How To Boot Mac in Safe Mode To Solve Problems

If you have difficulties to start up your Apple computer, do not panic: we tell you how to start the Mac in safe mode to solve problems. Follow the steps below to solve the issues of login easily.

1. What is the safe mode in macOS?

If for different reasons your Mac is not able to complete the process to start the session, using the safe boot mode can help you solve your problems. 

But what exactly is the safe mode? It is a boot method specially designed to solve errors that may have occurred, and for this reason, some functions are limited or not directly available. For example, graphics acceleration is disabled, and the screen may flicker at certain times, the Wi-Fi network may not work correctly and files cannot be shared.

When the Mac starts in safe mode, the system checks the boot disk and tries to solve directory problems, loads only the essential kernel extensions, prevents boot and start items from opening automatically, disables fonts installed by the user and removes the fonts and kernel cache.

In this way, if you boot the computer in safe mode and the error does not occur, you will know that it is possible that you have some incompatible boot item or that it is a cache or directory problem with the boot disk. 

2. Start the Mac in safe mode

These are the steps you have to follow to boot your Mac in safe mode:

  • Disconnect the peripherals, leaving only the keyboard and mouse.
  • When the computer is starting or restarting, press and hold the Shift key. On the screen, you will see Apple’s bitten apple and the boot progress bar. Be patient because it may take a while.
  • At the moment in which the login window appears, you can release the Shift key. There is a possibility that the system will request twice the login keys if the boot disk is encrypted with FileVault.

To know that the computer has started in safe mode, access the system information by clicking on the Apple icon> About this Mac> System Report> SoftwareHere you will see a section called Start Mode, and if you have done everything right, you will see that it says SafeAfter doing this, restart the computer regularly to see if the problems have been fixed.

If after pressing the Shift key several times during startup but you can not see the Apple logo, in the next step we explain what you can do.

3. What to do if the safe start does not work

If you press the Shift key during boot, but the Apple logo does not appear, there may be some error that prevents you from logging into safe mode.

One of the possibilities is that it is a problem on the screen. If you hear the typical boot sound, fan noise or hard disk noise, or if you press the Lock key on the keyboard and the LED lights, it means that the Mac is powered but does not display a video image.

After making sure that it is not a problem on the screen, another possibility is that it is an error in the feed. To rule out that the power is causing your computer not to start, make sure it is properly connected and plugged in if it is a desktop computer, or that it is loaded if it is a laptop. In all cases, check that the plugs and cables work well.

If after performing these checks you have not found the problem, try resetting the NVRAM or PRAM as we explained in the next step, and if it still does not work, reboot the system management controller (SMC) as we will detail a little later. If you have recently installed a memory, make sure it is compatible and that it is correctly installed.

In case the computer still does not start, take it to an Apple store or contact the company’s technical support to help you solve the problem.

4. Restore the NVRAM or the PRAM of the Mac

NVRAM or PRAM on Macs with an Intel processor is a non-volatile random access memory who stores some boot settings. For this reason, it is possible that if your computer has problems logging in, the problem is here, for example, if you see an icon with a question mark before starting the computer.

To reset the NVRAM or PRAM, turn off the Mac, turn it back on and immediately press the Option + Command + P + R keys for about 20 seconds before the gray start screen appears. If after doing this your computer still does not start, try resetting the SMC as we indicated in the next point.

5. Reset the system management controller (SMC)

If everything we’ve done so far has not solved your computer’s problems, another thing you can do is reset the system management controller (SMC). The SMC controls different low-level functions of the Intel-based Macs, such as battery and temperature management or responding to pressing the on the button, among other things.

Before carrying out this task, perform the following steps in the order in which they appear and check if the problem persists before moving on to the next one:

  • Force shutdown of the Mac by pressing the power button for 10 seconds.
  • Press Command + Option + Escape to force the closure of all programs that do not respond.
  • Put the computer to sleep by selecting Sleep from the Apple menu, and then turn it on again.
  • Restart the Mac by clicking Restart on the Apple menu.
  • Turn off the computer from the Shutdown option in the Apple menu and turn it on again.

If you have a laptop with battery or power problems, do the following:

  • Unplug the charger or power adapter.
  • Turn off the computer.
  • If the battery is removable, remove it and put it back in its place.
  • Restart the computer.

The error persists? Then it resets the SMC to try to fix the problem. If you have a laptop without a removable battery, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the computer.
  • Press the Shift + Control + Option + On keys simultaneously for 10 seconds, and then release them.
  • Press the power button again to start the computer.

If your Mac is portable with a removable battery, do the following:

  • Turn off the computer and remove the battery.
  • Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
  • Press the start button to turn on the Mac.

In case you have a desktop Mac, perform the following actions:

  • Turn off the computer and disconnect the power cord.
  • After 15 seconds, plug the power cord back in.
  • Wait another 5 seconds and press the power button.

If you have come this far and the problems persist, it is best to take your Mac to an Apple store or contact the support of the company to help you fix it.

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