Mac Keeps Restarting

Last Update: September 1, 2021

Mac Keeps Restarting

A Mac that restarts unexpectedly is frustrating. There are a few reasons why your Mac might repeatedly restart. In this article, we’ll go over ways to identify why your Mac keeps restarting — and, even better, how to fix it.

Why does my Mac keep restarting?

The most common cause of a Mac continually restarting is called “kernel panic.” This occurs when your Mac’s kernel, or operating system, detects an issue that can be fixed by restarting your computer. You’ll know that this has occurred when your Mac shows you a message that “Your computer restarted because of a problem.”

Kernel panic may result from faulty or problematic software, peripheral devices, or hardware settings. Your Mac may also restart because of issues with its operating system. Here’s how to fix the possible causes of your Mac restarting:

macOS problems

Missed macOS updates and update issues can confuse your Mac, leading it to repeatedly restart (among other issues). Luckily, this is easy to fix — simply install all available updates your Mac is compatible with.

To check for macOS updates, go to the Apple menu. Click About This Mac and then, Software Update. If an update is available, click Update Now.

If updating your software or performing minor resets doesn’t stop your Mac from restarting, you may need to reinstall macOS entirely. This is pretty much guaranteed to resolve any issue that may be causing kernel panic. Unfortunately, your data may not survive reinstallation, so make sure you back up all important information before doing this.

Software issues

In some cases, the root of your Mac’s kernel panic may be apps that you’ve downloaded. When your Mac restarts and the message stating that “Your computer restarted because of a problem” pops up, you may see a “More info…” button. Clicking it may help you identify the particular software causing your problem, so you know where to start resolving the issue.

After you’ve identified the software responsible, check whether it needs to be updated. In some cases, an update is all you’ll need to solve the problem. If that doesn’t help, you may want to remove recently downloaded third-party software entirely. You’ll need to restart your Mac after doing so. If this fixes your issue, you’ll want to keep this app off your Mac entirely (or at least until it is updated).

Incompatible peripheral devices

Kernel panic is commonly caused by accessories or peripheral devices that are incompatible with your Mac. You’ll know that this is the case if your computer restarts immediately or a few minutes after connecting the device (or turning your Mac on with the device connected).

This is an easy issue to resolve. Start by removing all external devices, such as keyboards, drives, and mouse and restarting your Mac. Connect one device at a time until your Mac crashes and reboots. When this happens, you know that this device is at fault.

The best way to avoid this issue entirely is to use only Apple-made or Mac-compatible peripheral devices.

Settings need to be reset

Sometimes there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with your Mac, but a recent change caused problems on startup that initiate a kernel panic. When this happens, your Mac may try to reboot just as it’s loading up. It may not even allow you to access anything beyond the login screen.

You can often fix this issue by resetting your Mac hardware settings. This will revert any changes you’ve made, such as the screen or battery behavior. However, it can also fix your problem.

First, reset your NVRAM or PRAM. The easiest way to do this is to press the Option + Command + P + R keys simultaneously as your Mac turns back on. Hold these keys down for around 20 seconds.

Second, reset your System Management Controller, or SMC. There are a few different ways to do this based on your Mac model, so take a look at the specific instructions for each case.

How to Fix “Mac Keeps Restarting”?

So, by now, you have an idea of why your MacBook keeps restarting, but how do you fix it? Take a systematic approach to troubleshoot, starting with the hardware. As you test the potential suspects, you can cross them off your list and move on to the next possibility.

Issue 1: Hardware Conflict:

The kernel panic can be caused by hardware conflicts. So, if you’ve recently installed new RAM, a hard drive, a printer, or other devices, the addition(s) may be contributing to the problem.

Solution: Check the devices and hardware hooked up to MacBook Pro

1. Turn off your MacBook Pro.

2. Disconnect all devices including printers (excluding the display, mouse, and keyboard).

3. Restart your MacBook.

4. Use your MacBook for the period of time that would typically have resulted in a restart.

  • If your MacBook restarts, check the status of your internal RAM and any other hardware.
  • If your MacBook does not restart, turn off your system and reconnect one device at a time per restart to troubleshoot your hardware issue.

Issue 2: Software Conflict

Problems can pop up when you install new software on your MacBook Pro. There could be a compatibility issue, or it could be that the lack of space on your hard drive is contributing to the problem, and making it appear that your issue is software related.

Solution1: Check the software installed on your MacBook Pro

1. Hold down the Shift-button and boot into Safe mode.

2. Back up your user files to an external hard drive.

3. Update the software on your MacBook Pro.

Check the software installed on your MacBook Pro

If the problem persists and is not resolved with the reinstall of your software, it may be a recurring issue with corrupt software. It’s not uncommon to be required to reinstall your software, so it’s important to make sure you’re regularly backing up your system.

Solution 2: Discover corrupt software

1. Update the corrupt software application.

2. Reboot your computer.

3. If you aren’t able to reinstall or update the software application…

  • Uninstall or delete the application.
  • Use an app-installer tool to completely remove all trace of the corrupted app.

4. Reinstall the application.

If the “Kernel Panic” error is associated with random software applications, the problem probably has nothing to do with the applications themselves, but more to do with drivers or other conflicts.

Solution 3: Fix disk permissions

The problem of faulty disk permissions is yet another way that your software applications can go wrong and produce the “Kernel” error. The process of fixing permission errors is one of the most frequent troubleshooting tasks that are recommended beyond just when your iMac keeps restarting. (The diagnosis is often incorrect, but it is a safe thing to try.)

For OSX Yosemite or older:

1. Press Command + R to restart your MacBook Pro.

2. Open Disk Utility.

3. Select “First Aid,” then “Repair Disk Permission.”

For OSX Yosemite or older

For macOS Sierra or OSX El Capitan:

1. Open CleanMyMac X.

2. Select advanced Maintenance module.

3. Repair the disk permissions.

Solution 4: Launch Disk Utility

You can fix corrupted files with your Disk Utility, which allows you to perform some tasks related to your storage and hard disks.

1. Select the Apple menu.

2. Select Restart.

3. Hold down Command + R as your MacBook Pro is restarting.

4. Select Disk Utility.

5. Select First Aid.

Launch Disk Utility

Solution 5: Disable Startup Items

When you have too many startup items set to launch at startup, your MacBook Pro’s processor can be overloaded and overloaded, which can lead to a Kernel Panic error and an auto restarts. Disable startup items to see if that’s the reason for your error issues.

1. Select the Apple menu.

2. Select System Preferences.

3. Select Users & Groups.

4. Select your username from the menu.

5. Select the Login Items tab.

6. Select a startup item to disable and then select “–”.

7. Restart your MacBook Pro.

Disable Startup Items

Continue this process until all the startup items are disabled. You may be surprised by how many items are being loaded at startup. You can add back one startup at a time and reboot between each addition, so you can determine which item is causing a problem.

Solution 6: Reinstall a clean MacBook Pro operating system

When other fixes do not resolve the reboot issue, you need to reinstall a clean install of the operating system on your MacBook Pro.

1. Restart your Macbook Pro.

2. Hold down Command + R as your MacBook Pro is restarting.

3. Select “Reinstall macOS” or “Reinstall OS X” to initiate a clean install of the OS that came with your MacBook Pro.

Reinstall a clean MacBook Pro operating system

How to Prevent Mac from Keeping Restarting

MacBook keeps restarting, MacBook Pro keeps restarting, and iMac keeps restarting are hot topics among users. An unexpected shutdown or restart can be very annoying; besides, it may bring some other issues. Therefore, you should pay attention to the following things to prevent the problem from happening.

Update your macOS regularly: keep it always updated to the latest version.

Check software compatibility: read install details and browse forums to verify whether the new software you plan to install is compatible with your system and other applications on it.

Check hardware compatibility: please also figure out whether the new hardware is compatible or not.

What If Your MacBook Still Keeps Restarting?

If all the methods mentioned above still do not work to keep your MacBook from restarting repeatedly, the next best thing to do is to contact Apple Support. Make sure that you have a backup of your data before you send your MacBook in for inspection.

Otherwise, raise this issue with Apple so you can save and protect your valuable data. Restart issues may sometimes be due to a more complex underlying problem and Apple would be your best bet to save your MacBook.

Contact Apple

Fortunately, if you’re having trouble getting your device to function properly, authorized Apple providers, like the Apple Store or Best Buy, are prepared to help you. You can simply set up an appointment or connect with Apple Support directly for assistance solving your Mac’s specific issue. They can walk you through backing up your device, restoring to factory settings, and more. Reach out to a professional if you have any questions at all to ensure the problem is solved carefully and quickly.

Conclusion

Mac keeps restarting is talked about over and over again since it’s a trouble for lots of people in the world. In this article, I first answer the question – why does my Mac keep shutting down. After that, I provide some useful solutions to help you solve the problem. Then, I show you how to recover lost data on Mac step by step. Finally, I offer some tips on how to prevent Mac from keeping restarting.