How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

Experiencing issues with your Mac? Easily fix it by restarting. It may sound odd, but it helps. If that doesn’t work, try starting the Mac in safe mode.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

Safe mode is not only a helpful troubleshooting tool, but also a commonly used maintenance method for your computer. In this article, we will explain what safe mode is, how to boot your Mac in safe mode, and when it is necessary to use it.

What Is Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a macOS diagnostic mode used to fix problems in your Mac. It allows you to troubleshoot issues that prevent the operating system from functioning normally. Safe Mode starts your Mac without loading additional third-party programs, so you can determine if the problem is with the system or a specific program. This mode only loads a minimal number of preferences, system extensions, and fonts necessary for your computer to run, making it easier to isolate and troubleshoot issues.

Safe Mode can restore your computer when issues caused by corrupt data or apps, damaged fonts, preference files, or software installations occur.

It can resolve problems that prevent your Mac from starting up or cause issues with your startup disk, including non-launching apps, crashes, freezes, or shutdowns.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

Several things happen when you start your Mac in Safe Mode. It loads required kernel extensions needed to run macOS. It verifies your startup drive by performing a directory check and attempts repairs for any issues. It prevents startup and login items from automatically opening. It disables user-installed fonts besides those found in System/Library/Fonts supplied by Apple. It deletes all font caches and moves them to the trash, including kernel cache and other system cache files. It also deletes the dynamic loader cache known for causing the blue screen freeze during startup.

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Disabling or limiting features like DVD Player, iMovie (doesn’t capture video), modems (internal and/or external), AirPort cards (depending on the version and macOS version), Quartz Extreme, and Network file sharing are among the ways it affects functionality.

How to Start up Your Mac in Safe Mode

To start up in Safe Mode, follow these steps:

– Start or restart your Mac.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

Step 2: Press and hold down Shift immediately when you hear the chime. The Apple logo will appear on your screen.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

Step 3: Release the Shift key once the login window appears. If your Mac’s startup disk is encrypted with FileVault, you’ll log in twice – the first login unlocks the startup disk, while the second logs you in the Finder. Once you identify the problem, you can exit Safe Mode by restarting your Mac without pressing any keys at startup.

How to Tell Whether Your Mac Is in Safe Mode

You can determine if your Mac is in Safe Mode by using the System Information app. This app provides a summary of your Mac’s software, hardware, network, and other details. To access the System Information app, click on the Apple menu and select “About This Mac”. This will open an overview of your Mac, displaying its model, memory, processor, serial number, and macOS version.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

To see more information, click the System Report button.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

In the Software section of System Information, the text “Safe” is displayed instead of “Normal” next to the Boot Mode.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

The login window will show the Safe Boot label on the top right side of the screen in Safe Mode.

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How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode and When to Use It

Here are some things to check when your Mac won’t turn on or powers on but doesn’t complete the startup process:

– Check for power-related issues such as fan or hard disk sounds and other startup sounds. Also, check for indicator lights like the sleep indicator light, Caps Lock key, or backlit keyboard, if applicable.

– Make sure the power cable is undamaged and securely plugged into a working outlet to ensure the Mac is receiving power.

– Verify that you’re using the correct power cable and adapter. If you’re using an external display, make sure it’s powered on and doesn’t have any display problems. Adjust the display brightness from the built-in keyboard.

Check startup issues if it doesn’t finish starting up, such as a recently installed hard disk or memory, and make sure it’s compatible and installed correctly. You can also remove and test with the original disk or memory.

If you still need assistance, contact Apple Support or visit an authorized Apple Store or Service Provider.

If you have no keyboard or can’t use the Shift key, you can configure your Mac to boot in safe mode if you have remote access. Here’s how:

Step 1: Open Terminal remotely or log into your Mac using SSH. Use this Terminal command: sudo nvram boot-args=”-x”

Alternatively, start in verbose mode using the command:

sudo nvram boot-args=”-x -v

Step 2: After using safe mode, return to normal startup with this Terminal command:

sudo nvram boot-args=””

If you have any issues with your Mac, now you know how to start it up in Safe Mode and get things back to normal. Next, if you have an Android device and want to boot in Safe Mode to fix any problems, learn the steps in our next article.

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