Mac won’t start? Here is what you can do.

Do you own a Mac that doesn’t seem to respond to power button or happens to partially turn on but doesn’t boot beyond the apple logo without shutting down again? If this is your problem, then you are in the right place. This article outlines all the steps you need to follow in order to resolve the issue and start your mac normally again. 

Ensure your Mac has enough power

The first and foremost thing to do when your Mac won’t start is to ensure if your Mac hasn’t run out of battery. Plug it into a power source. It might take a few minutes to turn it on if the battery is completed dead.

Check the power cable or charger

If your Mac doesn’t boot even after plugin into a power source, its time to check the attached Power cable. Probably a damaged charger or port can be a culprit. Try attaching your Mac with different charger or power cable. If this doesn’t work try using a different power outlet. 

Perform a power cycle

Power recycling is a one-stop solution to many problems including your Mac won’t turn on.  A power cycle is nothing but a forced restart which resets your Mac to fix common issues and errors.

  • On the latest Mac with a non-removable battery, detach the power cable and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  • On a Mac with a removable battery, detach the power cable and remove the battery for 10 seconds. Reinsert the battery again.
  • On a Mac desktop, disconnect the power cable for at least 10 seconds and replug it back. 

Reset System Management Controller (SMC)

SMC  manages lots of basic hardware functions like battery management, power, fans, keyboards LED Indicators, hard drives and others. Resetting SMC can resolve various unexpected problems especially when your Mac won’t wake up. There are numerous ways to reset SMC depending on your Mac model. Here is how to do it. 

Follow the below steps if you are running the newest mac models (2018 or later)

  • Shutdown your Mac.
  • Press and hold the Right Shift Key, Left Option Key and Left Control Key simultaneously for 7 seconds and keep holding the three keys for the next step. 
  • Now holding the three keys, press the power button for another 7 seconds and release. 

For any mac model with non-removable  battery  follow the below steps to reset mac 

  • Shutdown your Mac 
  • Press and hold the Left Shift Key, Left Option Key and Left Control Key simultaneously for 10 seconds while holding the Power button. 
  • Restart your Mac once it boots. 

Follow the below steps for older Mac models with removable battery (2015 or before)

  • Shutdown Mac and remove the battery
  • Now press and hold power button for five seconds.
  • Reinstall the battery and turn on your Mac again.  


Your Mac stores certain hardware settings in PRAM. Changes to these settings can cause startup problems. Resetting PRAM can probably help if your Mac won’t start. Here is how to do it.

  • Shutdown your Mac and turn it on again. 
  • Immediately press and hold the four keys together: Option, Command, P and R. 
  • Release the key once Mac restarts. 

Initiate Safe Boot

Booting in Safe mode may resolve most of the startup problems. On Safe boot, you will be running Mac in a diagnostic mode which will allow only essential programs to run. To boot into Safe mode, press the power button holding the shift key. If your Mac starts in safe mode, shut down your device and restart your Mac as you do normally.  

Run Apple Diagnostics

Your Mac might not start if there is hardware damage. Run Apple Diagnostics to check for hardware problems. Here is how to do it.

  • Disconnect all the peripheral devices attached to your Mac like a mouse, keyboard etc.
  • Shutdown your Mac 
  • Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold D key until you see a screen displaying options to choose your language.
  • Select a language to begin the test. The process will take some time to complete.
  • If the issues are found, the tool suggests some quick fixes and reference codes which you can look up in the Apple Diagnostic page.
  • If the tool shows no issues then probably the problem is not related to hardware.

Use Disk Utility from Recovery mode

If the above-mentioned solutions didn’t help, probably there might be a problem with your Mac’s disk. The corrupted disks can be repaired from a recovery mode. Here is how to do it.

  • Shutdown your Mac 
  • Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold R key until you see the screen displaying Apple logo.
  • Once it boots, select Disk Utility from the menu and click the First Aid tab to start repairing. 

Reinstall macOS from Recovery mode

If the above solutions didn’t help, probably reinstalling macOS could help. A malfunctioning operating system can cause startup problems and reinstalling macOS will replace them with an undamaged OS.  Here is how to do it. But before proceeding makes sure to backup all your files in Mac. 

  • Go to System preferences on apple menu and click Reset.
  • Press and hold command + R key immediately once it restarts to open macOS utilities.
  • Now select Reinstall macOS and choose the drive to install the OS.
  • Restart once your mac reboots.

Contact Apple Support

If the above solutions didn’t help you, probably it could be a hardware problem. Seek help from a local apple store to fix the problem. 

You may also like – What to do when your iPhone won’t start up or is frozen

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