Over period you might have installed lot of third-party apps on your Mac. This could slow down your Mac, as some of these apps can modify system behavior. For example, an app could change the default system font and load different fonts. When you suspect startup problems with system setup and third-party apps, you can boot Mac in Safe mode for troubleshooting the issue. In this article we will explain how to boot your Mac in safe mode and fix startup problems.
Safe Boot or Safe Mode in Mac
Booting Mac in safe mode will stop loading unnecessary items during the boot. Following are some of the things will not load in safe mode:
- All third-party kernel extensions
- Login items
- Third-party fonts
- Delete font cache, some system cache and kernel cache. These stuffs will be regenerated automatically when you start using the system.
In addition, booting in safe mode will force Mac to perform a system check and fix any disk errors if found. With these options, you can easily identify if root of the issue that is affecting your system
Note: Due to system checking, safe mode will take longer time than normal boot.
Apple Silicon Chip and Intel Processor
The process of booting in safe mode differ based on the processor used on your Mac. Therefore, before rebooting your system in safe mode, you first need to find the processor used on your Mac.
- Click on the Apple logo on top left corner on the top menu bar.
- Select “About This Mac” option from the menu.
- Check under the “Overview” tab.
- You will find the “Processor” details if you are using Intel Core. Otherwise, you will see a “Chip” details if you are using Apple Silicon.
Boot Mac is Safe Mode – Intel Core Processor
Follow the below instructions if your Mac uses Intel Core processor:
- First make sure the system is turned off or shut it down.
- After that press and hold shift key.
- Now press the power key to boot your Mac.
- The login screen will appear, release the shift key and enter your password to login.
- After few seconds, you will see the login screen again showing “Safe Boot” in red color in the top menu bar (nearer to your system icons on the right side).
- Log in again with your password to start using the system in safe mode.
Booting Safe Mode – Apple Silicon Chip
If your Mac uses Apple silicon chip, then follow the below process to start in safe mode.
- Make sure to shut down your Mac.
- Press and hold the power key till you see the startup options screen on the monitor.
- Select the startup disk and press and hold shift key.
- Select “Continue in Safe Mode” and login to your Mac. You should see a “Safe Boot” in top menu bar.
- You will be prompted to login again to start using the system in safe mode.
Checking Safe Mode is Working
You will not see any prompt after logging in to your system that you are working in safe mode. To confirm this:
- Click on the Apple logo and go to “About This Mac” menu.
- When you are in “Overview” tab click the “System Report…” button.
- On the system report app, click on “Software” heading from the sidebar.
- On the right panel, check the “Boot Mode”.
- “Normal” indicates the system is working in normal mode and you should see “Safe” after booting with safe mode.
Quitting Safe Mode
When you want to quit the safe mode, simply go to “Apple Logo” and select “Shutdown” or “Restart” option. Boot your system normally and you can start using the Mac in normal mode.
Finding the Issue in Safe Mode
When you confirm the Mac is working in safe mode, it is easy to find the issue causing the problem for you. If your Mac restarts or shuts down multiple times, it indicates the problem in system files. The best solution in this case is to reinstall macOS or update to the latest version from “Software Update” section. For reinstalling, you can simply go to App Store and download the latest macOS installation file. You can use this to reinstall Mac and fix any problem due to startup issue.
If the issue is not appearing in safe mode but appears back in normal mode, it is a clear indication that one of the installed apps is causing the problem. Follow the below guidelines to narrow down and fix the issue.
- First update all your apps and macOS to the latest version.
- Disable login items so that unnecessary apps and services are not loaded during startup.
- Create a new user account and test whether the issue is appearing with that account. You can limit app permissions and enable one by one to find which app is causing problem. If the issue persists across accounts, it could be also a system level issue and the best solution here is to reinstall the OS.
- Finally, remove all external drives like USB and hard disks and check this resolves the issue.