If you recognize what’s happening with my Mac in the description below, by all means, shout out the solution. But what I’m really here to ask is what your first steps would be to begin troubleshooting this issue.
The problem: I got a 2020 Intel MacBook Pro a few months ago. It’s running Catalina. It has some kind of interruption in internet/network activity that happens sometimes and that I never had on the old MBP it replaced (that was also running Catalina) and that I’ve never seen on the other four Macs running regularly in my home.
This happens intermittently. Sometimes I see it two or three times a week, and then sometimes I don’t see it happen for a couple of weeks.
All browsers hang. This is usually my first indication that the issue has kicked in. I’ll try to open a page in Safari. Safari’s progress bar will stall, and the browser will just sit there doing nothing. If I go over to Firefox or Brave and try to get to the same page, the same thing happens in those browsers. They just hang. My default Safari home page is a local file — a tiny HTML file that lives in my Documents folder. When this issue is happening and Safari is hanging, even when I click Safari’s Home button to try to return to that local page, it won’t budge.
Reeder’s margins shrink so that articles are displayed one character wide. Is this directly related? I don’t know. But it’s weird, and I know that I only see it when the browsers are hanging as described above. When I see a browser hang, I know I can launch Reeder and the text in Reeder articles will appear
- If I do a shutdown or restart, all apps close, the menu and dock disappear, and then the desktop picture sits there, eventually with a spinning gear appearing, sometimes for several minutes before shutdown finally happens.
I don’t always have to restart. Sometimes the issue goes away. But even after it goes away, the next shutdown usually takes a while.
I’ve seen a few other weird behaviors that I suspect are related, such as Time Machine and SuperDuper failing on scheduled backups, but I can’t say for sure that they only happen in conjunction with the browsers hanging.
I contacted AppleCare and the guy told me to boot into safe mode and see if the problem returns. But the problem can sometimes disappear for a few weeks. So I feel like I’d just be in safe mode for the rest of my life.
Most steps I can think of are similar: I can try something and wait to see if it prevents the issue. But I’m not even sure I know when the issue is being prevented and when it’s just not in the mood to happen yet, if you know what I mean.
What first steps would you take to try to figure out what is happening?