The Safe Mode can be extremely useful if you aim to troubleshoot some complications of your Mac. There can be many issues like the Mac running slowly or loading on several occasions, or maybe an application is bringing up problems, or you might be facing issues with crashes or application freezes, or, even worse, your Mac might not be booting up at all.
In this blog, the readers will be provided with a detailed guide on how to start Mac in Safe Mode, why most people recommend and prefer to use Safe Mode, including its benefits and drawbacks, also how you will know if you are in Safe Mode, and what to do if your Mac automatically starts up in Safe Mode.
Everything that you need to know about the Safe Mode in Mac Devices is Listed Below:
- Steps to start/boot your Mac in safe mode
- Steps to turn on safe mode on an M1 Mac
- Steps to turn on safe mode on an IntelMac
- Steps to turn on safe mode for macOS Catalina 10.15
- Steps to turn on safe mode for macOS Mojave 10.14
- What to do if safe mode doesn’t resolve your Mac issues
- Why does my Mac keep booting automatically into safe mode?
- How do I know if my Mac computer is in safe mode?
- How do I turn off the safe mode on my Mac computer?
What is safe mode?
Like any other computer, Macs have a safe mode. Starting your Mac in a safe mood is very healthy for your device as it allows it to load with only the apps and files it needs to run.
That means any unnecessary system app or extensions the user has installed themselves won’t run. This method also saves power while allowing the computer to use adequate energy and time to process.
Safe mode also carries out a basic scan of the system’s disk, similar to the first aid function in disk utility. It also clears and deletes some of Mac’s system caches which might cause potential issues in any process.
But again, caches can never be removed completely; they’ll be created by the system again when needed.
When is the safe mode used?
Starting your Mac in safe mode benefits the system in a lot of ways. Booting your Mac into Safe mode solves any problems you might be facing with your Mac.
Some of the common reasons to use safe mode on a Mac are listed below:
- Your Mac is lagging, running slow, or freezing
- macOS is crashing or rebooting by itself
- Your system’s Internet Connection is not working when you start your computer normally
- The computer is not starting normally
- You can delete a file or app from your Mac
If the above-listed problems disappear or solve when you boot your macOS into safe mode, then you must know that the problem was initially caused due to something that was newly added to the system. That could be a new app, file, external plug-in, or even a piece of new hardware that you have connected to the system.
In safe mode, not only can you access the different types of data but also fix the issue.
1. Steps to start Mac in safe mode/Boot Mac in safe mode
The process of booting your Mac into safe mode is the same for MacBooks and Mac computers(iMac). It would help if you considered whether your device has an Intel Mac or one with Apple Silicon.
Now, are you aware of the type of Mac you have? If not, then the steps to check your Mac type are listed below.
1. Turn on your Mac device
2. Click on the Apple menu at the top corner of your screen
3. Then tap on “About this Mac.”
4. Look for the information in the overview pane to know the type of Mac you have
5. If you see anything labeled as “chip, “followed by the name of the chip, then you should know that you have a Mac with Apple Silicon.
6. If you see anything labeled as “processor,” followed by the name of an Intel processor, you should know that you have an Intel-based Mac.
7. A corresponding set of instructions will be displayed on the screen to start your Mac in safe mode. But this website has provided the steps below as well:
2. Steps to turn on safe mode on an M1 Mac
If you are operating on M1 macOS, the steps to start your Mac in safe mode are listed below:
- If your Mac computer is still in operation, then you need to click on the Apple menu at the top left corner of your screen
- Then Turn off/shut down your Mac
- You will know that your Mac computer has successfully shut down when the screen has completely gone black, and any lights (including anything in the Touch Bar) are off.
- Wait for a few seconds or a minute until the computer has properly shut down.
- Press and hold the power button on your Mac computer until you see the start options on your screen showing different start-up disks and Options.
- Choose your system disk.
- Press the shift key on the keyboard and click “Continue in safe mode.”
- Let go of the shift Key
- Log into your System
- When the computer restarts automatically, a login window will appear on the screen, and you will be able to see “safe boot“ in the menu bar.
3. Steps to turn on safe mode on an Intel Mac
If you are operating on Intel-based macOS, the steps to start your Mac in safe mode are listed below:
- If your Mac computer is still in operation, click on the Apple menu at the top left corner of the screen)
- Click “Shut Down” or “Restart your Mac
- W.” ait for about 10 seconds or a minute
- As soon as your Mac starts, long-press the shift key on your keyboard
- Let go of the shift button when you see the login window on your screen
- You will see “Safe Boot“ (in red font) on the top-right side.
- Log into your Mac
- The computer might ask you to type your password into Safe Mode to boot your Mac computer. Do so, and you’re good to go.
4. Steps to turn on safe mode for macOS Catalina 10.15
If you are operating macOS Catalina 10.15, the steps to start your Mac in safe mode are listed below:
1. If your Mac computer is turned off very well! But if it is turned on, then you need to shut it down by clicking the Apple menu and then selecting the shutdown option
2. Wait for about 20 seconds until the device has properly shut down
3. Press the power button
4. After your Mac computer has turned on (on some devices, you can even hear a start-up sound), you need to immediately long press and hold the shift key on the keyboard
5. Once you see the Apple logo on the screen along with the progress indicator, you may release the shift key
6. Your Mac computer has been turned on in the safe mode
5. Steps to turn on safe mode for macOS Mojave 10.14
If you are someone who is operating macOS Mojave 10.14, the steps to start your Mac computer in safe mode are listed below:
1. If your computer is turned off very well! But if it is not, then click on the Apple menu and then select shut down to turn off your Mac computer
2. Then you need to wait for 20 seconds until the device has properly shut down
3. Now press and hold the power button to continue
4. After your Mac computer has turned on (on some machines, you can even hear a start-up sound), you need to press and hold the shift key on the keyboard immediately
5. Once you see the grey Apple logo on the screen along with the progress indicator, you can let go of the shift key
6. Now your computer has turned on in the safe mode
6. What to do if safe mode doesn’t resolve your Mac issues
Most of the time, after rebooting your Mac in safe mode, most of the problems disappear. After that, you can try uninstalling or removing recently installed apps and added extensions.
You can scan your Mac for malware, check for iOS updates, and many more. After going through all the aspects, you can try rebooting your Mac again to see if the issue persists.
Despite all the above-listed possible solutions, if your Mac still has the same problem while in the safe mode, it implies that your Mac has a serious and harder issue that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
- You can try running a factory reset on your Mac system in such cases. Before doing so, you must prepare for a backup of all your important files and media because a factory reset erases all the data from your device.
- By wiping off/ clearing your system disk and reinstalling macOS, your device should be able to clear off all the issues or bugs causing a possible issue in your Mac device.
- If a factory reset doesn’t solve the issue, another possible and harder problem might be. Your Mac hardware could be failing. That could be your RAM, disk drive, or something else; in most cases, you can’t replace any of them. In this case, you can only reach out to the Apple Support Centre or an Authorized Service Centre.
7. Why does my Mac keep booting automatically into safe mode?
In this case, you might have to check if your shift key is stuck on your keyboard. Try fixing the shift key; if not, check your computer keyboard and unplug it, if necessary. Then reboot your Mac to see if everything works normally.
8. How do I know if my Mac computer is in safe mode?
When your Mac device is in safe mode, you will see “Safe Boot” in your computer’s login screen menu.
Another way to check is:
1. Click on the Apple menu icon at the top left corner of your screen.
2. Click on the “About this Mac” section, and a new window appears.
3. Click on the “Overview” tab and tap “System Report.”
4. Then click on “Software” in the sidebar.
5. Now, in the system software overview section, look at the status list next to the items labeled as boot mode
6. There will be two statuses which will be-
Safe mode: the Mac is using safe mode
Normal mode: the Mac is not using safe mode
9. How do I turn off the safe mode on my Mac computer?
Exiting safe mode on your Mac is a very easy process.
- While in safe mode, try restarting or turning off your computer normally, clicking on “Shut Down” from the Apple Menu.
- Turn on your device again, and when it turns up again, it won’t be in the safe mode anymore.
Won’t Mac start in safe mode?
If your Mac device won’t boot or start in safe mode, how should you fix it? This blog has your back and has listed some possible solutions to help you fix this issue.
Check the start-up options and security settings.
Your Mac device not booting in safe mode can be caused by improper security settings on your Mac system. For example, the FileVault and firmware passwords can prevent your Mac from booting in safe mode.
The steps to fix this issue are given below:
- Shut down your Mac computer
- Press the power button. Then press and hold command + R during the start-up process.
- Enter the firmware passcode
- Select your language
- Click on utilities and then tap on “start-up security utility.”
- Switch the slider “turn offthe firmwaroff theword.”
- Now type in the firmware password again to disable it
Use the Option Key
You can long-press the option key while your system performs the boot.
To make it easier for you, the steps are listed below:
- Shut down your Mac computer.
- After your system has been successfully shut down, hold and long-press the option key and then press the power button.
- Your device screen will display a list of drives. You need to select your start-up Drive and then press on entering.
- The issue will be solved after the steps are successfully performed.
The full form for SMC is System Management Controller. The low-level settings like thermal and battery management, which might be affecting your Mac performance, are managed by the SMC.
If your Mac is showing an error while booting in safe mode, you can try resetting your device SMC.
The steps to reset SMC for different devices varies:
For a Mac desktop
- Shut down your Mac desktop
- Unplug all the power cables
- Wait for about 30 seconds or 1 minute
- Plug in the power cables again
- This way, the SMC for your Mac desktop will reset
For a laptop with an unmovable battery
- Unplug the power cable
- Shut down your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro
- Hold and long-press the left control option ALT and right shift together.
- Then hold and press the power button
- About 30 seconds later, you can let go of the keys and power buttons
- Plug in the power cable
- Your SMC has successfully performed the reset operation
For a laptop with a removable battery
- Shut down your Mac laptop, be it MacBook Air or MacBook Pro
- Unplug all the power cables
- Take out and remove the battery from the case
- Hold and long-press the power button for about 10 seconds
- Put the battery back into the case
- Plug in the power cables
If your Mac computer is not turning on or is getting slower, or the system is freezing, then safe mode could be your savior and solution.
But sometimes, your Mac might take longer to boot in safe mode or automatically restart or shut down. In that case, you do not need to worry, for it’s normal.
However, if your Mac continuously restarts or shuts down automatically. At the same time, in safe mode, you should contact Apple Support, consult an Apple Authorised Service Provider, or visit an Apple Store for help.
Can the Mac laptop or computer be used in safe mode?
The Mac laptop or computer can be used in safe mode.
But some features like video capture, Wi-Fi, movie playback in DVD player, file sharing, other accessibility features, some audio devices, and other devices that connect using Firewire, USB, or Thunderbolt are disabled in Mac safe mode.
How do I turn off the safe mode on my Mac computer?
Click on “Shut Down” from the Apple Menu.
Then turn on your device again, and when it turns on again, it won’t be in the safe mode anymore.
How do I know if my Mac is in safe mode?
Click on the Apple logo Menu. Then click on About This Mac > System Report > Software.
From there, check the Boot Mode.
What should I do if my Mac shows errors during start-up?
You can try Force Restarting your Mac, using Mac Safe Mode, resetting SMC, or doing other things to fix the issue.