In the last few days I've had a sudden flash of gray in the background. I'm on MacOS 10.7.5. I'm not able to provide a screenshot because it only happens for a split second, but here is a more or less accurate mock-up:

enter image description here

It happens on average 1 time per hour, though it's not regular. Sometimes 5 mins pass till the next flash of gray. It covers multi-monitors and it also happens if my external monitor is not connected.

Any ideas?

  • I've got the same issue on 10.8.2. It's not nearly that frequent, though, but to me it seems like the desktop background grays out when the computer is too busy with other things. I haven't noticed whether it's due to the cpu being busy or if it's memory related. – Lizzan Dec 17 '12 at 17:01

That is because the Dock process isn’t getting enough resources and/or is crashing.

TheDock process is not just responsible for your Dock, but also Mission Control, Launchpad, Dashboard and the Desktop background.

If this happens most frequently during periods of heavy use, then it is not getting enough resources or its resources are being swapped to disk.

If this happens totally randomly, then there is a deeper issue. Try repairing permissions first in that case and report back if it works.

  • Thanks! I usually have many processes running but I had never encountered this. – methodofaction Dec 17 '12 at 17:46
  • You’re welcome. Another way to prove that low resources are causing this is to open Launchpad and see if the icons take any longer than a second to load. – duci9y Dec 17 '12 at 18:07

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