Skip to content
Home » Troubleshooting » Mac stuck on lock screen? A no-reboot fix

Mac stuck on lock screen? A no-reboot fix

A Mac stuck on the lock screen can be perplexing and infuriating. When you enter your password, the computer is supposed to unlock. When faced with a Mac stuck on lock screen, here’s how I fix it.

The problem looks like this: Your screen saver kicks on because you’ve been idle for too long. You come back to your computer, hit a key or move the mouse and it prompts you for your password. You enter your password, and it kicks you right back to your lock screen.

Mac stuck on lock screen: The traditional fix

Mac stuck on lockscreen

One of many problems I had with this Mac at my previous job was getting stuck on the lockscreen. Here’s how I fixed it without rebooting.

The traditional Mac stuck on lock screen fix involves shutting down the computer and running some disk utilities on it or resetting the PRAM. The problem with this is you lose your work. I also think this fix is something of a placebo. Checking your disk for errors and resetting PRAM never hurts, but the the disk errors you find might have been introduced by shutting your computer down at the lock screen. You may end up treating symptoms and not know it.

I don’t like solutions that create other problems in the process.

Mac stuck on lock screen: Dave’s fix

On the Macbook I used to use for work at least, when it got stuck on the lock screen, I was able to fix it with a fairly simple process.

  1. Unplug both external monitors
  2. Unplug all USB devices
  3. Open the lid
  4. Close the lid
  5. Wait about 30 seconds
  6. Plug the external monitors back in
  7. Plug the USB devices back in
  8. Hit a couple of keys on the keyboard

I don’t guarantee this works every time. But as a last-resort effort to avoid losing work, it’s worth a shot, especially since it only takes a minute or two to try. It’s fairly similar to the fix I had to do when the external monitors decided to quit working.

%d bloggers like this: