How to boot a Mac in Safe Mode

George Herman
George Herman
IT Security Expert

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Some people recommend turning to Safe Mode boot as a first step to help with the Mac problem at hand. That’s because it is very likely that the issue was related to a cache or directory malfunction that may automatically get fixed when running Safe Mode.

Safe mode can be used in the following situations:

  • to resolve startup issues
  • when you believe that an app is causing your Mac to underperform
  • when your Mac is lagging/running very slowly

How to start a Mac in Safe Mode?

1. Begin by shutting down your Mac and then starting it up again.

2. Then you must press and hold the Shift key, to make the Apple logo appear.

3. Release the Shift key when you see the Login window on your screen.

4. Log in. (keep in mind that it is possible to be made to log in twice, if you have FileVault turned on).

Usually, when the problem you’re facing is a Mac that won’t start up, you need to restart the device normally, after booting in Safe Mode. For many users that does the trick, and they can go back to using their Mac normally again.

It is important to note that while in Safe Mode, you might experience certain restrictions. We have listed some of them below:

  • your audio devices might not work
  • file sharing will be disabled
  • USB/Thunderbolt devices might be unavailable
  • Wi-Fi networks may not be available as well

There are some cases where your Mac will shut down or restart automatically. If this happens, you need not worry. It is very likely that the cause of this is that your Mac has done the necessary repairs, resulting in the automatic restart.

Keep in mind that if your device keeps restarting or shutting down while still in Safe Mode, you should contact Apple Support or consult with an Apple Store employee.

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