spinning rainbow wheel

Have you tried turning it off and then back on again?

When you are having computer problems, this can be one of the most irritating questions, especially when you have already tried that solution.

If you have a spinning rainbow wheel on your Mac though, there may be an even easier solution than having to turn your computer off and on again.  

Has a spinning rainbow wheel appeared in place of your cursor on your Mac? How do you get it to stop? Read on to find out how.

What Is the Spinning Rainbow Wheel?

Before you can start to diagnose and fix the problem, it can help to know what it is. 

The spinning rainbow wheel, otherwise known as the Spinning Wait Cursor, is a system indicator. When you see this, it means that your Mac is not able to process and deal with all of the tasks that you are asking it to do. It is taking a breather, and telling you to wait for a second while it catches up.

If the app that you’re trying to use doesn’t respond after about four seconds, most apps will give you this spinning cursor. Sometimes the cursor will go away on its own after a few seconds or even minutes.

But sometimes it sticks around, which will lead you to the problem that caused you to find this article in the first place. 

There are so many different reasons that this can happen, and you can read about them below. 

Troubleshooting with Apps

If you can switch to other apps and use other programs on your Mac but only see the spinning cursor on one app, forcing the app to quit may be a solution for you.

You will need to perform a function on your computer called a Force Quit, and this basically lets you close that app so that it stops trying to catch up.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In the left-hand corner near the top, there should be an Apple icon. Click that.
  2. You can choose the option to Force Quit. You can also use the shortcut (Command + Alt + Escape). 
  3. A list of all the apps that you are running will show up. Click the one that isn’t working.
  4. Click Force Quit.
  5. This should close the app and get rid of the spinning rainbow wheel.

If the app keeps freezing after you open it again, you may need to delete it and then reinstall it on your computer. 

Re-Index the Spotlight

Spotlight is one of the Tools found on a Mac that can help you search for files. But in order for that search engine to work, it has to build a sort of library on your computer so that it can find what you are looking for quickly.

However, sometimes something corrupts the library, which can result in that dreaded rainbow wheel replacing your cursor. 

To fix it and basically clear the cache of it, just follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Apple Menu.
  2. Go to System Preferences.
  3. Go to Spotlight.
  4. There should be a Privacy tab; click that.
  5. You should see all the folders that the Spotlight has access to search. Next to the folder, click the Remove or “-” icon to get rid of it. 
  6. Do this for all your folders.
  7. Exit the System Preferences.  

This should automatically cause Spotlight to start rebuilding the library and hopefully restore your cursor to just plain white.

Get Rid of Stuff That Takes Up Space

One reason your computer may be giving you the spinning wheel of death may be because the computer is running too slow to process what you want. if this is the reason you are seeing it, this is also one of the easiest fixes to get rid of it.

This can be caused by many reasons, but one of the most common reasons is because you have too much stored on your computer’s hard drive. Your phone runs slower when you are close to using all your space, and your computer is no different.

To clean up some of that space, you can back some stuff up to the Cloud or load it onto an external hard drive. Go through your trash and get rid of old files you don’t need anymore. If you have apps that you don’t really use anymore, uninstall them so that they’re not taking up precious space.

When you’re buying a Mac, you should think about how much storage you normally use, and buy a laptop or computer that has enough to fit your needs so that you’re not running into this problem.  

Get More RAM

If you’ve tried all the things listed above and still nothing has gotten rid of the spinning rainbow wheel, getting more RAM for your computer may be an option.

This is a last resort kind of option, which means that this isn’t necessarily always the problem, and most of the solutions listed above should fix it. But there is always this option as well.

For those who don’t know, RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is just a different type of storage that your computer uses. Without RAM, your computer would be running much slower than it already is.

If your computer is clogged, there is a chance that your RAM might be too which could be causing the delays. In plain terms, the more RAM you have, the faster your computer will run.

Installing more RAM could be a quick solution to fixing your cursor problems, but unfortunately, it’s not something that you would be able to do on your own. You will probably have to take it to a repair shop and have them do it for you.  

Fix Your Mac Today

These solutions should all help fix your spinning rainbow wheel issues.

However, if they don’t, you shouldn’t stress out yet. You can always try and take your Mac in to have a professional look at it and help you fix it.

We offer Macbook repair services, so check us out to ease your computer frustrations.