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What “Your computer was restarted because of a problem” Mac Error Means

Your computer was restarted because of a problem Mac error message

Rarely, you may experience a situation where your Mac restarts or crashes, and upon the system rebooting, an error message states “Your computer was restarted because of a problem.”

When your Mac displays the “computer was restarted because of a problem” error message, it indicates that the MacOS computer restarted due to an issue with either software or hardware. Usually, it’s the former, but the latter can happen too.

What does the “Your computer restarted because of a problem” error indicate on a Mac?

The Mac has crashed or experienced some sort of significant enough errant situation that it caused the Mac to restart.

Usually this is associated with a software problem, but sometimes hardware issues can trigger system crashes and restarts as well.

The full error message reads as follows:

“Your computer was restarted because of a problem.”
Click Report to see more detailed information and send a report to Apple.

You then have two options at the error message, “Ignore”, or “Report”.

If you choose to “Ignore”, which most users should do, it dismisses the error message and you’re back to using the Mac as usual.

If you choose to “Report”, which is unnecessary for most, it triggers a crash reporting process that initiates gathering of your MacOS system logs including information about what was happening before the Mac crashed, and then offers a little ‘description’ section where you can describe what you were doing before the crash happened, and finally, sends all of this information off to Apple.

For what it’s worth, I’ve filled out probably hundreds of these crash reports, and have never heard back about any of them, so don’t expect to initiate some dialog with Apple, it’s more like a one-way bug report.

What Should I do After a Mac Restarted Due to a Problem?

In the event that macOS has crashed and the Mac restarted due to a problem with software or hardware, you should do the following:

Update macOS System Software

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and choose “System Settings”
  2. Go to “General” and then to “Software Update”
  3. Check for available macOS system software updates, install them if they’re available

Update Apps from App Store

  1. Open the Mac App Store, found in the /Applications/ folder, Launchpad, Spotlight
  2. Go to the “Updates” tab
  3. Choose to “Update All” to update all of your Mac apps from the App Store

Update Apps from Developers

  1. Open the app you wish to update
  2. Pull down the apps name from the menu bar, and look for “Check for Updates” or similar verbiage, or choose the “About” app
  3. Select to check for updates, install if any

Disconnect Accessories & Peripherals from the Mac

Rarely, a hardware issue may be at fault. An easy way to avoid this, or to test this, is to disconnect accessories.

Things like external USB-C devices, storage devices, microphones, cameras, keyboards, mice, printers, external monitors, HDMI cables – disconnect any and all unnecessary accessories from the Mac.

Contact Apple SUpport

If your Mac continues to experience random crashes for no apparent reason, and you’ve tried other troubleshooting steps, reaching out to Apple Support is the next step.

Macs have a fantastic warranty, that can be extended beyond a year of ownership by purchasing AppleCare. It’s highly unusual for hardware products to have major faults that would cause sporadic crashes, but if there is any issue with the Mac hardware itself, and it’s covered by the warranty, Apple typically resolves the issue with a repair or replacements.

Remember, the error message indicating the Mac has restarted because of a problem, is an indicator that something wrong. Update your apps and system software, make sure there’s no problematic accessory connected to the Mac, and hopefully you have resolved the problem by now, for it to not happen again.