Audacity stopped responding

I bought a new MacBook air to hopefully solve the spinning beachball problem, but I’m still stuck. I’m using MacOS Sonoma 14.4 and Audacity 3.4.2. My tracks are already recorded, and earlier tonight, I could cut and paste tiny clips just fine. Then it got slower and slower, with longer and longer spinning, until it was a total waste of time. Now, it spins as soon as I open Audacity. Yes, I shut my computer down, and it didn’t help. Suggestions? Please?

I’ll add some detail since this got no replies. I am able to listen to recorded audio files, and I can cut and paste clips clips at the beginning of a session, but after a few minutes or up to an hour, Audacity crashes.

Oops-- one thing I forgot to add–I had 3 Apple Care calls yesterday, and an in-person visit to the Genius Bar today. My new laptop checks out perfectly, so we can only assume the problem is Audacity.

I don’t know, Apple’s going downhill faster than Ivan Origone on the Piste. Horrible for a 30+ year Mac user like me. In any case, I’d try uninstalling Audacity, downloading and reinstalling it. That should put you back where you were when the problem began.

Thanks for your help. I have uninstalled and reinstalled Audacity several times, but still had the same issues. One of the admins here replied to my comment about the new Audacity 3.5, so I hope that will eventually resolve this. I’m 22 chapters into recording my 25-chapter audiobook, and I can’t quit now!

You’re doing it chapter at a time, right? It’s not that unusual for a reader to load the whole book into Audacity at once and the Mac just sinks into the sunset from the workload.

See if this is still available: Desktop > Go > Utilities > Activity Monitor. I pull that tool down into my toolbar. Run that and watch CPU and DISK. Something is taking up a large percentage of the machine.

The last time I found this handy, something I surfed to installed software that was sucking up 99% of the CPU. Lots of beachballs. (the video forums call that the SBBOD. Spinning Beachball of Death)

Even if you can’t tell immediately who the culprit is, you can get the abbreviated name and then look that up.

But my guess is trying to load the whole book at once. That’s just not going to work.


You can’t have monstrously long chapters, either. 120 minutes each is the maximum.

If this hasn’t come up yet, Audacity doesn’t simply save an edit for the possibility of UNDO later. It saves copies of the whole chapter. As you produce your work, those saves get longer and longer. If you Edit > UNDO three times, that work is four times longer or larger than you think it is.

I understand they figured out a way to stop doing that because it was burning too many people.

Someone may post.


Are you trying to use drives other than the Mac internal drive? That’s generally not a good idea. Audacity doesn’t like that very much.

I wonder why the Genius Bar didn’t catch this. Did you exhibit the problem in front of them, or did you describe the problem and they did a simple health test?


How did you get the work from the old Mac to the new one?


How big was the new Mac? I do work on both video and audio forums, so I max out new machines. That can push the price up to nose-bleed territory, but it’s been handy, and I still have very old machines doing jobs.

I rarely run out of resources or get SBBODs.


Yes- I only open one chapter at a time, and the longest is about 24 minutes. The Mac store checked CPU, and it was fine. Thanks for these suggestions.

Yeah that SBBOD is my nemesis these days.

Editing is the culprit–now we’re getting somewhere! I didn’t have problems until I started editing, and I edit a LOT–I tend to drop consonants at the end of words when I speak, so I’m adding dozens of Ts and Ps throughout. I hope someone does post about this. Is there a way to create a service ticket, do you know?

I’m endlessly grateful for your input and assistance!!

One of the Apple support suggestions was to work from an external hard drive, and that worked for a little while. But like you said above, if the problem is that editing creates huge files, maybe I was still maxing out my systems. I have enough storage space, but perhaps not enough processing space??

Backed it up to an external hard drive, then uploaded it to my new Mac.

512 GB of storage, 8 GB Ram, which the Mac genius said was enough. The price was nose-bleed enough for me, but my 2017 Macbook was clearly not up to the task and had to be replaced.

Are you Edit Dense? There was a poster on the old forum who assured us he was going to edit and correct his chapters word at a time. We didn’t try to talk him out of it.

Describe your workflow. I recommend reading straight through and repeat known fluffs and errors from the next even sentence while leaving the recorder running. That makes editing easier and helps maintain the voice character and quality.

When you get the first beachball, File > Save Project and close Audacity. That removes all the multiple copies. That help?

Also, try to answer all the questions I pile up. Are you using cloud drives?


This is me looking up the three project variations.


We’re playing forum post tag. Go back a couple of messages each time you post to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

We may not need a service ticket. This may be normal Audacity behavior. But there may be a workaround.

You could have the problem of a recent poster who naturally sounded like a broken microphone. Didn’t that drive everybody nuts.

When you get the first SBBOD, File > Save Project > Save Project. That will save all your work so far in Audacity’s super-duper, high quality, perfect format. Close Audacity.

Make coffee. Double click the project and the show should open just where you left it, but without the overload baggage and SBBODs—until you need the little Save Project dance again.

A common misconception with Save Project is that it’s leaving a trail of old Projects. No. It just keeps updating one single Project.

More after my coffee is ready.


Note. Edit > UNDO goes away when you do this. It’s the UNDO baggage that’s causing the problems.

This may be the place for a Good Practice. When you read to the end of a chapter, Edit > Export a WAV Safety Backup. Not MP3. Not Project by itself. This is so when your Mac goes into the mud, you don’t have to read the chapter again. Audacity Projects are relatively brittle and not good for this job.

Where’s my Starbucks


Post back if this worked enough for your book.

Still unscrambling the other two projects. They seem to be relatively simple until you try to use them. In two sentences: Save As creates a whole new project and then leaves you there. Save Backup creates a whole new project and keeps editing the original.

Are you using ACX? You probably passed the Audacity ACX-Check, but have you passed the ACX 15 Minute Checkpoint?