Audacity running slow/freezing

After using Audacity for a month or two with no issues, suddenly it’s freezing/giving the rainbow wheel of death when trying to clip boundaries, cut sections of audio, etc. I tried downloading it on a brand new Mac laptop as well and had the same issues. What should I do?

I tried downloading it

Which “it?” The show?

How long is it?

You moved the AUP3 file between two different instances of Audacity 3.1.3? How big is it?

What is the show? Your podcast? Audiobook?


Content and size is important because in many conditions, if you make an edit, Audacity will try to form UNDO by saving a clean copy of the whole show. It doesn’t just save that one little edit you made.

using Audacity for a month or two with no issues

You get the Spinning Beachball of Death when you exceed the Macs ability to complete a task in a reasonable time. Also, Audacity will try to load the whole show into memory at once. If you have a twelve-hour podcast with multiple tracks and many edits, it’s not going to fit and the Mac is forced into swapping the work in and out of the internal drive. That can take massively longer and trigger a beachball.

Are you using the internal drive? Audacity should only be used with the computer’s internal drive. Full Stop. No externals, no networks, no thumbs, and no clouds.


It is a 30 minute podcast episode. Running off my Mac - not an external hard drive. I’m frustrated because I have used the same process for several episodes, all the same length, and suddenly Audacity is freezing when previously it did not.

You don’t say what version of Audacity you are running. On Windows it would be Help > About Audacity.

These are the best questions. There’s nothing wrong but it doesn’t work.

I tried downloading it on a brand new Mac laptop.

Even better. There is something wrong, but finding it might be a challenge. Do you use music, stingers, bumpers, and other sound segments from other places or downloads?

The current Audacity is 3.1.3. There were earlier “3” versions which were not the most stable and they caused a lot of angst.

Are the older shows available for listening?


I predict (pressing fingers to forehead) that you are going to find one renegade six second music bumper that’s “out of format” and it’s making the Mac/Audacity nuts trying to figure it out.

For one example, MP3 dates back to about 1989 as a video sound format. Its full family name is MPEG-1, Layer 3. It’s gone through several “upgrades” and changes and I think there was some discussion that Audacity doesn’t recognize all of them on the theory that we have to cut this off somewhere.