometimes running an outdated version of an application or Mac Operating System (macOS) can cause issues.
- Before running an upgrade, always confirm the upgrade is authorized. Updates (patches), on the other hand, are typically safe to apply. Notable exceptions include Adobe Creative Cloud and Apple’s iWork apps, which have been known to break team workflows if everyone is not on the exact same version of an app. If you're not sure what version is safe, then submit a support request.
- Trouble Running macOS Updates? There is a known bug whereby macOS updates do not appear or don’t work. We have developed a fix for this ... run the Software Update – Kickstart Process in MacManage.
- Check how much storage is available on the Mac. A full (or nearly full) hard drive can cause extreme slowness, app crashes, and freezing. Try to keep at least 10% of your Mac's storage free for best performance.
- Check Physical Connections. Turn off the Mac and ensure that all cables (if any) are securely connected to the Mac. Disconnect all peripheral devices (including keyboard and mouse if this is a notebook). Turn on the Mac. If the issue is resolved, try to isolate it to a particular peripheral device by turning off the Mac, reconnecting devices one at a time, and turning on the Mac after connecting each device.
- Unexpected restarts (or Kernel Panics) can occasionally occur (maybe a couple of times per year). If you're experiencing them more than once a month, then submit a support request.
- Can't use Splashtop remote control. Typically it's because the Mac user must approve Screen Recording access for "Splashtop Streamer." See this (Ntiva internal) IT Glue document, or this Splashtop article.
- Any problem that takes more than 15-minutes to solve, submit a support request!
Typical Situations Only Internal IT Can Solve
Although we're always available to help brainstorm a solution, if we're second-tier to your internal IT team, these are common areas where we often cannot help or will need the assistance of your IT team.
- Network problems that affect multiple devices.
- Active Directory (AD) issues. We most often recommend not binding Macs to AD.
- Questions about web account authentication for services we don't manage.
- Printer symptoms that are not Mac-specific.
- Refer to the onscreen help. From the desktop menu bar, open the Help menu and choose macOS Help.
- Consult Apple's Support website. Apple's Knowledge Base, Discussions, and other technical resources are available at https://support.apple.com/mac
- New to Mac? Tour the Basics: https://help.apple.com/macos/big-sur/mac-basics/
- Mac tips for Windows switchers: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204216