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So...my Mac had a spinning beach ball of death (SBBOD), and has been having these about once a day for the past two weeks. :-(

I manually turned off my computer (held power key), waited ~3 minutes, then rebooted. I went straight to Console to figure out what was up, since it's the place to look for crash reports.

I looked there under "All Messages", and found the last few messages before my reboot:

Here are the last half-dozen or so lines:

10/1/15 11:26:05.493 AM sharingd[291]: 11:26:05.493 : SDActivityAdvertiser::continuity:didFailToStartAdvertisingOfType:withError: Activity (The operation couldn’t be completed. (com.apple.identityservices.error error 200.))
10/1/15 11:26:07.340 AM sharingd[291]: 11:26:07.339 : SDActivityAdvertiser::continuity:didFailToStartAdvertisingOfType:withError: Activity (The operation couldn’t be completed. (com.apple.identityservices.error error 200.))
10/1/15 11:26:07.340 AM sharingd[291]: 11:26:07.340 : SDActivityAdvertiser::continuity:didFailToStartAdvertisingOfType:withError: Activity (The operation couldn’t be completed. (com.apple.identityservices.error error 200.))
10/1/15 11:26:07.389 AM WindowServer[168]: _CGXGetWindowMovementGroup: Operation on a window 0x19 requiring rights 0x5 by caller Dashboard
10/1/15 11:26:07.389 AM DashboardClient[1057]: _NXMoveWindow: error moving window (1000)
10/1/15 11:26:11.638 AM SubmitDiagInfo[416]: SubmitDiagInfo sucessfully uploaded 117 diagnostic messages
10/1/15 11:26:11.668 AM SubmitDiagInfo[416]: Submitted problem report file:///Users/ME/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/com.apple.MailServiceAgent_2015-09-30-123002_MY-MacBook-Pro.crash
10/1/15 11:26:16.706 AM sharingd[291]: 11:26:16.705 : SDActivityAdvertiser::continuity:didFailToStartAdvertisingOfType:withError: Activity (The operation couldn’t be completed. (com.apple.identityservices.error error 200.))
10/1/15 11:29:12.000 AM bootlog[0]: BOOT_TIME 1443724152 0

(Note: I changed my username to ME and computer name to MY-MacBook-Pro for anonymity.)

This led me to read the crash log at /Users/ME/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/com.apple.MailServiceAgent_2015-09-30-123002_MY-MacBook-Pro.crash. Here are the most relevant pieces of information:

Process:               com.apple.MailServiceAgent [524]
Path:                  /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MailService.framework/Versions/A/XPCServices/com.apple.MailServiceAgent.xpc/Contents/MacOS/com.apple.MailServiceAgent
Identifier:            com.apple.MailServiceAgent
Version:               8.2 (2104)
Build Info:            Mail-2104000000000000~1
Code Type:             X86-64 (Native)
Parent Process:        ??? [1]
Responsible:           com.apple.MailServiceAgent [524]
User ID:               501

Date/Time:             2015-09-30 12:30:01.204 -0700
OS Version:            Mac OS X 10.10.5 (14F27)
Report Version:        11
Anonymous UUID:        [I am omitting this too :-)]


Time Awake Since Boot: 280 seconds

Crashed Thread:        2  Dispatch queue: NSOperationQueue 0x608000030940 :: NSOperation 0x608000243090 (QOS: LEGACY)

Exception Type:        EXC_CRASH (SIGABRT)
Exception Codes:       0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000

Application Specific Information:
*** Terminating app due to uncaught exception 'NSInternalInconsistencyException', reason: 'Append action must have account'
terminating with uncaught exception of type NSException
abort() called

What's going on? From the look of it, Mail is crashing because I don't have an account. That makes no sense. If I don't have an account, there shouldn't be activity, right?

How can I fix this, besides creating an account?

  • If you open the Internet Accounts pane in System Preferences do you have any Mail accounts set up there? – Alistair McMillan Oct 1 '15 at 23:09
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Started as a comment, but got too long. You are asking two questions. The "spinning beach ball of death" and the crashing MailServiceAgent are most likely unrelated.

To clarify. The "spinning beach ball of death" doesn't actually indicate that anything is crashing. It indicates that an application (most of the time, temporarily) is not responding to messages from the operating system.

From Apple's Human Interface Guidelines:

The spinning wait cursor is also standard, but it is displayed automatically by the window server when an app can't handle all of the events it receives. In general, if an app doesn’t respond for a few moments, the spinning wait cursor appears. If the app continues to be unresponsive, users often react by force-quitting it.

If you move the cursor around, does the wait cursor still appear if it is over another application or over your desktop? If you ALT+TAB to bring another application to the foreground do you still get the wait cursor? If it only appears over one application then that application alone is having an issue. If it appears over all applications or if you find you are unable to move the cursor or to ALT+TAB to another application then you have a wider system problem rather than a problem with one specific application.

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What's going on will be hard to diagnose without your Mail settings.

Are you looking for options how to get that file read from Apple or do you want some ideas to narrow it down to one Mail account or a specific action?

One thing to observe is the SPOD has nothing to do with a single thread crash. The Mail app is able to crash 10 times a minute and not block the UI (I know as I've had that happen during the betas) and something else is to cause for the system slowness.

Here's what I would do:

  • Make a paper note of each time the Mac SPOD and press the sys diagnose key (Shift+Ctrl+Opt+Cmd+.) each time it happens. (This will make things even slower, but you will have two pieces of critical data - a saved collection of the recent log files and system diagnosis information coupled with your paper notes of what you were trying to do when the system hung up.
  • Open Internet Accounts preference pane and remove all accounts from there. iCloud can have mail accounts and that setup information gets injected into Mail (well mail reads the common settings to be precise). Mail accounts clearly affect mail - so delete them as well.
  • Once you know what triggers the event - make a new user account and try to trigger it there.
  • Once you have 10 sysdiagnose files, you have enough data to open an AppleCare support ticket and get engineering attention to look into the issue. Any less data and you likely get told to monitor things and report back when you can reproduce the crash.

Also, OS X is more complicated than before. If you have a user on the Mac - some user processes start even before you log in. The OS also will run threads for programs that are not running and close programs that it shows as running and kill/sleep threads on programs that are still running. the days of having a simple I'm running an app so there are threads running is over (sadly?). Mail is one program that has been converted in to many background processes and inter process communications which makes debugging it all the more hard.

  • What's the "sysdiagnose key"? Also, I just got a SPOD as soon as I clicked on the Internet Accounts pref pane (though I tried again just now and it works fine). – jvriesem Oct 1 '15 at 21:17
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    @jvriesem Updated bmike's answer with the key combination. – Alistair McMillan Oct 1 '15 at 22:45

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