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Question: High Sierra System Preferences Network pane is non-responsive

After installing a new system update, the System Preferences Network pane is often very slow to respond, update, etc. I'm talking maybe an hour before anything happens or appears, although at times it works normally, sort of. When Network is non-responsive, it hangs up all System Preferences functions for several minutes. It also doesn't seem to persist my settings; e.g., if I check the box to require administrator authorization to turn Wi-Fi on, sometimes I find it changed anyways and the box unchecked—even though the pane is password-locked.


I have tried *everything* to fix this, up to and including completely erasing my Mac hard disk, and reinstalling High Sierra and restoring my personal files (from a Time Machine backup) and apps—several times—to no avail. (Needless to say, this is quite disruptive; it's as though I got a new computer and all the accounts set-up and other set-up one needs to go through with that.)


Is anyone else aware of this issue and is there a fix that works for it?

iMac, macOS High Sierra (10.13.4)

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Apr 21, 2018 10:39 AM in response to CarlDR In response to CarlDR

It is extremely unusual for preference panels to be non-responsive. The general cause is a bad installation. Erasing and reinstalling should fix the problem unless the problem is hardware, i.e., a bad wireless module inside the computer. If you have not had the computer in a shop for a thorough diagnosis then if the hardware is really at fault that should reveal it. You cannot fix a hardware problem over a telephone line.

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Apr 20, 2018 3:29 PM in response to CarlDR In response to CarlDR

A Troubleshooting Procedure that may Fix Problems with macOS El Capitan or Later

You should try each, one at a time, then test to see if the problem is fixed before going on to the next.


Be sure to backup your files before proceeding if possible.


  1. Shutdown the computer, wait 30 seconds, restart the computer.
  2. Disconnect all third-party peripherals.
  3. Resetting your Mac’s PRAM and NVRAM
  4. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)
  5. Reset your Startup Disk and Sound preferences.
  6. Start the computer in Safe Mode. Test in safe mode to see if the problem persists, then restart normally.
  7. Use Apple Hardware Test to see if there is any hardware malfunction.
  8. Repair the disk by booting from the Recovery HD. Immediately after the chime hold down the Command and R keys until the Utility Menu appears. Choose Disk Utility and click on the Continue button. Select the indented (usually, Macintosh HD) volume entry from the side list. Click on the First Aid button in the toolbar. Wait for the Done button to appear. Quit Disk Utility and return to the Utility Menu. Restart the computer from the Apple Menu.
  9. Repair permissions on the Home folder: Resolve issues caused by changing the permissions of items in your home folder.
  10. Create a New User Account Open Users & Groups preferences. Click on the lock icon and enter your Admin password when prompted. On the left under Current User click on the Add [+] button under Login Options. Setup a new Admin user account. Upon completion log out of your current account then log into the new account. If your problems cease, then consider switching to the new account and transferring your files to it - Transferring files from one User Account to another.
  11. Download and install the OS X El Capitan 10.11.6 Combo Update or 10.12.6 Combo Update or Download macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 Combo Update as needed.
  12. Reinstall OS X by booting from the Recovery HD using the Command and R keys. When the Utility Menu appears select Reinstall OS X then click on the Continue button.
  13. Erase and Install OS X Restart the computer. Immediately after the chime hold down the Command and R keys until the Apple logo appears. When the Utility Menu appears:
  1. Select Disk Utility from the Utility Menu and click on Continue button.
  2. When Disk Utility loads select the drive (out-dented entry) from the Device list.
  3. Click on the Erase icon in Disk Utility's toolbar. A panel will drop down.
  4. Set the Format type to APFS (for SSDs only) or Mac OS Extended (Journaled.)
  5. Click on the Apply button, then wait for the Done button to activate and click on it.
  6. Quit Disk Utility and return to the Utility Menu.
  7. Select Reinstall OS X and click on the Continue button.

If none of the above helps then see How to Downgrade macOS High Sierra and macOS Reversion- How to Downgrade from High Sierra.

Apr 20, 2018 3:29 PM

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Apr 20, 2018 3:44 PM in response to Kappy In response to Kappy

Thanks, but when I said that I tried *everything*, that includes all the recommended steps—as I said, up to and including erasing HD, reinstalling High Sierra and my apps, and restoring my files from Time Machine—several times! This was done with many Apple Support techs over a period of a couple weeks.

Apr 20, 2018 3:44 PM

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Apr 20, 2018 8:03 PM in response to CarlDR In response to CarlDR

See these articles Isolating issues in Mac OS X - Apple Support

Click on the bottom links ( the 4 th article that is important , to get more info in the first article ) .

Read these articles also How to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity - Apple Support

macOS Sierra: Choose preferred Wi-Fi networks

Post results using etrecheck if possible see this link https://etrecheck.com/

If system preferences is corrupted enter in user library see this article macOS Sierra: Library folder

Find a folder Preferences - from here drag and drop com.apple.systempreferences.plist to the desktop .

Restart the Mac and open system preferences after a while new plist will be recreated .

Apr 20, 2018 8:03 PM

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Apr 21, 2018 8:57 AM in response to Kappy In response to Kappy

Sorry, I missed that "If none of the above helps…Downgrade/Revert" as a 14th step, but I'm not really interested in downgrading because that seems it would forever put me in a situation where I couldn't install future security updates. I'm more interested in finding out why my iMac—which is not unusual in any significant way I know of—exhibits this peculiar and specific problem that Apple doesn't seem to know about (or does and isn't saying). I would feel better just knowing that there are others with the same problem. Apple seems quite eager to help, judging by how much time their support folks, including supervisors, have spent with me on this. And I would be more than happy to spend more time trying to get to the bottom of it, but I don't want to do drastic things that I've already done (multiple times) with no success. I will call Apple Support again and try to reopen my most recent case for this issue. Thanks.

Apr 21, 2018 8:57 AM

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Apr 21, 2018 9:54 AM in response to CarlDR In response to CarlDR

That's not a valid conclusion. You overlook the fact that there will be more updates and that the next one may well fix your problem. Downgrading isn't a permanent solution. It's an interim solution. It gets you operating again while the other problem is being analyzed. I'm sorry you feel obliged to suffer the problems until they are solved. I use a 2015 5K iMac and do not experience any problems with it.

Apr 21, 2018 9:54 AM

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Apr 21, 2018 10:25 AM in response to Kappy In response to Kappy

Thanks, Kappy. To be clear, this problem isn't as serious as I'm implying by my obsessing over it :-). And I appreciate your attention to it! Everything else seems to be working well enough, although I'd prefer that my iMac Wi-Fi stay off, since I'm not using it and it may expose my Mac to my dear neighbors, some of whom have teenage kids who tend toward mischievousness (I do have a firewall, though). My main concern is why it's happening, which may indicate an underlying issue.

Apr 21, 2018 10:25 AM

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Apr 21, 2018 10:39 AM in response to CarlDR In response to CarlDR

It is extremely unusual for preference panels to be non-responsive. The general cause is a bad installation. Erasing and reinstalling should fix the problem unless the problem is hardware, i.e., a bad wireless module inside the computer. If you have not had the computer in a shop for a thorough diagnosis then if the hardware is really at fault that should reveal it. You cannot fix a hardware problem over a telephone line.

Apr 21, 2018 10:39 AM

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Question: High Sierra System Preferences Network pane is non-responsive