How to Fix the Intermittent Freezing Issue on Macbook Pro Retina

Quick Fix

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The macOS Mojave update added new features and improvements such as Dark Mode, Desktop Stacks, and privacy controls. It also includes new screenshot tools and works well with older Mac machines.

But while Mojave brings a lot of great features, users who upgraded to the new macOS version reported a number of issues, which Apple is still trying to address one by one. One of these issues is the intermittent freezing on Macbook Pro Retina.

According to user reports, Macbook Pro Retina freezes or stops responding all of a sudden, even when the device has enough memory to handle all applications. The screen just stops responding, along with the keyboard, tvackpad, and the mouse.

For some users, their Mac freezes right after startup or login. They can’t do anything else because the device stops responding 10 to 15 seconds right after startup, causing a lot of frustrations to the affected users. The only way to make the Mac work again is by doing a force-restart.

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Why Does MacBook Pro Randomly Freezes?

The intermittent freezing issue on Macbook Pro Retina is mainly caused by a bug in the macOS Mojave update. Based on the reports, the problem happened right after they installed the macOS update. And the intermittent freezing issue is not limited to MacBook Pro Retina. Other Mac models are also victim s to this freezing problem.

Apple is yet to release an update that fixes this problem. But considering the long list of macOS Mojave bugs that the Cupertino giant has to deal with, it might take some time before this problem is addressed.

Users, however, can’t wait that long. This freezing problem directly affects the performance of the affected Macs, and depending on the severity of the problem, can largely impact the user’s productivity as well.

If your Macbook Pro Retina is freezing intermittently and you can’t wait for the official fix from Apple, read on to discover some workarounds to fix this issue.

How to Fix a MacBook Pro That Is Freezing Randomly

MacOS is a very stable and reliable operating system that rarely experiences freezing or unresponsiveness. And when it does, it might mean that there is something wrong with your system somewhere. But before you jump to the solutions below, try these quick fixes and see if you are able to resolve the problem.

  • Force-quit unresponsive apps. If the problem is caused by a single app, close the app completely to resolve the issue. Press Command + Option + Escape or click Force Quit from the Apple menu to open the Force Quit Applications Choose the unresponsive app from the list, then click Force Quit.
  • Restart your computer. It is possible that one of your system processes simply got stuck in a loop, causing your computer to freeze up. If this is the case, restarting your Mac should do the trick. Rebooting the system is one of the common ways of fixing temporary issues and glitches.
  • Clean up your Mac. Junk files can also cause a lot of trouble for macOS, if not cleaned up regularly. Use Mac repair app to get rid of unnecessary files from your computer and claim back some storage space in the process. This tool also speeds up your system processes and resolves potential issues before they happen.
  • Get rid of virus or malware. It is also possible that your Mac’s freezing problem is being caused by a malware wreaking havoc on your system. Run your antivirus software to completely get rid of the malware and all infected files.

If doing the above steps did not help, proceed with the fixes outlined below.

Solution #1: Boot Into Safe Mode.

When you encounter intermittent freezing on Macbook Pro Retina, your first option is to boot into Safe Mode to isolate the issue. When you boot into Safe Mode, no third-party apps and processes are loaded, allowing you to determine what the cause of the problem is.

Follow the steps below to start your Mac in Safe Mode:

  1. Shut down your Mac, then turn it back on.
  2. When you hear the startup sound, immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Release the Shift key when you see the login screen. You should see a Safe Mode label somewhere on your screen to indicate that you have successfully booted into Safe Mode.

If your Mac doesn’t freeze up in Safe Mode, it means that there is no issue with your device and your problem is being caused by a third-party app. To find the real culprit, you’ll need to perform some trial and error by disabling then enabling your apps one at a time. Once you’ve found the app that is causing the problem, uninstall it first then reinstall a fresh copy.

Solution #2: Reset Your Mac’s SMC.

The System Management Controller or SMC is responsible for many functions on your Mac. If your device is misbehaving or acting in unexpected ways, resetting the SMC should help fix it.

To reset the SMC on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down your computer.
  2. Press and hold Shift + Control + Option on the left side of the keyboard, then press and hold the Power button or Touch ID button.
  3. Hold these keys down for 10 seconds.
  4. Release all the keys and switch on your MacBook.

Once the SMC has been reset, observe your Mac to check if the freezing problem still persists. If it does, try the next step.

Solution #3: Reset Your Mac’s NVRAM/PRAM.

If resetting the SMC did not work, try to reset the NVRAM/PRAM as well. To do this:

  1. Shut down your computer, then press the Power button.
  2. Before the grey screen appears, press Command + Option + P + R keys all at the same time.
  3. Hold the keys until your Mac restarts and you hear the second startup sound. If your Mac has the T2 Security Chip, hold the keys until you see the Apple logo appear and disappear for the second time.
  4. Release all the keys and let your computer boot normally.

Solution #4: Try the macOS Recovery Utility.

The macOS Recovery is equipped with handy tools to help Mac users resolve common problems. If your computer keeps freezing and the above solutions did not work, try running a disk check to see if it would help.

To check for disk problems, follow the steps below:

Turn off your Mac.

  1. Turn it back on, then press and hold the Command + R keys together immediately.
  2. Keep holding the keys until the Apple logo appears.
  3. You’ll see the macOS Utilities window appear.
  4. Choose Disk Utility and click Continue.
  5. Click View > Show All Devices.
  6. Choose your startup disk.
  7. Click the First Aid button, then click Run.
  8. Wait for the process to be completed.
  9. Restart your Mac normally by clicking Restart from the Apple menu.

Running a disk check should resolve any disk problem that is causing your Mac to become unresponsive.


Updating your operating system to macOS Mojave comes with both advantages and risks. If your device is affected by the “freeze” bug and you don’t want to wait for the official fix from Apple, try one of the solutions above to resolve your Mac’s random freezing issue.

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