At random points during the day (but not every day), when I've been working quite a bit, MacOs gives me continual freezes for 10-15 sec. This especially happens when I switch between apps and when I perform certain actions such as trying to reboot, switch a tab in chrome, etc.

The freeze is not a typical rainbow-ball-freeze, but literally, the screen is frozen. The music does keep playing (buffer?) but does not respond to commands, nothing does.

I run Mojave 10.14.6 and own a Macbook Pro 15" mid-2012 in which the primary drive is an SSD and I replaced the DVD-drive with a 7200 rpm Hitachi.

Most of my data, documents, videos, images, etc are on this second hard-drive. MacOS and apps all run on the primary SSD disk.

I'm not sure, but the freezes somehow feel faulty to the hard-drive.

I tried running First-aid on the data-disk but it's unable to unmount. I will try a reboot later, but in the past, the first-aid was unable to find any faults.

How can I proceed to find the root cause of these freezes?

I did the etrescan and although beachballing is not the right description, I thought it most closely resembled the behaviour. I removed something that might've been adware. I checked unsigned files, which are mainly developer tools I use.

I pretty much always run Activity monitor on the side to see if my CPU starts spinning up like crazy by some app. This is not the case when I have concurrent freezes. I also did a safe-boot and ran disk-utility health-aid and it did so without reporting any problems.

I just had the freezes again. It was very clear that the freeze happens whenever I do an action (switch app, open run, delete a file, type admin pw, etc). If I stayed in the same application, it almost all run perfectly smooth...

Etre rapport (1 week expiry date) console report (1 week expiry date)

3 Answers 3


I provide three techniques for diagnosing the problem. Don't miss 2 & 3 below.

  1. I'd run etrecheck. Etrecheck will analyze your machine and software and generate a report. Post results here so others can view. Experienced users have found the reported information useful when diagnosing problems. The proprietary stuff in the report gets filtered.

Install and run

  • Download etrecheck. Goto the EtreCheck.com download page. The download link is at the bottom of the screen
  • Install etrecheck. Goto your download folder. Double click on EtreCheckPro.zip
  • drag the app to the application folder if you wish.
  • Double click on etrecheck to run. The first five runs are free.

An alternative explanation how to install, run and report output for the EtreCheck Application by the author. https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-11591

How to report etrecheck data.

When the report is done, click on the export icon. enter image description here

click on "Copy report" to copy to the clipboard enter image description here Get back in your web browser and access your discussion. Create a new reply. Click on the <> code icon. Paste you etrecheck output into the code block.

which results in... enter image description here You may find Old Toad's write up helpful. https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-250000211

  1. run /Applications/Utilties/Activity Monitor. Leave it in a visible window if you can. Maybe you can see some reason for the problem.

  2. Try a safe boot. Shutdown your machine. Hold down the shift key. Poweron. The boot up will take longer than normal because the filesystem on the startup drive is being checked and repaired as needed. All about safe mode including what features and apps safe boot leaves out. Safe boot uses a software driver instead of using your machines video hardware. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1455

  • thanks for your reply! I added the rapport and also what else I did
    – flowen
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 14:45

I suggest that next time this happens you make a note of the time it occurs down to the second. Then go to the console app and open it. The console app is in the utilities folder which is inside the Applications folder. When you open the console app there are several reports listed on the left. I suggest you open the System Reports and then scroll to the time of interest and see if any system warnings or errors were displayed in the report.

If nothing appears, try one of the other reports.

  • thanks for the suggestion. I have done this and down to the millisecond.. but the logs were different each time, except for a drive operation by Pathfinder. I checked it, turned off the Pathfinder application but it wouldn't resolve the issue
    – flowen
    Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 22:02
  • alright I added a log of console of the exact moment.. is there anything useful in there you think?
    – flowen
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 22:14

How long did you run in safe mode? Run longer to be sure the issue goes away.

Running fine in safe mode means something installed on your machine is causing the trouble. It is common for the problem to be with a kernel extension because they tend to have more access to the system. Check your extensions to verify that they are up-to-date and work with Mojave. You can start with the extensions that predate Mojave.

You should run malwarebytes to get rid of the addware. With the free version you have to manually start it to run. "MalwareBytes Anti-Malware for Mac Removes adware and malware Revives your Mac." MalwareBytes has a more restrictive filter for adware than Apple. MalwareBytes has come to be accepted as the only malware detector you should consider. For those pestered by browser attacks consider MalwareBytes. https://www.malwarebytes.org/antimalware/mac/

You should get rid of all the other virus checkers.

Simple put, Apple attempts to provide all the malware detection and removal you need in Mac OS X.

"Effective defenses against malware and other threats" by John Galt https://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-8841

"Avoid phishing emails, fake 'virus' alerts, phony support calls, and other scams" https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT204759

"MalwareBytes Anti-Malware for Mac Removes adware and malware Revives your Mac." MalwareBytes has a more restrictive filter for adware than Apple. MalwareBytes has come to be accepted as the only malware detector you should consider. For those pestered by browser attacks consider MalwareBytes. https://www.malwarebytes.org/antimalware/mac/

etrecheck Run etrecheck. The first five runs are free. Provided a report on your machines hardware and software. Great for diagnosing your system. Click on the download link at the bottom of the screen. http://etrecheck.com/

Apple on Security: https://www.apple.com/business/resources/docs/macOS_Security_Overview.pdf

from etrecheck:

Kernel panics - This system has experienced kernel panics that could be related to 3rd party software. See if the kernel panics align with the freezes.

Minor Issues: Low disk space - This machine is running low on free hard drive space. -- You should free up some storage. I've gotten way low drive space without a problem, but I eventually free up some space and most other folks will say you need several gigs free.

Apps crashing - There have been numerous app crashes.

Antivirus software not working - Your antivirus software does not appear to be working. -- Get rid of this software.

System modifications - There are a large number of system modifications running in the background. -- Would prune back as much as you can. I'd guess one of there is the cause.

  • thanks for your answer. - I only ran disk utility first aid scan, which went fine in safe mode. So I'll try spent more time there. - malwarebyes finished, found & removed 5 treats. - kernal panics don't seem to align with the crashes - low disk space: I have 20gb+ free on each disk, but it's less than 10%. Will look into freeing up more. - I don't run antivirus (except malwarebytes now).. not sure why it's saying this. - how does one look into system modifications?
    – flowen
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 7:22

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