How to Use Apple Diagnostics to Test Your Mac Featured Image

How to Use Apple Diagnostics to Test Your Mac: An Easy Guide

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Last updated: September 6, 2023

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Macs are notorious for their superior performance and reliability, but even the best machines can hit a rough patch. Maybe your Mac is running slower than usual, or your favorite app keeps crashing on you. Fear not, because Apple Diagnostics is here to save the day! This powerful tool is built right into your Mac and can help pinpoint any hardware issues before they snowball into bigger problems.

Now, if you’re feeling a bit intimidated by the thought of running diagnostics on your Mac, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac.

Before We Begin

While Apple Diagnostics can detect the reasons for your Mac issues, MacKeeper can maintain and optimize its performance. With MacKeeper, you can easily remove junk files, detect and eliminate malware, optimize your Mac’s memory usage, and even clear temp files. Whether you’re a casual or power user, MacKeeper can keep your Mac running at its best.

What Is Apple Diagnostics?

Apple Diagnostics is built into all Mac computers made after June 2013, and it’s like having a personal tech-savvy doctor for your Mac to diagnose and fix hardware-related issues. I’m talking about everything from problems with the CPU, memory, and storage, to power adapters, logic boards, fans, and thermal sensors. Seriously, this tool has got you covered!

Now, don’t get Apple Diagnostics confused with its older sibling, Apple Hardware Test (AHT). AHT is used in Macs made in 2012 or earlier, and while it still does the job, its results are not as detailed as those of Apple Diagnostics.

When you use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac, it will do all the work for you. In just a few minutes, it’ll diagnose any potential issues and provide you with error codes to help pinpoint the problem. And the best part? Apple Diagnostics doesn’t just leave you hanging there. It offers clear solutions and even gives you the option to contact Apple Support for further assistance.

So, jot down those error codes (or reference codes) and either conduct your own research or give Apple a ring. Your Mac will thank you for taking care of it with the help of Apple Diagnostics.

When Should You Use Apple Diagnostics Test?

Everyone knows how important it is to keep your computers running smoothly, right? That’s why it’s crucial to use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac whenever you think there might be a hardware issue causing problems.

But how do you know if it’s time to whip out that diagnostic tool? Well, here are a few tell-tale signs that may indicate a hardware issue is lurking:

  1. 🐌Your Mac is running slower than usual.
  2. 🧊 Your Mac is freezing frequently.
  3. 📴Your Mac shuts down randomly.
  4. 🔊You hear strange noises coming from your Mac, such as clicking or whirring.
  5. 🌡️Your Mac is overheating, or the fan is running loudly.
  6. ⚠️Your Mac is displaying error messages or warning signs.
  7. 🔧You’ve recently installed new hardware, and your Mac is experiencing problems.

In any of these situations, running diagnostics on your Mac can identify hardware problems and determine the best action to resolve them. Additionally, if you plan to sell or give away your Mac, running diagnostics can ensure there are no hardware issues that could cause problems for the new owner.

How to Use Apple Diagnostics to Test Your Mac

When it comes to running Apple Diagnostics, the instructions may differ depending on whether your Mac is powered by Intel or Apple Silicon.

If you’re not sure which processor your Mac has under the hood, just take a quick peek at Apple’s website to find out. Once you’ve confirmed your processor, the instructions for running Apple Diagnostics are smooth sailing. Just follow the steps for your specific processor, and use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac to diagnose hardware issues in no time.

On Apple Silicon Mac

Follow these steps to use Apple diagnostics to test your Mac with an Apple Silicon chip:

  1. Disconnect all peripheral devices except the keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, display, and power cable.
  2. Power off your Mac.
  3. Power on your Mac and continue holding the power button until the startup options screen with the Options icon appears.
startup options screen
  1. Press the Command + D keys.
Press the Command D keys

On Intel-Based Mac

Follow these steps to use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac with an Intel processor from 2013 or later:

  1. Disconnect all external devices except the keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, display, and power cable.
  2. Shut down your Mac from the Apple menu.
Shut down your Mac from the Apple menu
  1. Press the power button and immediately press and hold the D key on your keyboard until a list of languages appears.
Press the power button and D
  1. Select a language, and Apple Diagnostics will start automatically.
Select a language touse apple diagnostics
  1. Once the checking process is initiated, completing it usually takes 2-5 minutes.
  2. You’ll see a report listing any issues detected when the test completes. If you see an error message or reference code, note it and contact Apple Support or an authorized Apple service provider for further assistance.
report listing any issues detected
  1. To re-run the test, click Run the Test Again or press Command + R.
press Command R
  1. If you don’t want to repeat the test, click Restart or Shut Down.
click Restart or Shut Down

Common Apple Diagnostics Codes

Once you use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac, you’ll get a list of identified issues with a cool set of reference codes. Each code is like a clue that can help you solve the mystery of what’s wrong with your device. It’s like a high-tech game of “whodunit”!

But don’t worry, you won’t have to solve the mystery alone. The error description will usually offer possible solutions, and if you’re really stumped, Apple Diagnostics may suggest you seek help from the experts at an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Store.

So what kind of clues might you uncover? Well, it all depends on the specific problem with your hardware. But here are some of the most common diagnostic results you may encounter. Get ready to put on your detective hat!

PPP001 – PPP003Power adapter issue
PPT002 – PPT003Battery needs replacement
PPP007Power adapter not tested
PPT001Battery not recognized
VFD001 – VFD005Display issue
VFD006Graphics processor issue
4ETHEthernet connection issues
CNW001 – CNW006Wi-Fi hardware issues
4MEMRAM or memory module problems
PPM001Memory module issue

Let’s explore some of these error codes in detail:

  1. ✅ No issues found: When you run Apple Diagnostics on your device and see this message, it indicates Apple Diagnostics did not detect any hardware issues with your device. This is good news, and you can be assured that your device is running as expected.
  2. 🔋 Battery issues: Apple Diagnostics can help you identify the problem. The diagnostic tool will provide an error message that may recommend recalibrating the battery or replacing it altogether. To recalibrate the battery, charge it fully and let it drain completely before charging it again. However, if the battery needs to be replaced, Apple Diagnostics will alert you to take the necessary steps. With Apple Diagnostics, you can ensure that your Mac’s battery functions optimally and avoid any unexpected shutdowns.
  3. 💾 Memory issues: Memory issues: If your Mac is experiencing memory issues, Apple Diagnostics will display an error message indicating the problem. The message may suggest there is a problem with the memory module or the logic board. In either case, you should take your device to an authorized service provider for further diagnosis and repairs.
  4. 💽 Storage issues: If Apple Diagnostics detects problems with your Mac’s hard drive or SSD, it will display an error message indicating the issue. The message may suggest you back up your data immediately and replace the drive. It is important to take the suggested action quickly to avoid data loss.
  5. 📶 Network issues: If your Mac is experiencing network issues, Apple Diagnostics may suggest resetting the network settings or replacing the hardware. This could involve resetting the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Ethernet settings. If resetting does not resolve the issue, you may need to replace the hardware or seek further assistance from an authorized service provider.
  6. 🛠️Hardware failure: In some cases, Apple Diagnostics may detect a hardware failure that cannot be resolved with software. In these cases, the error message may suggest contacting Apple Support or taking your device to an authorized service provider for repairs.

What to Do if Mac Diagnostics Doesn’t Run

Sometimes, your Mac can be a bit of a rebel and won’t cooperate with the Apple Diagnostics test. Don’t worry, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeves to help you troubleshoot the issue!

First things first, let’s try some detective work to figure out what’s going on. Here are some steps you can take to get to the bottom of the problem and get your Mac back on track:

  1. 🔎 Check Apple’s support website for information about the error code or message.
  2. 🆕 Check for software updates or firmware updates for your Mac.
  3. 📶 Check your internet connection and resolve your Mac’s Wi-Fi problems to ensure your Mac can connect to Apple’s servers.
  4. 🔁 Try restarting your Mac and running diagnostics again.
  5. 🔧 Try resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) or NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory).
  6. 📞 If the issue persists, contact Apple Support for assistance.

Maintain Your Mac’s Performance With MacKeeper

Who needs a superhero when you’ve got Apple Diagnostics? This mighty tool can help you eliminate hardware issues slowing down your Mac’s performance. But why wait until something goes wrong when you can prevent issues from arising in the first place?

That’s where MacKeeper comes in to save the day! With its awesome toolkit, you can keep your Mac running like a well-oiled machine. And one of its coolest features is the Safe Cleanup tool, which can help you identify and eliminate any junk files or problematic apps lurking on your device. Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup:

  1. Download MacKeeper and install it on your Mac.
  2. Click Safe Cleanup under the Cleaning section in the left sidebar.
Click Safe Cleanup
  1. Click Start Scan.
Click Start Scan 2
  1. Wait for the scan to complete. Select the files you want to delete individually or click Check All.
delete individually or click Check All
  1. Click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files 2
  1. You’ll see a notification saying Cleaning Completed. You can re-run the scan by clicking Rescan.
click Rescan

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

MacKeeper can run safe cleanup, identify and remove malware, clear unnecessary apps and files, and improve startup and memory performance on your Mac. Check out my detailed review of MacKeeper to learn more about its features.

The Bottom Line

So you’ve swabbed the decks with Apple Diagnostics, but your Mac is still giving you trouble? Don’t walk the plank just yet! It’s possible that the problem lies in the software, and there are a few things you can do to fix it.

Here are some savvy tips to help you get your Mac’s software back on track:

  • Optimize your Mac’s performance by freeing up its memory.
  • Delete junk files regularly to save space and improve the performance of your Mac.
  • Run a virus scan on your Mac to eliminate malware and harmful apps.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between Apple Diagnostics and Apple Hardware Test?

    Apple Diagnostics replaced Apple Hardware Test in 2013. While Apple Hardware Test was only available on Macs released before 2013, Apple Diagnostics is available on all Macs and is more comprehensive.

  2. Can Apple Diagnostics detect all types of hardware issues?

    No, Apple Diagnostics can only detect potential hardware issues with the logic board, memory, and wireless components. It doesn’t check external hardware components like a flash drive or non-Apple devices. If you suspect an issue with a component that is not listed, take your Mac to an Apple Authorized Service Provider for further testing.

  3. How long does an Apple Diagnostics test take?

    The length of an Apple Diagnostics test can vary depending on the type of Mac and the components being tested. In general, tests take between 2 and 15 minutes to complete.

  4. Can I use Apple Diagnostics if my Mac won’t turn on?

    No, you cannot use Apple Diagnostics if your Mac won’t turn on. If your Mac won’t turn on, you may need to take it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider for further testing.

  5. What should I do if Apple Diagnostics identifies an issue?

    If Apple Diagnostics identifies an issue, you should take the necessary steps to troubleshoot the problem. This may involve checking for updates, resetting the SMC or NVRAM, or contacting Apple Support for assistance.

  6. How often should I run Apple Diagnostics on my Mac?

    You should run Apple Diagnostics on your Mac at least once a year. This will help identify potential hardware issues and maintain your Mac’s performance.

Hashir Ibrahim


I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.



Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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