How to Identify and Fix Mac Error Messages

There’s no doubt that Mac computers are the most reliable, but like any complex system, they run into trouble now and then. When something is ailing your Mac, you will see error messages or codes popping up on the screen and encountering this can be vexing.

Since there is no running from Mac error messages, the solution is addressing them so your device can function smoothly. Continue reading to learn how to identify and resolve your Mac computer’s error messages.

  • Identify the error message. 

It is impossible to troubleshoot the problem if you don’t know what the error message means. Hence, the first step is understanding the error message’s meaning.

Some of the standard error messages Mac users complain about are:

  1. The operation can’t be completed because an unexpected error occurred – This error usually happens when moving or copying files from one location to another. It typically means a permission issue with the files you are trying to move or the file directory corrupts. 
  2. No mountable file systems – This error message means your system has failed to mount filesystems because something has gone wrong with the DMG file. This usually pops up when users are trying to install a third-party application. 
  3. Your startup disk is almost complete – This is one of the most common yet dreaded error messages. It means your hard drive has run out of space. 

Many other error messages may pop up on your Mac’s screen. You can copy the exact error message and search online to understand its meaning. 

Alternatively, you can check the system logs because Mac computers usually maintain detailed logs of errors and events. You can access these logs to get additional insights for troubleshooting. These logs are found in Console (Applications > Utilities > Console). 

  • Shut down or restart 

Sometimes, the most complicated problem can be solved with a simple solution. Though shutting down or rebooting one’s device is considered a joke in the IT sector, it does wonders. 

No matter what error message you see, a quick restart cannot solve anything. You can also correctly shut down your device and wait a few seconds before switching it on. 

As soon as you do this, your device gets a fresh start. All the stored memory, active apps, and background processes are closed. Your device starts as fresh as new, and hopefully, the glitch will be resolved independently. 

  • Run Disk Utility 

Most of the issues ailing a Mac computer are related to disk errors. You can fix disk errors and restore permissions by using Disk Utility. This is an in-built tool that checks for disk errors and fixes them. 

Head to Applications > click Utilities > click Disk Utility > choose your startup disk. Then, select First Aid and follow the instructions on the screen. 

  • Boot up in Safe mode. 

Do you love working with apps and extensions? You must be careful if you have many third-party apps and extensions installed on your device. These can cause errors and affect the functioning of your device. Also, there might be software glitches causing error messages to pop up on the screen. 

You can isolate the issues caused by software conflicts or third-party extensions by booting your Mac in Safe mode. Your computer will start with the bare minimum settings and components. If you do not see any error messages, you know the culprit. Then, it may take a bit of trial and error to identify and eliminate the actual culprit. 

  • Delete problematic applications 

Does a specific application trigger the error message? If you see error messages whenever you launch a specific app, it means there are some issues with the application. It might be incompatible with your current macOS version, or the app’s software might be outdated. 

Regardless of the reason, it is best to uninstall such problematic apps so your workflow is not disrupted. Go to the App Store and uninstall the application. 

Then, you can restart your computer, reinstall the app and see if the issue is resolved. If the problem persists, look for an alternative to the app. 

  • Seek expert assistance 

Have you exhausted all options for troubleshooting the error? If you are at your wit’s end, it is best to seek expert assistance. You can call Apple Support or head to the nearest Apple service center. 

Also, you can check Apple’s support page to find out if other users are experiencing the same issues. Chances are, others have also encountered the same error, and they may have even shared possible workarounds. 


So, now you know how to identify and fix Mac error messages. But before troubleshooting the issues, you must remember to back up your essential data. You can use Time Machine or iCloud to back up your data safely. 

Amelia Warner writes all the Latest Articles. She mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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