avatarby Ankit BanerjeeFebruary 21, 20170 comments

By now, the majority of you will have made the jump to MacOS Sierra. Apart from the change in nomenclature from OS X to MacOS, the latest iteration brings with it a slew of interesting features, including the arrival of Siri on your desktop or laptop, remote access to your documents from anywhere, a picture-in-picture mode, a Universal Clipboard, optimized storage, and a whole lot more, and it is definitely worth the upgrade.

However, as is the case with any software, MacOS Sierra is not without its problems. Which is why, we’ve rounded up some of the common problems that users who have upgraded to the latest OS have come across, and offer potential solutions on how to fix them.

Disclaimer: Not every device will have these issues, and in fact, it is more than likely that you won’t come across any of these problems at all.

Troubleshooting guide #1 – Resetting the PRAM

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If you have come across any issues with your device, one of the top suggests you may have seen is to reset your PRAM.

PRAM, or Parameter RAM, holds all the information about your MAC to keep it functioning to your specifications. Some of the things stored are the startup disk, disk caches, RAM disks, virtual memory, video and display information, speaker volume, time zone information, trackpad speed and scaling, keyboard repeat rate, default system fonts, and more.

You generally reset the PRAM when there is some issue with any of the things listed above, and is a useful troubleshooting tool if you come across any odd behavior, poor performance, weird hardware settings, and more.

Resetting the PRAM

  • Reboot the device
  • Before the grey screen appears, simultaneously press the Command, Option, P, and R, keys.
  • You will then hear the reboot sound again. That is when you know that the PRAM has been reset.
  • Make sure that you press the combination of keys before the grey screen appears. It may take a few attempts to get the timing just right. The second reboot sound is what you are listening for.

Troubleshooting guide #2 – Resetting the SMC


Resetting the System Management Controller can help address some hardware and power related issues. A few examples include –

  • Issues with power management and the battery: Random shut downs, battery isn’t charging, sleep mode isn’t working, or the device won’t easily wake from sleep, and more.
  • Issues with the indicator lights: battery indicator lights aren’t working, keyboard back lights not working, display isn’t adjusting to ambient light changes, and more.
  • Video and external display issues: external display isn’t working as expected, display brightness not working, video modes aren’t working, and more.
  • General performance issues: Slow and sluggish performance, external ports stop functioning, AirDrop not working, Bluetooth issues, Wi-Fi issues, external devices not being recognized, and more.
  • Issues with the cooling fan (with the desktop devices): fan is constantly running at high speeds despite light usage, fan not working, and more.

Resetting the SMC for the laptop

  • Shutdown the device.
  • Connect the power adapter.
  • On the keyboard, press and hold the shift, control, and option keys and the power button simultaneously.
  • After a few seconds, release all the keys simultaneously.
  • If the charger has a LED indicator, the color may change briefly, which indicates that the SMC has been reset.
  • Startup the device as usual.

Resetting the SMC for the desktop

  • Shut down the device.
  • Unplug the power cord.
  • Wait at least 15 seconds.
  • Plug the power cord back in and wait at least 5 seconds.
  • Press the power button to restart the device.

Note: Resetting the PRAM or the SMC, or both one after the other, has helped address a lot of issues that users have faced with MacOS Sierra.

Problem #1 – Wi-Fi issues


As is the case with any new hardware or software, the first problem some users face is connectivity issues. After upgrading to MacOS Sierra, Wi-Fi problems have been particularly prevalent.

Potential solutions:

  • Restart your device and the Wi-Fi router.
  • You can try de-selecting Proxies. Go to System Preferences – Network – Advanced and open the Proxies tab. Uncheck any box under Select Protocol, and Apply the settings.

If these don’t work, you may have to delete existing Wi-Fi preferences and start over. This process involves removing system configuration files, so make sure to backup your device first. Then –

  • Close any apps that are using Wi-Fi and disconnect the Wi-Fi.
  • Open Finder, pull down the Go menu, and select “Go to Folder.” Alternatively, you can also press the Command, Shift, and G keys simultaneously.
  • Now type /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ and press Enter.
  • Select the following files – com.apple.airport.preferences.plist, com.apple.network.eapolclient.configuration.plist, com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist, NetworkInterfaces.plist, and preferences.plist.
  • Remove those files, by either placing them in a folder, or moving them to trash.
  • Reboot the device.
  • Reconnect the Wi-Fi and everything should hopefully be working as expected.

Problem #2 – “App is damaged or cannot be opened” message


Some users have come across the above message when trying to open certain apps after upgrading to MacOS Sierra.

Potential solutions:

  • Try resetting the PRAM. You can find out how to do so in the troubleshooting guide above.
  • Try holding the Command and Option keys simultaneously when opening the app.
  • It may also have to do with changed security settings. Go to System Preferences – Security and Privacy and select Anywhere in the “Allow applications downloaded from:” option.
  • You can try emptying the cache. Open Finder, pull down the Go menu, and open Go To Folder. Type ~/Library/Caches and hit Enter. Go to the folder and empty it.

So, there you have it for this roundup of some ways to fix any problems you may have with MacOS Sierra. If these don’t work, you can find another very useful guide here. Until then, remember that these small bugs and glitches are trumped by all the great new features that are available with MacOS Sierra, and it is definitely worth upgrading to.