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MacBook won’t boot up? Here’s how to fix the problem

It’s an unhappy day when you go to turn your MacBook on after an update or blissful recharging sleep — and something goes wrong. Maybe nothing happens at all. Maybe your Mac tries to turn on but doesn’t get to the login screen without shutting down again.

If this happens, you no doubt want to fix the problem as soon as possible. Taking your Mac into an Apple Store is always an option, but a repair appointment can take time and money. We suggest trying these common solutions first. These tips will work for any MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro.

Make sure it isn’t a screen issue

Macbook Air (2018) Review

Is your MacBook making noise when you turn it on? That is, can you hear it humming, chiming as it starts up, or turning on the fan as it works? Are the lights on the keyboard turning on? These are all signs that your Mac is starting up as expected, but there’s something wrong with your screen.

The good news is that a screen issue is obvious, and it probably hasn’t affected your data at all. The bad news is that you can’t really fix a MacBook screen on your own. You can try hooking up your Mac to an external display if you desperately need to use it, but in the meantime, you should call an Apple Store and arrange an appointment to see if the display can be fixed or replaced.

Check for electrical issues

MacBook Charging Cable

If something is wrong with your MacBook’s power, it may not have enough charge to turn on after the battery dies. These problems are relatively easy to diagnose. First, try switching to different outlets to see if your current outlet is faulty.

Second, examine your power cord and adapter for any signs of damage. Even if it looks all right, try to find a compatible MacBook charger and switch out your charger for this model to see if it works. If that fixes the problem, it means your charging cable has failed, and you will need to replace it.

You can also check to see if any other hardware connections are causing issues. Sometimes peripheral devices (particularly those not made by Apple) can cause power problems that prevent MacBooks from fully booting up. Remove all third-party mice, drives, and other accessories. Then connect your MacBook to the charging cable, and then see if it will turn on properly. If it works, one of your accessories probably may not compatible with the current version of MacOS.

Reboot your Mac with a power cycle

Macbook Air (2018) Review

You can also power cycle your Mac to try and clear up any internal inconsistencies that may be preventing proper startup. This works if your Mac at least tries to turn on, but it may not be effective on a totally dead MacBook.

Before you begin, unplug anything attached to your MacBook. Then simply hold down your MacBook power button and count for ten seconds. Then release, and press the power button as you normally would to turn the Mac on. This may fix your problem or at least allow you to explore the additional options below.

Start up in Safe Boot

If your MacBook can start booting before shutting down, then there’s a chance you can make it work by going into Safe Boot. This will start your Mac with only basic functionality, which can often get your Mac going and allow you to perform simple tasks. To initiate Safe Boot, start up your Mac and hold down the Shift key as it powers on.

If this works, try shutting down and starting your Mac normally: A Safe Boot can sometimes reset things enough to get everything operating correctly again.

If Safe Boot doesn’t work, try an alternative: Press the D key when powering on, which will run a diagnostic test that can provide you with valuable information about what exactly is happening to your MacBook.


restore a Mac to its factory settings

SMC stands for System Management Controller, which manages many important hardware settings on your Mac. PRAM/NVRAM stands for Parameter/Non-Volatile Random Access Memory, and stores settings data for many Mac startup procedures.

Resetting both of these can fix issues that have to do with your Macbook’s battery, fans, and power, among other features. Doing so often helps fix problems with MacBooks booting up poorly. We have a guide here that can walk you through the steps, but don’t worry: The process is quite easy and should only take a few minutes to complete.

Restore MacOS in Recovery Mode

MacOS Utilities

MacOS’ Recovery Mode can help fix a variety of problems. Some of the issues the tool can fix involve things like Time Machine issues, repairing or wiping a hard disk, or getting online help from apple. The tool can also help you overwrite your MacOS to a new version while still retaining your data. 

This gives you the benefit of wiping everything and starting again without backing up essential items. Doing this can help fix problems that can impede MacOS’s successful operation, including improper loading. 

Our guide to resetting MacOS is a great place to start. In this comprehensive guide, we deal with everything from factory resetting your Mac completely, to reinstalling your original operating system, to completely erasing personal data on your computer. We cover your options for overwriting installations, too. 

To get started, restart your Mac and hold down the Command and R keys until a menu appears. Next, choose Reinstall MacOS, and the tool will walk you through the next steps.

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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.

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Nothing causes that sinking feeling like when you boot up your MacBook Pro, and nothing happens. It will usually occur when you have a lot of studying to do, a deadline looming, or an important email to send. Aren’t those scenarios when things like that happen? Of course, they are. Apple devices are known for being very reliable (reasonably, but their intentional designs like keyboards and others depending on model/release, ensure less longevity, so you buy a new one, but we won’t go there in this article). No matter the reputation, every device has issues at one point or another. In the case of macOS laptops, here is what to do if your MacBook Pro won’t turn on.

What to Do if Your MacBook Pro Won’t Turn On

This guide assumes you have not made any recent changes to your MacBook Pro, such as adding or replacing RAM or performed any significant hardware modification.

What to do if your MacBook Pro won’t turn on2

1. Check for Black/Blank Screen

When you initially tried to turn on your MacBook Pro, did it not turn on at all, or did the screen stay black? A black screen is a regular problem for laptops and is not restricted to Apple. Before you do anything else, first make sure you didn’t just accidentally set the brightness to zero. There are two keys along the top of the keyboard that have sun icons on them. One is to darken the display, and one is to brighten it. Although most laptops won’t go black with this setting, it stills needs confirmed. If the brightness does not affect the black screen, move on. Turn off the laptop, remove all peripherals you have attached, and then turn it on again while listening carefully.

Do you hear any whirring? Any beeps? Fan noises? If you hear something but see nothing, it may be the screen and not the laptop. If you hear nothing, you need to troubleshoot further.

2. Boot to Recovery Mode

If you hear noises and receive feedback while performing actions, but the screen is black, you can try to boot the MacBook in Recovery Mode to repair any issues it’s having. To boot in Recovery Mode, hold down the power button. If this action works, you should see the macOS utility screen.

If Recovery Mode was successful, reboot your Macbook, and it should start normally. If not, continue reading; there may be other issues.

3. Check Power Connections

Plug your MacBook Pro charger into the laptop and the wall socket. Verify both connections are tight. Ensure the power cord isn’t damaged. If nothing happens, try a different wall socket or check the one you’re using with a different device.

If the outlet works, check the power cord or adapter. If you’re fortunate enough to have a spare of either, try them. If you can borrow a spare for five minutes, do that. But first, promise not to break it because it is worth its weight in gold. If the laptop still won’t work with a different charger, continue troubleshooting.

Note: The charger used should match the specs of the OEM charger for your specific model. There are a couple different chargers at the least. For instance, the Mid-2015 MacBook Pro uses an 85-watt charger.

Make sure that you’re using Apple-branded cables if possible. Some third-party charging cables do not have the correct amperage needed to power your device properly, or the wires are brittle inside and could be damaged. Using the cable and charging block that came with your device may be the trick to getting your computer turned on.

4. Power Cycle

The next step involves performing a complete power cycle of your MacBook Pro. While it sounds involved, it is very straightforward. All you need to do is hold down the power button for a minimum of ten seconds. This action cuts all power to the laptop and is the equivalent of removing the battery. You may hear a noise as you do this.

Once you have held the power button down, leave it a few seconds and then press it again to start the MacBook Pro as normal. If you’re fortunate, it will boot successfully. If not, the MacBook Pro will still fail to start, and you’ll need to keep reading.

5. Reset SMC

The SMC is the System Management Controller. It manages all the low-level functions of the Macbook Pro, such as the power button, display, battery, fans, motion sensing, keyboard, indicator lights, and other similar elements. Resetting the SMC is usually left until last as it resets many settings back to their defaults. If you have gotten this far without a successful boot, try resetting the SMC on your MacBook Pro.

  1. Unplug the laptop from the charger and peripherals.
  2. Hold down “Shift + Control + Option” and the “power” button for ten seconds.
  3. Let go of all keys and reconnect the charger.
  4. Press the “power” button to boot your laptop.

If an SMC error was causing the MacBook Pro not to boot, it should now boot normally. You will have to reconfigure some hardware settings once it successfully starts up, but it is a small price to pay for getting your laptop working again. This setback is undoubtedly better than professional maintenance that takes time, and costs money.

6. Remove the Battery

If you’re using an older MacBook Pro, it may have a removable battery. Check underneath to see if the battery is removable or not. You should see a small locking clip next to the battery if it’s comes out. To remove the batter, do the folliwoing:

  1. Undo the locking clip underneath your MacBook Pro.
  2. Lift the plastic flap to expose the battery.
  3. Pull the small tab to release the battery and remove it.
  4. Reverse the process to reinsert or replace the battery, or replace the flap and clip.

A newer MacBook Pro will not have a removable battery, so this procedure will not be relevant if you have a newer machine.

7. Unplug Your Accessories

It may sound strange, but if your MacBook is having trouble booting up properly, it’s worth trying to boot it with everything unplugged. Any USB devices, printers, or other connections should be temporarily unplugged. Once done, try to reboot your MacBook by pressing and holding the power button.

If your MacBook Pro still won’t turn on, there is very little you can do at this point without voiding the warranty. It may be better to find your nearest Apple Store and let one of the technicians take a look. What it can hopefully accomplish is get your laptop working again without affecting the warranty or potentially making things worse!

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?


Wont boot macbook

MacBook won't turn on? 10 ways to fix it - IT-Tech Online

1. Symptoms of MacBook not turning on

When you press the Power button or Touch ID button on your Mac, if you don’t see any images, video, or visuals of any sort on your display, if you don’t hear a startup chime, and if you don’t hear any fan or spinning drive noise, then most likely your MacBook is not turning on. In other words, your Mac has no sign of power at all.

If your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro won’t turn on after a liquid spill, see our article Spilled water on a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, what to do now?

If your MacBook won’t start up properly, you only see a question mark folder flashing in the centre of your MacBook screen, see our article How to fix the Mac Question Mark Folder issues

If your computer only works with the adapter plugged in, you have a MacBook not charging issue. Check out our article 12 Ways to fix MacBook battery not charging issue

2. Why is your MacBook not turning on?

A MacBook consists of the following components: a screen, keyboard, touchpad, battery, SSD drive and a logic board. Any of these components gone wrong could cause your MacBook won’t turn on.

From the moment you press the power button or Touch ID button, to the MacBook displaying the image on the screen, your MacBook has gone through a series of complicated power-on events. The System Management Controller (SMC) governs the entire MacBook power-on process.

Once the SMC detects that you have pressed the power button, the SMC will co-operate with the Intel chipset to create a series of “mini power supplies” of different voltages (e.g. 5V, 3.3V, 1.2V, 1.8V, etc.) in a precisely defined sequence. These “mini power supplies” will power your Mac’s memory, hard drive, CPU, Wifi, keyboard, trackpad and screen.

If the SMC has not received power, or failed to function, or failed to create the required “mini power supplies”, your MacBook won’t turn on.

For deeper technical details of the MacBook power-on process, see our article How does my MacBook power on?

3. Fix Mac not turning on problem step-by-step

There are lots of reasons why your Mac won’t turn on. We’ll run through various checks, tips and tactics to get your Mac back to work again. In the last section, we will show you how professionals repair Mac computers in the workshop and the resources and equipment used.

3.1 Check for any faulty external devices

If your Mac detects the accessories attached to it have short circuits or draw an unusual amount of current from the Mac, the SMC will cut short the power-on process. This is a safety measure to protect your Mac. You can easily rule out if any device is the culprit.

Unplug all the accessories attached to your Mac including printer cable, USB hub, external USB hard drive, HDMI cable, and Mini display cable, even your Magsafe or USB-C charger. In other words, you just let your Mac stand alone. It could be one of your peripherals causing your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air not turning on.

Occasionally, this simple step would fix the “Mac doesn’t turn on" problem.

3.2 Reset the SMC or T2 chip

The SMC is responsible for receiving your action (press power button) then starts and manages the entire power-on process. You may consider the SMC as a tiny computer running a tiny operating system and the software sometimes could go wrong. If this happens to your MacBook, you need to reset the SMC.

You will NOT lose any data in your hard drive by resetting the SMC.

Follow these steps to reset the SMC on a MacBook with non-removable battery:

  1. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to ensure your Mac returns to its OFF state.
  2. Connect the MagSafe charger; hold Shift-Control-Option on the left-hand side keyboard and the power button simultaneously for 10 seconds.
  3. Release all the keys.
  4. Press the power button to turn on your Mac. Now you have successfully reset the SMC.

Apple integrated the SMC chip into the Apple T2 Security chip starting from 2018. Follow these steps to reset a MacBook with a T2 chip:

  1. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to ensure your Mac returns to its OFF state.
  2. Press and hold these 3 keys for 7 seconds: Control, Option keys on the left-hand side and Shift key on the right-hand side.
  3. Then press and hold the power button as well. Now keep holding all four keys for another 7 seconds, and then release all four keys at the same time.
  4. Wait a few seconds, and then press the power button to turn on your Mac.

Resetting the SMC on MacBooks with removable-batteries is simple.

  1. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to ensure your Mac returns to its OFF state.
  2. Remove the power adaptor and the battery from the MacBook.
  3. Hold the power button key for 5 seconds to discharge any remaining electric energy in the capacitors of the SMC circuit. Alternatively, you can wait for a few minutes until the capacitors discharge naturally.
  4. Re-install the battery back to your MacBook. Now you have successfully reset the SMC.

If SMC reset can’t fix the problem, go on to the next step.

3.3 Check for a flat battery

If you haven’t used your MacBook for a long period of time or you have an aged or a swollen battery shown as below, the battery could have been completely discharged, causing your MacBook not to turn on.

MacBook won't turne on - caused by a flat battery

The pre-2012 MacBook models have a battery check button and a battery status indicator on the right-hand side of the case. Push this button. If you don’t see any light, then you have a flat battery.

You need to make sure your MacBook is receiving power from either the MagSafe or USB-C charger. Check if the power cable is undamaged and securely plugged into your Mac and a working electrical outlet. If you’re not sure about the outlet, test it with a lamp or a mobile phone charger.

Use the correct power adapter for your MacBook model to charge the MacBook for about 5 minutes. If possible, try to use the original power adapter that came with your Mac.

If the flat battery causes your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro not turning on, most Macs will power on automatically if you connect a working charger to it. However, there are some models of MacBooks that require a minimum battery power before the Mac can turn on. So wait for 5 minutes. Let your charger top up the battery above the minimum level.

If you can see a green or orange light on the MagSafe connector, it means both your charger and the SMC in your MacBook are working now. The SMC has successfully communicated with your charger and then turned on the light. You may try another charger if you don’t have a light on the connector.

After 5 minutes, press the power button to see if your MacBook can turn on. If your Mac still won’t turn on, or if you don’t have a light on the MagSafe connector, go on to the next step.

3.4 Perform a power cycle

A MacBook has three major states: Off, Sleep and On. Performing a power cycle means you force the MacBook return to Off state.

In a pre-2013 MacBook Pro, there is a sleep indicator on the front edge of the case as shown below. When the MacBook enters to sleep mode, this sleep indicator light will flash. Apple removed the sleep indicator in the recent models. For these newer machines, if you can’t see anything on the screen, it is difficult to tell what state your MacBook is currently in.

Sleep indicator on a MacBook Pro

If your MacBook gets stuck in the Sleep state for some reasons, your MacBook will not respond to normal wake-up signals such as opening the lid, pressing the power button or clicking the touchpad. You need to force the MacBook back to Off state by performing a power cycle.

Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds then release the button. Now you have forced the Mac returning to Off state. If you have a spinning hard drive in your Mac, you may hear a squeak as the hard drive power is forcibly cut. If your MacBook has an SSD drive, you won’t hear anything.

Now you know your Mac is in Off state. Press the power button again to see if your Mac can turn on.

If performing a power cycle can’t fix the problem, go on to the next step.

3.5 Check for a faulty screen

When you see nothing on the screen, you may think that your Mac won’t turn on. But that is not always the case! Your Mac may be ON already; only the screen is not working. Therefore, it is vital to double-check any signs of power including sounds and lights to avoid a misdiagnosis.

Check for sounds

Do you hear a startup chime? If you do, your MacBook is already on. Wait for 1 or 2 minutes to check if there is any display on the screen, even a quick flashlight. If you don’t see anything on the screen, your Mac most likely has a screen problem. This is not good news as the screen is one of the most expensive components next to the Apple logic board.

Pick up the MacBook; place the vent holes (between the two screen hinges) near your ear. Do you hear any noise from the fan, mechanical hard drive or super drive? Do you feel any air coming from the vent holes? If you hear the noise or feel the air movement, your Mac is on and your Mac has a logic board problem. Your Mac has already started to turn on but somehow got stuck in somewhere.


Check for lights

If you don’t see anything on the screen, shine a flashlight through the Apple logo on the back of your screen. If you can see a dim image, press the screen “brightness up” button on the keyboard a few times to increase the screen brightness. If you still get the dim image, you have a screen backlight problem. The screen backlight problem could be caused by a faulty screen or a faulty logic board.

Press the keyboard backlight “brightness up” button a few times, if you can see the keyboard backlight, your Mac is ON already. You may have a screen problem.

Press the Caps Lock key, if you can see the light on, your Mac is running. You may also have a screen problem.

Connect an external monitor to your MacBook via a mini display port, thunderbolt port or HDMI port. If you have a display on the external monitor, you definitely have a faulty screen.

3.6 Check for a faulty RAM

If you hear repeating beeps from the Mac, your Mac could have RAM faults that are causing your Mac to not turn on.

If you hear one beep, repeating every five seconds, it means your Mac can’t detect any RAM. If you recently replaced or upgraded your computer’s RAM, check to see if it was installed properly.


If you get three successive beeps, then a five-second pause and keep repeating, your Mac RAM doesn’t pass a data integrity check. If you recently replaced or upgraded your computer’s RAM, check to see if it was installed properly. You also can try different brand names of memory modules. 

If you have a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro 2012 onwards, the memory chips are soldered on the logic board. This design significantly increases the reliability of the memory circuitry as it gets rid of the troublesome RAM slots. If you hear beeps from these MacBooks, you have a logic board problem. You need component-level repair service to fix the logic board. The cost varies from $300 to $600 depending on the Mac model.

3.7 Check for a faulty trackpad

The SMC is powered by an “always-on” power rail called PP3V42_G3H. The trackpad shares this power rail with the SMC. If the trackpad has a short circuit, especially after a water spill on the trackpad, the faulty trackpad could pull down the power rail and the SMC will not be functional. Therefore the SMC will not respond to the action of the power button.

Open the back panel of your Mac and remove the trackpad cable from the logic board. Then press the power button on the keyboard. If your Mac turns on, then you have a faulty trackpad. The trackpad is a less expensive MacBook component. You can buy a trackpad online for less than $100.


3.8 Check for a faulty keyboard

The MacBook keyboard also shares the “always-on” power rail with the SMC. If a faulty keyboard pulls down the power rail, the SMC won’t work and won’t respond to the power button signal.

Also, if the power button on the keyboard fails to send the signal to the SMC, your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air won’t turn on. These types of faults are common after a liquid spill on the keyboard. Sometimes the keyboard stops functioning straight after a water spill, and sometimes the keyboard would stop working after a few months of spillage.

Remove the keyboard connector AND the battery from the logic board, then connect a MacBook charger to the charging port. Your Mac would automatically power on if the fault is in the keyboard. A MacBook with Intel i3, i5, i7 and i9 CPU will automatically power on if you remove the battery and connect a charger to it


3.9 Restore corrupted T2 security chip firmware

Starting in 2018, Apple integrated the SMC chip to a larger multifunctional chip called Apple T2 security chip in the new MacBooks. The T2 chip takes over the duty of SMC. If the T2 chip is not functional, it won’t respond to the power button and your MacBook won’t turn on.

When you update your Mac’s macOS, for example from Mojave to Catalina, and something goes wrong in the middle the process, you could brick your Mac.

Apple time to time includes device firmware update (DFU) in the normal security update or version update. This DFU will update your Mac’s FIRMWARE. When you install the macOS update that contains a DFU, you not only update the macOS software in your SSD drive, but also the firmware in the T2 chip. Therefore you don’t have to buy a new Mac in order to run the new macOS smoothly or fully optimise the new features.  However, if the firmware update failed to complete the whole process for some reason, you could end up with T2 chip firmware corruption. In other words, you may have bricked your Mac.

To fix a bricked Mac, you need a working Mac and download the firmware from Apple’s website. Then you force the bricked Mac into DFU mode so you can transfer the firmware to the bricked Mac via a USB cable shown as below:

MacBook won't turne on - caused by corrupted T2 chip firmware
  1. Go to Apple’s website to download the app Apple Configurator 2. You may need to update to the latest macOS to run the app. Open the app and make sure your Mac is connected to the internet.
  2. Use your USB-C charger cable as a USB cable. Connect one end to any port of your working Mac.
  3. Connect the other end of the USB-C cable to the MASTER port of your bricked Mac. The master USB-C port is the one on your left-hand side and closer to you.
  4. Press the power button or touch ID button for 1 second. While holding the power button, press and hold the Control and Option keys on the left-hand side, the Shift key on the right-hand side until you see the big font text “DFU” showing on the working Mac. Usually, it will take about 10 seconds for the “DFU” sign to show up.
  5. Release all the 4 keys at the same time. Now your bricked Mac is in DFU mode.
  6. Go back to your working Mac, click to select the DFU device on the screen and select Action from the menu bar. On the pull-down menu bar select Advance and select Revive Device. Confirm the action.
  7. Now the working Mac will download the correct firmware from Apple’s server and install the firmware to your bricked Mac. This may take up to 5 minutes.
  8. After finishing the installation, your Mac will automatically power on. If you can see the Apple logo, congratulations! You have successfully saved the bricked Mac.

3.10 Check for a faulty battery data cable

The 15 inch and 16 inch MacBook Pros manufactured between 2016 and 2020 behave very differently. Unlike the other MacBooks, these models of MacBooks will not power on normally without a working battery connected to it even if you connect a working charger to it.

In the new MacBooks with USB-C charging ports, the battery power terminals and data communication lines are no longer on the same connector. Instead, the power terminals (“+" and “-“) are connected to the logic board and secured by a T5 screw to provide better contacts. The data lines are connected to the logic board via a flex cable.


This tiny flex cable is prone to failure. If the battery fails, or the battery flex cable fails to contact properly, your Mac won’t turn on. But if you connect the USB-C charger to it, it will show a charging battery symbol on the screen for a few seconds then turn off again as shown below:

MacBook won't turne on - battery power low symbol

If you see this symbol, you most likely have a battery problem. Replacing the battery is very expensive if you get it done by Apple stores or Apple authorised service providers. They will replace the whole top case including your WORKING keyboard, trackpad, touch bar, speakers along with the faulty battery. Of course, you have to pay for all these components if your Mac is out of warranty. A third-party repairer may replace the faulty battery only at a low cost.

4. Choose repair services - Apple vs. third party

If all the above attempts failed to fix your MacBook, you may consider using a professional MacBook repair service.

There are two types of services. The first type is Apple Stores and Apple Authorised Service Providers (ASP). The second type is a third-party repairer. We will discuss the pros and cons of these services.

4.1 Apple Stores and ASPs

We suggest you make an appointment with the Genius Bar or ASP to get a free diagnosis and quote, no matter if you intend to use their service or not. These are the services you can get from them depending on whether or not your Mac is under warranty:

If your Mac is under warranty, you don’t have to worry about anything except for your data. They will replace the faulty component for free. Apple will NOT take responsibility for your data or provide data transfer/recovery service. Therefore make sure the service will not affect your data. If the service could cause data loss and you haven’t backed up your data on iCloud, you may need to back up the data to an external hard drive yourself or use a professional data recovery service.

If your Mac won’t turn on due to a liquid spill, and the colour of the liquid indicators has changed from white to red as shown in the photo below, you void the standard warranty. All MacBook models have liquid indicators near the entrances where liquid can get in easily. The liquid damage indicators are usually under the keyboard, trackpad, and the edges of the logic board.

MacBook won't turne on - water damage indicators on a Mac logic board

If you have purchased AppleCare+ that covers water damage, Apple will charge a $429 excess fee to get your Mac repaired.

If your Mac is out of warranty, you need to pay for replacing the faulty component. They provide high standard services and you don’t have to worry about quality issues. But the services are expensive. They don’t repair individual MacBook components. Instead, they replace multiple related components at a high cost. For example, if you have a swollen battery, you have to replace the top case, keyboard, trackpad, and touch bar all together even if they are still working beautifully.

If you purchased the Mac from a large department store, getting service from Apple directly can avoid unnecessary delay. You won’t need any middle agent to deal with the repair.

If you have a faulty logic board, they may tell you the Mac is not repairable or quote a very high price for logic board replacement. This is the tactic to promote the new Mac sales. They will not tell you that there are some Mac repair specialists who can repair the logic board professionally at a fraction of their quote price.

4.2 Third-party services providers

The computer service industry is not a regulated industry. The level of third-party services varies from top professionals to newbies.

You can easily find a local computer repair store even if you live in a remote small town. They may be very good at fixing your Windows software problems. They may be very good at upgrading the hard drive in your Windows-based laptop or they may have done a good job replacing your broken iPhone screen. But the majority of these stores lack the skills, knowledge and equipment to handle the complexity of Mac computers. If your Mac has a simple problem such as faulty trackpad or battery, you may consider these service providers. If you have a logic board problem, avoid using these services.

There are some third-party service providers that offer services close to Apple’s standard. They may charge much less than Apple or ASPs. So it is worth getting a second quote from these service providers addition to Apple’s quote. Besides the prices, pay attention to the fault descriptions. Do they have the same diagnosis result? If not, talk to them for more details.

Customer reviews such as Google Reviews, Yelp Reviews can provide lots of information about the service providers. Do they have a high rating? How many reviews relate to Mac computers such as MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini? If the majority of the reviews are not for Macs, they may not have adequate experiences on Mac repairs. If the reviews have no details, only a few words like “excellent” “highly recommend”, discount the reviews.

There are some Mac repair specialists who offer component (chip) level logic board repairs. Their skills and knowledge are well above the Genius Bar’s technicians. Apple technicians may tell you that the logic board is not repairable. This is not true. The majority of faulty logic boards can be economically repaired with proper skills, knowledge and equipment.

These Mac repair specialists work on troubleshooting logic board components (or chips) such as transistors, resistors, capacitors, CPUs, GPUs and so on. They can identify the faulty chips among the many thousands on the board and then replace them without damaging the surrounding chips. This is the most economic way to get your Mac working again. The logic board repair services cost $200-$600 depending on the Mac model.

If you check the customer reviews of these Mac repair specialists, you will find the majority or even all the reviews are about Mac repairs. Lots of people would share the details of their repair experiences after they received outstanding services.

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of chip-level repair services available even if you live in a large city. So if you can’t find any in your city, you may consider sending your Mac to another city or country to get it repaired. Again, check their customer reviews and talk to them before sending your Mac., We only offer mail-in service within Australia. If you are in the United States or other countries, contact Rossman Repair Group in New York. They offer a worldwide mail-in service.

5. Professional MacBook repair in action

There are two levels of professional MacBook repairs: basic repairs and advanced repairs. The Genius Bar technicians, ASP technicians and most experienced third-party repairers offer basic repairs only. The Mac repair specialists offer both basic repairs and advanced repairs.

A MacBook consists of the following parts: a screen, keyboard, touchpad, battery, mechanical or SSD hard drive, DVD drive, Wifi card, logic board and Cables connecting other parts to the logic board. The objective is to identify the faulty part(s) and replace it.

This type of repair doesn’t require advanced electronics knowledge, micro-soldering skills and understanding of MacBook logic board design. This is how they approach MacBook repairs:

  1. Open the bottom panel and inspect any liquid or corrosion inside the Mac.
  2. If there is no water damage, connect a dedicated power unit to the MacBook. Check for the electric current being drawn from the power supply.
  3. Press the power button on the keyboard to see if there are any current changes. If there is no change, remove the keyboard cable, battery cable and any other cables from the logic board and perform a “forced" power-on to the logic board. If there is still no change of current, the logic board is faulty.
  4. If the logic board can be powered on manually, re-connect cables one by one to determine which one is preventing the logic board from powering on.
  5. Replace the faulty part(s) that prevent the Mac from turning on.
  6. This part-replacing type of repair is entirely dependent on the availability of the spare parts. If there are no spare parts then there is no fix.
  7. The logic board is the most expensive part of the Mac. If the logic board is faulty, the Mac will be considered as “not fixable” by this level of repairer. Apple may offer a logic board replacement at a high price.

Logic board failures account for the majority of dead Macs. Repairing the failed logic board is the most cost-effective way to save your Mac. Only component level service providers can carry out this type of task:

  1. Remove the logic board from the Mac case.
  2. Inspect the logic board using a microscope. Look for any obvious burned, corroded chips.
  3. Replace any faulty chips found. Micro-soldering skills are required to replace the small chips. Replacing a larger chip such as GPU or CPU needs a BGA rework station and the related skills.
  4. Connect a dedicated power supply to the logic board. Based on the electric current being drawn from the power supply and other basic measurements, an experienced technician or engineer could lock-in the possible faulty circuit.
  5. Work with Apple’s schematics (electronic circuit design diagram), follow the control signals, measure the relevant resistors, capacitors, ICs and voltages with a multimeter, measure the electronic signals with an oscilloscope or logic analyzer to narrow down the fault area. And finally, pinpoint the faulty chips.
  6. Replace the faulty chips. Repeat this process until all the faulty chips are found and replaced.
  7. Assemble the logic board back to the case. Test Mac’s functionality and reliability with ASD (Apple Service Diagnostic) and other third-party testing software. If the Mac failed to pass the test, pull out the logic board and start troubleshooting again.

Pinpoint the faulty chips among the many thousands on the logic board is a complex reasoning process. In one sense, it is like a meticulous forensic investigation. In order to perform the task effectively and economically, one needs specific electronic knowledge, detective reasoning skills, micro-soldering skills, experience, proper equipment and most importantly: a comprehensive understanding of the Apple Mac logic board designs – the electronic schematic diagrams.

Macbook won't boot up - Fix it Now

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

About The Author
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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What to do if iMac or MacBook won't boot past Apple logo?

By Katrina | Updated to Home > Mac Data Recovery Tips > Mac won't Turn on Tips on August 26th, 2021

Summary: This article offers 6 methods to fix iMac that won't boot past the Apple logo. To rescue data from an unbootable iMac, you can use iBoysoft Data Recovery in macOS Recovery mode.

Fix Macbook stuck on Apple logo

All Mac computers could arise booting issues. For instance, an iMac won't boot past Apple logo. Sometimes, you could see Mac stuck on a loading bar with Apple logo or a spinning wheel (or both). Some other times, as startup continues, the Mac stuck on login screen.

In this case, your Macbook won't turn on. You can't access files stored on the Mac either. Then, what can you do if the iMac won't past Apple logo?

MacBooks or iMacs won't boot past Apple logo

This article shows you how to fix iMac that stuck on the Apple logo. As your later operations on Mac may cause data loss, you'd better rescue files from your Mac first.

How to fix iMac not booting past Apple logo

When an iMac or MacBook won't boot past the Apple logo, you surely can do something to fix it. But to prevent permanent data loss, please make sure you have retrieved data from your Mac.

Then, you are safe to fix the iMac that stuck on the Apple logo with those 6 solutions.

  • 1. Disconnect all third-party peripherals
  • 2. Start the computer in Safe Mode
  • 3. Reset your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM
  • 4. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)
  • 5. Fix the Mac in macOS Recovery Mode
  • 6. Check hardware errors with Apple Hardware Test

Fix 1: Disconnect all third-party peripherals & restart your Mac

Sometimes, third-party peripherals connected to your Mac could cause trouble. You can first shut your Mac down, and then disconnect all wired and wireless peripherals. This includes your printers, USB C adapter, keyboard, mouse, etc.

Then you can restart your Mac, wait for it to boot up, and see if it can go past the Apple logo screen. If it doesn't work, you can step further.

Fix 2: Try Safe Mode to fix Mac that stuck on Apple logo

To diagnose which part goes wrong more easily, you can try to boot Mac into Safe Mode. A Mac safe boot will verify your startup diskand repair file system errors.

What's more, a safe boot can move unnecessary caches to the Trash and disable all login items. This will isolate other related programs, making it easier to fix the Mac won't boot past the Apple logo issue.

To boot up your Intel-based Mac in Safe Mode:

  • 1. Long press the power button to completely shut the Mac down.
  • 2. Restart the Mac while holding down the Shift key.
  • 3. Release the Shift key when you see the loading bar.

To start up an Apple M1 Mac in Safe Mode:

  • Shut down your Mac and wait for seconds.
  • Hold down the power button until seeing the available startup disks and Options on screen.
  • Select your startup disk. Then, press and hold the Shift key, click Continue in Safe Mode.

If your Mac loads successfully in Safe Mode, the Mac that won't boot past the Apple logo screen should be caused by software incompatibility.

As a rule of thumb, usually the recent installed third-party software is the troublemaker. You can uninstall it directly and restart your Mac.

If it's in vain, you can restart your Mac into Mac Verbose Mode (Command + V at startup). In Verbose mode, you can see a live report of the booting process.

Then, you'll know which part your Mac gets stuck with. Once you find the incompatible programs, you can simply uninstall it in Safe Mode.

Fix 3: Reset your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM

NVRAM and PRAM are memories used to storesetting information. They include sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic.

So, when an iMac or MacBook Pro stuck on the Apple logo during booting, try to reset these settings.

Note: NVRAM is available on M1 Mac, but it is configured to run test on startup and reset the NVRAM automatically if needed.

  • 1. Press and hold Power button for a few minutes till Mac turns off.
  • 2. Wait a few seconds and press Power button to turn on Mac.
  • 3. Hold Command + Option + P + R keys while booting Mac to reset NVRAM.
  • 4. Reboot computer again to see if the Mac computer can boot past the Apple logo.

Fix 4: Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

SMC is responsible for power, battery and charging, fans, and sensors. When you Mac stuck on the Apple logo screen, or sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly, you can try resetting the SMC. Note that there is no SMC on M1 Mac.

For Notebook computers with the Apple T2 chip, you need to:

  • 1. Force your Mac to turn off.
  • 2. On your built-in keyboard, press and hold Command + Shift + Control keys for 7 seconds.
  • 3. Then hold and press the Power button as well. You need to keep hold all four keys for another 7 seconds.
  • 4. Wait for seconds and then restart your Mac.

It works for all Macs using non-removable battery. It includes MacBook Air models, as well as MacBook Pro models introduced in mid 2009 or later. But it excludes MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009).

It's different to reset SMC for Notebooks using removable batteries and desktops like Mac mini and iMac. You can reset the SMC when your MacBook is stuck on Apple logo.

Fix 5: Fix the Mac in macOS Recovery Mode

Mac Recovery mode is a built-in recovery system on your Mac. When your Mac won't go past the apple logo, macOS Recovery Mode allows you to fix the issues and make your Mac can boot up again.

How to boot into macOS Recovery Mode?

To boot your Intel-based iMac into macOS Recovery Mode:

  • 1. Force your Mac to turn off by long pressing the power button.
  • 2. Restart the Mac and immediately hold Command + R keys. You can release the keys until you see the Apple logo.

Tips: Sometimes you can't boot into macOS Recovery mode. Then you might want to boot into macOS Recovery mode over the Internet. You can simply press and hold Option + Command + R or Shift + Option + Command + R at startup.

After entering Mac Recovery mode, you can get down to fix your Mac.

1. Repair Mac hard drive in macOS Recovery mode

Usually, if your iMac is booting but the operating system is unable to load up, the reason could be your internal hard drive not mounting on Mac or unreadable. Fortunately, you can repair the disk with First Aid in macOS Recovery mode.

  • Select Disk Utilities.
  • Choose the internal hard drive on the left side bar of the Disk Utility window
  • Click First Aid > Run.

Then, the Mac hard drive will be checked and repaired.

2. Free up Mac hard drive's space

Insufficient storage space in Mac hard drive can lead to some issues when the system loading on startup. The Mac could freeze at startup like stuck on the Apple logo, perform slow, or get stuck with a spinning beach ball while working.

In these cases, you can try to free up the hard drive space.

  • 1. In macOS Recovery mode, open the Terminal utility.
  • Free up Mac hard drive's space when Mac won't boot
  • 2. Type ls /Volumes in the command prompt and hit Return. It will list all volumes on your Mac. You need to find the startup hard drive (often called Macintosh HD or macOS) by its name.
  • 3.Type cd /Volumes/"Macintosh HD"/Library/ and hit Return.
  • 4.Type rm -rf Logs/* and hit Return. This will remove some log files.
  • 5. Type rm -rf Caches/* and hit Return to remove caches.

You can also run the find /home -size 1G command to locate files bigger than 1 GB. Then, you can choose to run mv command to move the files to an external hard drive. Or you can use rm command to delete them.

3. Remove incompatible Kernel extensions

Have you recently updated the Mac operating system or downloaded any patches? Mac not booting up could be caused by software incompatibility.

So, if the Mac can't boot past the Apple logo when macOS is updating or after an update, you can remove the conflicting kernel extensions.

  • 1. Open Terminal in macOS Recovery mode.
  • 2. Type mount -rw / to mounts your internal hard drive as writable.
  • 3. Type cd /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Library/Extensions/.
  • 4. Type mkdir Unsupported.
  • 5. Type mv *.kext Unsupported.

Then the clashing extension would be removed. You can try to restart your Mac again.

4. Recover the system by APFS snapshot

Sometimes, the macOS update won't work with your model. But if you use macOS Big Sur, Catalina, High Sierra, or Mojave, you might have a chance to roll back system with APFS snapshot.

  • Select Restore From Time Machine Backup or Restore From Time Machine.
  • Select a local snapshot (the latest is recommended)
  • Follow the instructions to downgrade the macOS.

If your confirmed that your Mac model is compatible with the current macOS but it has the boot failure issue, you can also reinstall macOS.

Note: Rolling the unbootable Mac back to a previous state may cause data loss. So, you'd better rescue files from the Mac first if you have anything important.

5. Reinstall macOS in macOS Recovery mode

If the above solutions failed, your startup disk may be corrupted. Erase your startup drive and reinstalling macOS is the last way to help you fix the Mac that stuck on Apple logo when booting.

This operation will make data loss. So, firstly, you should get files off the Mac with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac. Then, follow these steps:

  • 1. Select Disk Utility in macOS Recovery mode.
  • 2. Select Macintosh HD volume or macOS volume from the side bar.
  • 3. Click on Erase from the top.
  • erase Mac hard drive to reinstall macOS
  • 4. Setup the required information to reformat the disk and click Done when it's finished.
  • 5. Right click the Macintosh HD - Data or macOS - Data volume (This volume stores your data) and select Delete APFS Volume.
  • 6. Go back to macOS Utilities screen and select Reinstall macOS.

Then, follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.

Fix 6: Check hardware errors with Apple Hardware Test

If you are unable to erase the boot drive, there might be some hardware malfunctions on the drive. You can use Apple Diagnostics to help determine whether the startup disk is physically damaged.

If all the mentioned ways fail to boot up your Mac, it may have hardware problems, you should send it to a local repair center.

Why your Mac won't boot past Apple logo on startup?

To make you more clear about why the Mac stuck on the Apple logo, firstly, let’s learn how the Mac boots up.

Every time when your Mac is booting or restarting, it starts to check and verify hardware connections. Then, it checks if RAM, CPU, hard disk, GPU, etc. are working. After making sure these parameters are right, the Mac loads the startup hard drive and its system volume.

As the startup hard drive is detected, you can see the Apple logo with a loading bar on the Mac screen.

If the operating system (macOS) takes control of all hardware and software on your Mac, the Mac boots up. If the system fails to load the macOS information, or the macOS loses control of certain programs, the Mac won't boot past the Apple logo.

So, we can draw a conclusion that the Mac that stuck on the Apple logo usually results from file system corruption and software incompatibility. In rare cases, it causes by hardware issues or insufficient memory or storage.

Note: If you're reinstalling or updating macOS, the Apple logo might remain on screen for much longer than usual after your Mac restarts. You can wait long enough to check if the Mac stuck on the Apple logo.

About author

iBoysoft author Katrina
Katrina Yuan

Katrina Yuan is one of senior SEO content writers at iBoysoft. She has over 4 years experience writing in technology space.


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