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How to Fix Screenshot Stuck or Frozen on Screen Error on Apple Mac



The ability to take a screenshot on your Mac is often taken for granted until it stops working. It’s a lifesaver when you need to capture something quickly, whether it’s an important email or a hilarious meme.

But what happens when this seemingly simple function decides to play hard to get, leaving you with a frozen screen? It’s not just an inconvenience; it disrupts your workflow and can be downright frustrating.

Photo credit: Patrick Ward/Unsplash

Troubleshooting Tips for Mac Screenshot Stuck or Frozen on Screen Issue

Restart and Update Your Mac

Keeping your Mac updated is essential. Software updates often include fixes for various issues that might affect your screenshot function. An outdated system could be the reason behind your woes.

Restarting your Mac can clear out minor glitches and refresh your system. You have a few options for this: click the Apple logo in the top-left corner and select “Restart,” press the power key and choose “Restart,” or use the Control + Command + Power keyboard shortcut.

  • To check for system updates, click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen.
  • Select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.
  • Click on “Software Update.”
  • Your Mac will automatically search for available updates.
  • If an update is available, you’ll see an “Update Now” button. Click it to start the update process.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update.

Doing this should put you on the right track to resolving screenshot issues.

Verify Keyboard Shortcut Settings on Mac Computer

To reach the control panel for your Mac’s keyboard settings, you’ll want to open System Preferences.

  • Click the Apple logo in the top-left corner.
  • Select “System Preferences” from the dropdown.
  • Once you’re in, you’ll see a variety of icons. The one you’re interested in is labeled “Keyboard.”
  • Click it to open a new window dedicated to keyboard settings.
  • At the top of this new window, you’ll notice a tab that says “Shortcuts.” Click it, and a list of categories will populate on the left-hand side.
  • From this list, go ahead and select “Screenshots.”
  • Now, focus on the right-hand side of the window. Here, you’ll see a list of keyboard shortcuts specifically for taking screenshots.
  • If any of these are grayed out or not set, that’s your red flag. Click on the shortcut you wish to change, then input your new key combination.

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Use Mac’s Built-in Tools for Screenshots

Image credit: Apple

Your Mac comes with some pretty handy tools for taking screenshots, and you don’t even have to download anything extra. Preview, QuickTime Player, and the Screenshot toolbar are all built right into macOS.

Preview isn’t just for viewing PDFs or images. You can also use it to capture what’s on your screen.

  • Open Preview, click on “File” in the menu bar, and then select “Take Screenshot” from the dropdown.
  • Choose your screenshot type, and you’re good to go.

QuickTime Player is another versatile tool.

  • Open the app, click on “File,” and then choose “New Screen Recording.”
  • A small recording window will appear. Click the red record button, and you can select the portion of the screen you want to capture.
  • The Screenshot toolbar is a real gem. To bring it up, press Command + Shift + 5.
  • A small panel will appear at the bottom of your screen. This panel offers various options for capturing your screen. Pick the one that suits you, and snap away.

These built-in tools are straightforward and effective. They’re right there on your Mac, ready to help you capture whatever you need.

Consider Third-Party Software to Take Screenshots on Mac

If the built-in tools on your Mac aren’t quite hitting the mark, there’s a whole world of third-party software out there. Snagit, Lightshot, and Skitch are just a few names that come highly recommended.

Snagit is a powerhouse offering features like video capture and advanced editing. Lightshot is more on the minimalist side but gets the job done efficiently. Skitch, an Evernote product, offers easy annotation features, making it ideal for quick edits.

But let’s talk trade-offs. Third-party software often comes with a broader range of features, which can be a real boon for your screenshot game. They often offer advanced editing tools, easier file sharing, and sometimes even cloud storage.

However, there’s always a flip side. These tools aren’t always free, and even the ones that are might offer in-app purchases for premium features. Plus, installing new software takes up valuable space on your Mac, and you’ll have to spend some time learning the ropes.

So, what’s the verdict? Well, it really boils down to your specific needs. Third-party software could be your ticket if you’re after advanced features and don’t mind a small learning curve. But if simplicity and storage space are high on your list, sticking with Mac’s built-in options might be the way to go.

Reset NVRAM on Mac

NVRAM, or Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory, is a small section of your Mac’s memory that stores settings like sound volume, display resolution, and startup disk selection. If your screenshot function is acting up, resetting the NVRAM might just be the fix you’re looking for.

Resetting NVRAM is a pretty straightforward process.

  • Shut down your Mac and then turn it on while holding down the Option, Command, P, and R keys together.
  • Keep holding these keys for about 20 seconds and then release them. Your Mac will restart, and the NVRAM will be reset.

Why bother with this? Well, resetting the NVRAM can resolve glitches and quirks in system behavior, including issues with screenshots. It’s like giving your Mac a mini-refresh, setting things back to their default states.

Just a heads-up: resetting NVRAM will revert some settings back to their defaults. You might have to reconfigure things like your preferred display resolution or sound settings. But it’s a small price to pay for a functioning screenshot tool.

Boot your Mac in Safe Mode

Image credit: Apple

Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode for your Mac that runs only essential system software. It’s a way to isolate issues and figure out if software conflicts or corrupted files cause your screenshot woes.

Booting your Mac in Safe Mode is a cinch.

  • Shut down your computer, wait a few seconds, and then restart.
  • As soon as you hear the startup chime, press and hold the Shift key.
  • Release the key when you see the Apple logo. Voila, you’re in Safe Mode.

Once you’re there, try taking a screenshot. If it works, you know the issue is likely with some third-party software or a specific setting on your regular startup. If it doesn’t, the problem might be more deeply rooted in the system.

Exiting Safe Mode is as easy as restarting your Mac without holding down any keys. But remember, you’ll probably need to log back into some apps and services.

We get it; it’s frustrating when something as simple as taking a screenshot goes haywire. Macs have their quirks, just like any other piece of tech. Try one of these solutions before you think of hurling your computer out the window. Trust us, your Mac—and your wallet—will thank you.

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