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

Run Apple Diagnostics on your Mac to test for performance issues.

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Last updated: December 6, 2023

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To use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac, follow these steps for your respective model:

  1. On Apple Silicon Mac: Disconnect peripherals, turn off the Mac, then turn it on holding the Power button until startup options show. Press Command ⌘ + D to begin.
  2. On Intel-based Mac: Disconnect peripherals, turn off the Mac, power it on, and immediately hold the D key until you see a language list.

From my own experience, I’ve found that regularly running diagnostics can save you a lot of headaches (and potentially costly repairs) down the line. So, in this guide, I’ll show you how to use Apple Diagnostics to test your Mac. I’ll cover the basics of initiating the test, what those mysterious codes mean, and how to act on the results. So, let’s get started!

Before We Begin

While Apple Diagnostics can detect different Mac issues, MacKeeper can maintain and optimize its performance. So, download MacKeeper to easily remove junk files, detect and eliminate malware, optimize your Mac’s RAM usage, and clear temp files.

How to Use Apple Diagnostics to Test Your Mac

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To run Apple Diagnostics on your Mac, first determine if your device has an Intel or Apple Silicon processor. You can find this information on Apple’s website. Once you know your processor type, follow the corresponding steps below to use Apple Diagnostics on your Mac.

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.
click the apple icon and select shut down
  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.
  3. 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

After running Apple Diagnostics on your Mac, you’ll receive a list of issues, each with a specific code. These codes help identify what’s wrong with your Mac. Along with each code, there’s usually a brief explanation and suggested solutions. If you’re unsure about the issue, Apple Diagnostics might recommend visiting an Apple Authorized Service Provider or an Apple Store for further assistance.

Here are some common Apple Diagnostics reference codes and what they typically mean for your Mac’s hardware:

CodeMeaning
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:

  • ✅ No Issues Found: This message 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.
  • 🔋 Battery Issues: Apple Diagnostics can indicate if your battery needs recalibration or replacement. For recalibration, fully charge and then completely drain the battery. If replacement is needed, the tool will notify you to take appropriate action.
  • 💾 Memory Issues: Apple Diagnostics will alert you to memory problems, possibly related to the memory module or logic board. It’s recommended to visit an authorized service provider for diagnosis and repair.
  • 💽 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 Mac data immediately and replace the drive.
  • 📶 Network Issues: If you’re experiencing network issues, Apple Diagnostics may suggest resetting the network settings on your Mac which may involve resetting the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Ethernet settings. If resetting doesn’t resolve the issue, you may need to replace the hardware.
  • 🛠️ 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.

When Should You Run Apple Diagnostics on Mac?

You should consider using the Apple Diagnostics test on your Mac in the following situations:

  • 🐌 Your Mac is running slower than usual.
  • 🧊 You have frequently frozen Mac.
  • 📴 Your Mac is shutting down randomly.
  • 🔊 You hear strange noises coming from your Mac, such as clicking or whirring.
  • 🌡️ Your Mac is overheating, or the fan is running loudly.
  • ⚠️ Your Mac is displaying error messages or warning signs.
  • 🔧 You’ve recently installed new hardware, and your Mac is experiencing problems.
  • 💰 If you plan to sell or give away your Mac.

In any of these situations, running diagnostics on your Mac can identify hardware problems and determine the best action to resolve them.

What to Do If Mac Diagnostics Doesn’t Run

If you’re unable to run Apple Diagnostics on your Mac, here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue:

  1. 🔍 Check Compatibility: Ensure your Mac model is compatible with Apple Diagnostics. Older Macs (before June 2013) use Apple Hardware Test instead.
  2. 🔌 Disconnect External Devices: Unplug all external devices except the keyboard, mouse, display, Ethernet connection (if applicable), and power connection.
  3. ⌨️ Use the Correct Key Combination: When starting up your Mac, use the correct key combination. For Intel-based Macs, press and hold the D key immediately after you turn on your Mac. For Apple Silicon Macs, turn on your Mac and continue to press and hold the Power button until you see the startup options window.
  4. 🌐 Check Internet Connection: Check your internet connection and resolve your Mac’s Wi-Fi problems to ensure your Mac can connect to Apple’s servers.
  5. 🔄 Update Your Mac: Make sure your Mac is updated to the latest version of macOS. Sometimes, running outdated software can cause issues with diagnostics.
  6. 👟 Safe Mode: Try starting your Mac in Safe Mode (hold the Shift key while booting up) and then attempt to run diagnostics again.
  7. 🔄 Reset NVRAM or PRAM: Resetting NVRAM or PRAM can sometimes resolve issues preventing diagnostics from running. To do this, restart your Mac and immediately press and hold Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + P + R for about 20 seconds.
  8. 📞 Seek Professional Help: If none of these steps work, contact Apple Support or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider for professional assistance.

Maintain Your Mac’s Performance With MacKeeper

Apple Diagnostics can help you tackle hardware issues that slow down your Mac. But why wait for problems when you can prevent them with MacKeeper. MacKeeper’s toolkit keeps your Mac running smoothly. Its Safe Cleanup feature finds and removes junk files and cache from your Mac.

Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup to keep your Mac in top shape:

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

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides clearing the cache files on your Mac, MacKeeper can check your Mac for malware, uninstall unnecessary apps, and improve startup by removing login items on your Mac. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn more about its features.

Run Apple Diagnostics on Your Mac

Running Apple Diagnostic on your Mac can help identify various hardware issues. If you’re facing software-related issues, here are some tips to help you get your Mac back on track:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Apple Diagnostics?

    Apple Diagnostics is a built-in tool on Mac that helps diagnose and identify hardware-related issues. By running a set of tests, it checks components like memory, logic board, and wireless modules, providing error codes for identified problems.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

Author

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.

Ojash

Reviewer

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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