The Most Common Mac Hardware Issues and How to Solve Them

Like any other computer, Mac can experience a series of hardware issues over its lifespan. The rate of occurrence of hardware problems progressively increases as Macs age, thereby making it necessary for owners of older machines to spot initial symptoms of misbehaving and eliminate their causes. Of course, if a machine is still eligible for being repaired under the Apple one-year limited warranty, a user can simply deliver it to the nearest service center and ask professionals to take care of its hardware. However, if the Mac is not covered anymore, and its owner is somewhat technically-inclined, it stands to reason to conduct all troubleshooting at home.

This article aims to help Mac owners diagnose and solve some of the most common hardware issues on their own.

Failing Hard Drive

Grinding, clunking, and other strange noises coming out of a hard drive are sure signs of its malfunction. Whenever such warning signs manifest themselves, it is time to open Disk Utility and run a SMART test to assess the drive’s integrity. If the utility suggests that the drive is failing, it is essential to backup personal data by using online, local, or live approaches. To prevent a storage failure and ensure a painless recovery, it is recommended to secure data by using at least two approaches to backup. After important data is protected, it might be necessary to replace the failing piece of hardware.

Failing Graphics Card

Whenever Mac’s graphics card starts misbehaving, it is immediately noticed by users due to numerous visual manifestations of the issue. The most common warning signs of the failing graphics card are zig-zag lines, distorted colors, blue screens, fan noise, and ‘stuttering.’ The first thing to do whenever visual glitches are spotted by a user is to run a series of diagnostic software tests with the help of either Apple Hardware Test or third-party utilities. Go to this Apple support page to find out how to run the test. Alternatively, visit the Genius Bar to determine whether it is time to replace the graphics card.

Corrupted SMC

SMC is a critical memory component of a Mac that stores system settings. Unexpected shutdowns, failure to recognize external devices, not functioning USB ports or Bluetooth, and stuck sound volume are some of the symptoms of a corrupted SMC. Fortunately, these issues can be resolved by resetting the hardware component. To this end, simply disconnect the power cord of a Mac and plug it back in 15 seconds. Wait for another 5 seconds and turn it on.

Intermittent Power Issue

Owners of even relatively new Macs can experience the intermittent power issue. The problem manifests itself in switching off of a computer a few seconds after it has been turned on. The issue persists until a user manually powers it down. If a charger works fine, the underlying reason for the issue may be grounded in a failing RAM. If after running Apple Hardware Test and discovering that RAM functions properly, it stands to reason to reset the SMC. It can be done by following the directions outlined in the previous section of the article. In case the resetting of the hardware component does not resolve the issue, it is necessary to conduct extended Apple Hardware Test and look for error codes suggesting that the logic board is failing. The following first four characters of an error code suggest that the issue stems from the main logic board: 4IRP. If such error is detected, a user should bring their Mac to a certified repair center to fix it.