How to Start a Mac in Safe Mode

Kyle Wood

Mac, Tutorials

Starting your Mac in Safe Mode can be a useful troubleshooting step when you encounter issues with your system. Safe Mode allows your Mac to boot with only the essential software and drivers necessary for it to run.

This can help isolate and identify any problems caused by third-party software or conflicting settings. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the steps to start your Mac in Safe Mode.

Step 1: Shut Down Your Mac

To begin, make sure all your work is saved and close all open applications. Next, click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select Shut Down. Wait for your Mac to completely shut down before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Start Your Mac

Once your Mac is shut down, press the power button to turn it back on. Immediately after pressing the power button, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard.


If you have a firmware password set on your Mac, you will need to enter it before proceeding further.

Step 3: Boot into Safe Mode

Your Mac will now start up in Safe Mode. You can release the Shift key once you see the Apple logo or a progress bar on your screen. The booting process might take longer than usual as it performs additional checks and disables certain features.


In Safe Mode, some features may not be available or may behave differently than usual. For example, file sharing might be disabled, and only essential kernel extensions will load.

Step 4: Troubleshooting in Safe Mode

Once you are in Safe Mode, you can start troubleshooting any issues you were experiencing. You can test if the problem still persists by performing the same actions that were causing the problem before. If your Mac functions normally in Safe Mode, it indicates that the issue is likely caused by third-party software or incompatible drivers.


If you are unable to replicate the problem in Safe Mode, it may suggest that the issue is related to a system setting or a user-specific configuration. You can then try resetting NVRAM/PRAM or creating a new user account to further diagnose the issue.

Step 5: Exiting Safe Mode

To exit Safe Mode, simply restart your Mac as you would normally. Go to the Apple menu and select Restart. Your Mac will now boot up in its regular mode with all features and functionalities enabled.


If your Mac gets stuck in Safe Mode or keeps booting into Safe Mode even after restarting normally, there might be an underlying issue that needs further investigation. It is recommended to seek professional assistance or consult Apple Support for advanced troubleshooting steps.


Starting your Mac in Safe Mode can be a valuable tool for diagnosing and resolving various software-related issues. By following these simple steps, you can easily start your Mac in Safe Mode and troubleshoot any problems you encounter along the way. Remember, if you are unsure about making any changes or need additional help, it’s always best to seek professional advice.

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