I'm trying to install macOS Catalina. Currently I have Mojave, macbook pro 13", mid 2012. System suggested this upgrade so I decided to install it right away :)

When Catalina installer started it asked about accepting license and then to choose disk. After that beachball of death appears i.e. the installer process is frozen (and is marked red in Activity Monitor). After 30m I force killed this process and retried 3 times, so far.

How can I determine what is slowing or stopping my installation?

  • Is you're system supported for Catalina? Regardless of the system recommendation, you should check the Apple Catalina requirements page. I've read of instances where the system 'recommends' a version it doesn't actually support.
    – fsb
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 19:40
  • yes, it is supported. Even if it wasn't the installer should not hang for 30m :) However, I've found the solution for my problem - see below.
    – skowro.net
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 21:14

3 Answers 3


I found a fix for me.

Something told me that a disabled Spotlight might be the reason (I had similar issue long time ago and re-enabling Spotlight did the job).

If you have Spotlight disabled, then re-enable it using this in Terminal:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

After installation you can disable it once again :) Hope it helps someone.

*Can also make this change in System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy = Then drag and drop the HDD into the window (enable the hard disks option in the Finder Preferences->Sidebar if the HDD is not visible in the Finder). To undo the action, just click on the hdd, and select the minus symbol. This did the trick for me.

  • 1
    Great catch! I could see that causing issues - thanks for following up with an answer. Too bad the system forces a 2 day period before selecting.
    – bmike
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 0:08

Before you do anything once you launch the Install macOS Catalina app - choose the window menu, show log (Command L) then show all logs (Command 3)

After a failed install, you can look at /var/log/install.log and see where it's getting stuck or at least know the last few things it has done before it gets bogged down.

I'm installing on to a Catalina volume and the install took about 15 minutes on my SSD MacBook (One) that has a 1.1 GHz Intel Core M processor and was made in 2015 (the original small MacBook with retina screen) and the installer runs quite quickly, so my hunch is it's crunching all your apps and settings in pre-check scripts or finding a reason to fsck / file system check your drive.

The logs will let you know what's really being done, though.


I decided to reinstall Catalina on my MacBook (previously I had been using MacOS Big Sur). I thought I knew how to do it, because Catalina is the original OS for my Mac.

The first install got stuck two minutes before finishing. I quit the installer (what a waste of an hour and a half) and tried again. I got endless error messages, so I quit it again. Third time I just left it to get on with it and ignored the errors. It did it. Makes me wonder if it hadn't got stuck at 2 minutes after all.

So basically, I just left it to get on with the job. It was scary, though--I didn't know if it was going to do it or not.

To make sure your Mac knows who's in charge here, give it a stern talking-to. Then leave it and just think to yourself, "It is going to do it this time. It is going to do it this time."

Good luck :-)

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