Stop Final Cut Pro Crashes on Startup with 6 Quick Fixes

Final Cut Pro 28/05/2021 6 min read

There’s nothing more frustrating than Final Cut Pro crashing right in the middle of your editing project. The types of crashes can vary; you might see the dreaded “spinning wheel of death”, or the program could just close unexpectedly. Most of the time, restarting the software is enough to fix the issue. And thanks to FCPX’s auto-saving feature, you don’t even have to worry about losing your work after a crash.

If restarting Final Cut doesn’t resolve the issue, fear not! We’ve put together 6 of the most common fixes to get you back in the editor’s seat in no time. 

Part 1: Main Issues Related to FCPX Crashing

Apple has done a fantastic job optimizing Final Cut to work on their systems. Most of the time, you should have far fewer issues with Final Cut Pro than you would with another editing suite, like Adobe Premiere. Video production is a heavy process for your computer, however, it consumes a lot of resources like processing power, RAM, and hard drive space.

If you’re consistently having issues with Final Cut Pro, you might want to check out your computer’s specs to make sure they’re up to the task. 

Final Cut Pro Minimum Requirements: 

  • Operating System: 10.14.6 or later
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo or greater
  • RAM: 4GB or more
  • Storage 3.8GB (but you’ll need a lot more than this) 

You can check out these specs on your computer by opening About This Mac > Overview from the apple menu. For storage, you can then click on the Storage tab. Sometimes Final Cut can fill up your hard drive with render files while you’re working on a project. Make sure to keep an eye on your free storage space, especially if your project includes any long or high-definition video, like 4K. 

Another common issue causing Final Cut crashes is the preferences file. This file stores all of your settings between projects & libraries; it contains information like where you’ve arranged different interfaces, custom hotkeys, and more. If your error message mentions the preferences file, see below for information on how to reset it. 

Part 2: Learn 6 Fixes for Final Cut Pro Crashes

Below are 6 of the most common fixes to resolve crashing in Final Cut. You can scroll down and choose whichever one seems most appropriate or go through all of them if you like. One thing you shouldn’t need to worry about is losing your work because FCPX saves your edits automatically and even stores backups of your project files in case they get corrupted.

1. Update Your Operating System 

Apple is constantly updating its software and operating systems, and oftentimes an update on one can break the other temporarily. You might not even realize that you’ve updated FCPX because that process happens behind the scenes! If an update has broken your software, you might just need to catch up with the latest OS updates by following the steps below.

  1. On the top left of your screen, open Apple > System Preferences.
  2. Below the system information there is a button that reads Software Update, click it. 
  3. Your system will check for updates. If there are any available, click Update Now to download and install them.
  4. When the update is finished, your computer should prompt you to restart it.

Once you’ve updated your OS and restarted your computer, open up Final Cut Pro to see if the problem has been resolved. If it hasn’t, there are still several other solutions you can try below.

2. Readjust Final Cut Pro X Preferences and Settings

Sometimes after an update or an unexpected program closure, your preferences file might become corrupted and no longer work with FCPX. When this happens, Final Cut will sometimes give you an error message, but other times might just close unexpectedly. To resolve this issue, you’ll need to locate the preferences file using the Finder and delete it.

  1. Make sure Final Cut Pro is closed and open the Finder.
  2. Hold Option and select Go > Library from the top menu.
  3. In the library folder that opens up, choose the Preferences folder.
  4. Locate the following 2 files: 
  5. Delete them from the library. 
  6. Restart your computer, then try opening Final Cut Pro. 

Deleting your preferences file will force Final Cut Pro to recreate these files with default out-of-the-box preferences. This shouldn’t affect your work, and any plugins you’ve added will be unaffected–but you may have to take a 2nd look at the Preferences options to make sure everything is still set up to your liking.

3. Repair Your Startup Disk (First Aid)

This is a deep repair, which can fix issues with FCPX as well as other files stored on your hard drive. First Aid will require you to have at least 15% of your drive’s total storage capacity available to run because it will use this space during the repair process.

  1. If your mac is newer and running Apple Silicon: turn your computer off, then on–and continue to press and hold the power button until you see a startup options window. Click Options then Continue.

Note: If your mac is older and uses an Intel Processor, turn it off, then on–immediately pressing Command+R.

  1. Select the User and enter a password if necessary. 
  2. From the Utilities window, select Disk Utility and then Continue.
  3. Choose View > Show All Devices. 
  4. Select your startup disk, probably named Macintosh HD.
  5. Select the last volume on the disk, then click the First Aid button.
  6. Press Run (or Repair Disk) and wait. The process can take several hours, so make sure your computer is plugged in and leave it undisturbed.
  7. When it’s done, you can repeat the above steps (starting with 6), to repair all of the volumes on your hard drive. 
  8. Once you’ve finished, restart your computer and open Final Cut. 

Running First Aid is part of hard drive maintenance, so if there are issues with corrupt files causing Final Cut Pro to crash, you might just discover the issue has been resolved. If it hasn’t, don’t worry, you’ve still helped clean up the files on your hard drive, and there are still a few more fixes you can try.

4. Remove Troublesome Media

Corrupt media has been known to crash FCPX, especially if it’s selected in the browser. Final Cut will try to load and preview the selected media and then crash before you get a chance to know what’s happening. If you recently added new media (or selected a new piece of media in the browser for the first time), this could be your issue, so try the steps below.

  1. Open up Final Cut Pro.
  2. Before the software has a chance to preview media in the Viewer, select a different media file either in the timeline or browser. 
  3. If this works, delete the media that was originally selected. 

This fix requires you to be fast! So if it doesn’t work the first time, you might want to try again to see if you can switch the selected video faster before FCPX has a chance to load a preview.

5. Create a New Library

If the library file is causing Final Cut Pro to crash, the fix might be as simple as opening up another library file on your computer. If you don’t have another library file to open, you may need to follow these steps to create a new one before you open Final Cut Pro.

  1. Hold down Option and open Final Cut from the Finder.
  2. A dialogue should popup, asking you to select a Library
  3. Click New, name your new library and select a destination to store it.

When you open a new library, it will look like all your work has disappeared! This is normal because libraries are where you store all of your media, events, and projects. To access your work, you’ll need to open up your old library, which can be done by selecting File > Open > Library

6. Launch FCPX from a New User’s Account

Launching FCPX from a different user account is similar to reinstalling the program from scratch without having to take those steps or delete any files. All you have to do is load up another user at startup and then open Final Cut Pro.

  1. Go to Apple > System Preferences
  2. Click on the icon labeled Users & Groups
  3. You may need to click the lock on the bottom left in order to make changes here and enter your password. 
  4. Press the + button and add a new user. 
  5. Give it a name and a password (don’t forget the password!).
  6. Click Create User and then restart your computer. 
  7. When the welcome screen opens, select your new user.
  8. Now open Final Cut Pro.

When you open FCPX from a new user’s account it will look like the very first time you open the software and might prompt you with some pop-up windows. If everything is working smoothly, try switching back to your own user account and try to open FCPX from there.

If you’ve made it this far and tried all 6 troubleshooting steps above, hopefully, you’re back up and editing! Between updating your OS, resetting your preferences, repairing your startup disk, removing troublesome media, creating a new library, and loading FCPX from another user’s account, you should always be ready to know what to do.  

And now that you’ve resumed editing your next video masterpiece, you might want to check out Motion Array. They have a gigantic selection of templates for Final Cut Pro editors, like titles, templates, effects, transitions, stock footage, and much more great stuff to amp up your next project!