Mac wont boot

Mac wont boot DEFAULT

If your Mac starts up to an Apple logo or progress bar

Your Mac shows an Apple logo when it finds your local startup disk, then shows a progress bar as the macOS startup or installation process continues.

Apple logo with progress bar

Your Mac shows an Apple logo when it finds your startup disk, which is usually the disk built into your Mac. As startup continues, you should see a progress bar, with or without the Apple logo. This screen might alternate with a blank screen several times.

If you're installing macOS, the Apple logo or progress bar might persist for much longer than usual. As installation continues, the progress bar might move slowly and pause for long periods. That's why Apple recommends beginning macOS installation in the evening—so that it can complete overnight, if needed.

If your Mac is stuck on this screen

If you think you've waited long enough to know that your Mac is stuck on this screen, follow these steps.

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Mac for up to 10 seconds, until your Mac turns off. Then turn your Mac back on.
  2. If the issue persists, press and hold the power button until your Mac turns off. Then unplug all accessories from your Mac, including printers, drives, USB hubs, and other nonessential devices. You could have an issue with one or more of those devices or their cables. Then turn your Mac back on.
  3. If the issue persists, once again press and hold the power button until your Mac turns off. Then use Disk Utility to repair your startup disk.
    • If Disk Utility found no errors, reinstall macOS.
    • If Disk Utility found errors and repaired them, restart your Mac. If the issue returns after restarting, reinstall macOS.
  4. If you still need help, please contact Apple Support.

Published Date: 


Mac Won't Boot or Start? How to Fix Issues With a Mac Not Turning On

Got an iMac or MacBook Air that won't turn on, or maybe won't boot past the Apple logo? Don't worry. It's frustrating, but usually fixable.

Here are all the steps you need to get your Mac started again. Just work through them in order, unless your Mac won't boot after a failed operating system update. In that case, skip straight to step 8.

Where Is the Power Button on a MacBook?

Before you get started, make sure you know how to turn on your Mac.

On newer MacBook models, the power button is the unmarked black square on the top-right of the keyboard. This also doubles as the Touch ID sensor; you just need to briefly press your finger on it to power on your computer.

On an older MacBook, the power button is a clearly marked physical button. It's in the same location on the top-right of the keyboard, alongside the function keys.

You can find the circular power button on an iMac around the rear, bottom-left corner (when looking at your computer from the front). On a Mac Mini, the power button is on the rear, right corner.

1. Check If the Mac Has Power

First, check that your Mac has a power source. Yes, it's silly and obvious, but anyone who's done tech support knows that you have to get the obvious fixes out of the way first.

So if your MacBook won't boot on battery power, plug it in. The battery may be fully depleted, or could be malfunctioning.

If your MacBook won't charge or turn on with the power adapter connected, make sure it's connected properly and not damaged in any way. Try a different power cable, if you've got one around. Also, check that the port is clean. A buildup of dust can disrupt both USB-C ports and older MagSafe chargers.

And while you're at it, check your external hardware as well. Disconnect any peripherals like printers or graphics tablets, as these can sometimes be the cause. If you've got a Mac Mini, make sure the monitor is connected and powered properly.

2. Run a Power Cycle

The next step is to run a power cycle. This completely cuts all traces of power from the Mac and enables you to restart it from scratch.

  • On a recent MacBook, including the Apple silicon models, disconnect the power cable and hold the power button down for 10 seconds.
  • For an older MacBook, disconnect the power cable and remove the battery for at least 10 seconds.
  • If you're using a desktop Mac, disconnect the power cord for at least 10 seconds.

Now reconnect the power and try to restart your Mac. This move may be enough to spring it to life.

Holding the power button down like this is the equivalent to pressing a "reset" button or pulling the plug. It works on phones, ebook readers, and pretty much every other gadget that doesn't allow you to remove the battery, so it's a good tip to remember.

3. Boot in Safe Mode

When your MacBook won't boot, try to remember what you were doing the last time it was working. Were you installing apps, fiddling with fonts, or tweaking the system?

If your Mac shows signs of life when you power it on—if it won't go past the Apple logo or login screen, for example—then booting into Safe Mode may help you fix it.

On an M1 Mac, turn it off, then press and hold the power button until you see the Startup Options load. Now select your main drive, press the Shift key, and select Continue in Safe Mode.

On older Macs, press the power button and immediately press and hold the Shift key. Keep it held until you reach the login screen, then continue as normal.

Safe mode runs a bunch diagnostic tests, then boots a stripped-down version of macOS. This doesn't load your startup apps, custom fonts, extra hardware features, or anything else beyond the basics.

If your Mac boots successfully into Safe mode, you can start uninstalling any new apps, disabling startup items, removing hardware, or undoing any other recent changes that may cause the problem.

4. Reset SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) controls a host of basic Mac functions. It handles everything from the keyboard backlight, to battery management, to what happens when you press the power button.

Resetting the SMC is a good catch-all solution to many problems, including if your MacBook won't start or it won't wake up when you open the lid. There are a few ways to do it, depending on what model of Mac you've got.

You don't need to reset the SMC at all if you've got a Mac that uses Apple silicon.

Desktop Intel Macs

  1. Unplug the power cord and wait 15 seconds.
  2. Plug the cord back in and wait another five seconds.
  3. Restart your Mac.

2018 MacBook Pro + MacBooks With T2 Security Chip

  1. Press and hold the right Shift key, the left Option key (Alt), and the left Control key for seven seconds.
  2. While keeping these keys pressed, hold down the power button for another seven seconds.
  3. Release all the keys, wait a few seconds, then restart.

Intel MacBooks Without Removable Batteries

  1. Press and hold the left Shift, Option (Alt), and Control keys, plus the power button (or Touch ID button) for 10 seconds.
  2. Release all the keys, then restart your computer.

Older MacBooks With a Removable Battery

  1. Remove the battery.
  2. Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
  3. Reconnect the battery, then restart the MacBook.

5. Reset NVRAM or PRAM

NVRAM (non-volatile random access memory) is a special section of memory that stores certain settings a Mac needs to access quickly. Although problems with this are less likely to render your computer unbootable, resetting it as a precaution will do no harm.

Again, you don't need to do this on a Mac with Apple silicon.

Older Macs used PRAM (perimeter RAM) instead. The process for resetting either is the same:

  1. Press the power button, then immediately press and hold the Option (Alt), Command, P, and R keys.
  2. Keep the keys pressed for around 20 seconds, even if your Mac appears to restart.
  3. If your Mac plays a startup sound, release the keys after you hear it chime for the second time.
  4. If your Mac has the T2 Chip, release the keys after the Apple logo disappears for the second time.

When your Mac has restarted, you'll find that some basic settings like time zone or volume level might need adjusting.

6. Run Apple Diagnostics

Hopefully by now, your Mac is up and running again. If not, you can check for hardware issues by using the Apple Diagnostics tool. This will check for problems, then either suggest fixes or show your support options.

  1. Disconnect any unnecessary external devices, such as a printer. You can leave your keyboard, mouse, and monitor plugged in if needed.
  2. Press the power button.
  3. Press and hold the D key. Keep it pressed until you see a screen asking you to select your language.
  4. Pick a language, then Apple Diagnostics will begin running its tests. These take a few minutes to complete.

When done, you'll see the results of the test. Some will suggest quick fixes, then give you the chance to re-run the test. Others will generate reference codes which you can look up on the Apple Diagnostics page. It'll also show your Mac support options. If there are no issues, then the fault likely is not with your hardware.

On Macs released before June 2013, you'll get the Apple Hardware Test instead. You activate it in the same way, and the principle is the same. Select your language, then click Test to begin.

7. Use Recovery Mode Tools

All Macs have a special Recovery partition on the hard drive. This boots independently of the full macOS and gives you access to a suite of tools for repairing your computer.

To boot into Recovery:

  1. Press the power button.
  2. Press and hold the Command and R keys.
  3. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo.
  4. When it finishes booting, you'll see a new macOS Utilities menu.

The one to try first is Disk Utility. This is a version of the same tool that's available in macOS and enables you to scan and repair your hard drive or SSD. Select the drive and click First Aid to begin the repair process.

There are a few more tools available through the Utilities menu. These include the Terminal for more advanced users.

8. Reinstall macOS in Recovery Mode

If you've gotten this far, then it's likely that your problem is not hardware-related, nor is it a simple software fix. The best solution now is to restore a Time Machine backup, or reinstall macOS entirely.

You can do this through Recovery. Get started by pressing the power button and holding down the Command and R keys.

If you've got a recent Time Machine backup, you can restore that to see if it solves your problem. If not, choose Reinstall macOS from the menu.

When you choose to reinstall macOS, you're given the option to format your disk as part of the process. Don't select this if you simply want to repair your installation—there's no problem with reinstalling macOS on top of itself.

Follow the onscreen guide to complete the installation. You'll need to be connected to the internet, as the tool will download the operating system from scratch. If you can't get to this, you might need to boot your Mac from a USB drive.

Check for Other Warning Signs on Your Mac

All Macs, whether a high-end MacBook Pro or an older iMac, have great reputations for reliability. But they can still run into problems.

Although it's often relatively easy to fix a Mac that's not turning on, it's best to check for warning signs and patch up problems before they strike.


The 9 Best Free Mac Tools to Detect and Fix Common macOS Problems

Every Mac user should keep these tools around to fix the various common macOS problems that could arise.

Read Next

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Andy Betts (219 Articles Published)

Andy is a former print journalist and magazine editor who has been writing about technology for 15 years. In that time he has contributed to countless publications and produced copywriting work for large tech companies. He has also provided expert comment for the media and hosted panels at industry events.

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How to fix a Mac that won't start

Knowing how to fix a Mac that won't start is an essential skill for anyone who owns an Apple laptop or desktop computer. 

Macs are great pieces of kit: staples of many a creative setup, a key part of the home office, regular fixtures in our best laptops and best computers lists. But because macOS is so versatile, it can also break down in any number of ways — often when you least expect it. 

Getting your Mac fixed professionally can be pricey, particularly if you don't have an Apple Care agreement in place, but many problems you encounter will have a simple solution. 

Below, we'll run through a bunch of Mac diagnostics, plus any checks and changes you can perform to restore your machine to working order. So read on to find out how to fix a Mac that won't start.

How to fix a Mac that won't start: Mac folder with question mark

If booting your Mac brings up a flashing folder with a question mark, this usually indicates that your Mac can't locate the startup disk. It could also mean that there's no macOS on the particular startup disk you're trying to boot. 

There are two instances that may follow the question mark appearing: it appears briefly, then disappears and your Mac loads as usual, or the folder remains hanging on the screen and the Mac won't boot. 

However, it's not always a signal to panic, as the steps below may restore your Mac to working order.

1. Hold the power button down for 10 seconds to switch off your Mac.

2. Switch your Mac back on, and hold Command (⌘) + R.

3. This takes you to macOS Recovery, where you can select Disk Utility.

4.Locate your startup disk in the sidebar.

5. Click First Aid and then press Run. This will force your Mac to search for any errors in the Startup Disk.

How to fix a Mac that won't start: Mac stalls on a blue screen

The blue hanging screen is a common Mac problem, with several common culprits. Among them are: plugged-in peripherals that macOS isn't agreeing with; an issue with the software you're using; or a problem with your startup items. 

Either way, the good news is that your Mac is actually able to start, even if it seemingly can't get past this initial blue screen. Just follow the steps below.

1. Start by checking your MacBook, iMac or Mac mini for any peripherals, then disconnect them. If you're using an iMac, then the keyboard and mouse should remain connected, as you may need them to operate the device.

2. Switch off the Mac and wait for 30 seconds.

3. If the rebooted Mac appears OK, then the likely offender was a connected peripheral.

4. Now, using trial and error, reconnect each peripheral to determine which is causing the issue.

5. If your peripheral-free Mac is still unable to start, booting into Safe Mode is the next option. 

6. Restart the Mac and hold down the shift key when you see the Apple logo appear.

7. Provided the Mac boots into Safe Mode with no issues, restart the Mac as normal and consider the issue fixed. 

How to fix a Mac that won't start: Software needs updating

Sometimes the above tips may not fix a stubborn MacBook or iMac that refuses to turn on. This points to other problems, possibly with the operating system itself requiring an update. 

Login items are another frequent culprit of a Mac that won't boot. Fortunately they, too, can be managed from within Safe Mode, according to the method below:

If the culprit is an out-of-date OS, it can updated from within Safe Mode: 

1. Once in Safe Mode, click on the Apple menu (top left of the screen) and click About This Mac, then Software Update.

If the software is already up to date, you can then check the login/startup items, which are another common cause of startup issues.

2. Head to Apple Menu, System Preferences then Users & Groups. Select your user account and choose the Login Items tab.

3. Click each login item listed and remove it by clicking the minus symbol below the box of items. 

4. Hopefully this will have fixed any issues. Restart your Mac and re-add any items you removed before one by one. If the problem reappears, you'll be able to identify which one is causing the problem.

How to fix a Mac that won't start: MacBook still won't turn on

The previously mentioned issues are the most common, but there are many other problems that can cause a Mac to suffer startup woes. 

With many of us still working from home, it's likely that you're surrounded by heaps of cables and chargers. In which case, and despite it sounding obvious, it's worth double-checking that your charger is actually delivering power to the Mac. The same goes for extension leads and power sockets, all of which should be tested with other devices to rule them out of contention.

Failing this, it's worth having a look at the display itself. A Mac screen that goes black and unresponsive exclusively because of a screen issueis perhaps more of a concern. There are several common causes, but a quickfire way to try to solve it is to hold down the Shift+Control+Option+Power buttons for a few seconds, before releasing them all at once. This can jolt the screen back into action.

If none of these solutions work, it may be time to book your Mac in for a repair. More complex issues need to be dealt with by a trained technician, especially if they're the result of a more systemic macOS issue. 

More: The best MacBooks currently available

Luke is a Trainee News Writer at T3 and contributor to Tom's Guide, having graduated from the DMU/Channel 4 Journalism School with an MA in Investigative Journalism. Before switching careers, he worked for Mindshare WW. When not indoors messing around with gadgets, he's a disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors.


How to fix your Mac computer when it won't turn on

10 Things in Tech: Get the latest tech trends & innovations

Mac computers can sometimes run into issues resulting in them failing to turn on. Here's how to recover from this and get them up and running again.

Check the power 

The first step if your Mac won't turn on is to ensure that it has power. Plug it into its charger and, should that not work, try different outlets, power cables, and power bricks. 

If your Mac's battery is completely dead, it may need to remain plugged in for a few minutes before it will power on.

Make sure there isn't a display issue 

If your Mac has an external display, ensure that the display also has power. Does your Mac make any sounds when turned on? If so, that could indicate that it is the display that is the issue.

Make sure the display cables are connected securely. If there are any input switches or other peripherals between your display and your Mac, try bypassing them and connecting your display directly to your Mac; this could rule out the peripherals as the issue.

If possible, it is advisable to also try another display and other cables; this would help to rule out the display and the cables themselves as the issue.

Quick tip: Make sure that your external display is set to the correct input for the type of connection (i.e. HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA) you have between your monitor and your Mac.

Double-check hardware cables 

Loose hardware cables could be a culprit for your Mac not appearing to turn on. Ensure that cables connected to your Mac and any external displays are fitted securely. 

Also check the cables for signs of wear and tear or fraying. If they show signs, the issue could be the cables themselves and they may need replacing.

Do a power cycle 

Power cycling can sometimes bring Macs back to life. They are performed in different ways for different types of Macs, but all types need 10 seconds or more between cutting the power and rebooting.

If you have a M1 Mac or a MacBook, the power button must be held down for 10 seconds. You may hear an audible click after that time, but it's nothing to worry about and is just the sound of the power being cut.

If you have a Mac desktop, unplugging it and letting it sit for at least 10 seconds is how you cut the power.

Boot in Safe Mode 

Booting into Safe Mode is a way to rule out software or driver issues causing your Mac to not function. 

How to start your Mac computer in 'Safe Mode,' to diagnose problems and track down troublesome programs

On an Intel based Mac, this is accomplished by powering on your Mac and then immediately pressing and holding the Shift key; once the login screen has appeared, you may release the Shift key.

On a M1 Mac, Safe Mode is accessed by pressing and holding the power button until the startup options window appears. Once that happens, select a startup disk and then press and hold the Shift key, click Continue in Safe Mode, and then release the Shift key.

To leave Safe Mode, restart your Mac normally and don't press any keys during startup.

Try Recovery Mode 

Recovery Mode can be used to repair your hard drive (or solid-state drive), reinstall the macOS operating system from scratch, restore files from Time Machine, and more.

To enter Recovery Mode, turn on your Mac and immediately press one of the three key combinations: 

  • Command + R. This starts up Recovery Mode.
  • Option + Command + R. This combination starts up Recovery Mode primed to install the latest version of macOS that is compatible with your device.
  • Option + Shift + Command + R. This combination starts up Recovery Mode configured to reinstall the version of macOS that your system originally came with or the closest version still available.

If you encounter a lock icon, enter your Mac's password. In the event that you have multiple volumes on your disk, you will need to select the volume which you intend to recover and then press Next.

On M1 Mac systems, Recovery Mode must be entered by pressing the power button until Loading startup options appear. From there, you can select the recovery option from above as desired.

Reset SMC

On Mac computers that do not have an M1 chip, resetting the SMC — System Management Controller — is another option for troubleshooting.

On a MacBook with a T2 Security chip

1. Power off your MacBook.

2. Unplug and reconnect it from power.

3. Press Shift + Control + Option for seven seconds, then also press down the power button as well.

4. Hold all four keys for seven additional seconds and then release them.

5. Wait an additional few seconds and then restart your MacBook.

On a Mac desktop with a T2 Security chip

1. Shut down your Mac and unplug its power cord.

2. Wait 15 seconds before plugging the power cord back into your Mac.

3. Wait 5 seconds, then turn your Mac back on by pressing the power button.

Quick tip: Find out if your Apple product has a T2 Security chip by checking the Apple official website and seeing if your model is listed.

On a MacBook with a non-removable battery and without a T2 Security chip

1. Power off your MacBook.

2. Press and hold Shift + Control + Option and the power button for 10 seconds.

3. Release all keys and power on your MacBook using the power button.

On a Mac desktop without a T2 Security chip

1. Power off the system.

2. Unplug your Mac's power cord.

3. Wait 15 seconds before plugging the power cord back in.

4. After an additional five seconds, press the power button to power on your Mac.

Make an appointment with the Genius Bar

If all else fails, it may be time to take your Mac to Apple for professional assistance. 

You can schedule an appointment with the Apple Genius bar by visiting, selecting your product, and following the rest of our Genius bar guide.


Boot mac wont

MacBook with its screen turned off

Macs aren’t immune to problems. Your Mac may sometimes not respond to the Power button at all, or macOS might crash or fail to start up properly. Here’s what to do if your Mac won’t turn on.

The first steps here assume your Mac just isn’t responding when you press its power button. If it’s responding but failing to boot up normally, scroll down to the Recovery Mode sections.

Ensure It Has Power

Ensure your Mac is plugged into a power source. Try swapping out the charger or power cable, or using a different power outlet. The charger itself may be damaged. If you’re using a MacBook and its battery is completely dead, you may need to wait a few moments after plugging it in before turning it on. It won’t necessarily boot immediately the moment after you plug it in.

Old and broken Apple Mac charger

Check the Hardware

Assuming you’re using a Mac desktop, check that all its cables are correctly seated. For example, if it’s a Mac Mini, ensure the video-out cable is connected securely to both the Mac Mini itself and the display. Try reseating all the cables—unplug them and then plug them back in—to ensure they’re securely connected.

If you’ve recently opened up your Mac and fiddled with its hardware, that could have caused the problem. For example, if you installed RAM or swapped out a hard drive, you may want to try swapping back in the old hardware or just ensuring those components are securely seated in your Mac.

If all else fails, try unplugging all unnecessary peripherals before trying to boot your Mac.

Charger plugged into a MacBook's USB-C port

Perform a Power-Cycle

If your Mac is stuck in a frozen state and not responding to power button presses, you can fix it by cutting the power to it and forcing it to restart.

On a modern MacBook without a removable battery, press the Power button and hold it down for ten seconds. If your Mac is running, this will forcibly cut the power to it and force it to restart.

With Mac desktops (iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro), unplug the power cable, leave it unplugged for ten seconds, and then plug it back in.

Finally, if you have an older Mac with a removable battery, shut it down, unplug it, remove the battery, wait ten seconds, and then reinsert it.

RELATED:How to Power Cycle Your Gadgets To Fix Freezes and Other Problems

Reset the System Management Controller Firmware

In some cases, you may need to reset the system management controller (SMC) firmware on your Mac. This is the last thing you should try if your Mac isn’t responding to power button presses at all.

On current MacBooks without a removable battery, plug in the power cable. Press the Shift+Control+Option keys at the left side of the keyboard and the Power button, and hold them all down. Release all four buttons at the same time, and then press the Power button to turn the Mac on.

Mac desktops don’t have batteries, so unplug the Mac’s power cord and leave it unplugged for fifteen seconds. Plug it back in, wait five more seconds, and then press the Power button to turn the Mac back on.

With older MacBooks with a removable battery, unplug the Mac from its power source and remove the battery. Press the Power button and hold it down for five seconds. Release the Power button, reinsert the battery, plug in the Mac, and press the Power button to turn it back on.

MacBook that won't turn on

Use Disk Utility From Recovery Mode

Assuming your Mac is actually booting up but macOS isn’t loading properly, there’s likely a software problem. Your Mac’s disks may be corrupted, and you can fix this from recovery mode.

To access recovery mode, boot your Mac up. Press and hold the Command + R keys during the boot-up process. You should try to press these immediately after you hear the chime sound. Your Mac should boot to recovery mode. If it doesn’t, you probably didn’t press the keys soon enough—restart your Mac and try again.

Click the “Disk Utility” option, click over to the First Aid tab, and try repairing your Mac’s disk. The Disk Utility performs an “fsck” (file system check) operation, so you don’t need to run the fsck command manually.

RELATED:8 Mac System Features You Can Access in Recovery Mode

Restore From Recovery Mode

If the Disk Utility didn’t work, you can reinstall macOS on your Mac.

Use the “Reinstall macOS” option in Recovery Mode to have your Mac automatically download the latest macOS installation files and reinstall its operating system. You can also restore from a Time Machine backup. If your Mac operating system is damaged, this will replace the damaged software with a fresh, undamaged operating system.

RELATED:How to Wipe Your Mac and Reinstall macOS from Scratch

If nothing here worked—if your Mac just won’t turn on at all no matter how many times you press its Power button, if recovery mode isn’t functional, or if macOS doesn’t load properly even after you reinstall it from Recovery Mode—your Mac likely has a hardware problem.

Assuming it’s under warranty, you should contact Apple or take it to a local Apple Store to have them fix the problem for you. Even if you don’t have a warranty, you may want to take it to an Apple Store or another place Apple computers are repaired and have them attempt to fix it.

RELATED:So Your Mac Isn't Getting macOS Updates, Now What?

How to Fix a Mac not Booting up (Part I)

How To Fix a Mac Stuck On Apple Logo Problem

It’s 10 minutes before an important Zoom meeting and I’m texting my team on Slack saying “my MacBook Pro won’t boot past Apple logo.” Real story, lots of frustration. Little did I know it was possible to fix the problem in less than 10 minutes and show up for my meeting in time. Hopefully, this article will help you avoid my mistake. Let’s dive right in.

Why iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro won’t boot past Apple logo

If you’re trying to turn on your Mac and it just doesn’t work, it’s very easy to start panicking. Because how can you fix MacBook stuck on Apple logo if it’s just a black screen? Well, you can. Before we give you the instructions, let’s briefly outline the main reasons why the problem happens in the first place:

  • Third-party peripherals. The first thing you should do when there’s a booting problem is to disconnect everything from your Mac except power and internet. A printer, mouse, USB C adapter — any of these could be the reason why your Mac is stuck on Apple logo.
  • Post-update issues. If you’ve been rebooting your Mac after a major macOS update, the chances are the update is the problem. Maybe some of your apps or drives are incompatible with the new system and it prevents your Mac from booting normally.
  • Running low on memory or storage. Maybe your Mac gives you a signal — it’s time to run a cleanup. We’ll talk about how to do that in a moment.
  • Power button issue. Normally, you should shut down or restart your Mac by selecting the option in the Apple menu. Some people just choose to press the power button instead. And that’s wrong! The power button method works for force restart and if you misuse it too often, it could cause booting problems.


Fix MacBook stuck on Apple logo: Step-by-step guide

While it’s pretty hard to tell exactly what causes Mac freezing on startup, there are things you can do to fix it. Below we describe all the troubleshooting methods you should try one by one. At some point, one of them will work for you and your Mac will start up all the way.

Tip: No need to read through all the steps after you’ve already fixed the problem, but — pretty please! read step 8 to learn how to keep your data protected, just in case a similar problem occurs in the future.

1. Give it some time

Sometimes, it takes your Mac a few seconds to boot. Sometimes, minutes. Sometimes, hours. For instance, if you’ve been installing a macOS upgrade, it takes quite a while until your Mac restarts after completing the installation. This is why Apple recommends running major updates in the evening, after you’ve finished your work. In such cases, you don’t need to be worried about your Mac stuck on Apple logo — it’s not stuck at all, it just needs some time.

2. Force restart Mac

If you’ve given it some time and nothing happened —the progress bar doesn’t seem to be moving —it’s time to force restart your Mac. Press and hold the power button for about 10 seconds until your Mac turns off. Wait a few seconds and press the power button again to reboot your Mac.

3. Boot in Safe Mode

Rebooting your Mac in Safe Mode helps fix the problem in case there are some file system issues or your Mac is running low on disk space. So if Safe Mode has worked for you, it’s super important that you investigate those issues after you reboot your Mac.

Make sure you have at least 10GB of free storage on your disk — you can check it through iStat Menus with a click. If you don’t have enough disk space, run a quick cleanup with CleanMyMac X, and your Mac will be back on track instantly.

cleanup cleanmymac

Here’s how to boot your Mac in Safe Mode:

  1. Press and hold the power button to turn off your Mac
  2. Wait a few seconds, then press the power button and press and hold Shift at the same time
  3. Once you see the login screen, release Shift.
Note that it may take a while until your Mac reboots in Safe Mode (usually a bit longer than a regular reboot).


PRAM and NVRAM have to do with memory. It includes sound volume, display resolution, time zone, and more. If there’s anything wrong with the memory settings on your Mac, it could cause the Mac won’t load past Apple logo problem. Here’s how to reset PRAM/NVRAM settings:

  1. Turn off your Mac
  2. Press and hold Command + Option + P + R until you hear the startup sound
  3. Let go of the keys and try rebooting your Mac again
  4. If your Mac reboots successfully, don’t forget to adjust your sound and display preferences after they’ve been reset to defaults.

display settings mac

5. Reset SMC

Check whether your problem has anything to do with SMC —the System Management Controller that is responsible for things like power, fans, and battery.

Here’s how to reset SMC for Macs with a nonremovable battery (MacBook Air/Pro released in 2009 or later):

  1. Press and hold the power button to turn off your Mac
  2. Press and hold Command + Shift + Control for about 10 seconds
  3. Press and hold Command + Shift + Control + power button for another 10 seconds
  4. After a few seconds, turn on your Mac.

Here’s how to reset SMC for Macs with a removable battery (iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Air/Pro released before 2009):

  1. If Mac Mini or iMac won’t boot past Apple logo, turn it off and remove the battery
  2. Press and hold the power button for about 5 seconds and then reinstall the battery
  3. Turn on your Mac by pressing the power button.

6. Run First Aid on your disk in Recovery Mode

By now, we’ve figured out you’re most likely dealing with a hardware issue. It’s possible your disk permissions are broken or there’s some other problem with your disk. Let’s try to fix it:

  1. Press the power button, and then press Command + R at the same time to enter Recovery Mode
  2. Apple logo will pop up followed by the macOS Utilities window
  3. Click on Disk Utility and select your main drive
  4. Then click on First Aid and confirm your action in the new dialog window.

first aid mac

7.Run Apple Diagnostics

If your Mac still won’t boot normally, you should use the Apple Diagnostics tool to scan it for other hardware problems. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Unplug everything from your Mac (except power and internet)
  2. Press and hold the power button to turn off your Mac
  3. Turn it back on, and then press and hold the D key until you see a choose-your-language screen
  4. Then, you’ll see the progress bar saying “Checking your Mac”
  5. Once it’s completed, you’ll see the list of issues with error codes
  6. Take a photo so you can investigate those issues later and reboot your computer.

8.Recover lost data and take steps to prevent it in the future

Hopefully, the Mac freezing on startup problem doesn’t damage any files stored on your Mac. But even if it happens, there’s no need to worry. Disk Drill will bring it all back.

Disk Drill is a great Mac utility that can recover any files you’ve accidentally deleted or lost due to software or hardware issues. And not only that! It cleans up your drive, finds duplicates, extracts data from your Time Machine backups, and more.

disk drill

Here’s how to recover deleted or lost data with Disk Drill:

  1. Open the app and click on Storage Devices under Data Recovery in the left sidebar
  2. Select your drive > Search for lost data
  3. Once the scan has completed, click on Recover all or Review found items (if you want to look through them before recovering).

To prevent data loss in the future, back up those files that you really care about with the Get Backup Pro app. Unlike Time Machine, it doesn’t ask you to back up the whole drive and doesn’t eat up a huge chunk of your storage space by creating backup copies.

And if it’s too late to worry about disk space (because you’re already running low on it), get CleanMyMac X. In fact, get CleanMyMac X in any case. It’s a superb Mac cleaner that removes all the junk, system files, and duplicates from your drive, eventually helping you avoid issues like “MacBook Pro stuck on Apple logo and spinning wheel.”

cleanmymac X


Mac startup issues can be caused by many things. So if you say “my Mac Mini won’t boot past Apple logo,” “my MacBook Air is stuck on startup screen,” or “my iMac will not boot past Apple logo,” — honestly, no one can tell you why it happens. That being said, Apple computers are very stable and even if these issues happen, the chances are you’ll fix them yourself.

CleanMyMac X, Disk Drill, iStat Menus, and Get Backup Pro can help you ensure issues like these happen as rarely as possible — if at all. All these apps are available with a Setapp subscription and free during a 7-day trial so you can try them all out and see for yourself.


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