Mac Help Desk
Quick fixes for common Mac problems

What to do when your Mac keeps restarting?

A Mac that restarts unexpectedly is frustrating. There are a few reasons why your Mac might repeatedly restart. In this article, we’ll go over ways to identify why your Mac keeps restarting — and, even better, how to fix it.

Why does my Mac keep restarting?

The most common cause of a Mac continually restarting is called “kernel panic.” This occurs when your Mac’s kernel, or operating system, detects an issue that can be fixed by restarting your computer. You’ll know that this has occurred when your Mac shows you a message that “Your computer restarted because of a problem.”

Kernel panic may result from faulty or problematic software, peripheral devices, or hardware settings. Your Mac may also restart because of issues with its operating system. Here’s how to fix the possible causes of your Mac restarting:

macOS problems

Missed macOS updates and update issues can confuse your Mac, leading it to repeatedly restart (among other issues). Luckily, this is easy to fix — simply install all available updates your Mac is compatible with. 

To check for macOS updates, go to the Apple menu. Click About This Mac and then, Software Update. If an update is available, click Update Now.

If updating your software or performing minor resets doesn’t stop your Mac from restarting, you may need to reinstall macOS entirely. This is pretty much guaranteed to resolve any issue that may be causing kernel panic. Unfortunately, your data may not survive reinstallation, so make sure you back up all important information before doing this.

Software issues

In some cases, the root of your Mac’s kernel panic may be apps that you’ve downloaded. When your Mac restarts and the message stating that “Your computer restarted because of a problem”  pops up, you may see a “More info…” button. Clicking it may help you identify the particular software causing your problem, so you know where to start resolving the issue.

After you’ve identified the software responsible, check whether it needs to be updated. In some cases, an update is all you’ll need to solve the problem. If that doesn’t help, you may want to remove recently downloaded third-party software entirely. You’ll need to restart your Mac after doing so. If this fixes your issue, you’ll want to keep this app off your Mac entirely (or at least until it is updated).

Incompatible peripheral devices 

Kernel panic is commonly caused by accessories or peripheral devices that are incompatible with your Mac. You’ll know that this is the case if your computer restarts immediately or a few minutes after connecting the device (or turning your Mac on with the device connected).

This is an easy issue to resolve. Start by removing all external devices, such as keyboards, drives, and mouse and restarting your Mac. Connect one device at a time until your Mac crashes and reboots. When this happens, you know that this device is at fault. 

The best way to avoid this issue entirely is to use only Apple-made or Mac-compatible peripheral devices.

Fix it by running maintenance scripts

There are certain maintenance scripts that your macOS runs to optimize itself. Running them helps to fix small errors like the one we're discussing. You can force run Maintenance Scripts using the free version of CleanMyMac X. This is a Mac trouble-shooting app by MacPaw. It has been notarized by Apple as a safe one to use.

  • So, download the free edition of CleanMyMac X here.
  • Install the app and click Maintenance
  • Check Maintenance Scripts and hit Run.

Maintenance Scripts in CleanMyMac X
This will hopefully fix the Mac auto-restart. Additionally, check out more tools under Optimization tab in the same app. They are rather impressive.

CleanMyMac X will help you optimize your Mac’s performance and may even fix the issue that is causing your Mac to repeatedly restart. 
Follow us
Blog FAQ

MacPaw uses cookies to personalize your experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our cookie policy. Click here to learn more.