How to Stop Rainbow Spinning Wheel on macOS Monterey

The rainbow spinning wheel is an issue that every mac user has experienced at one time or another. It can be frustrating, especially when you can’t figure out how to get rid of it and your computer freezes up. 

After installing macOS Monterey, some users are experiencing issues with the rainbow wheel appearing on their computers. This post will show you some quick fixes to help solve the problem and eliminate that pesky wheel. 

Why Do I Get the Rainbow Spinning Wheel After Installing macOS Monterey?

The rainbow spinning wheel can be caused by various things, so it’s difficult to say exactly what is causing it to happen on your computer. 

It could be a frozen app that isn’t working well with the new update, or it could be caused by your computer’s resources being heavily taxed and running out of CPU for typical performance. 

Regardless of why it is happening, you’ll want to get the issue resolved quickly so you can use your Mac at full performance. 

Fix #1: Restart Your Mac

This may sound like a no-brainer solution, but it works for me!

A few days after I updated my MacBook Pro to macOS Monterey, the rainbow spinning wheel issue happened every 20 minutes or so, and sometimes was more frequent when I was typing in Google Docs.

Restarting my Mac fixed the issue! I don’t know why, but it worked. So this is the first solution that I recommend you try as well.

Fix #2: Force Quit to Close a Frozen App

If you are experiencing the rainbow spinning wheel after an app freezes, you’ll want to close out of that app to get rid of it. Since a frozen app prevents you from directly quitting from within the app itself, you’ll need to use the Force Quit menu to close it. 

To open the Force Quit menu and close a non-responsive app, follow these steps: 

  1. Press the Command, Option, and Escape keys at the same time to open the Force Quit menu. 
  2. Select the unresponsive app from the list of open apps.
  3. Click Force Quit.
  4. The rainbow spinning wheel should be gone, and you can reopen the app. 

Fix #3: Using Activity Monitor to Check System Performance

If your entire Mac is freezing up or becoming unresponsive when you see the rainbow wheel, you have a more significant issue at hand than a faulty app. 

You might need to force shut down your computer (we’ll show the steps for that in the next fix), but you can use Activity Monitor to see how much demand is on your system. 

To open Activity Monitor to check CPU usage and other performance indicators, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Finder
  2. Click on Applications from the list on the left
  3. Click on the Utilities folder 
  4. Click on the Activity Monitor icon 

Here, you’ll see several critical processes running on your computer. You can check on things like CPU and RAM to determine if your system is close to being overloaded, which can result in the rainbow spinning wheel. 

Click on the CPU tab from the Activity Monitor. There will be a graphic display of CPU usage here. If this is at or above 50% for any significant amount of time, it can be the cause of your problem. If you have an older computer, it might be time for an upgrade. 

You can also click on the RAM tab to see if the issue is related to the amount of available memory on your computer. Here, you can see how much of your system’s memory is being used.

If it is close to full, you might need to remove any files, apps, or anything else that you don’t use to free up space and restore normal performance. 

Fix #4: Force Shutdown 

If you are looking at the spinning rainbow wheel and cannot get your computer to respond at all, you will probably need to force shutdown/restart. This is sometimes the last resort option if nothing else is working. 

To force shutdown/restart a newer MacBook Pro, you’ll need to hold down the power button for 3 seconds or so until the computer turns off. If you have an older computer, it’s the same process, but the power button might be in a different location. 

Fix #5: Contact Apple Support

If you are still having issues after going through all of the steps above, you might be experiencing an issue that is unique to your computer and requires technical support. 

Apple Support is an excellent service to utilize when you are experiencing issues you are having trouble resolving. You can also take your computer to an authorized Apple repair shop or retailer for assistance.

Final Words

Anytime you see the rainbow spinning wheel, you might feel a sense of worry. But often, the issue isn’t extremely major, and following a few quick steps will help you get the problem figured out. 

If you run into the rainbow wheel after installing macOS Monterey, be sure to go through all of the steps mentioned here. You should be able to get rid of the wheel and restore everything to typical performance. 

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