If Final Cut Pro isn't working

Learn what to do if Final Cut Pro for Mac won’t open, won't play a project, or isn't operating as expected in other ways.

Restart your Mac

Choose Restart from the Apple menu .

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Disconnect external devices

An incompatible or malfunctioning external device can sometimes cause issues with Final Cut Pro. To test external devices:

  1. Quit Final Cut Pro, then choose Shut Down from Apple menu .
  2. Disconnect all external devices other than your keyboard and mouse.
  3. For Intel-based Mac computers only, reset NVRAM. You only need to do this the first time you disconnect external devices.
  4. Turn your Mac on.

If the issue only occurs when a particular device is connected, you might need to update or service the device. Contact the manufacturer for support.

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Check system requirements

Make sure the app is working as expected

Check the Final Cut Pro User Guide to make sure the app is working as expected. You can search the user guide for key terms shown in alerts, alert icons, or error messages.

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Update Final Cut Pro

  1. Try to complete all active projects.
  2. If you haven't already, back up your existing libraries and your current copy of the Final Cut Pro application.
  3. Choose Apple menu  > App Store, then click Updates in the toolbar. If a Final Cut Pro update is available, click the Update button to download and install it.

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Verify installation of Pro Video Formats

Check media and device compatibility

  1. Make sure to set the Privacy & Security settings on your Mac, which gives Final Cut Pro access to your photo library, Microphone, Camera, and Files and Folders.
  2. Don't try to store Final Cut Pro libraries in these locations:
  3. Check that you're using a supported media format.
  4. Check that you're using a supported camera, and that you're importing media properly.
  5. Check that you're using a supported storage device format, and that you have enough available storage space for your libraries and for exported project files. You might need to move your library.
  6. For any external devices you're using like cameras, storage devices, or interfaces, check with the manufacturer for software or firmware updates. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when updating.

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Check third-party software compatibility

If you're using a plug-in or other software not made by Apple with Final Cut Pro, make sure it's compatible with your version of Final Cut Pro and your version of macOS. Contact the manufacturer for support. If an update is available, follow the manufacturer's instructions to update the software. 

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Test in a new user account

Create another administrator user account on your Mac, then try to recreate the issue in the new account. If the issue doesn't occur in the new account, settings or files in the original account might be causing the issue.

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Test with a new library and project

  1. Create a new library
  2. In the new library, create a new project using test media.
  3. Try to reproduce your issue.

If you can't reproduce the issue using test media, the issue might be related to the media in the affected project. Obtain new copies of the media from the original source.

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Reset Final Cut Pro preferences

Resetting preferences doesn't affect your libraries, projects, or media. However, any custom preference settings will be reset to their default settings. To reset Final Cut Pro settings:

  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > Settings and note any specific settings you've made.
  2. Quit Final Cut Pro.
  3. Hold down the Command and Option keys, then open Final Cut Pro.
  4. Click Delete Preferences.
  5. Try to reproduce the issue you were experiencing. If the issue no longer occurs, open Final Cut Pro settings and reapply your custom settings.

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Remove and reinstall Final Cut Pro

To remove and reinstall Final Cut Pro:

  1. In the Finder, choose Go > Applications.
  2. Locate Final Cut Pro and drag it to the Trash.
  3. Reinstall Final Cut Pro from the App Store, or restore it from a backup. When restoring a copy of the Final Cut Pro application from a backup, you can either drag it from its storage location to your Applications folder or restore Final Cut Pro from Time Machine backups.

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Test with a new volume

These steps are a final check to make sure Final Cut Pro, macOS and your Mac are working as expected by isolating to only Apple software and hardware, setting aside your libraries and projects, media and all other third-party items like plug-ins.

  1. Install macOS on a new volume of your built-in startup disk. Make sure it's the same version of macOS that you're currently using.
  2. When macOS installation is complete, set up the Mac, then set the default startup disk to the new test volume.
  3. Shut down your Mac and disconnect all devices, except for a keyboard and mouse or trackpad.
  4. Turn on your Mac.
  5. Select the primary volume in the Finder, then press Command-E to unmount the primary volume. This leaves only the test volume mounted.
  6. Download and install Final Cut Pro from the Mac App Store.
  7. Create test media for Final Cut Pro.
  8. Use the test media to try to recreate the issue.

If the issue doesn’t occur, this confirms that Final Cut Pro, macOS, and your Mac are working as expected.

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Still not working?

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