Catalina eventually grinds to a halt after a couple of days?


macrumors 603
Original poster
Feb 3, 2010
United Kingdom

Having a bit of an issue with my Catalina install, wondered if anyone is in the same boat/has any suggestions.

My Mac (2016 13” MBP) will work fine for a couple of days, then out of nowhere Mail, Safari and Messages will stop responding. Force quitting them and reopening them will just result in a beachball. Occasionally, this ‘spreads’ to other apps such as e.g. Spotify, Reeder or Photoshop. They just refuse to open and will beachball.

I’ve had other issues that occur at the same time as well. For example, Activity Monitor stopped opening and gave me a generic error message. Xcode stopped launching the simulator, saying there were insufficient system resources (no other simulator was open at the time).

A restart will fix it, until the next couple of days. (This usually has to be a force restart, as restarting from the Apple menu throws a ‘Messages (/insert other app here) cancelled restart’.)

Can anyone offer any suggestions? I know, deep down, that the answer will be to do a clean Catalina install and move data back by hand - I’m just trying to see if there are any easy wins before I have to psych myself up to take a day to do that...

I’ve tried just reinstalling the OS over the current install (i.e. keeping all data) from recovery mode, but it hasn’t changed much.


macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2015
Use CCC to backup. Have verify every file. Takes longer on the short run.
Selectively restore.

Disk Warrior isn’t ready but also has deep scavenger mode.

Freezes and force quit I assume corrupts files and DU or Safe boot isn’t going to fix.


macrumors 68040
Mar 13, 2007
I'm not running Catalina, but have you opened Activity Monitor when the system is still working and checking to see if any processes are eating up memory? I know early on the Music app was eating system RAM processing artwork and people were running out of system memory.

Might want to keep Activity Monitor running with mem usage sorted to the top and watch to see.