If you own or have ever used a Mac, chances are you have come across the dreaded spinning wheel, or as it’s often termed, the spinning wheel of death. The spinning rainbow wheel is a common macOS wait cursor. This wheel comes up when an application that you’re running doesn’t respond for a few moments. The wheel that pops up as your cursor is simply a signal to you that you need to wait before giving the application more instructions by clicking additional buttons, typing, etc.
How to fix the spinning wheel
As mentioned before, the spinning wheel is a sign that an application is not running/working as it should be. This issue is easy to resolve and shouldn’t be reason stress. In order to fix the issue, you’ll just need to find the application that is causing the issue and shut it down.
Finding the app causing the issue
To find the app causing the problem, go to Activity Monitor on your mac. Head to Applications > Utilities and find the Activity Monitor. In the Activity Monitor window, you’ll see the apps at the top of the list that use the most CPU. Here, you may see “(Not Responding)” after the name of the application that’s having issues.
Wait a while
Before quitting the application, wait a while to see it the app decides to respond. Many times when the spinning wheel appears it’s simply because the program that is running just needs a second to respond. If this is the case, you may have just clicked something to start a complex task for the program to do/complete. Try waiting a couple of minutes and let your Mac work out the problem on it’s own.
Force quit the app
After you have tried waiting for any tasks to complete, but your computer is still having the issue of the spinning wheel, you could try to force quit the application. If you know what application is causing the issue, locate the application in the dock, right click (two-finger click or Control+Click) on the app’s icon and click Force Quit. You can also quit the application from the Activity Monitor. Once the application that is causing the problem is closed, the spinning wheel should disappear. From here, you can go ahead and start the application and try using it again.
Persistent spinning wheel?
If the spinning wheel still won’t go away or it keeps reappearing, you may want to try restarting your machine. Go to the Apple logo in the upper left corner of your screen and click Restart. If your mouse isn’t responding, you can press and hold the machine’s power button until it powers off.
If possible, save and close any apps that are still responding before this attempt at getting rid of the spinning wheel.
Frequent spinning wheel?
If you’re seeing the spinning wheel often and across a variety of applications, it’s not unreasonable to assume a bigger issue. If you are a current customer with ITS, please feel free to contact us and we can help troubleshoot the issue.