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[Finale] Mac version’s unique error “Unhandled exception caught”

One of the problems with Finale that I've been concerned about for some time is an issue that rarely appears only in the Mac version, where an “Unhandled exception caught” message appears and Finale stops launching.

This message seems to be an idiomatic phrase, and if you search for it, it may also appear in the Windows version of other software. It is difficult to translate it into Japanese, but the literal translation is “An unprocessed abnormality has been confirmed”, while the paraphrased translation is “An error of unknown cause has occurred”. In any case, the error message itself is very vague and does not suggest any specific symptoms or solutions.

This is a problem that has been occurring in Finale for at least 7 or 8 years, and we still receive inquiries several times a year, but unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to resolve this issue. At least Finale Technical Support in Japan has not been able to fundamentally resolve the issue.

This difficult situation seems to be similar at MakeMusic, Inc., the developer of Finale, which sells the English and Spanish versions of Finale directly, but it has become clear through repeated discussions with them about this issue. What we found is that the three most likely causes are Mac user account-related, iCloud-related, and audio-related.

(1) Mac user account-related

Mac has a convenient backup function called TimeMachine, which allows you to transfer the entire contents of your old Mac including user accounts to the new Mac. If you continue to use a user account on multiple Macs with TimeMachine for a long time, it seems possible that you may experience some problems with the software startup, including this “Unhandled exception caught” problem.

This is just speculation at this point, but if Finale fails to launch with an “Unhandled exception caught” error, after creating a new user account and logging in, in many cases Finale starts launching. Given this fact, I suppose this is probably a reasonable view. 

In this case, the quickest solution is to give up on using Finale with the original user account and use a new one, but if you need to solve it with the original user account, It seems that reinstalling macOS* may be one of the solutions. This is a bit tedious, but it might be worth a try.

*Apple's website states that “Reinstalling macOS doesn't remove your personal data” but since that’s a machine, there is no guarantee that some kind of accident will not occur during reinstallation. We recommend that you always back up any truly important data before proceeding.

Additionally, issues that appear to be caused by user accounts are sometimes seen in the Windows version of Finale, and Finale Technical Support has also published the following FAQ article. One thing to keep in mind in case of trouble is that user accounts can become corrupted for some reason.

▼Windows: How to create a local user account or administrator account

(2) iCloud-related

It has also been pointed out that the “Unhandled exception caught” issue is related to iCloud. If it is not absolutely necessary, it seems safe to turn off the iCloud “Desktop” folder and “Documents” folder.

If you turn this off, the following warning will be displayed. You may be a little surprised to see that the moment you follow the workflow and click the “Turn Off” button, the files saved on your desktop and document folder will disappear, as the warning says.

However, as you can see if you read the warning carefully, files deleted locally are actually moved to iCloud Drive.

Folders on iCloud Drive can be accessed from the Finder just like local folders, so you can manually move these files back to your local folders if necessary.

(The screenshot below shows how files moved to the iCloud Drive > Documents > Documents - (username) folder are moved to the local Documents folder.)

Music apps often install large amounts of data in the Documents folder, so if you turn on iCloud's “Desktop” folder and “Documents” folder, you can easily use up your free storage and start receiving annoying messages. In order to avoid this, it may be best to turn this off in any case.

(3) Audio-related

When Finale crashes with an “Unhandled exception caught” message, the crash report may contain a description which may relate audio processing malfunction.

In this case, troubleshooting options include unplugging the audio device, and finding and deleting old audio drivers that have not been recently updated due to discontinuation of development etc.

Although I haven’t seen any success with the Mac version of Finale yet, on the Windows version of Finale there are many cases where Finale does not start due to a conflict with the audio driver, and the problems are resolved by identifying and deleting it. I think this measure could work with the Mac version of Finale as well.

If a conflict with an audio device is thought to be the cause, it often seems to occur all of sudden, even though it has been working normally before. The key to resolving the issue is to check if there has been a change just before it happened.

It is not easy to identify this change, but if you use Finale on a daily basis, you may be able to resolve the issue by using Time Machine to return the macOS environment to the state before the problem occurred. Alternatively, as mentioned above, reinstalling macOS may be one solution.


Troubleshooting for the “Unhandled exception caught” error based on the above is summarized in the official FAQ article for the Japanese version of Finale.

▼Unable to start Finale (e.g. “Unhandled exception caught” error occurs: Mac)

In addition, when troubleshooting problems on a computer, including software, the final method is to reset the computer to its factory settings.

▼Erase your Mac and reset it to factory settings (Apple website)

▼A thorough explanation of how to initialize, refresh, and restore a Windows PC! (Microsoft website)

In order to make such drastic troubleshooting a little easier in the event of an emergency, I think it’s a good manner to always back up all your created files to another storage such as the cloud, or at least back them up to Time Machine at the end of each day.



The finale intensive course is being held in parallel on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings. Click on the banner below for details. (Lecture is given in Japanese. ) 

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