Mac Troubleshooting Tips

Fix your Mac with these simple troubleshooting tips

Check your Mac computer's processor before using these tips

Is your Mac not behaving itself? Here are some simple things you can try before contacting Swarthmore ITS.

In late 2020, Apple began the transition from Intel processors to Apple silicon (M1) in Mac computers. Troubleshooting tips may differ depending on your computer's processor. Processor and other system information can be found under About This Mac (under the Apple icon).

Check your computer's processor before continuing - for details, go to

Reset NVRAM or PRAM on your Mac

Sometimes your Mac’s Parameter RAM (PRAM) or Non-Volatile RAM (NVRAM) becomes scrambled and needs to be reset. Settings stored in the PRAM or NVRAM include sound volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information.

The settings stored in PRAM or NVRAM depend on your Mac and the devices that you're using with your Mac.

Reset the SMC of your Mac

Resetting the system management controller (SMC) can resolve certain issues related to power, battery, fans, and other features.

Optimize your Mac notebook battery or check battery health

Learn how to optimize the life of the battery in your Mac notebook, fix battery issues, and get service.

Run Apple Diagnostics on your Mac

Run Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac for hardware issues and get suggested solutions.

Apple Diagnostics can help determine which hardware component might be causing the issue. It also suggests solutions and can help you contact Apple Support for assistance (for personal devices).  For Swarthmore-owned devices, contact ITS.

Further Options for Personally Owned Macs

About macOS Recovery

The utilities in macOS Recovery help you restore from Time Machine, reinstall macOS, get help online, repair or erase a hard disk, and more.

macOS Recovery is part of the built-in recovery system of your Mac. You can start up from macOS Recovery and use its utilities to recover from certain software issues or take other actions on your Mac.

How to reinstall your macOS from macOS Recovery

Learn how to use macOS Recovery to reinstall the Mac operating system on your built-in drive or an external drive.

How to repair a Mac disk with Disk Utility

Disk Utility can find and repair errors related to the formatting and directory structure of a Mac disk. Errors can lead to unexpected behavior when using your Mac, and significant errors might even prevent your Mac from starting up completely.

Contact the Help Desk

If the troubleshooting tips outlined here do not help, please contact the Help Desk. Let us know which troubleshooting tips you tried and what the outcome was to help us better serve you.

Ways you can contact ITS or find information:

ITS Support Portal:
Phone: x4357 (HELP) or 610-328-8513
Check out our remote resources at
Check our homepage at