How do I get rid of the question mark on my Mac toolbar?

Having a question mark icon on your Mac’s menu bar can be annoying and confusing. This icon typically appears when your Mac is having some sort of issue or when an application needs your attention. Fortunately, getting rid of the question mark icon is usually very simple.

What Does the Question Mark Icon Mean?

The question mark icon is used by Mac OS to indicate different issues or alerts, including:

  • An app requires your attention or input
  • A system extension has crashed
  • There are software updates available
  • Your startup disk needs repairs

So before removing the icon, it’s a good idea to try and identify what is causing it to appear. This will allow you to properly address the underlying issue.

How to Get Rid of the Question Mark Icon

Here are the common techniques for removing a question mark from your Mac’s menu bar:

Restart Your Mac

The easiest first step is to simply restart your Mac. This will clear any temporary glitches that may be causing the icon to appear.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen.
  2. Select “Restart…”

After your Mac reboots, check if the question mark icon has disappeared from your menu bar. This quick restart fixes the issue for many users.

Check for App Issues

Often the question mark icon appears because an application needs attention. Check if any of your apps are requesting input or having problems.

To do this:

  1. Click the question mark icon.
  2. A drop-down menu will appear listing apps that need attention.
  3. Click each app to see requested inputs or error messages.
  4. Provide any required inputs.
  5. Force quit any problematic apps.

Resolving these app issues should remove the question mark from your menu bar.

Check for System Software Updates

Apple will also use the question mark icon to notify you of available system updates.

To check for updates:

  1. Open the App Store app.
  2. Click the Updates tab.
  3. Install any macOS updates that are available.

This will upgrade your operating system and resolve any bugs that were causing the question mark to display.

Run Disk Utility

In some cases, the question mark indicates disk problems on your startup drive that need repair. Running Disk Utility can check and fix such issues.

  1. Open Disk Utility (located in Applications > Utilities)
  2. Select your startup disk on the left side
  3. Click “First Aid” and then click “Run”
  4. Disk Utility will check for problems and attempt repairs
  5. Once complete, restart your Mac

This should resolve any disk issues that may be causing the question mark icon.


Resetting your Mac’s NVRAM and PRAM can clear out system settings that may be causing the question mark to incorrectly appear.

To reset NVRAM and PRAM:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Turn it back on and immediately press and hold Command + Option + P + R.
  3. Keep holding down the keys until you hear the startup chime repeat a second time.
  4. Release the keys.

Your Mac’s settings will be reset and this often resolves question mark issues.

Check System Extension Conflicts

The question mark icon can sometimes appear due to software conflicts from system extensions.

To check for conflicts:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Extensions
  2. Review your enabled extensions
  3. Toggle problematic extensions off one-by-one and restart to see if it removes the question mark

Disabling the extension causing the conflict will clear the question mark from your menu bar.

When to Seek Further Help

If you’ve tried all of these troubleshooting steps and the question mark persists, your Mac may require advanced troubleshooting or repair:

  • Try booting into Safe Mode to isolate software issues.
  • Create a new admin user account to test if issues persist.
  • Back up your data and reinstall macOS as a last resort.
  • Consult with Apple Support or a repair technician.

A stubborn question mark icon may indicate hardware, software or disk corruption problems that need expert assistance. But in most cases, the steps outlined above should successfully get rid of the annoying question mark on your Mac’s menu bar.


Having an unfamiliar question mark icon appear in your Mac’s menu bar can be troubling. But in most situations, this issue can be easily resolved without any major troubleshooting steps.

Try restarting your Mac, checking for app issues, installing system updates, running Disk Utility, and resetting NVRAM. One of these simple solutions will typically get rid of the question mark icon right away.

But if the icon persists, don’t ignore it – have an expert take a closer look. An ongoing question mark can indicate bigger problems that need proper diagnosis and repair. Getting to the root cause of the issue will ensure your Mac runs smoothly.