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Most Common macOS Sierra Problems & Troubleshooting Tips

List of Most Common macOS Sierra Problems and Fixes

Apple released its 2016 Mac OS named macOS Sierra on September 20 announcing smarter intelligence, greater performance and seamless work between Mac and devices. Free upgrade to macOS Sierra from OS X 10.7.5 or later is available. A part of Mac users have been experiencing this new system and encountering several problems before/after upgrade or installation. What're most common macOS Sierra problems? How to fix them? This article will help you find the answers.

1. macOS Sierra Download Problems

When upgrading to macOS Sierra, you may be given a message "An error has occurred" or "failed to download". If so, please follow the steps to retry download process.

  • Delete existing macOS Sierra installer and then re-download it.
  • Search the uncompleted "Install macOS Sierra" file with question mark from Launchpad and delete it.
  • Reboot your Mac and redownload macOS Sierra.
macOS failed to download
macOS failed to download

If you are unable to download macOS Sierra and find it is shown "Downloaded" in the Mac App Stores, you are suggested to do like this:

Remove existing "Install macOS Sierra" files from Mac or connected hard drive because they are probably one of the beta or GM builds not full version. After that, go back to Mac App Store to get final version of macOS Sierra.

2. macOS Sierra Installation Problems

Due to interruption (for example disrupted internet connection) during download, a damaged Install macOS Sierra.app will be given stopping installation. In that case, you should delete this damaged installation app and download it again from the Mac App Store.

Install macOS Sierra
Install macOS Sierra
  • Another problem which frequently happens is that macOS Sierra freezes during installation. To fix it, try methods below:
  • Disable or uninstall any antivirus software on Mac.
  • If this problem remains after that, try to install macOS Sierra in Safe Mode. First of all, make sure that the network situation is great. Next, press power button while holding down the Shift key to boot your Mac into Safe Mode. Now, install macOS Sierra again.

3. macOS Sierra Won't Start Problem after Installing/Upgrading

macOS Sierra is installed successfully but goes to a failing startup only with a grey screen. Well, you need to reset NVRAM and PRAM.
Restart your Mac and hold down Command, Option, P and R keys simultaneously. You will hear the startup chime twice. Release the keys when you hear the second sound to reset PRAM.

Sierra won't start
Sierra won't start

Also, some other troubleshooting tips can be used to solve this macOS Sierra problem.

  • Reset SMC: Shut down Mac > unplug all cables > plug cables back a few minutes later > start up Mac.
  • Boot Mac in Safe Mode. Restart Mac while holding down Shift. At least 9GB of free space is required.
  • Remove all third party extensions, antivirus apps, PPTP VPN software.

4. macOS Sierra iTunes Problem

It's not unexpected that iTunes won't open or work after installing/upgrading your Mac to macOS Sierra. To solve this problem, you just need to install iTunes 12.8 or higher from Mac App Store. Please note that if you fail to update iTunes, download the latest version straight from Apple instead of updating from App Store.

Actually, iTunes receives a lot of complaints for its complicated operation, various bugs on syncing and more which driving some users to switch to iTunes alternatives. WinX MediaTrans Mac version, one of the best replacements of iTunes, offers a quite simple and reliable way to transfer files, including photos, videos, music, books, Voice Memos, ringtones, podcasts between Mac (OS Sierra) and iPhone, iPad, iPod. The Windows version with same functions is available for Windows 10 and lower versions.

5. macOS Sierra iCloud Problem

macOS Sierra will ask you to enable some of features depending on iCloud, for example Storage Optimization, iCloud Documents and Desktop during setup. You can confirm to use those features or skip. However, you may encounter the error message: "This Mac can't connect to iCloud because of a problem with…" which pops up constantly. How to stop this kind of iCloud error message?

iCloud error
iCloud error
  • Open Apple menu and enter System Preferences.
  • Select iCloud and Sign Out.
  • Reboot Mac and open iCloud to access preference window.
  • Sign in iCloud with your account again.

6. macOS Sierra Safari Problems

After installing/upgrading to macOS Sierra, Safari possibly goes to not working, for example not finding server, failing to load webpages, plug-ins issue. To make those troubles disappear, you can try the following ways:

Safari issue
Safari issue
  • Check the situation of Wi-Fi or networking. Make sure the connection is no problem.
  • Clear caches of Safari. Open Safari > Preference > Show Develop menu in menu bar > Develop > Empty Caches.
  • Uninstall plug-ins. Safari 10 brings a new feature to disable plug-ins like Adobe Flash Player, Java, Silverlight, QuickTime and uses HTML5 to load content for a faster browsing experience.

7. macOS Sierra Apps Won't Open Problem

It's a pretty usual that you open an app but showing "damaged and can't be opened" on new installed macOS Sierra. This error may be caused by incompatibility problem. You can visit the app official site to check if it supports macOS Sierra or if a new Sierra-compatible version has been developed.

App won't open
App won't open


  • Update the app to the latest vesiom.
  • Uninstall the existing app and reinstall it.
  • Clear cache. Open Finder and select "Go to Folder" from "Go" menu. And then, Enter ~/Library/Caches into text box. Next, remove data from every folder. Now, repeat the steps for /Library/Caches (without the ~ symbol)
  • Reset PRAM by restarting Mac and holding down Command + Option + P + R
  • Hold Command and Option keys when launching the error app if it still cannot be opened after using the above methods.

8. macOS Sierra Video Playback Problem

Some users experience a wired display when playing videos on Mac running OS Sierra. Rainbow colors, drop shadows or other UI elements appear on the screen. To reset SMC is the solution.

video playback problem
video playback problem

• For iMac
Shut download your iMac and disconnect the power cord from monitor. Reconnect the power cord 60 seconds later.

• For MacBook
Shut down your MacBook and plug in power adapter. Hold down Shift, Control, Option and the power button. Release key and the power adapter light will change color. Now, boot your MacBook.

macOS Sierra only supports a few of video formats, including MP4, MOV. If you get a collection of videos/movies in various formats and want to play them on your Mac computer, a versatile video player needs to be installed. 5KPlayer is designed for playing HD (even 4K/8K UHD) videos in MP4, MOV, AVI, MKV, M2TS, WebM etc, on Mac (OS Sierra) and Windows (10). It also works as a DVD/music player, video downloader, AirPlay receiver/sender. It is 100% free and safe!

9. macOS Sierra Wi-Fi Problem

Wi-Fi slow speed is an annoying problem after upgrading to macOS Sierra when causing long time to load an online page, download online resources. First of all, you should check situation of router and ISP to ensure if they provide a good internet connection. If there are no problems, you need to delete current Wi-Fi preferences.

WiFi problem
Wifi problem
  • Open Finder and select Library from "Go" menu.
  • Access to /Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ and delete files listed below:
  • com.apple.airport.preferences.plist com.apple.network.identification.plist
  • com.apple.wifi.message-tracer.plist NetworkInterfaces.plist preferences.plist
  • After that, restart your Mac and modem or router.

10. macOS Sierra Bluetooth Problem

The problem that bluetooth devices fail to connect to macOS Sierra computer is reported. That may be resulted from outdated bluetooth device. Following Bluetooth SIG, macOS Sierra only supports the latest protocols adhering SIG's standards.

Bluetooth problem
Bluetooth problem

To fix this bluetooth error, you should get an updated firmware of bluetooth device compatible with macOS Sierra. Otherwise, downgrade to Mac OS X El Capitan.

We will keep updated when new macOS Sierra problems appear and actively list troubleshooting tips for your reference.

Related External Source:
macOS Sierra - The thirteenth major release of macOS (previously OS X), Apple Inc.'s desktop and server operating system for Macintosh computers…


Estrella H.

Estrella H. twitter icon

Estrella H. is a senior editor at Digiarty covering all the latest tech in mobile industry for the better part of the first four years, from iPhone, Samsung to other innovative gadgets. And now she's been dived into data backup and management to keep data safe on mobile devices in the recent three years. Outside the tech, she is a songwriter and loves hip-hop.

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