Mac Startup Issues: Tips and Tricks to Solve Them
Mac is one of the most stable and reliable devices developed by Apple, and it is famous for being free from any issues. Most of the users have been using Mac for several years and haven’t faced any major problem in their devices. This happens because of the top-notch quality software and hardware components.
Still, some users have faced start-up issues even on Mac, and the reason is not identified officially. The reason could be anything, and you shouldn’t worry about anything even if you face such issues on your Mac, because in this article we are going to help you out.
You will learn 10 professional tips for fixing the Mac Startup problems. So what’s the wait? Dive in now!
1. Mac Safe Boot Option
The safe boot option works best in any kind of startup problems on Mac, and it is one of the easiest ways to troubleshoot it. It forces the computer to start with the least available extensions, fonts and other software components. It also tests the boot drive of your Mac for its health and current status to ensure that the computer runs efficiently. If you ever get stuck at Mac’s boot screen, then you should always opt for the Mac safe boot method. Here’s how to get into the Safe Boot Mode on Mac:
- Turn off the computer.
- Now hold the Shift button on your computer keyboard and while holding it, just press the turn on the button of your Mac.
- You can lift off your finger from the Shift key after seeing the login Mac screen.
If you use the wireless keyboard with your Mac then do the following to enter into the Mac Safe Boot:
- Turn off the computer completely and then turn on your Mac.
- Wait for Mac’s startup sound and once you hear it, immediately hold the Shift key.
- Release the pressed key once the login screen or the desktop appears on your Apple computer.
2. Reset PRAM and NVRAM on Mac ( Parameter RAM)
PRAM and NVRAM of your Mac contain several primary information and settings required for the start-up of your Mac ( it also depends on the Mac version and model). If the settings and data stored in NVRAM or PRAM corrupt, then it can cause Mac Startup issues. By resetting these Mac components, you can solve the most common and rare startup problems on your Mac. Here’s how to do it:
- First of all, turn off your Mac entirely.
- Switch on the Mac again.
- Once the Mac turn on sound plays, immediately tap and hold these button on your Mac keyboard: Command + Option + P + R. All you have to do is keep holding on these keys altogether. Keep in mind that you have to do this before the grey screen appears while the Mac is starting up.
- Keep holding those keys. You have to do this till the Mac reboots automatically.
- At last, when the Mac restarts the second time, you can release the keys.
- Mac will complete the rest of the startup process on its own.
3. Reset Your Mac’s SMC
SMC, aka system management controller, manages most of Mac’s primary hardware features be it managing sleep mode, power button uses and thermal management. When your device doesn’t boot or freezes on the startup, it may only require the reset of SMC. Here’s how to reset Mac desktops and this method applies on Mac Pro, iMac, and Mac mini):
- Turn off the Mac facing startup issues.
- Remove the power cord of your Mac.
- Wait for 15 seconds at least.
- Plugin the power cable back on your Mac.
- Wait for 5 seconds after inserting the power cable.
- Now start your Mac as you always do by pressing the Power button.
If you use Mac Notebook that has user-removablebatteries, then follow this guide:
- Shut down the device.
- Take out the batteries from the Mac Notebook.
- Long press the power key for a minimum of 5 seconds.
- Take off your finger from the power button.
- Connect the batteries again.
- Switch on the device.
For Mac Notebook with non-removable batteries:
- Shut down the device.
- On the default keyboard, hit and hold the left Shift + Control + Option buttons altogether and at the same time.
- Keep them holding and then turn on the laptop at the same time by pressing the power key for 10 seconds.
- After that, release all of the keys at the same time once you have pressed the power key for more than 10 seconds.
- Now turn on the device as you always do.
4. Fixing the Mac that Shows a Question Mark on Start-Up
Whenever you see your Mac screen with a question mark, then it means your device is facing issues while searching for the bootable OS in your device. When you see that flashing question mark icon on your Mac’s screen, it indicates that your device is currently looking for the installed OS on your system partitions.
The solution for this error is here:
- When your Mac finishes the start-up process, you have to go the System Preferences by clicking on the gear or settings icon from the Dock.
- Head to the Startup Disk icon.
- The drives connected to your device will be now displayed on the screen.
- Press the Padlock icon located on the lower left side.
- After that type your administrator password for confirmations.
- From the drives list, choose the one which contains the operating system from which you want to boot your laptop every time.
- Now press the Restart button to experience the changes.
5. Fixing Mac Stuck on Gray Screen
Every time when you start your Mac, seeing a short stay on a grey or black screen is normal, as at this moment your device looks for the boot drive. After that, you are mostly presented by a blue colour screen and on this screen, your system loads the information and data requires for booting up the drive. When everything loads nicely, you always see your Mac home screen. Here’s how to get rid of this grey screen on Mac:
- Force your computer to shut down by long-pressing the power key until the computer turns off.
- If you have connected any additional things and devices like Ethernet cable, audio in or out cords, and earphones then make sure to disconnect all of them.
- Turn on the computer back.
6. Easy Fix: Mac Stuck on the Blue Screen
When the Mac devices can’t bypass to the Blue screen, then it indicates that your device is facing issues in loading all required files for the startup disk. This issue is also known as The Mac’s Blue Screen of Death, and it is a bit tricky process to fix this. First of all, you force your computer to turn off as we learned in the previous methods by pressing the power key for a prolonged time. Either you can use third-party tools to repair your bootable SSD or HDD.
But at first, you will need to start the Mac with a new hard drive that has an operating system installed. That means you will have to unbox the Mac and then replace the hard drive with another working drive.
If you are a user that stay away from these techy works, then we would recommend you to contact your device manufacturer. They will guide you on how to troubleshoot the issue on your own. However, if the matter gets serious, then you might have to take your device to the service centre, or the Apple engineer might visit on your home if possible. Alternatively, try the Safe boot option to fix this.
7. Booting from an Alternate Disk
If your Mac is not able to make it past the startup screen, then chances decrease of the troubleshooting as it will hard to apply any method. But one method is always available and needs a bit of hardware tweaking. By changing the Bootable storage disk, you can fix any Mac that stuck on startup. You can refer to your product manufacturer about how to change the SSD or HDD of our Mac desktop or laptop.
8. Using Keyboard Shortcuts to Fix Mac Startup Issues
There are plenty of keyboard keys combinations that allow you to troubleshot the startup screen and land on the desktop screen. Here are some useful Mac keyboard shortcuts helps you in troubleshooting the Mac boot errors and you have to hold them when your computer boots:
- Holding X — Enables boot from OS X or macOS
- Holding C — boot from external storage drives such as DVD, CD, Pend drive and more.
- Holing N — Boot from a network computer
- Holding Option + N -Boot using Netboot default volume.
- Holding T — Boot into Target Disk Mode.
- Holding D — Boot from Apple Hardware Test.
- Holding Option + D — Boot from Apple Hardware test over the web.
- Holing Option — Triggers MacOS startup manager.
- Holding Shift -Safe mode.
9. OS X Combo Updates
Sometimes when the Mac OS X update gets wrongly installed, the startup problem can appear. You can fix this by simply installing the combo updates for Mac that includes all necessary system file that is currently missing from your device.
10. Make a Spare User Account
If your device has a spare user account that has administrator privileges, then it can help you in resolving the Mac Startup issues. In order to use this method first to make a spare account and then grant him admin privileges. Once that is done, the spare account will help you to bypass the Mac Startup screen if the primary one fails in doing so.
Ellen Cooper is a technology enthusiast who loves writing about new advancements and IT threats on a regular basis. Her work focuses on the latest advancements in the realm of technology, social media, and cyber security at norton.com/setup.