Mac Fixes

Mac Finder Not Responding

Finder was introduced with the first-ever Mac in January 1984, and it’s vital for deleting apps, clearing caches, launching apps, and many other functions. Considering how crucial it’s for ensuring optimal Mac performance, it’s a huge problem if Finder won’t open.


You may experience problems with Finder not working on Mac for several reasons. For example, junk files could cause your device to run less efficiently and subsequently result in Finder not performing at its highest level. The good news, however, is that you can solve Finder not launching and similar problems in multiple ways.


Keep reading to learn how to fix the Mac Finder unresponsive issue with us. We’ll share several methods, and you’ll hopefully solve the problem by the end of this article.

Before we start


Junk files can easily build up on your Mac and slow it down. In such cases, you could experience problems with Finder not responding. Running MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup feature could help to search for and remove all unneeded data from your Mac.


Here’s how to turn it into practice:

  1. Download MacKeeper.
  2. In MacKeeper, select Cleaning > Safe Cleanup from the left-hand menu.
  3. Click the Start Scan button.
  4. When the scan is finished, look through the results and select what you want to delete.
  5. Click Clean Junk Files.

Why is Finder not working on your Mac

It’s common for Finder to glitch after a macOS update. However, other issues—like not having enough space on your Mac and system errors—are also potential contributors. You may similarly encounter Finder not launching or responding because of external devices.


Below are the reasons why Finder isn’t working on your Mac that we’ll explore further:

  1. Not enough space on your Mac
  2. Your Mac is running out of memory
  3. Temporary crashes in Finder
  4. System errors
  5. Conflicts with third-party apps
  6. Problematic external devices

1. Not enough space on your Mac

If you don’t regularly maintain the files and folders on your Mac, you’ll inevitably run out of space at some point. Besides the annoyance of not being able to download new programs and files, your device has to perform more tasks with limited capacity. This, as a result, can have a direct knock-on effect on native apps like Finder.

2. Your Mac is running out of memory

Maybe your Mac memory isn’t full, but it’s not far away. Unfortunately, your device still needs to use more energy to operate normally. Because of this, you may still notice that the Finder frozen on Mac issue arises multiple times.

3. Temporary crashes in Finder

Finder may temporarily crash if you ask the app to do too many things at once, such as trying to delete apps and back up your iPhone or iPad simultaneously. You can avoid this problem by only focusing on one thing at a time.

4. System errors

You might see several forms of macOS system errors, such as applications quitting unexpectedly and unsupported app types. Many system malfunctions that impact Finder relate to not having enough space on your device or apps not performing as they should.

5. Conflicts with third-party apps

You sometimes have no choice but to download third-party apps for your Mac. Nonetheless, it’s important that a) you download them from reputable sources (i.e. the company website) and b) regularly update them. If your apps are no longer up to date, you may encounter problems that cause Finder to no longer work as it should. Conflicts with third-party apps could also result in the MacBook keeps freezing issue.

6. Problematic external devices

External hard drives might cause problems with Finder if you haven’t formatted them correctly. You may also encounter issues if there’s an incompatibility between your hard drive’s performance capabilities and what you’re able to do with your Mac.

What to do when Finder isn’t responding on Mac

You can do several things if you’re dealing with the Mac Finder unresponsive problem—from restarting the app to more complex solutions—such as using Activity Finder.


Here’s a list of tricks to solve the Finder not responding problem:

  1. Restart Finder
  2. Terminate the Finder process in Activity Monitor
  3. Restart your Mac
  4. Sign out and sign back into your Mac
  5. Check and free up storage space
  6. Close unneeded programs
  7. Prevent third-party apps from running in the background
  8. Remove corrupted Finder preferences file
  9. Unplug recently-connected peripherals
  10. Disable iCloud Drive Sync
  11. Restart Mac in Safe Mode
  12. Make sure SPotlight is Indexed
  13. Wait while Finder re-indexes your files
  14. Update or downgrade macOS
  15. Reset Mac to factory settings

1. Restart Finder

If Finder doesn’t open when you try to launch it, you understandably get frustrated. You can try a fairly easy move to fix it—force quitting. Here’s how:

  1. Click on the Finder app.
  2. Go to the Apple logo and press option + shift on your keyboard.
  3. Tap Force Quit Finder.
  4. Wait for the app to close and reopen.
If Finder isn't responding on your Mac, force quit the app. Start by selecting Finder, which you should see in your computer's dock section.
Step 1. Select Finder in your Mac Dock
Force Quit the Finder app by tapping the Apple logo and pressing option + shift on your keyboard. Then, when you see Force Quit Finder in the dropdown menu, click on it.
Step 2. Apple logo > option + shift > Force Quit Finder

If you can’t use Finder, use these steps instead:

  1. Go to Apple logo > Force Quit (DON’T press option + shift).
  2. Highlight Finder.
  3. Select Relaunch in the window’s bottom right-hand corner.
If Finder won't open on Mac but the program appears to be running, you can go to Apple logo > Force Quit and select Finder. Then, select Relaunch at the bottom of your screen.

2. Terminate the Finder process in Activity Monitor

If restarting Finder didn’t work, you can try terminating the process via Activity Monitor. Follow these steps:

  1. Tap the magnifying glass icon in your Mac toolbar to open Spotlight.
  2. Type Activity Monitor into the search bar and select the app when it appears in the results.
  3. In the search bar in the top right corner of the window, type in Finder.
  4. Select all the processes with that name (Command + A) and quit them by clicking on the cross symbol in the top left corner.
Solve the issues with Finder not working on Mac by going to Spotlight. You can use the magnifying glass icon in your computer's toolbar to do this.
Step 1. Select the magnifying glass icon if Finder is not starting on Mac
Once Spotlight has opened on your Mac, search for Activity Monitor. Select the app when it appears in your search results; it should be close to the top of your screen.
Step 2. Type Activity Monitor into the Spotlight search bar
When you open Activity Monitor, you'll then need to go to the search bar in the app and type FInder. The program should again appear near the top of your search results.
Step 3. Type Finder in the Activity Monitor search bar
Select all Finder-related processes by tapping Command + A on your computer keyboard. You can then press the x icon, which should solve the problem with Finder not responding on your Mac.
Step 4. Select Finder and all related processes before tapping the x button

Note from our experts: 


If you experience problems with Preview not working on Mac, you can also try using Activity Monitor to terminate the process.

3. Restart your Mac

If you repeatedly encounter the Finder not launching issue on your device, restarting your Mac is a good idea. To do that:

  1. Go to Apple logo > Restart.
  2. Select Restart when you see the pop-up window.
  3. Wait for your Mac to turn off and restart before entering your Mac password and trying to use Finder again as normal.
Solve issues with Finder not working on Mac by going to the Apple logo and selecting Restart. You can then continue the process and get your device to hopefully work like normal again.
Step 1. Apple logo > Restart
After selecting Apple logo > Restart, you should then see a pop-up icon. Tap Restart when you do. If you do nothing, your Mac will restart within a minute anyway.
Step 2. Select Restart on the pop-up window

If you encounter problems where your Mac keeps shutting down, restarting your device can also help you solve that particular issue.

4. Sign out and sign back into your Mac

Signing out and back into your Mac can help you remove software-related glitches that may stop your device from performing at an optimal level. Before signing out, save anything you’re working on, as this process will close all the apps currently open on your computer.


To sign out and back into your Mac:

  1. Go to Apple logo > Log Out [Your Name].
  2. Select Log Out when the pop-up window shows up on your screen.
  3. Wait for your Mac to log out. Then, sign back into your account.
Sign out of your Mac by going to Apple logo > Log Out [Your Name]. Note that this will close all of your apps, so save any work you're currently doing beforehand.
Step 1. Apple logo > Log Out [Your Name]
After opting to sign out of your Mac, you'll see a pop-up window asking you to confirm that you'd like to sign out. Tap Log In to confirm this.
Step 2. Select Log Out when the pop-up window appears

5. Check and free up storage space

Freeing up space on your Mac means that your device no longer needs to perform multiple actions. As a result, you should hopefully fix any issues you’re having with Finder.


Follow these steps to free up storage space on your Mac:

  1. Go to System Settings > General > Storage.
  2. Sift through the different processes to delete any documents, apps, or other files you no longer need. Select the information icon to do this.
  3. Highlight what you want to remove and select Delete. Then, confirm your decision.
Free up space on your Mac by going to System Settings > General > Storage. Your Mac has a useful feature that lets you remove apps, files, and more.
Step 1. System Settings > General > Storage
When the Storage section opens, go through the different sections and remove anything that you no longer need. Tap the information icon next to each process.
Step 2. Delete the apps and processes by tapping the information icon
When your Mac comes back with the different files and folders for deletion, choose what you want to delete and tap the Delete button. You can choose which files consume the most information.
Step 3. Select Delete and confirm your decision

As a better solution, use MacKeeper’s Duplicates Finder to remove unnecessary files that repeat on your Mac. Doing so will free up space in a more streamlined way. Here’s how:

  1. Open MacKeeper and go to Cleaning > Duplicates Finder.
  2. Select Start Scan.
  3. Tick the box next to Duplicates and any others that you’d like to remove.
  4. Tap Remove Selected.
  5. Select Remove again when the pop-up window appears.
Open MacKeeper to efficiently delete your files. Go to Cleaning > Duplicates Finder; here, you can quickly remove any duplicate files and folders.
Step 1. Cleaning > Duplicates Cleaner > Start Scan
After searching for duplicates in MacKeeper, tick the boxes you want to remove. Then, tap Remove Selected. You'll find this button at the bottom of your screen.
Step 2. Tick boxes for files you want to delete > select Remove Selected
After picking which files and folders you want to delete in MacKeeper, you can then confirm your choice via a pop-up window. Select Remove when it appears.
Step 3. Confirm the files and folders you want to remove

6. Close unneeded programs

Closing unneeded programs will ensure that your Mac can run Finder and other apps more effectively. To do that:

  1. Press control + trackpad on the app you want to close.
  2. Tap Quit.
Close apps and programs you don't need to ensure that Finder runs more efficiently on your Mac. Tap control + trackpad on the app or program you want to quit, before selecting Quit.

7. Prevent third-party apps from running in the background

Third-party apps can sometimes cause conflicts on your device that stop Finder from running as it should. Thankfully, you can easily prevent programs from running in the background by following these steps:

  1. Go to System Settings > General > Login Items.
  2. Start by selecting the programs you don’t want to run in the background at the top and tapping the - button.
  3. Disable more apps and programs from running in the background by scrolling down and turning the toggle off next to every app and process you want to stop.
To stop third-party apps from running in the background, start by going to System Settings > General and selecting Login Items. Here, you can access all of your processes.
Step 1. System Settings > General > Login Items
Remove login items that open immediately by going to the top part of Login Items and selecting the processes you want to stop. Then, tap the - icon.
Step 2. Select the apps you don’t want to open at login and tap the - icon
You can also go to the Allow in the Background section to close any apps and processes you want to quit. Simply turn the toggle off next to each one.
Step 3. Allow in the background > Toggle off processes

As an alternative to the Login Items feature in System Settings, you can use MacKeeper’s Login Items tool to stop apps, caches, and more:

  1. In MacKeeper, go to Performance > Login Items > Start Scan.
  2. When the list of login items appears, tick the boxes next to each process that you don’t want to run upon startup.
  3. Tap Remove Selected Items when you’re happy with your choices.
  4. When the pop-up window appears, tap Remove.
Remove login items effectively with MacKeeper's Login Items tool. Select Performance > Login Items, before choosing the Start Scan button to begin looking.
Step 1. Performance > Login Items > Start Scan
Your Mac will then begin looking for login items on your device. When it's found these, tick the boxes next to each login item you want to delete. Then, tap Remove Selected Items.
Step 2. Tick boxes next to login items > select Remove Selected Items
After opting to remove your login items, a pop-up window will appear and ask you to confirm your decision. Select Remove when it does and the process will finalize.
Step 3. Tap Remove when the pop-up window appears

8. Remove corrupted Finder preferences file

If Finder doesn't relaunch, even though you’ve tried every one of the three ways, it’s likely that you have a corrupted preference file. Normally, you would use Finder itself to delete such files and reset preferences. But because the UI isn’t responding, you’ll need to resort to the Terminal command line.

  1. Open Spotlight and look for Terminal.
  2. Open the Terminal app.
  3. Copy and paste the following command in the command line: rm ~/Library/Preferences/ This will move the .plist file from the hidden library folder into the Trash.
  4. Restart the Mac and try launching Finder again.
Open Spotlight and search for Terminal. Here, you can use the required name to successfully close Finder and hopefully fix any problems that you're experiencing with the app.
Step 1. Spotlight > Terminal
Use Terminal to type rm ~/Library/Preferences/ and remove the file that's in Finder. You need to use Terminal if the UI isn't responding.
Step 2. Type rm ~/Library/Preferences/

9. Unplug recently connected peripherals

If you suspect that a recently connected external hard drive is causing issues with the Finder app on your Mac, you should disconnect peripheral devices from your Mac safely to avoid the risk of corrupting the drive or losing your files. Do it this way:

  1. Go to your desktop and find the device.
  2. Press control + trackpad to highlight the external drive.
  3. Select Eject [Peripheral Device Name].
Disconnecting a peripheral device might solve Finder not working on Mac. However, you need to safely eject the drive as you could otherwise corrupt your files. Select the device via command + trackpad and press Eject [Device Name].

10. Disable iCloud Drive Sync

iCloud is useful for backing up your files and folders, but having synchronization across your devices can also result in Finder not working properly. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to disable iCloud Drive syncing:

  1. Go to Settings and select your Apple ID name at the top of the left-hand toolbar.
  2. Under Apps Using iCloud, choose iCloud Drive.
  3. Toggle off Sync this Mac and press Done when you’re finished.
Disable iCloud Drive synchronization by going to Settings > General and selecting your Apple ID name. Then, tap iCloud Drive; you'll find it under Apps Using iCloud.
Step 1. Settings > Apple ID > Apps Using iCloud > iCloud Drive
After selecting iCloud Drive, you can turn off synchronization by switching Sync this Mac off. After that, your device will stop syncing files via iCloud and to your other devices.
Step 2. Disable Sync this Mac and select Done

11. Restart Mac in Safe Mode

If Finder quits unexpectedly whenever you try to use it, the first thing to do is restart your computer. If that doesn’t solve the problem, boot the Mac in Safe Mode:

  1. Restart the Mac.
  2. Hold down the Shift key as soon as it starts booting.
  3. You can release the Shift key when you see the login window. Then, just log in normally and see if the issue persists in Safe Mode. You will distinguish it from the regular boot by the Safe Boot indicator in the top right corner of the screen.
Your Mac will show Safe Mode, Safe Boot, or something similar in the top right-hand corner if you've successfully booted the device in Safe Mode. Here, try using Finder and fixing the problem if the issue persists.

12. Make sure Spotlight is indexed

The process of reindexing Spotlight makes the tool register every file on your disk all over again. This is useful if, for some reason, you can’t find your documents via Finder or the Spotlight Search. It takes just a few steps:

  1. Click on the Apple logo.
  2. Select System Settings > Siri & Spotlight > Spotlight Privacy.
  3. Open Finder.
  4. Drag the folder of your internal disk to the list of locations that Spotlight can’t search in the System Settings window. Alternatively, use the plus button to add the required folder.
  5. The disk will appear in the list. Select it and click on the minus button to remove it.
  6. Quit System Settings and Finder, and wait for Spotlight to reindex.
To rebuild Spotlight's index and solve the issues with Finder on your Mac, start by going to System Settings > Siri & Spotlight. Here, scroll to the bottom and choose Spotlight Privacy.
Step 1. Settings > Siri & Spotlight > Spotlight Privacy
Drag and drop the files/folders you want to use for indexing in Spotlight. Then, tap the - button to remove them. You can afterwards select Done; the index should build before too long.
Step 2. Drag and drop the files, tapping the - icon, and select Done

13. Wait while Finder re-indexes your files

After you’ve rebuilt your Spotlight index (if needed), you can wait for Finder to re-index your files. In the meantime, you can close all other apps and processes to ensure that the process is as efficient as possible.

14. Update or downgrade macOS

If you’re still having problems with Finder (e.g. Finder won’t relaunch) after trying all the previous steps, try either upgrading or downgrading your macOS software. Start by updating your software, as this is better for ensuring that your device stays secure, along with optimizing your performance.


To update your macOS software:

  1. Go to System Settings > General and select Software Update.
  2. Wait for your Mac to find any possible software updates.
  3. If your Mac finds a software update, select Update Now.
  4. Tap Agree when Apple’s licensing agreement shows up on your screen. Then, wait for your Mac to download the software.
Fix issues with Finder by updating your macOS software. Start the process by going to System Settings > General. Then, tap Software Update.
Step 1. System Settings > General > Software Update
After a few seconds, your computer will find a software update if you need to upgrade your software. If this happens, select Update Now.
Step 2. Select Update Now if your Mac finds an update
When you're ready to upgrade your software, Apple's licensing agreement will appear on your screen. Tap Agree when it does and the update will commence.
Step 3. Agree to Apple’s licensing agreement

If your software is up to date and the issues with Finder persist, you can try downgrading your macOS. However, this is a very complicated process—so it should be a next-to-last resort. Nonetheless, these are the steps if you feel like downgrading macOS is necessary:

  1. Open Migration Assistant on your Mac and select Continue. Your apps will close during this process, and you’ll also be logged out.
  2. When you’re given the next list of options, select From a Mac, Time Machine Backup or Startup Disk before tapping Continue again.
  3. Choose the Time Machine Backup you want that features the downgraded version of macOS. Then, tap Continue.
  4. Pick the settings you’d like to transfer, including System & Network.
To begin the Time Machine Backup on your Mac, you need to go to the Migration Assistant app. Here, you can tap Continue; you'll be logged out of your account and all apps will close.
Step 1. Open Migration Assistant > select Continue
Select From a Mac, Time Machine backup or Startup disk to begin the process of restoring your device. You can choose from multiple options and to previous versions of macOS.
Step 2. Pick From a Mac, Time Machine backup or Startup disk
Pick the Time Machine backup you want for your Mac. Then, tap Continue to commence the process. You'll need to go through one more step before finalizing everything.
Step 3. Choose your Time Machine backup
Choose which folders and whatnot you want to transfer to your Mac. These will then appear on your device when the restoration has been completed. Tap Continue when you're happy with your choices.
Step 4. Pick the information to transfer to your Mac

15. Reset Mac to Factory Settings

Resetting your Mac to factory settings will wipe your device and return it to whatever the default software was when you initially bought it. While this can help to fix Finder, it’s a last resort option.

  1. Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset.
  2. Click on Erase All Content and Settings.
  3. Enter your Mac’s administrator password.
  4. When the uninstallation app opens, follow the remaining steps to restore your device.
Resetting your Mac to factory settings should be a last resort, but it's possible via Syste, Settings > Transfer or Reset. Here, you can choose your next preferred option.
Step 1. System Settings > General > Transfer or Reset
On the next page, you'll see an option titled Erase All Content and Settings. You should then enter your admin password. After that, a separate app will open, and you can complete the process here.
Step 2. Erase All Content and Settings

Finder not working on Mac? Try these tips to fix the problem

If Finder won’t open or continuously stops working, you can try multiple steps to solve the issue. And considering how important Finder is for various actions on your device, fix the problem as soon as possible.


Among the whole host of solutions to stop Finder from not working, one of the most important is freeing up space. The task is easier to do using a third-party program like MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup. You’ll save time and also ensure that you don’t delete essential processes.


Why can't you open Finder on your Mac?

Finder may not open on your Mac for several reasons. It could be due to problems with your software, but your Mac might also struggle to handle many programs running at once.

Why does your Finder keep crashing?

Finder may keep crashing because of software glitches, but it’s probably because you’re asking your Mac to do more than it can. Solve this issue by freeing up space and closing needless programs.

Why is Finder stuck on Mac?

Finder might be stuck on your Mac because your device has low random access memory (RAM). Alternatively, you may be running too many windows or have outdated software.

Why is Mac Finder running slow?

The first and the most likely reason of Finder running slow is that you’re running short on storage. Use MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup to get rid of the redundant files. Another contributor for a slow Mac Finder is Spotlight indexing. As it’s a normal process that happens whenever you update your software or transfer a large volume of data to a cloud or an external carrier, no action is required. Just wait for indexing to be finished. Finally, your Finder may be slow to respond due to a corrupt preference file. In this case, you’ll need to delete the preference files via Terminal. 

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