My 2017 iMac running macOS 10.12.6 has a problem that occurs on a roughly weekly basis where the entire system will gradually freeze. The symptoms are that an application will lock up with the spinning pinwheel of death, and as I try to force quit it or switch to other applications, they will eventually start locking up too in the same manner. This includes apps like Finder, Dock, Spotlight, SystemUIServer, and so on. Eventually the entire system is completely frozen. At this point I can't use the menu bar, open a terminal window or SSH into the system, so I have no choice but to do a hard reboot.

This same issue would happen on my previous mac, and came back even though I set up my current mac completely from scratch (rather than restoring a Time Machine backup or something similar). So that leads me to believe that a piece of software or hardware that I'm using is the culprit, and not a physical defect in the mac itself.

However, I have no idea how to debug a crash like this. Since the system never kernel panics and no app ever actually fully crashes, I have no panic or crash logs to look into.

What can I do to try and debug this problem? Is there any kind of logging that could point to why everything starts freezing?

  • I’m guessing the answer is no, but have you identified any sure fire way to bring this on at will, or that’s more likely to bring this on? That is, if we try a few things is there any way you can try to bring on a system freeze, or would you have to use it for a week to determine if something we tried worked? – Monomeeth Oct 31 '17 at 9:13
  • @Monomeeth I haven't found any consistent way to trigger it nor have I identified anything I can do that makes it more likely to happen, despite my best efforts. This is why I think I need some kind of logging to let me know what's going wrong when things start freezing. – GuyGizmo Oct 31 '17 at 13:34

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