[Fixed] Mac Keep Crashing & Freezing After Upgrading to macOS Catalina

Is your Mac crashing and freezing after upgrading the Mac to macOS Catalina? Most of Mac users with graphics card Radeon Pro Vega are facing multiple crashing and freezing. Some Catalina users are facing multiple restarts that are not allowing users to use the Mac. I understand these crashing can be frustrating, so today in this article I have come up with few workarounds which can help you to keep using the Mac.  These workarounds have worked for many users, so giving it a shot can be worth trying. Let’s start with a real-life example:

iMac Keeps Crashing After Catalina upgrade

I have a 2019 iMac (Core i9, 64GB of RAM, Radeon Pro Vega 48, 2TB SSD) that I upgraded to Catalina.  I thought everything was working fine until I stepped away from my computer for about half an hour and came back to the log in the screen; upon logging in, it said my computer had restarted.  Submitted the crash report to Apple.  I thought it was a glitch.  Kept working, then, later on, the same thing happened.  I stepped away and came back to the same thing.  I submitted the crash report to Apple again.  Then it happened again.  And again.  And again.  Today, the same thing; the computer keeps crashing, over and over and over.  I’ve changed nothing in terms of hardware or software between yesterday and today (or since I set up this iMac a few months ago), except for upgrading to Catalina.  Under Mojave, there were no issues. If anyone has any idea how to resolve this, that would be greatly appreciated!

Source: Apple Community

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Like the above users, there are multiple users who are having a hard time with continuous crashing and freezing of Mac after the Catalina upgrade. Please follow the workarounds provided below to fix the problem until Apple comes up with a patch.

Catalina is crashing with errors such as :

  • Your computer restarted because of a problem
  • Watchdog timeout
  • Kernel panic“, “panic(CPU 2 caller 0xffffff7f8fd9ca8d): watchdog timeout
  • Panic(CPU 2 caller 0xffffff7f8a39cad5: watchdog timeout and
  • Many more different errors

Power Cycle Your Mac

Disconnect all the external devices connected to your Mac including the power cable, external monitor or TV, in case of laptop unplug the removable battery. Press and hold the power button on your Mac for 10 seconds without the power cable and battery in case of Macbook. This will drain out the static electricity, now plug in all the cables back and start your Mac.

Sometimes performing power cycle resolves crashing, freezing and other multiple issues on your Mac.

Make Changes With Energy Saver Settings and Disable Screen Saver

Many Catalina users were able to fix the crash by disabling the Screen Saver and making some changes with Energy Saver Preferences. Try disabling the Screen Saver and check the performance or try the Energy Saving Settings provided below:

Go to the Energy Saver System preferences and set both battery and power adapter to the followings:

  • Set Turn display off after – NEVER.
  • Put a check on Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the screen is off

In Desktop & Screensaver

Change Start after – NEVER.

The above settings may not work for all users so you can opt differently as shown in pics below and check which one works for you.

Energy saver

Energy saver catalina

Energy saver mac catalina

Disconnected External Monitor and External Devices

If you have a multi-monitor setup then try disconnecting the external monitor and check the performance with only one monitor plugged in. MacBook users can try using the Mac without external display and check the performance. Also, try turning off automatic graphics switching.

Not using the USB-C external monitor but the use of USB-C > USB & HDMI official mac adaptor for external display has fixed the crash for many users.

Many Mac users were facing crashing every 1 to 3 minutes of Mac sitting on idle. This is probably because of USB to HDMI (DVI, SVGA, etc) adapters & docking stations going to sleep or low power mode after a few minutes of idle. So, in this case, changing the Desktop Background to change every minute so that it does not allow the adapters to go to the sleep mode. Also keep in mind that you have to set this to one minute on every external display, not just your primary monitor. Go to the System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver, in the Desktop tab, change the picture every minute.

Disconnecting the Thunderbolt drive or external HDD has fixed the crashing for many users. Many users have used a Mac adaptor to connect the HDD which has also stopped the crashing.

Also Read: How to Fix Preview Not Working on macOS Catalina

Make Changes With Power Saver and Bluetooth

Go to the power saver and try the followings:

Settings > Power Saver >

  • Put Hard Disks to sleep when possible- Uncheck it
  • Turn display off after Never
  • Enable Power Nap: Put a check

For many users turning off the Bluetooth fixed the issue if you cannot turn off Bluetooth then do the following:

Go to Bluetooth > open Bluetooth preferences > advanced > uncheck the box that says “allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer”.

Also, try rebuilding or repairing the Photos library. Rebuilding pictures will not interfere with Bluetooth memory space.

  • Press and Hold Option Command and make a double click on the Photos icon
  • Select Repair in the prompt to repair photo library

Repair Disk Using Disk Utility

  • Go to Applications > Utilities or Use cmd+space Disk Utility to open Disk Utility.
  • In the sidebar, select a disk or volume on which you want to run the First Aid, and click on the First Aid button.
  • Click Run, then click on Continue. Disk Utility will report that the disk seems to be OK or the disk has been repaired. In case Disk Utility is not able to repair the disk then you should back up your data.

Start Your Mac in Safe Mode

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Restart your Mac, press and hold the Shift key as soon as the start-up sound is heard.
  • Release the Shift key when you see the Apple logo. Safe Boot appears on the macOS Catalina start-up screen.

Now remove all external devices connected to your Mac except the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Restart your Mac in normal mode, work on your mac without any external devices connected, if all is fine, then try connecting one device at the time, work on your Mac with only that device connected and check if your Mac crashes. If not then try connecting the other device.

Also, try turning off the Moom, use Mozilla Firefox instead of safari and check the performance.

Perform PRAM & NVRAM Reset

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • After few seconds restart your Mac, press and hold Option, Command, P and R keys together.
  • Hold the keys down till the Mac reboots and you hear a beep sound.

Perform SMC Reset

Many Catalina users were able to fix the crashing by resetting the SMC.

  • Go to the Apple menu & shut down Mac.
  • Press and hold the Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the built-in keyboard, then press the power button at the same time. Hold these keys and the power button for 10-15 seconds.
  • Now Release all keys.
  • Press the power button again to start your Mac.

Downgrade to Mojave

Till the time Apple is working to fix multiple issues with Catalina, you can roll back to Mojave for now. Once Catalina becomes stable you can install Catalina again.

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Perform Clean Installation of macOS Catalina Using USB Flash Drive

Doing a clean install has a fixed crashing issue for many Catalina users. Backup all your data before performing a clean install as it may result in data loss. Visit the Apple website to learn how to create a bootable installer for macOS.

While installation of macOS Catalina if you lose your important data and you do not have backup then you can use Mac Data Recovery which can help you to recover your lost or deleted files.

Download and install the Mac Data Recovery tool. Launch Mac Data Recovery tool, choose the particular drive where you lost the data.


Select drive on mac

Scan the drive to find your lost files on your Mac.

Scan drive on Mac

Preview the lost files after the scan is complete. Click on Recover and recover the lost files on your Mac.

Recover lost files on mac


I hope workarounds provided in this article helped you to fix crashing, freezing, multiple restarts and different other issues with macOS Catalina. In case nothing works then switching back to Mojave will be a good idea for now.

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