I have an ongoing but intermittent problem with iTunes. Sometimes after starting iTunes or after plugging in an iPhone, iTunes will cause my Mac to become unresponsive. I'm having trouble reproducing this problem, and it doesn't seem to leave any traces in the system log. How can I figure out what's causing this problem?
Here are the symptoms: When I start iTunes, it loads and appears to be functioning normally for a few seconds, but then my Mac becomes unresponsive. The trackpad still moves the on-screen pointer, but input, as far as I can tell, is completely ignored.
- Attempting to quit or force-quit. Nothing happens: keyboard input ignored.
- Clicking on anything: clicks are ignored.
- Removing the iPhone, when the freeze happens after plugging in the iPhone - the system does not react to the removal of the device, and it still appears in the iTunes sidebar.
- Mouse/cursor still moves, but clicks just "vanish" - nothing happens on click.
- If music or other media are still playing, they continue to play - sometimes to the end of the current track, sometimes for less (long tracks).
- If an external monitor is in use when the freeze happens, and is unplugged after the freeze, the Mac doesn't do the fade-to-blue-and-redraw thing. It doesn't react to the monitor going away.
What I've tried:
- Removing iTunes library and rebuilding from the XML file does not fix the issue.
- Making sure that I'm the owner of all of the relevant iTunes files (single-user computer) - no change.
- Restarting computer: the problem never appears on the first launch of iTunes after a restart.
What puzzles me:
- Sometimes it happens with just iTunes, sometimes it happens with the iTunes + plugged-in iPhone combination.
- Why is mouse movement still visible even though the rest of the system has gone utterly brain-dead?
- Why is there nothing in the system logs that I've been able to see?
- Early 2011 Macbook Pro, Snow Leopard 10.6.8.
- iTunes 10.6.3
- iPhone 4, iOS 5.1.1
- Music folder on an external hard drive (a few hundred gigs of music in the library, and the onboard hard drive is an 128GB SSD, so this is non-negotiable)
Currently, when I run into this problem, I have to reboot by holding down the power button until the Mac powers down, then start it again. This is deeply sub-optimal. Is this a known problem in disguise with a known fix? If not, how can I narrow down the problem, how I can I get more information about what's actually happening during the crash? The nature of the problem means that no crash report is generated, so that's a difficulty. I've tried watching
lsof whilst trying to reproduce the problem, but since I don't know what I'm looking for, I can't really get any help from the information they provide.