MATLAB Answers

Not responding on startup, macOS Mojave

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William Smith
William Smith on 17 Sep 2019
Commented: Walter Roberson on 4 Jun 2020 at 19:39
I have just installed MATLAB 2019b on a Macbook Pro 2019 running macOS Mojave 10.14.6.
Just after installation, Matlab ran fine. However, if I now try to open it I see the splash screen then it freezes on the Matlab window showing no content and I have to force quit. If I run from the command line with -nodesktop it works and I can even load the desktop from there and it works ok. But if I try to load directly it hangs. I doubt it is a conflict as I have installed barely anything else on this macbook yet.

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Myles Mcleod
Myles Mcleod on 30 May 2020 at 21:49
Same issue with Catalina and R2020a. Removed accessibility permission for a utility named Contexts. That did the trick. Thanks!
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 4 Jun 2020 at 19:39
rescuetime appears to be time tracking and distraction blocking; https://www.rescuetime.com/premium

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Answers (14)

Jon Gotow
Jon Gotow on 29 Oct 2019
Edited: Jon Gotow on 29 Oct 2019
I'm the developer of Default Folder X. With the help of Philip Slaymaker I've tracked down the issue with Matlab. Matlab doesn't launch correctly if other apps use the Accessibility API (a part of macOS) to query it for information while it's launching.
A number of applications use the Accessibility API to communicate with other applications. These includes Default Folder X, Magnet, Spectacle, and most other utilities that help you arrange / resize windows. If you run into this problem, you can narrow down the possible culprits by going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility. This list shows all the applications that you've given permission to use the Accessibility API - one of them is triggering the bug in Matlab and causing it to hang. You'll need to use a process of elimination to determine which one, but it'll usually be an app that gets and sets information about other applications' windows.
Note that contacting the developer of any of these applications won't really help much, as it's not their fault. The fundamental issue is that Matlab contains a bug that causes it to hang when other apps request information via the Accessibility API. That bug needs to be fixed to resolve this problem. Phil Slaymaker submitted the bug to MathWorks - hopefully they'll fix it soon.
In the meantime, if you're a Default Folder X user, I have a version of DFX that may successfully work around the problem. I'd appreciate hearing from you at support (at) stclairsoft (dot) com.
- Jon

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Licheng MAO
Licheng MAO on 29 Apr 2020
Unfortunately,
I still have the problem on 2020a. I need to quit another software to use 2020a.
Jon Gotow
Jon Gotow on 30 Apr 2020
Thanks Licheng - that's disappointing, but good to know. I thought they'd finally fixed it :-(
Mark Weggeland
Mark Weggeland on 11 May 2020 at 21:43
I recently replaced my MBP and in the process of reinstalling Matlab upgraded to r2020a from r2019. When I did so, I ran into this problem for the first time (it was working with r2019...), and it is still broken. The only way I can get Matlab to launch is to quit Default Folder X.

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CoolNickname
CoolNickname on 16 Mar 2020
Edited: CoolNickname on 24 Mar 2020
I had the same problem today with R2019b. Out of nowhere - well, after installing update 5 of R2019b - it stopped working. MATLAB would just not open after clicking it. The little dot under thy icon appeared and disappeared shortly after.
But I was able to start MATLAB through the terminal via
/Applications/MATLAB_R2019b.app/bin/matlab
But the real problem solver was to give it full disk access. For that please go to Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access. There you should check MATLAB. Or, if it isn't listed, click on the + and look for it in the Application folder and add it to the list manually. After doing that it was good to go.
I also use the app "Magnet", but that didn't cause the problem. However, one should constrain Magnet to ignore MATLAB, otherweise MATLAB could be quite laggy.
Hope that helps.

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Chloe Pappas
Chloe Pappas on 18 May 2020 at 20:13
This worked for me! Completely stopped lagging and fixed the whole problem. Thank you!
Todd DeLong
Todd DeLong on 23 May 2020 at 18:08
This worked for me as well. I also offer my many thanks!
Shen Mingxi Shen
Shen Mingxi Shen on 31 May 2020 at 9:59
it works!!! maybe it is the real reason, thanks so much!

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Zongde Qiu
Zongde Qiu on 19 Sep 2019
same issue on MacOS 10.14.6

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Selene Schmittling
Selene Schmittling on 23 Sep 2019
I have finally gotten MATLAB 2019b to work on my mac with os 10.14.6.
Initially, I could not even get MATLAB to run in Safe Boot Mode. However, after a clean uninstall (including deleting Mathworks folder out of "Application Support" folder, I was able to get it running.
There were four possible sources of conflict: Goolge Drive Stream, OneDrive, Spectacle and Echo Desktop auto-loader (loads when Echo pen connected to USB).
I turned all these off and opened MATLAB and it worked.
I turned off the automatic load of Echo Desktop and turned it back on. MATLAB still working
I also have a piece of software called Spectacle, which sizes windows with keystrokes. I turned that off and have since turned it back on and am still running MATLAB successfully.
I have not started up Google Drive Stream or OneDrive yet. I'm just so happy to have MATLAB working, I don't want to tempt fate. When I turn these back on, I'll post back my results.
I hope this helps someone else struggling with this issue too.
Regards and good luck,

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Selene Schmittling
Selene Schmittling on 4 Oct 2019
To "turn the apps off" I followed two steps:
I disabled the apps from loading on start-up in their preferences and then quit each of them. In the case of Google Drive File Stream app, this is done by clicking on the gear in the upper right. To disable "load on startup" go to preferences after clicking on gear. To quit click on gear and choose quit.
I just started Google Drive File Stream app back up again and I'm using MATLAB. So far no issues. It may be that OneDrive is the issue especially since Viktor Nilsson said uninstalling OneDrive solved it.
I have not started OneDrive since this issue was resolved.
I hope that's helpful.
Regards!
Selene Schmittling
Selene Schmittling on 8 Oct 2019
UPDATE:
I have reloaded Google File Drive Stream. It currently auto-loads on start-up and I have not had an issue yet with MATLAB 2019b.
This leaves One Drive, which was an issue for Viktor above. I'm loath to load it again and have my precious house of cards fall to its knees. For now, I'll keep it off.
However, if in the future I turn it back on and use MATLAB, I'll be sure to post my results.
-S
Selene Schmittling
Selene Schmittling on 3 Nov 2019
UPDATE:
AAAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!! This ridiculous bug is back (of course when I need to get some work done). I have this issue on a Mac Book Pro 2016 running Catalina 10.15.1.
MATLAB® people: please, please fix this.
I have been running MATLAB fine, even with Spectacle running, then out of the blue, MATLAB hangs again. Once it hangs, there is no way to get it running without reinstalling the whole mess again shy of (hopefully) booting in safe mode.
I went in and removed all items that required accessibility to whit: Spectacle, Duet and Google File Drive Stream. I have rebooted my machine (multiple times) and MATLAB still hangs.
This is beyond infuriating. I'm going to boot into safe mode and hope I can get my work done.

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Selene Schmittling
Selene Schmittling on 22 Apr 2020
Here I am again in this Discussion thread. I was so hoping I wouldn't have to return.
I run MATLAB R2019b on macOS Catalina 10.15.4. I have not had issues with MATLAB in a while then suddenly (when I'm under a time crunch, of course) I get the whiring pinwheel of death every time I open MATLAB.
What I am posting now is a quick and dirty way to get a responsive instance of MATLAB (I can't worry about an actual fix right now).
I open an instance of Terminal. I type "/{path_to_your_matlab_application_folder}/bin -nodesktop" (replace the material in braces {} with the path to your Matlab application folder).
This starts a command line instance of MATLAB (I assume). At the ">>" prompt I type "desktop".
Then I find myself in a working instance of MATLAB able to do my work.
You can find this solution by querying "MATLAB not responding". I may have cobbled it together by reading more than one post. I wanted to share here in the hopes that it kept others from unnecessary hair loss.
Regards,
S

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Xiaokai Xia
Xiaokai Xia on 30 Apr 2020
It works for me.
Matlab R2020 and macOS 10.15.4
Thank you so much.
Andrew Davies
Andrew Davies on 15 May 2020 at 18:58
Worked for me. After doing this once, MATLAB stated launching normally again. What was different was the start folder, I'd been poking around in the matlab setting folder (~/Library/Application Support/MathWorks/MATLAB/R2020a) and launched from there, MATLAB remembered the start folder next time and worked. Curiously after reverting the start folder it still launches...
Selene Schmittling
Selene Schmittling on 15 May 2020 at 23:34
Thank you for this information. I had the same experience. After using the command line work around a few times, I was able to start MATLAB from the Applications folder. However, I didn't understand why it work. :P

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Jonathan Lilly
Jonathan Lilly on 4 Oct 2019
A perhaps similar issue for me. Matlab 2019b was working, but there was a strange bug which is that I was unable to select text with the mouse in Matlab, which I do all the time. After reading this thread, I traced the problem to a window-sizing software called Magnet that I had recently installed. This solved the problem. Thanks!

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Philip Slaymaker
Philip Slaymaker on 26 Oct 2019
I had a similar issue with Matlab 2019b (Matlab 2019a worked fine) not finishing initializing the command window and then freezing, requiring a force quit of Matlab. This happened on both Mojave 10.14.6 and High Sierra 10.13.6 on the iMac 27 2019 and 2017, respectively. I found that quitting and not running Default Folder 5.4.1 at all (or earlier versions) allowed Matlab to load and run. Rerunning Default Folder while Matlab was running caused Matlab windows to freeze.

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Andriy Yabluchanskiy
Andriy Yabluchanskiy on 7 Nov 2019
Edited: Andriy Yabluchanskiy on 7 Nov 2019
i found that the problem, at least on my end, is somehow connected to the network in my institution. matlab runs fine when on my home network but always freezes on splash screen when at work
macOs Catalina 10.15.1
Matlab 2019b

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Jason
Jason on 1 Dec 2019
I'm not sure if this is related, but when I upgraded to Catalina, I lost the ability to access many folders on my computer (Matlab R2017b). I added Matlab under System Preferences --> Security & Privacy --> Privacy --> Full Disk Access, but it didn't change anything. Upon bootup, Matlab can't find many of the files in the Matlab path. And I can't navigate to a lot of folders on the disk.

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Jason
Jason on 1 Dec 2019
I think I found the reason for the issue. Catalina moves any folders in the root directory of the computer into this folder: /Users/Shared/Relocated Items.
This effected some of my folders, so I will have to update everything in my Matlab path definition file unfortunately.

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robin tournemenne
robin tournemenne on 23 Jan 2020
I also have this problem. Among the list of possible conflicts with other softwares I see spectacle that I use basically always. Very annoying, please do something mathworks, now I need to work in the terminal witht he command matlab -nodesktop...

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Selene Schmittling
Selene Schmittling on 23 Jan 2020
So, for the last few months, I have basically resorted to unloading Spectacle whenever I use MATLAB and not loading it again until I've close MATLAB.
This is extremely annoying but certainly less annoying than the unending spinning pinwheel of death.
Since using this procedure, I have not encountered any freezing issues. I have not checked whether OneDrive or Google File Stream continue to be issues. I will try to remember to do that and report back.
Regards,
S

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Feiran li
Feiran li on 14 Feb 2020
Have the same problem Matlab2019b macOs Catalina 10.15.3. solved the problem by blocking Dropbox from System Preferences --> Security & Privacy --> Privacy --> Accessibility.

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Yiqian Qian
Yiqian Qian on 24 Feb 2020
For my case, it conflicts with Google Drive Backup & Sync.app. when i quit Google Drive, it can be launched succesfully.

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Mickey London
Mickey London on 28 Apr 2020
The feedback of disabling accessibility applications worked for me. The App the caused the issue was Magnets.
When checked out, Matlab stopped hanging.
Thanks

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