Bugs & Fixes: Safe Boot fixes iWork and iWeb crashes

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A new Apple Knowledge Base article confirms that iWork software (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers)—as well as iLife’s iWeb ’09—may crash when running under Mac OS X 10.6.2. Or, as Apple puts it, the applications may “unexpectedly quit.” The fix is easy: Just do a Safe Boot (or again, as Apple also phrases it, “Startup your Mac in Safe Mode”). To do this, start up your Mac while holding down the Shift key. When done, restart again as normal. That’s it.

If you are only casually familiar with a Safe Boot, you may be surprised to learn that this procedure will fix the iWork/iWeb problem. The main purpose of a Safe Boot is to allow your Mac to start up at times when a normal startup results in a crash. It accomplishes this feat by preventing certain software from loading during startup. For example, only “required kernel extensions” will load. Hopefully, by enforcing these restrictions, the startup crash is avoided and your Mac successfully boots. At this point, you can make whatever changes are needed to prevent the crash from returning when you next boot normally.

A Safe Boot, however, does even more—automatically performing a series of tasks that may, all by themselves, fix problems unrelated to startup crashes. One of these tasks is to move font cache files to the Trash, forcing the creation of new copies. This, as it turns out, is the critical action needed to fix the iWork/iWeb crashes.

Apple notes one final step you may need to do after rebooting normally: “If you use Font Book to manage your fonts, you will need to open Font Book” after restarting again following the Safe Boot. This restores Font Book library information. However, “the state of whether fonts are active or disabled will be lost. You will need to correct this manually.”

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