How to Start Mac in Safe Mode

Alicia Santos

Mac, Tutorials

Starting your Mac in Safe Mode can be a useful troubleshooting technique when you’re facing issues with your system. In Safe Mode, your Mac only loads the essential software and drivers, which can help identify and resolve any problems that may be causing your Mac to misbehave. In this article, we will guide you through the process of starting your Mac in Safe Mode.

Step 1: Shut Down Your Mac

To begin, you need to shut down your Mac completely. You can do this by clicking on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and selecting Shut Down. Alternatively, you can press and hold the power button until a dialog box appears, then click on Shut Down.

Step 2: Start Your Mac

Once your Mac is fully shut down, press the power button to turn it on again. As soon as you hear the startup sound or see the Apple logo, immediately press and hold the Shift key.

Step 3: Enter Safe Mode

Your Mac will now start up in Safe Mode. You will notice a progress bar appearing on the screen as macOS loads only essential software and drivers necessary for Safe Mode.

If you are using a MacBook with a Touch Bar, you may need to press and hold both the Shift key and the Control key simultaneously instead of just pressing the Shift key alone.


If you have FileVault enabled on your Mac, you may be asked to enter your FileVault password before entering Safe Mode.

Different Ways to Identify if You’re in Safe Mode:

Once your Mac has started in Safe Mode, there are a few indicators you can look for to confirm that you are indeed in Safe Mode:

  • Login Screen: The login screen may look slightly different in Safe Mode. You might see “Safe Boot” or “Safe Mode” displayed on the screen.
  • Menu Bar: In the menu bar at the top-right corner of your screen, you may notice the text “Safe Boot” or “Safe Mode” appearing.
  • Desktop: Your desktop background might be different in Safe Mode, and certain system preferences may be disabled.

Exiting Safe Mode

To exit Safe Mode and return to your normal macOS environment, simply restart your Mac without pressing any keys during startup. After restarting, your Mac will boot up as usual.


If you are unable to exit Safe Mode by restarting your Mac normally, try shutting down your Mac again and then turning it on without holding down any keys. If that doesn’t work, there may be an underlying issue with your system that needs further investigation.

Starting your Mac in Safe Mode can help diagnose issues with software conflicts, faulty startup items, or other problems that may affect the normal operation of your computer. It provides a cleaner environment for troubleshooting and resolving issues without interference from third-party applications or drivers. By following these steps, you can easily start your Mac in Safe Mode and begin troubleshooting any problems you might be facing.

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