5 reasons your Macbook keeps restarting and how to fix the issue

Is your Mac suddenly restarting for seemingly no reason? It’s incredibly frustrating to come back to your computer, only to find out it’s mysteriously shut down and rebooted. If restarting issues get bad enough, they can prevent you from using your Mac entirely, so finding a solution is a top priority. Here are the common causes of looping restart issues, and what you need to do to fix the issues.

Note: If at all possible, try to save your MacOS settings and valuable data on an external drive when you run into this constant startup problem. Sometimes solutions require wiping your computer or other measures that will lose any locally saved information. So, before you start in-depth troubleshooting, make sure your data is secure.

MacOS isn’t updated

Macbook Air (2018) Review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Sometimes a missed MacOS update, or an update flaw can create problems with your Mac settings and update process. This confuses your Mac and can lead to repeated restarts and other issues. The easiest way to fix all these issues is to install all available updates for MacOS that your Mac model is compatible with. You may have to restart several times if you are behind on updates — that’s okay! It’s just your Mac working through all the important software changes.

If you can’t install the latest MacOS software because your Mac model is too old (for example, a model from 2010 may not be able to handle the latest OS updates), then you should consider a future hardware upgrade for better performance.

Your software is causing an error

MacOS Restart Problem

Sometimes, programs and apps that you downloaded onto MacOS may be causing a problem. This happens when software causes a serious, unrecoverable problem and your Mac says, “Whoa, that is NOT supposed to be happening and I need to restart ASAP!” otherwise known as the dreaded kernel panic. You can tell a kernel panic happened because you’ll see a message on restart that says something like, “Your computer restarted because of a problem.”

Kernel panic doesn’t always mean there’s something irrevocably wrong with your computer, but it does mean you may have to make some changes. It’s especially true if recent software is causing the issue. First, look at the popup message and see if there’s an option to look at with a “More Info…” button. This doesn’t always tell the average user much, but sometimes the problem details will show the name of the software causing the problem so you know where to look.

First, see if any third-party software needs to be independently updated. Sometimes that’s all it takes to fix the problem. If this doesn’t work, try removing recent third-party software entirely from your Mac and restart (your startup message may include a “Move to Trash” option to help with this. If removing the software fixes the problem, then you’ll have to avoid downloading that particular program, at least until it gets an update. On the plus side, removing unneeded software is a good way to speed up your Mac.

Your peripheral devices are causing a malfunction

this work around turns your ipad into a display mac mini

Another common cause of kernel panic is an accessory or peripheral device that isn’t working properly with MacOS, creating kernel panic every time you try to use it (this can be immediately on startup up or a few minutes after turning your Mac on, depending on the situation). Fortunately, this is an easy problem to diagnose. Simply remove everything attached to your Mac — that includes mice, keyboards, drives, anything connected to your ports. Generally, Apple devices like the Magic Mouse are fine if you need at least one device connected to use your Mac. If you can restart successful and your Mac continues to operate without incident, then you know one of the peripherals is probably at fault.

Plug in one peripheral at a time and keep testing your Mac. If you find a peripheral that makes the computer crash and reboot, then you have found the issue. The best thing to do is to remove all third-party RAM uploaded to your Mac and stop using the peripheral. It’s sad but true.

Your settings need to be reset

Mac Login Message

Sometimes there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with your Mac, but a recent change caused setting problems on startup that initiate a kernel panic. When this happens, your Mac may try to reboot just as it’s loading up. It may not even allow you to access anything beyond the login screen.

You can often fix this issue by resetting your Mac hardware settings. This will revert any changes you’ve made, such as to the screen or to battery behaviors. However, it can also fix your problem!

First, reset your NVRAM or PRAM. The easiest way to do this is to press the “option,” “command,” “P,” and “R” keys at the same time as your Mac is turning back on. Hold the keys down for around 20 seconds.

Second, reset your System Management Controller, or SMC. There are a few different ways to do this based on the type of Mac that you have, so take a look at specific instructions for each case.

If these resets solve your problem, your Mac should be good to go.

There’s a flaw in MacOS and you need to reinstall it

MacOS Mojave 10.14

Sometimes minor resets aren’t enough to fix the problem. In these cases, the kernel panic is rooted deep in a native operating system problem (and occasionally, even hardware problems). Here, the best way to solve the problem is to reinstall MacOS. The good news is that this is basically guaranteed to fix any native problem that’s causing kernel panic. The bad news is that your data may not survive. Start with reinstalling MacOS using the linked instructions, but without fully erasing the disk first. If this doesn’t work, you may need to erase the disk to completely fix the issue.

If you are experiencing kernel panic or nothing seems to work, contact a local Apple Store and arrange for an appointment. Likewise, if you are afraid of losing your valuable data, make a visit to an Apple Store and see what solutions they can set you up with. Sometimes these restart issues are too complex to easily deal with on your own, so getting professional help is a good idea.


5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.

How to keep using your iPhone if you’ve broken your Home button

Breaking your iPhone's screen is one thing, but breaking the Home button can be even worse, especially if it means you just can't use your phone. Here's how you can use an iPhone with a broken Home button.

USB4 will be the fastest and most uniform USB standard yet

USB4 is on the horizon and alongside a massive boost in speed it's also unifying with the Thunderbolt 3 standard to help finally create a singular wired connection protocol that all devices can enjoy.

The U.S. government plans to drop $500M on a ridiculously powerful supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer by 2021. The project, known as the Aurora supercomputer, is expected to boost research efforts in fields such as public health.
Product Review

4K and 144Hz? Yup, the Acer Predator XB3 will max out your gaming PC

The Predator XB3 isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you have a system that can push over 100 frames per second in 4K screen resolution, this monster of a monitor might be the perfect match for your overpowered gaming rig.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.

HP spring sale: Save up to 58 percent on laptops, desktops, printers, and more

From now until March 23, the HP spring sale lets you take as much as 58 percent off of a huge range of laptops, desktop PCs, printers, and more, potentially saving you more than $1,000. We’ve rounded up a dozen of the best deals right…

Yes, Apple’s new iMacs look great, but they do have one glaring problem

With processors ranging up to the eight-core Core i9, the 2019 iMac update looks like a pretty solid upgrade to Apple's classic all-in-one. But hidden in the details of the product page, there's one outdated component Apple is holding onto.

Grab 1 terabyte of SSD storage for just $100 with this sale on Amazon

If you're looking for an excellent opportunity to pick up a 1TB SSD at a low price, Amazon has you covered with Samsung's 860 QVO 1TB 2.5-inch SATA III Internal SSD. It is an excellent offering for both multimedia enthusiasts and gamers.

The iMac finally got updated, but how does it compare to the Mac mini?

Apple announced a long-awaited update to the Mac mini. Thanks to the updated specs and increase in price, it's begun to creep up to the base model iMac. In this guide, we now put up the specs on the newest refreshed Mac mini against the…

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.