Skype for Mac Crashing on Startup

Skype Fails to Load on Mac I use Skype every day for work.  It is a critical application for me.  I am also a software engineer and understand how to read crash reports and tail log files, etc.  So when Skype for Mac started crashing on me – it seriously impacted my work life.

This post will help share how I was able to fix the problem and bring my Skype back to life.

BTW – Don’t you just love the Stock image to the right… It’s like he’s praying to the Skype Gods “Please just let this stupid app open”.

Issue Summary

The issue here is that when I go to open Skype on my Mac, it displays the loading screen for a second or two, then it disappears.  When I check on status of the app, Mac reports that the app is frozen.

I have to be honest – the Skype support forums really made me mad.  Hundreds of people are complaining about similar issues, attaching crash logs and so forth.  The majority of the time the Skype support team blames the crashes on conflicting applications.  An Anti Virus, a Video App stealing your camera’s settings, etc.  Look – I’m a software engineer and I will tell you all of that is crap.  It’s bad code – plain and simple.  When the developers try to init the camera’s or other audio settings, they can catch failures and pop messages to the user.  Don’t treat us like idiots when we are trying to help you make your product more solid.

Check for Corrupted State Files

Now we could spend some time debugging why it may be broken.  If you want you can open up a terminal shell in Apple and type in the following command:

tail -f /var/log/system.log

This will show you the current messages going through your System Debug log.  When I did that I found this output:

kernel[0]: Sandbox: Skype(870) System Policy: deny file-write-unlink /Users/ben/Library/Saved Application State/

This error occurs due to a permission error.  These state folders are often saved when an unexpected crash happens on an application.  When the computer boots back up, it can load into that saved state.  So first things first – let’s just remove the entire State folder for Skype if one exists.  So in this case I used finder to browse to and delete this state folder

I restarted Skype, but still no dice.  When I started Skype on my mac it would hang just a few seconds after trying to init.

Reinstall Skype

So my next move is to remove the application and reinstall it.  Using finder I browsed to the /Applications/ folder.  I found the Skype app and deleted it.  I then went to the Skype website and downloaded the most recent version.  After unpacking the download file I ran the app but still no dice.

The Skype support website makes lots of comments about people trying to install previous versions.  I didn’t buy into that for one simple reason.  My Skype app has been working for months on Mac OSX 10.10.5 without any issue.  I didn’t install any new programs recently and I didn’t change security settings.  Something else was clearly preventing Skype from loading.

Corrupted Settings

If Skype was still not working after downloading the latest version and removing any corrupted state files, I thought to myself – the issue must reside in a corrupted preferences file or information list.  Again this could possibly happen if the App crashes unexpectedly, it could leave the settings file in an undesirable state.  The best course of action is to just delete the settings and treat the install as brand new.

Note: If you perform this step, it will clear user preferences for Skype.  Things like your “Favorite Chats”, or chats that changed notification settings on.  At this point I needed Skype to work so this wasn’t an issue

Note 2: If you used an application to uninstall Skype, such as a cleaner, then this step may not be necessary.

Go ahead and remove Skype again from the Applications folder.  Check your Saved State folder and make sure there is no data there either for Skype.

Now using Finder browse to: <Your User Directory>/Library/Application Support/

Locate the Skype folder and the Skype app within the Application Support directory and remove it.

Now reinstall Skype and try again.

Still having issues?

The above steps have resolved my issues with Skype crashing during Load on a Mac system on more then one occasion.  if this does not resolve your issue then feel free to start a new thread at the Skype support site (and even reference this link).


So in recap – all we really did was do a full removal of several pieces of Skype data that could have gotten corrupted.  We performed the following steps:

  • Removed any Saved State data for Skype
  • Removed any User Preferences for Skype
  • Uninstalled and Reinstalled the Skype App

I hope that this resolved your loading issues.


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