< The MacPaw How-tos

macOS Sierra Issues and Fixes


How to fix macOS Sierra problems

Sierra is finally here and everyone’s rushing to install it. While for most it’s a usual pleasurable experience, for some this update had downsides. Here we’ll go over macOS Sierra known issues (the unknown are yet to be discovered, I’m afraid) and try to find the right fix for each.

Sierra installation troubles: what could go wrong?

macOS Sierra problems with installation - What can you do?

macOS Sierra installation is slow

This is a frankly common Sierra problem among users who are trying to upgrade from a machine that is generally a bit slow or cluttered. What options do you have? Well, if you have already started the process, the only reasonable option you have is to wait, sorry.

In case you haven’t yet started the installation: If your Mac is slow, you have little free space on drive, and the rainbow wheel is a common sight on the screen, you can try to clean up your Mac before installing Sierra. Manual cleaning takes ages, but you can use an app for that. For instance, CleanMyMac 3 will free you from junk on drive and prepare your Mac for the macOS update in minutes.

macOS Sierra install frozen

In case it seems like the progress bar of the Sierra installation is stuck and won’t move for ages, there is a chance it froze.

The first thing you should do is relax. Really, even if you had a power shortcut, or the progress bar really seems cut in stone, it can still resurrect. The problem with macOS Sierra installation for the most time can rebuild itself and continue on its own. You can press Command+L to get more info about how long do you have to wait and see the log. Watch it to make sure files are being installed.

In case you’re pressed Command+L and you’re positive nothing is going on for a while, hold down the power button to shut down. Restart Mac. Check the log again (Command+L). Still nothing?

Restart, this time hold Shift button when Mac starts. This will launch your Mac in Safe Mode. Open App Store and try updating while still in Safe Mode.

Mac won’t start after Sierra installation

If the installation has finished, but instead of Sierra you only see a dull grey screen, you can resort to hardcore restoring methods. One of them should fix Sierra issue with a failing startup.

  1. Restart your Mac, holding down Command + Option+P+R keys to reset the NVRAM.
  2. Reset SMC (System Management Controller). Shut the Mac down, unplug all cables, wait a few minutes and then plug the cables back in and start up the Mac.
  3. Boot Mac in Safe Mode (shut down and start again holding down the shift key) and make sure you Mac has at least 9GB of free space.
  4. Remove all third-party Kexts and extensions.
  5. Remove antivirus apps.
  6. Remove any PPTP VPN Software from your Mac as Apple has stopped the support in macOS Sierra.

Important: To uninstall apps and extensions completely and make sure they don’t leave some parts behind, don’t trash them. Rather, download CleanMyMac 3 and use its app uninstaller.

Fix slow Wi-Fi on macOS

Wi-Fi is slow on Sierra

Most probably, the reason for this macOS Sierra problem lies in Wi-Fi preferences that need to be updated. To do that, you just have to remove the ones you have now. Click on any empty spot on the Desktop and press Command + Shift + G. Now, type in this directory:


In the folder that opened, delete these files:


After these files are gone, reboot your Mac, together with your Wi-Fi router.

Fix BT troubles on macOS

Bluetooth hardware troubles on Sierra

If some of your hardware doesn’t work since macOS Sierra update, the reason for it may be that it’s a little outdated. Apple is a part of Bluetooth SIG (Bluetooth Special Interest Group), they oversee development standards for the bluetooth technology and keep up with them at all times.

That is why Sierra only supports the latest protocols and if your hardware is a few years old and is not updatable, you’ll have to replace it with something fresh.

Solution: downgrade back to El Capitan or upgrade hardware.

Fix Safari issues on macOS

Safari plug-in troubles

This one is not exactly a bug, it’s a feature. Apple attempts to get rid of the gradually outdating plug-ins like Flash, Java, Silverlight, and QuickTime. Giving them up will bring a better and faster browsing experience, and we’ll finally embrace HTML5.

Safari in Sierra will still ask you when you stumble upon the website that uses the outcasts if you’d like to turn on the plug-in in question. You can either tell Safari to do it once, all the time, or cancel and never return to the site that still uses Flash. Because really, it’s almost embarrassing at this point.

Fix apps crashes on macOS Sierra

App crashes or doesn't open

Another frequent Sierra problem is that some of the apps won’t work at all or work inappropriately. The reason is clear: the app is not Sierra-compatible. Why? Two options: either you haven’t updated it in a while and there’s a newer version, or app developers haven’t updated it yet themselves, so you’ll have to wait.

Solutions: check for app updates, visit developers website to see if they’ve issued a statement about Sierra compatibility. Also, try running maintenance scripts in CleanMyMac, we’ve seen some apps miraculously fixed after the procedure.

Finally, look for an alternative app to help you out. In case you decide to give up on the app in question, make sure to uninstall it the right way, not just trash it. Use app uninstaller for the job.

As you can see, some of the troubles are more of a generation-gap-type of improvements. We also hope that there will be no more new issues arising in the course of this great new OS. In any way, Sierra is amazing and we definitely recommend upgrading to it.

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