The Operation Could Not Be Completed On MacOS – LLODO

You may encounter the error message stating “The operation couldn’t be completed” in various scenarios. It might pop up when you attempt to run an application or can appear as a prompt when you’re trying to install/update macOS.

Whether it’s because of your corrupted application data or due to problems within your disk drive, the operation you are trying to perform might fail to load up and complete.

But, it’s a common issue and there are a few different ways to fix it. And in this guide, we’re going to talk about all those different ways.

Why Am I Encountering This Error Prompt?

Including the factors mentioned above, here are all the reasons you might encounter this error message:

  • Application glitches/bugs
  • Missing app data
  • Conflicting processes
  • Disk drive issues
  • NVRAM data corruption
  • Limited storage space available
  • Incorrect setting configurations

How to Fix “The Operation Could Not Be Completed” on macOS?

The first thing you can do when you encounter this error message is to restart your computer. Doing so takes back all the allocated resources from the system processes and reallocates them during startup.

This might very well work to fix your issue. But, if not, then we have listed all the possible fixes down below, depending on if this error is application-related or installation-related.

For Application-Related Error

You can sometimes encounter the “Operation couldn’t be completed” error message while inside an application or when you try to open the application. If that’s the case, you should work to troubleshoot the application and fix this bug. Here are the steps you can follow:

Force Close Your Application

Whenever any applications/programs on your computer misbehave and start to feel unreliable, you can force close your application and re-open it.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. On the menu bar, go to Apple > Force Quit.
  3. Select the name of your application from the list of running programs.
  4. Force Quit this application.
    force quit google chrome
  5. On any prompt messages, accept and Force Quit.

Reinstall the Application

Another thing you can do to fix this application error is to reinstall your application. This is mainly done to ensure that all application data are intact and no files are missing.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Select Application from the sidebar.
  3. Right-click on the misbehaving application and choose to Move to Bin.move-to-bin
  4. Accept any prompts and move the app to the trash can.
  5. Then, download the application from either the App Store from the official developer site.

Run the Application in Safe Mode

macOS provides you the option to start up your computer making use of the minimum required essential drivers and interfaces. And if you find that your application runs normally on safe mode, then the error message is probably caused by some third-party Mac extensions.

For Intel Macs

  1. Shut down.
  2. Hold the Shift key and turn on the Mac.shift
  3. Release Shift only after you see the login screen.
  4. Login into your Mac.

For M1 Macs

  1. Shut down.
  2. Hold the Power key to turn on the Mac.
  3. Release the Power key only after you get the boot options.startup-options-mac
  4. Select your bootable disk drive.
  5. Now, hold the Shift key and Continue in Safe Mode.

If your applications work fine and there are no error prompts in Safe Mode, there are probably third-party extensions working on the OS’s kernel mode. And in such a case,

  1. Start your system normally.
  2. Press Command + Space to bring up the Spotlight.
  3. Go to Terminal.
  4. Type and enter kextstat.
  5. You’ll see a list of kernel extensions on your computer.
    You have to find and delete the third-party extensions.
  6. If an extension doesnt begin with*, it’s a third-party extension. 
  7. If you can, track this extension back to its application, and delete the application from your computer.

Perform First Aid and Retry

You can perform a First Aid on your disk drive through the Disk Utility tool. Doing so will scan the selected disk for any faults and errors, and if possible, it’ll also try to fix those errors.

So, to rule out the possibility of a corrupted disk issue, perform First Aid. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press Command + Space to bring up the Spotlight. 
  2. Go to Disk Utility.
  3. Click on your disk from the sidebar.
  4. Choose to perform a First Aid.
  5. If you get any prompts, choose to Run a First Aid.
  6. After the process is complete, restart your application.


NVRAM controls the proper workflow of the installed software and interfaces on your computer. All the data stored on the NVRAM are non-volatile in nature. That means, even if there’s no power supplied, the data on the NVRAM doesn’t get erased.

But if these data get corrupted, you could get a handful of error messages, one of them being  “The operation couldn’t be completed.” However, this can be fixed by resetting the NVRAM during system startup.

For Apple Silicon Macs, the NVRAM is automatically reset each time you restart your computer.  But for Intel Macs users, here are the steps to do so:

  1. Shut down.
  2. Press Power to turn on your computer.
  3. Then immediately, hold Command + Option + P+ R.reset-nvram
  4. Hold these buttons until your computer fully boots up. 

Error During macOS Installation

The aforementioned error sometimes pops up when you’re trying to reinstall macOS or upgrade its build. And in such a case, you should work to fix the installation process by any means necessary. So,

Manage Your Storage Space

If you don’t have enough free space available in your system for system installation/update, your operation cannot be completed. So, check how much storage is available on your system. And if you have less than at least 20 Gigs available, you have to optimize your Mac storage.

Here’s how you view your system storage status on Mac:

  1. Open Finder.
  2. From the menu bar, go to Apple > About This Mac.
  3. Click on the Storage tab.mac-storageHere, you can see the detailed storage description on your device, including how much space is available and which files are taking up the most space.

Set the Correct Date and Time

If you have set the system date and time different from the one in your actual timezone, you might encounter errors during the installation process. The macOS setup files are said to verify your system date and time before beginning the installation process.

So, in this case, you have to fix your date and time settings to be free of the “Operation couldn’t be completed” error message.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. From the menu bar, go to Apple > System Preferences.
  3. Click on Date & Time.
  4. Choose the option to Set date and time automatically.
  5. Restart your computer and retry the installation.

Enter Safe Mode and Retry

As we mentioned in the above section, safe mode boots up your computer with only the essential required drivers and software interfaces. Other insignificant processes do not run, and the resources are not allocated to them. So, boot into safe mode and try to set up your installation from this mode.

Install From Recovery Mode

If your trying to reinstall macOS and are repeatedly getting this error message, we suggest you do so from the recovery mode. The system will be reinstalled to the newest possible build. Also, you’ll have the option to clear the entire disk before installation or choose to save and keep those files in the system itself.

However, depending on your system characteristics, there are a couple of different ways to enter the recovery mode. All the methods are shown below.

On Apple Silicon Macs

  1. Connect to the internet.
  2. Shut down.
  3. Hold Power to turn on your computer.
  4. Keep holding Power until you’re presented with Options.
  5. Then, click Options.
    You’ll now enter recovery mode.
  6. To reinstall the system, select Reinstall macOS.
  7. Enter your password if prompted.
  8. You now have two options to install macOS.
    • Macintosh HD: It will not erase any data in the system.
    • Macintosh HD – Data: It opts to reset the system by clearing all data.
  9. Wait until the process is fully complete.

On Intel Macs

  1. Connect to the internet.
  2. Shut down.
  3. Press Power once to turn on your computer.
  4. Then, hold Command + R until you see the Apple icon.cmd-r
  5. Choose to Reinstall macOS.
  6. Enter your password if prompted.
  7. You now have two options to install macOS.
    Choosing Macintosh HD will not erase any data in the system.
    Whereas Macintosh HD – Data opts to reset the system by clearing all data.
  8. Wait until the process is fully complete.

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