14 Common macOS Sierra problems & Fixes

The macOS Sierra update delivers exciting new features to Macs. With macOS 10.12 users also get a collection of problems and issues. After looking through complaints from macOS Sierra users we are able to show you how to fix the most common macOS Sierra problems on your MacBook, iMac and other Apple computers.

We’ll look at the macOS Sierra problems that are frustrating users who are just now upgrading to macOS 10.12 from OS X El Capitan with installation errors and other problems that can ruin your day.

The macOS Sierra update arrived on September 20 for most computers that can run macOS Sierra. There is no massive macOS Sierra Microsoft office compatibility problem like we saw with the OS X El Capitan update last year, but there are some issues.We are starting to see companies respond and offer fixes in the near future.

How to fix common macOS Sierra problems and fixes.
How to fix common macOS Sierra problems and fixes.

Many users are reporting macOS Sierra issues on Twitter, forums and directly to Apple looking for a solution. There are some quick fixes for macOS Sierra problems that will get you back on track, but for some users more drastic measures are needed.

Here’s a list of common macOS Sierra problems and fixes;

  1. How to Fix macOS Sierra Installation Problems
  2. How to Fix macOS Sierra WiFi Problems
  3. Fix Not Enough Space to Install macOS Sierra
  4. How to Fix macOS Sierra Won’t Start Problems
  5. How to Fix a Slow Mac After macOS Sierra Updates
  6. Fix macOS Sierra apps Damaged and Can’t be Opened
  7. Fix macOS Sierra USB Audio Problems
  8. Fix macOS Sierra Auto Unlock With Apple Watch
  9. How to Fix macOS Sierra Bluetooth Problems
  10. How to Fix Logitech Scrolling on macOS Sierra
  11. Fix Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanners on macOS Sierra
  12. How to Fix macOS Sierra iTunes Problems
  13. How to Fix macOS Sierra Enterprise Problems
  14. How to Fix Annoying macOS Sierra Problems


Learn how to fix common macOS Sierra problems on your own, without calling Apple or setting up a Genius appointment at an Apple Store.

How to Fix macOS Sierra Installation Problems

There are some macOS Sierra installation problems.
There are some macOS Sierra installation problems.

If you run into macOS Sierra installation problems you may need to try installing in Safe Mode. Some users report that their macOS Sierra installation freezes and requires them to restart the Mac and start over.

When this happens you should try uninstalling any antivirus software that you are running. If macOS Sierra installation problems persist, try booting in safe mode.

Hold the Shift key while you press the power button and keep holding the shift key. This will start your Mac in Safe Mode. Once in this special mode, try installing macOS Sierra again.

How to Fix macOS Sierra Slow WiFi Problems

Is your WiFi slow after upgrading to macOS Sierra? We are hearing about macOS Sierra WiFi problems leading to slow page loading and downloads.

How to fix macOS Sierra WiFi problems.
How to fix macOS Sierra WiFi problems.

When you experience bad WiFi performance on macOS Sierra you need to delete you WiFi preferences and start over. Go to the System Configuration folder – /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ to delete a group of files.

Press Command + Shift + G in Finder and then paste that address in to find the files below.

  • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
  • com.apple.network.identification.plist
  • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist
  • NetworkInterfaces.plist
  • preferences.plist

Delete these files and then reboot you Mac and your router. This shoudl fix most slow macOS Sierra WiFi problems.

How to Fix Not Enough Space to Install macOS Sierra

Do you get an error when you try to instal macOS Sierra saying you need more space? It’s very possible that you have a bunch of junk taking up space on your Mac.

You should use this guide to free up space on your Mac, and this guide to free up Other storage space on your Mac.

Once you delete files on your Mac and restart you should be able to install macOS Sierra. If you still have trouble boot into Safe Mode and try installing the update.

How to Fix macOS Sierra Won’t Start Problems

If your Mac won’t start on macOS Sierra you may need to reset your NVRAM and PRAM. This won’t delete any of your data on the Mac, but it can quickly fix macOS Sierra startup problems.

Restart your computer and then hold Option + Command + R + P. Keep holding the keys until you hear two chimes during startup. After the second chime let go and the Mac will likely boot.

On the 2016 MacBook Pro you need to hold those buttons for 20 seconds to make sure the reset takes place.

How to fix Slow Mac after Installing macOS Sierra

How to fix a slow Mac after installing macOS Sierra.
How to fix a slow Mac after installing macOS Sierra.

Is your Mac slow after installing macOS Sierra? That’s a common issue, but many times it’s temporary as your computer re-indexes and performs other maintenance tasks in the background.

The first thing to try is restarting your Mac. If that doesn’t help you may need to wait for the Mac to catch up to the new installation. This shouldn’t take more than a day. If this continues look at your Activity Monitor app to see what app is using the most RAM and CPU.

Close an app in Activity monitor that is out of control and see if your Mac performance is better.

The latest macOS Sierra updates delivered important fixes, so make sure you are on the new version before you do anymore troubleshooting.

How to fix macOS Sierra USB Audio Problems

If you cannot use your USB headphones with macOS Sierra without running into audio problems you need to install an update.

This is a known issue and one that Apple confirmed is fixed in macOS Sierra 10.12.5 that arrived on May 15th. You can install this as a free update and it’s the best way to fix this problem.

How to fix macOS Sierra Apps Damaged and Can’t Be Opened

How to fix apps that won't open on macOS Sierra.
How to fix apps that won’t open on macOS Sierra.

If you try to use an app and see an macOS Sierra error message that says the app is “damaged and can’t be opened”, you should update the app or try to clear your cache.

Before you clear the cache, check to see if there are any updates for your app. Some apps don’t work yet on macOS Sierra.

Open Finder and press Command + Shift + G and past in ~/Library/Caches and then delete everything inside the folders. You can also clear out the /Library/Caches folder

If apps are still damaged try resetting your PRAM. If that fails try re-installing the app or holding option and command when you open the app.

macOS Sierra Auto Unlock with Apple Watch Problems

Auto unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch on macOS Sierra.
Auto unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch on macOS Sierra.

If you cannot setup auto unlock with the Apple Watch on macOS Sierra you should make sure you have a computer that is from 2013 or later. You cannot use an older computer.

Another issue is that you must switch from two-step authentication to two factor authentication. You’ll need to login to your Apple ID online and turn off two step, then go through a setup process to get two factor set up before you can use this feature.

The macOS Sierra updates help with this, so you should check for an update.

How to Fix macOS Sierra Bluetooth Problems

how to fix macOS Sierra Bluetooth problems.
How to fix macOS Sierra Bluetooth problems.

There are some macOS Sierra Bluetooth problems that prevent users from connecting a Bluetooth device to the Mac. This is especially problematic if you recently switched to Bluetooth headphones to go with your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.

There are two things to try. First off use the Bluetooth device and your Mac until the batteries are dead on both. This may reboot the Bluetooth connection in a manner and allow things to work.

If that fails look for a firmware update for your Bluetooth headphones. Sometimes you can use an app on your iPhone to update the firmware or you may need to connect to your computer with a charging cable.

For users who cannot fix the macOS Sierra Bluetooth problems like that, you may need to downgrade to OS X El Capitan or buy a new Bluetooth device.

How to Fix Logitech Mouse Scrolling on macOS Sierra

logitch-mouse-problem-macos-sierraWith every major Apple update to the Mac there are some Logitech mouse problems. Users report that the Logitech Performance Mouse MX and Anywhere MX mice lag while scrolling and some buttons don’t work.

You will need to download the latest Logitech Control Center for macOS Sierra 10.12. This should fix the problem for you.

How to  Use Fujitsu ScanSnap Scanners on macOS Sierra

fujitsu-scansnap-scanners-on-macos-sierraThe Fujitsu Scan Snap scanners do not all work correctly with macOS Sierra right after you update thanks to a way that macOS Sierra handles the PDF engine.

The company rolled out a fix, that you need to install.

Here are the files and the options that you need to download and install.

How to Fix macOS Sierra iTunes Problems

When you try to use iTunes for the first time on macOS Sierra you may find that it will not open or work.

If this happens to you, open the Mac App Store and install iTunes 12.5.1 or higher. You can also download directly from iTunes. This should solve most iTunes problems on macOS Sierra.

How to Fix macOS Sierra Problems at Work

There are a number of enterprise macOS Sierra problems and issues that you may run into at work. If you start to see problems, you need to talk with your IT department, but it may be as simple as installing the latest updates. Many of the macOS Sierra updates include fixes for enterprise problems. The macOS Sierra 10.12.6 update includes the following fixes for enterprise users.

  • Resolves an issue that prevents making certain SMB connections from the Finder.
  • Fixes an issue that causes Xsan clients to unexpectedly restart when moving a file within a relation point on a Quantum StorNext File System.
  • Improves the stability of Terminal app

You may also need to install updates for apps to get everything working. Once again, make sure you work with IT before installing updates.

How to Fix Annoying macOS Sierra Problems

How to fix stubborn macOS Sierra problems.
How to fix stubborn macOS Sierra problems.

If you run into stubborn macOS Sierra problems you may be able to fix them by performing a clean macOS Sierra installation. This overwrites your hard drive and lets you start fresh. It can, in many cases, solve odd and annoying macOS Sierra problems without a clear fix.

Another option is to downgrade to OS X El Capitan until other users identify your macOS Sierra problem and deliver a fix.

What’s Next for macOS Sierra

Apple just rolled out macOS Sierra 10.12.6 with a variety of fixes and many security updates.  We expect to see new macOS Sierra updates coming in the next several months with bug fixes. Apple announced macOS High Sierra in June with a number of new features and changes. You can install the macOS High Sierra beta now if you want to try it, but many users should wait for the public release date. Watch out, as there are some macOS High Sierra beta problems as well.

macOS High Sierra vs macOS Sierra: What’s New in macOS High Sierra

macOS High Sierra Photos Upgrades

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macOS High Sierra Photos Upgrades

Apple delivers major upgrades to the macOS High Sierra Photos app. With the new update you will be able to edit your photos in new ways right inside of Photos, and if you use PhotoShop or Pixelmator your changes there will sync back to your Photos library. 

Inside Photos, you can now edit with more controls than ever including a Curves editor to dial in your photo just right. A new sidebar on the left offers fast access to important albums and options. new selection options show you what you've picked and allow you to organize photos better. 

You can edit Live Photos to set a key photo that looks amazing. The Photos app also now lets you trim live photos to the perfect length. Once that is done, you can choose a new effect that lets you loop the action or bounce it back after it completes. There's also a new Artistic effect that can create long exposure filters to live photos with impressive results.  

When you are on a FaceTime video call, you can take a Live Photo that is saved directly to your Photos library and then you can edit it using these new tools. 

Upgraded Memories options detect special events better including babies, outdoor events, performances, weddings, birthdays, sporting events and more. There is even a new Memory that can find your pets. 

When you tell the Photos app who a person is, the face recognition will sync across your iCloud Photo Library so that it is always handy. 

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28 Comments

  1. Sean

    09/23/2016 at 1:53 pm

    How to fix macOS Sierra and JVM problem? My Java Virtual Machine crashes in macOS Sierra.

    Reply

  2. Robert K Falcon

    09/23/2016 at 3:37 pm

    When Steve Jobs died so did Apple. Every program they have released since he was incapacitated has glitches. Jobs would have never accepted that. Here is the best fix for Sierra problems. Uninstall it.

    Reply

    • Antonio Damanti

      10/20/2016 at 5:04 am

      Fully agree.

      Reply

    • Thomas Conway

      10/22/2016 at 12:25 pm

      Apple installs on new OSs are not worth the hassle for what you get. Apple is becoming a mess.

      Reply

  3. Festus Shenanigan

    09/30/2016 at 2:22 pm

    Re: Fixing slow WiFi:

    Absolutely NONE of those folders or .plist files exist in Sierra on my MBP. None. WTF kind of ridiculous advice is this?!

    Reply

  4. Roberto Chaud

    10/07/2016 at 11:40 am

    Has anyone noticed issues with NFS mounts? I get connection refused from Sierra on 2 Macs and works fine in Linux, also from Sierra I can see the ports open for NFS when I telnet them.

    Reply

    • J.Bernal

      10/10/2016 at 9:31 am

      I get the same thing, the machine shows up in the list as browsable but then it says “can’t be opened because the original item can’t be found.” The problem seems to be coming from the outreaching computer, because I can browse the same connection fine from the other end.

      Reply

  5. Nailedit App

    10/07/2016 at 3:51 pm

    what about the Java issue…it keeps asking me to install it…I already have!!

    Reply

  6. Jeannie

    10/07/2016 at 9:14 pm

    Me too java on Sierra keeps giving me a pop up to install but I already have–how to stop this?

    Reply

  7. Robert Kramer

    10/08/2016 at 12:54 pm

    Three times now the quit button is grayed out for Safari, have to force quit, using 10.12.1 Sierra Beta. Also same issue Java.

    Reply

  8. Emerson

    10/09/2016 at 11:44 am

    After updating my mac to sierra it takes a very long time to shutdown

    Reply

  9. William Shewmake

    10/09/2016 at 1:17 pm

    My mic doesn’t work on Skype, they can see me but can’t hear me.

    Reply

  10. Lori Mason

    10/10/2016 at 3:08 pm

    Every time I command-space bar-click to zoom in Photoshop, it also activates Siri. They used the same short-cut command. This is maddening! How do I get rid of her??

    Reply

    • J. Amado Photography

      10/12/2016 at 1:10 am

      Yes Lori!!! So annoying! I’m editing right now and it’s a pain!!! Have to learn a new trick I guess. I use to use it to zoom into the area that I wanted. Now I have to use Z to activate the magnifying glass and use H to move if I needed. I’m sure I’ll get use to it after a while :/

      Reply

  11. Jonathan Ezrahi

    10/12/2016 at 5:53 am

    For those of you who have problems with siri and the shortcut. Just go to systemprefferences, and then siri. There you should be able to apply a different shortcut to siri

    Reply

  12. Tommy Kulmala

    10/14/2016 at 10:01 am

    My Mac is rebooting always when watching for example; youtube videos. Any clue how this can be fixed?

    Reply

  13. Jim Spyk

    10/14/2016 at 12:04 pm

    When I want to open Photoshop CS3 it tells me I need Java 6. When I try to get it Adobe reader can’t read it because it is a corrupted file. Anyone else have any problem?

    Reply

  14. B De Louw

    10/20/2016 at 2:57 am

    After installing Sierra, my keyboard wont type when i get to my login screen. I need to press each key like 5 times before it types. Also my cardreader wont read any cards. Anyone else have these problems?

    Reply

  15. jeffersonianideal

    11/07/2016 at 4:07 am

    I have encountered this ongoing issue with Sierra 10.12.1. System Preferences/Sound/Output will not allow Headphones (Headphones Port) to work when USB speakers (through the USB Audio port) are installed. Even though I can select the Headphones option in Sound Output, I must physically unplug the my external USB speakers (via the USB cable) before my headphones will work. Very frustrating.

    Reply

  16. Brian Meehan

    12/15/2016 at 10:21 am

    My wife and I own identical MBPs. When we upgraded to macOS Sierra, we found that we could no longer backup to our Time Capsule. We actually thought the Time Capsule was going bad. We went back to El Capitan and everything is fine including Time Capsule. No desire to install macOS Sierra.

    Reply

  17. dorothea jlawless

    12/21/2016 at 10:21 pm

    How to fix macOS Sierra problem ?

    Reply

  18. MARY MATCHETT

    12/22/2016 at 7:34 pm

    This is an unacceptable level of problems. The Mac is basically unusable with the macOS Sierra. And I use the McBook with no programs, no web browsing, and no email. Basically a clean machine.
    Dial up was faster. If I had time to “fix” all these issues I would not have time to work.

    Reply

  19. Dulmini

    12/24/2016 at 1:51 am

    I simply cannot open appstore after the Seirra update, it crashes saying “App Store quit unexpectedly.”. I tried different things and still no luck. :( Does anyone have a fix for this?

    Reply

  20. rmpbklyn (@rmpbklyn)

    03/15/2017 at 5:27 pm

    having many errors with the following processes opendirectory , idenity servicesd, securityd , quickload where there are repeated errors hogging the logs, not even with error numbers to reference

    Reply

  21. Chris Cee

    03/24/2017 at 3:24 am

    I was sick and fed up of Sierra – up to 10 crashes a day. I didn’t like Mavericks either and breathed a sigh of relief when El Capitan came along and worked fine.

    No amount of CCleaner – holding down cmd Option P,R or other solutions worked. Chrome kept freezing, as did Safari. Started to look into getting a new iMac 27″ – expensive; or worse, buying a Win 10 PC or trying to run Linux on this one (works well with crap Win 10 PCs but would have weird bluetooth mouse and keyboard issues.

    After much googling I came across a thread where one guy said get “Onyx” https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/11582/onyx

    which, so far, has returned my iMac to a useful as well as good looking piece of furniture. Still await a decent new OS and hoping it still works on a 2011 series iMac

    Reply

  22. Don Potter

    04/19/2017 at 8:16 pm

    I have Sierra 12.10.3 on a mac book pro and nothing works. Almost all apps are useless. I can’t get it to run long enough to uninstall it. It bombs constantly. I had to write this statement on my I pad because I can’t stay on line long long enough to open a forum. After more than 30 years of buying Apple computers I will never do it again. The loss of Steve Jobs is having a fatal results for Apple.

    Reply

  23. Suraj Padmasali

    07/20/2017 at 2:08 am

    Siri doesn’t work on my MacBook Pro for anything, I just removed it. I have this problem with my MacBook Pro after installing Sierra.

    Reply

  24. Freida

    07/31/2017 at 4:58 am

    How to Recover Photos From Mac After Failed MacOS Sierra Upgrade? I want to opt for a Mac Photo Recovery Software but can you suggest some cheap and reliable app

    Reply

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