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How to Fix Mac Finder Not Responding Issue (11 Easy Ways)

Finder makes it easy to organize and find everything on your Mac. It is one of the most useful Mac apps, but it is prone to issues that can be quite frustrating. Many users understandably struggle with how to fix the Mac finder not responding issue.

You can fix Mac Finder not responding if you restart your app via the Apple menu. Force quit Finder to fix the issue or close as many background apps as possible to minimize background activity, so you don’t overwhelm Finder. Remove third-party apps as they can cause apps like Finder to freeze, slow down, and stop responding.

Install macOS updates as they are released to optimize the performance of apps like Finder. Follow along as we explore how to fix the issue when Finder is not responding on your Mac.

Why is Finder Not Working on My Mac?

If Finder is not working on your Mac, the issue is likely because of excessive activity. Apps like Finder will often freeze, crash, and stop responding when there is too much background activity. This can happen whether you have too many apps running in the background or too many tabs open in Safari.

Finder will also stop responding if you make too many console commands in a short window. You will also experience performance issues if Finder is behind on updates. Ideally, you should enable automatic updates, so you don’t have to manually update Finder.

Click the Apple icon, “App Store”, and “Settings”. Select “Automatic Updates” so Finder will always stay up to date and perform well.  

11 Ways to Fix Mac Finder Not Responding

Restart Your Mac

If Finder is not responding, you may simply need to restart your Mac to fix the issue. This can give the system a break and boost the performance of apps like Finder. All you must do is click the Apple icon on the menu bar, scroll down, and select “Restart” to restart your Mac. Give your Mac a few minutes to restart before you try to run Finder again.

If Finder is not responding and your Mac is frozen, you may need to restart your Mac with the power button. In that case, you must hold the power button until it shuts off. Wait a moment and press the power button again to restart your Mac.

Power Cycle Your Mac

Restarting your Mac isn’t always enough, and you may need to power cycle it if you haven’t in a while.  Power cycling is when you unplug a device, such as a Mac, for a few minutes. This can fix several problems with a Mac, such as response issues for apps like Finder.

Simply unplug your Mac from the wall and leave it alone for 3 to 5 minutes. Set a timer and plug your Mac back in after up to 5 minutes, then turn it back on. You should experience a smoother performance, and Finder should work.

Close Finder With the Activity Monitor

The Activity Monitor is a feature included with each Mac that lets you manage each app you use. When Finder is not responding, you can use the Activity Monitor to close it. This saves time if you don’t want to restart or power cycle your Mac.

To open the Activity Monitor, you must first press the Command and Space keys simultaneously. This will open the Mac Spotlight Search bar. Search for the Activity Monitor, open it, and type “Finder” into the search window. Click the “X” icon beside Finder and select “Force Quit” to close it with the Activity Monitor.

Run Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a feature that lets Mac users start their computers without automatically opening apps like Finder. This feature is useful if Finder is not responding, and you can’t solve the issue by simply restarting your Mac. First, restart your Mac, then press the Shift key right when you see the screen start to boot up.

Let go when the login screen appears. The words “Safe Boot” will appear at the top of the screen in the corner. Now, simply enter your password to log in and run your Mac in Safe Mode. Open Finder and see if it works.

Clear Some Storage Space

Whether it be Finder, Instagram, or Facebook, none of your apps will work properly if your Mac’s storage is full. Apps like Finder cannot automatically update if there is no space for updates. Without storage space, your apps will also struggle to respond quickly and are prone to crashes.

Scroll through the list of apps on your Mac and drag the ones you don’t use into the trash bin. Make sure to scroll through your pictures, videos, and old messages as well to delete as much content you don’t use as possible.

Restart your Mac after you clear some storage space. Finder should run much better once you free some space.

Reset the PLIST File

Each app on your Mac contains a file known as a PLIST file. This file contains the preferences for the app, and it can eventually become corrupted. You must reset the PLIST file associated with Finder to fix the issue when the app is not responding.

To do this, you must open the Terminal app. Click on the Launchpad, select “Other”, and “Terminal”. Type the command “sudo rm ~/Library/Preferences/” into Terminal. This will trigger your Mac to reset the PLIST file for Finder.

Force Quit Finder

When Finder is not responding, you can’t even close the app to fix the issue in many cases. When this happens, your only option is to force quit the app. While the app is open, simply press Option, Command, and Escape simultaneously to force quit Finder.

You can also force quit Finder from the Apple menu. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of the menu bar, select Finder, and click “Force Quit.

Close Background Apps

Check to see how many apps you have running in the background if Finder is not responding. The more apps you run at once, the slower of a performance you will get out of them. Close any background apps you aren’t using to boost Finder’s speed and avoid performance issues.

Remove Third-Party Apps

Third-party apps may be useful, but they can also explain why Finder is not responding on your Mac. This issue can occur when you use third-party apps that aren’t approved or optimized for your Mac’s operating system software. Because they aren’t optimized for the platform, they can cause apps to perform slowly, and sometimes they may not even respond.

To do this, click on the apps you want to remove, hold it until the icon appears to jiggle, and select delete.

Install the Latest macOS Update

If Finder is not responding, it could be because you haven’t installed the latest macOS update. Updates typically fix common issues and add new features to your Mac that will improve its performance. Click the Apple icon to pull up the menu and select “System Preferences”. Next, click “General” and install “Software Update”.

Factory Reset Your Mac

If Finder is still not responding and this issue affects other apps, you may need to reset your Mac to factory settings. However, you should only do this as a last resort if nothing else works and your other apps are not responding either. You can quickly factory reset a Mac if you have macOS Monterey.

With Monterey, you can reset your Mac to factory settings if you click the Apple icon, then System Preferences, and select “Erase All Content”. You must enter your Apple ID login information and select “Continue” to erase the content. If you don’t have macOS Monterey, it takes more steps to reset your Mac.

Turn your Mac off, press Command and R, tap the power button, and select “Disk Utility” when the utility menu appears. Select the Macintosh HD hard drive, delete it, wait a moment, and select “Reinstall macOS”. Now, you must select the reinstalled macOS and set up your Mac to restore it to factory settings.

So, How Do You Fix Mac Finder Not Responding?

Restart your Mac, run safe mode, and power cycle your computer if Finder is not responding. Close background apps if you run too many at once and delete third-party apps that aren’t optimal for macOS. Install the most recent macOS update and clear as much storage space on your Mac as possible to fix the issue if Finder is still not responding.