The 8 Best Free Mac Tools to Detect and Fix Common macOS Problems

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All Macs are perfect, and never encounter a single problem. This is thanks to the unicorn dust applied liberally to the internals of each new machine.

Unfortunately, that’s not true. Just like Windows machines, your Apple hardware can and will go wrong from time to time. Apple provides plenty of tools to get you on your way, but a few free third-party apps don’t hurt either.

Here are eight free tools that can help when your computer don’t work properly.

1. Disk Utility

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When to use it: Corrupted files, drive errors, or a Mac that won’t boot into macOS.

Disk Utility is a utility provided with macOS, which you can find under your Applications > Utilities folder. It’s used for formatting drives, mounting and unmounting volumes, and fixing problems as they arise.

You can run First Aid on any drive by launching the utility and clicking the corresponding button. For better results, and in cases where your Mac won’t boot, you can launch your Mac in Recovery Mode by restarting and holding Cmd + R while it starts up. Select Disk Utility, then First Aid to attempt a fix. Hit Repair Disk if it detects a problem.

It’s also possible to create whole images of your current disk using this utility, which is perfect if your drive is failing. Reboot in Recovery Mode and connect a large enough external drive. Then eject the drive you want to back up (probably called Macintosh HD), followed by File > Create New Image from “Macintosh HD” (or whatever the label is). computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science

Failing Disk Utility’s repair options, you can always boot into single user mode and use fsck to fix drive options from a command line interface.computer science computer science computer science computer science

2. Apple Diagnostics/Apple Hardware Test

When to use it: Suspected hardware issues, when trying to find out which specific component is causing an issue.

Another tool that comes bundled with your Mac is Apple Hardware Test. This simple utility can help diagnose problems, though it lacks the detail required to make serious repairs. It is, however, useful in cases where you’re trying to isolate a hardware issue from a software one. computer science computer science computer science

The age of your machine will determine whether you use Apple Diagnostics or Apple Hardware Test, but they do the same job and launch using the same shortcut. Simply hold down D while your Mac boots, or Option + D to run the test from the internet (in cases where the test won’t run from disk).  computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science computer science

If you’re feeling brave and you want to glean as much information as possible about your hardware problems, you can use Apple Service Diagnostics, assuming your Mac isn’t too new.

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