Users who have been using their Mac for a long time may have faced one or two more common problems, that is the boot screen being stuck. This can be frustrating, especially when you desperately need to get into your Mac. This is a problem that seems to arise at the worst of times.
While many factors can cause this, most are software issues that are easy to fix. So, don’t panic and think that your Mac is broken. Instead, try some of the fixes we’ve recommended here, as one of them will most likely work.
1. Give your Mac time
If you are not in a hurry, you should try waiting for the Apple logo first. As they age, computers, including Macs, slow down because their parts wear out – especially if they use a hard drive as a startup disk. Since the computer takes longer to read the information on the hard drive, you may simply be experiencing the problem of your Mac is slow.
When your computer finds your startup disk, the Apple logo will pop up, and a progress bar will usually appear. If your computer is stuck and there’s a progress bar under the Apple logo, it’s probably just running an update. The update can take a while, sometimes even hours. So even if the progress bar doesn’t seem to move at first, leave it alone.
However, in some cases, the update can cause your Mac to get stuck while it boots. This can happen if some new apps or features in the update aren’t compatible with your PC’s driver. It could also be a bug in the new operating system or a faulty script. If you are sure that your Mac is stuck, you should resort to the other methods listed here.
2. Disconnect the peripheral and perform a force restart
All Macs have a power button that uses hardware to power off your Mac and turns it off. If you have basic software issues like faulty or corrupted applications interfering with your Mac’s startup process, shutting down your Mac with this method might work.
Peripherals can also cause you startup problems. So, before you restart your Mac, make sure all devices are disconnected – including third-party mice, keyboards, and printers.
After disconnecting the peripheral, follow these instructions to force restart your Mac:
1. Press and hold the power button or Touch ID button for 10 seconds until the screen turns off.
2. Let it sit for at least 15 seconds before pressing the Power or Touch ID button to turn it on.
3. Start your Mac in Safe Mode
Safe mode is a troubleshooting mode for the operating system. In macOS, Safe Mode starts your computer with only basic applications and services. All third-party applications are suspended and some of your system’s cache is cleared, giving you a window to discover if it is a fundamental problem.
So, if a third-party app is interfering and causing your Mac to get stuck on the Apple logo, Safe Mode is a surefire way to isolate the problem.
Safe Mode also allows you to troubleshoot other potential causes of a stuck screen (now you can start your PC). For instance, insufficient space can cause your Mac to get stuck while loading. But with Safe Mode, you can access your files and delete some to free up disk space.
Here’s how to start your computer in safe mode on Apple Silicon Mac:
1. Turn off your Mac.
2. Press and hold the power (or Touch ID) button to power the system back on, but keep pressing until the boot option appears.
3. Select the volume you want to troubleshoot, then hold down Shift.
4. When prompted, tap Continue in Safe Mode.
For Intel Macs, you just need to hold down the Shift key while the computer boots up, you can enter Safe Mode, and log in to the Intel Mac. You can confirm from the menu bar that you are in Safe Mode, where you should see Secure Boot written in red.
4. Reset your Mac’s PRAM, NVRAM, and SMC
PRAM and NVRAM are where your Mac stores important information like display resolution, time zone, sound level, etc. If the data there gets corrupted, your computer may not boot, causing it to loop through the Apple logo screen. However, there is a way for you to reset it on your Mac.
If you’re using an Apple silicon Mac, just restart your computer. These settings are already hidden on M1 and M2 Macs because they are no longer needed.
However, if you are using an Intel Mac, you have to turn it off and press Command+Option+P+R until you hear a startup sound.
SMC, which stands for System Management Control, is a chip that controls low-level but important functions such as power management and fan speed. If the information here is corrupted, it can also explain why your computer is stuck on the startup screen.
5. Repair your Mac’s drive with Disk Utility
macOS Recovery is one of the most effective ways to fix software issues with your Mac. One of the tools that macOS Recovery proposes to solve this problem is Disk Utility.
On Apple silicon Mac, you should press and hold the Power (or Touch ID) button until “Load Boot Options” is displayed, then tap Options to enter macOS recovery. However, on Intel Macs, you have to hold down the command +R while booting up, and then when the recovery menu appears, tap Disk Utility.
Now that you’re in Disk Utility, you have to select your primary drive and run First Aid. Control-click the volume you want to repair, and then click Run First Aid. When prompted, click Run.
If you’re not sure exactly which volume to run, you can go up to the lowest volume on the disk and perform a rescue scan of each volume. Skip any disks that don’t allow you to run First Aid and go to the next upper disk in the hierarchy.
If you are still unable to boot up your Mac, it is time to take more drastic action.
6. Run Apple Diagnostics
Apple Diagnostics is a troubleshooting tool that checks if there is something wrong with your hardware and can help you isolate software problems from your hardware.
You can run Apple Diagnostics on your Apple Silicon Mac by pressing Command + D when the options are present in macOS recovery mode. If you want to do this on an Intel Mac, restart your Mac and hold down the D key.
After it runs diagnostics, a set of error codes may appear. You can use these codes to find specific solutions to the listed problems.
7. Reinstall macOS
You can reinstall macOS without losing data and reset your Mac as a last resort. If all else fails, then this may be your only option. So, once that you boot your Mac to macOS Recovery, tap Reinstall macOS and follow the on-screen instructions to complete this step.
A frozen screen does not mean the end
From a bigger picture, your Mac stuck startup is much better than an obvious hardware issue like a broken screen. So, whenever you encounter a software-related issue like this one, it usually means that there is a fix that you can try to get your Mac back on its feet.
Just follow the instructions and be patient. But if none of these fixes work, feel free to consult an expert or contact Apple support.