KM Hangs in Big Sur, Not Sure What Causes It

Once or twice a week, I find that KM hangs. I try to use a macro and get no response. Then I notice that the icon in the Big Sur menu bar is dimmed, and when I move the mouse pointer to it, I get the spinning beach ball.

This is a brand-new MacBook Air, running Big Sur. Any ideas of what to look at?

Edit: While I was including the image, the problem resolved itself. The icon was no longer dimmed and macros work again. Still, it shouldn't do that.


Hey @hal,

How many variables do you have?

How much stuff is in them?

How large is this file?

~/Library/Application Support/Keyboard Maestro/Keyboard Maestro Variables.sqlite


Thanks for the response.

Variables: 0
File size: 20KB

I have a lot of macros, but they're not that sophisticated.

I didn't mention earlier, but it's KM v9.2.

thanks -- hs

Hey @hal,

Well, drat! I was hoping it'd be simple.

Time to escalate I reckon.

Contact Keyboard Maestro Support


@hal is your MacBook Air the Apple Silicone one?

I've got an M1 MacBook Pro running Big Sur and I was about to report problems related to KM...I'm not sure if it's Big Sur and/or the Apple Silicone. I get the hanging at times, but mostly I get a really delayed reaction with hotkeys (like I'll hit the hotkey and the macro will run maybe 5-10 seconds later).

My problems seem to get worse with time...i.e. I don't notice it in the mornings, but it gets bad later in the afternoon. I can "fix" it by going to Activity Manager to stop the KM engine then relaunch it.

Sorry to hijack your thread...I'm wondering if we're having the same/similar problem.

Hey: It is the new Apple M1 chip, yes. I have stopped the engine, too, or just rebooted. I’m not sure if it gets worse the long the system runs, but I’ll watch for that.


Not really having similar issues, as I do not use KMs statusbar option (but running an MBA M1 as well).

I do notice slow macro execution, typically the ones using scripts. Like this one, from Tyler (

Also running 9.2 (the Apple Silicon version).

I'm seeing the beach balls too. One thing that is very reproducible here is just accessing Safari in some way. For instance, Set Variable to Text with %FrontBrowserTitle% and both KM and Safari start beach balling…

I submitted this as a bug, and Peter Lewis helped me understand the problem. I use Snagit for screen captures, and it appears that Snagit is making clipboard access difficult. The problem happens with KM and with Facebook in Firefox, maybe elsewhere, too.

I reported the problem to Snagit and I hope they do something about it. Thanks for your replies!

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I've been monitoring other related threads but decided to post back to this one since other threads seem to be more focused on the KM Editor being slow.

I still don't have a good handle on what's happening exactly, but it does seem like some combination of Big Sur and/or a M1 Mac is causing KM to either hang or really delay execution, mainly when overall CPU usage is high.

I've never had this problem with my old laptop (an Intel MacBook Pro running Mojave).

And it's hard to reliably replicate this, but it does seem like if my computer is very active (e.g. I've got a lot of windows open in Chrome and/or converting videos in HandBrake, something (the OS?) is making it harder for KM to accept keyboard shortcuts.

e.g. I've got high CPU usage, then I try to trigger a KM shortcut to reposition a window or something like might take KM a few seconds to respond, or never (or maybe I'm not waiting long enough). Or maybe it's even causing KM to hang or crash, because if I go to Activity Monitor and quit KM, then relaunch it by launching the Editor, it'll work normally again.

When CPU usage is low, or I just rebooted my computer, so things are "fresh", everything (including KM) works great.

I talked with Peter Lewis and he discovered that the problem happened when Snagit put something on the clipboard. I worked with the Snagit folks, and they fixed the problem. So my problem is resolved.

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I use SnagIT all the time. Could you please be more specific about exactly that causes the problem, and which version of SnagIT it was fixed in.


Sure. I'm now using a test version of Snagit 2021 (they identified the problem, fixed it, and sent me this test version). The problem happened in v 2020, and in whatever version I had before that.
As noted, when I made a region capture, and it was automatically saved to the clipboard, KM, Mail and Firefox hung, and I couldn't do anything with them until I copied some simple text to the clipboard, clearing whatever problem the capture caused.


Hey @hal,

Way to hang in there and end up with a fix! That's always satisfying.


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