How to fix a Mac that keeps restarting

Have you ever experienced your Mac unexpectedly restarting randomly? For some, it might happen rarely whereas some Apple users have experienced their Mac shutting down quite often. Random restarts can be extremely frustrating when it occurs suddenly for no obvious reason. If the restarting issue persists, then you might not be able to use your mac to the full extent. Fixing the problem meanwhile would be a major concern. This article outlines some of the primary causes of abnormal restarts in Mac and what you can do to fix it. 

Why does Mac keep restarting?

In most cases, the restart problem is attributed to kernel panic. The faulty software and hardware issues are the common source for a kernel panic. A missed macOS updates can also cause abnormal restarts besides kernel panic. We recommend to always update your Mac to the latest version to avoid future glitches.   

What is kernel panic?

A kernel panic is a forceful restart performed by Mac as a safety measure when your operating system’s Kernal detects a problem. Your mac restarts whenever OS detects an error that cannot be speedily recovered. The kernel panic can happen either because of software bugs or hardware failure.

Fix: Mac keeps restarting randomly

This article outlines some common causes of abnormal restarts and different ways to fix it. Read on to troubleshoot. 

Check for problematic software

Some times a bug in the third-party apps on your Mac can cause macOS kernel panic error. The problematic app sends a code request to the operating system’s kernel or underlying hardware which it fails to handle and shuts down your Mac automatically. In such case, you will be presented with a message ”Your computer restarted because of a problem”. Click on More info button to find the problematic apps that is causing the problem. To fix software related kernel panic here is what you need to do.

Update third party software

Manually update the problematic apps and restart your machine. If the app has no updates reinstall the app again.

Remove the third-party apps 

Uninstall the recent apps and restart. If this solves the problem then avoid installing that particular app again. 

Check peripheral devices connected to Mac 

An occasional restart problem can be fixed with a basic restart. However, if it happens more often and, if your Mac crashes right on startup, it means that the kernel panic error is caused by the faulty peripheral device connected to Mac. That said, hardware troubleshooting can help to resolve the issue. Here is what you need to do.

  • Disconnect all the peripheral devices like keyboard, mouse, drivers etc attached to Mac
  • Restart your Mac and check if your Mac works properly. If it works perfectly you know one of your peripheral devices attached to Mac is faulty. 
  • To check the faulty device connect each device at a time and test until you find the main culprit. 

Reset the Parameter RAM or PRAM

Your Mac stores certain hardware settings in PRAM. Changes to these settings can cause startup problems which trigger a kernel panic. Resetting PRAM can probably help if your Mac is restarting over and over again. The simplest way to do this is to Shutdown your Mac and turn it on the again. Immediately press and hold the four keys together: Option, Command, P and R. Release the key once Mac restarts. 

Reset the System Management Controller or SMC 

SMC plays a significant role in running lots of low-level hardware functions like battery, power, fans, keyboards LED Indicators, hard drives and others. Resetting SMC can resolve various unexpected problems especially when your Mac shuts down seemingly for no obvious reason. There are numerous ways to reset SMC depending on your Mac model 

Follow the below steps if you are running the newest mac models (2018 or later)

  • Shutdown your Mac.
  • Press and hold the right Shift Key, Left Option Key and Left Control Key simultaneously for 7 seconds and keep holding the three keys for the next step. 
  • Now holding the three keys, press the power button for another 7 seconds and release. 

For any mac model with non-removable  battery  follow the below steps to reset mac 

  • Shutdown your Mac 
  • Press and hold the left Shift Key, Left Option Key and Left Control Key simultaneously for 10 seconds while holding the Power button. 
  • Restart your Mac once it boots. 

Follow the below steps for Mac models with removable battery (2015 or before)

  • Shutdown Mac and remove the battery
  • Now press and hold power button for five seconds.
  • Reinstall the battery and turn on your Mac again.  

Check for macOS Update

Possibly, the restart problem occurs if you have missed the software updates or have several updates lined up on sequence. The several updates confuse your Mac forcing macOS to reboot in order to resolve the conflict. That said,  Software update is the easiest way to fix this problem. Simply Go to System preferences on your Apple menu and click Software Update to check for the latest updates.

Reinstall macOS

If the above solutions didn’t help, probably reinstalling macOS could be your last hope. Here is how to do it. But before proceeding make sure to backup all your Mac data. 

  • Go to system preferences on apple menu and click Reset.
  • Press and hold Command + R key immediately once it restarts, open macOS utilities.
  • Now select Reinstall macOS and choose the drive to install the OS
  • Restart once your mac reboots.

Contact Apple Support

If all the solutions fail, seek help from an authorized Apple service provider in order to bring your mac back to its original state. 

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