How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode

Boot mac in safe mode

Last updated on September 5th, 2023 at 4:16 pm


Mac users often encounter various challenges while troubleshooting their devices. Whether it’s dealing with persistent software issues, troubleshooting compatibility problems, or simply wanting to perform maintenance tasks, knowing how to boot your Mac in Safe Mode can be a valuable skill.

Safe Mode is a powerful diagnostic tool that allows your Mac to start up with only essential components, bypassing unnecessary software and configurations. By doing so, it helps isolate and identify potential sources of trouble, paving the way for effective problem-solving. In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to boot a Mac in Safe Mode, equipping you with the knowledge needed to address those frustrating issues head-on.

How to Boot Mac in Safe Mode: Complete Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to boot a Mac in Safe Mode:

Step 1: Restart Your Mac

If your Mac is already on, go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and choose “Restart.” If your Mac is off, press the power button to turn it on.

Step 2: Press and hold the Shift key

 Press and hold the Shift key

Well, here comes a crucial step. To Safe Boot Mac, immediately after pressing the power button, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard. It’s important to do this as soon as possible after starting or restarting your Mac. Keep holding the Shift key until you see the Apple logo or a progress indicator on the screen.

Step 3: Wait for the Safe Mode startup

Continue holding the Shift key and wait for your Mac to boot into Safe Mode. This may take longer than a regular startup, as your Mac performs additional checks and disables unnecessary software.

During this process, you might see a progress bar or loading spinner. This indicates that Safe Mode is being initiated. Once the startup process is complete, you’ll be redirected to the login screen.

Step 4: Log in to your account

At the login screen, you’ll need to enter your username and password as you normally would. Provide the required information and click the “Log In” button to proceed.

Step 5: Use your Mac in Safe Mode

After logging in, your Mac will now be running in Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, certain features and third-party applications are disabled to help isolate potential issues. You might notice that the desktop looks slightly different and some system functionalities are limited which indicates that you have now switched to Safe Mode.

mac Safe Mode

It’s important to note that your internet connection should still be active in Safe Mode, allowing you to access online resources for troubleshooting purposes.

Step 6: Troubleshoot the issue

As you now have Safe Boot Mac, you can start troubleshooting the problem you encountered. Test for the issue you were experiencing previously and observe if it persists in Safe Mode. If the problem no longer occurs, it suggests that a software conflict or incompatible extension might be the cause.

In Safe Mode, your Mac will only load essential system components and Apple-provided services. This helps identify whether the issue is related to third-party software or extensions that load during a normal startup.

NOTE: Remember, Safe Mode is designed for diagnostic purposes and should not be used as a permanent operating mode. It helps identify and resolve software-related issues, but certain features and applications may be unavailable during Safe Mode.

How to Boot a Mac in Safe Mode (Silicon-Based Macs)

Safe Mode on Apple Silicon Macs follows a slightly different process. Here’s how you can access Safe Mode on an Apple Silicon-based Mac:

  1. Power off your Mac: Ensure your Mac is powered off by going to the Apple menu and selecting “Shut Down.”
  2. Start your Mac and access startup options: Press and hold the Power button on your Mac until you see the “Loading startup options” text appear on the screen. This indicates that your Mac is in the startup options menu.
Silicon-Based Macs
  1. Select the startup disk: In the startup options menu, you’ll see a list of valid startup disks connected to your Mac. Choose the disk you want to boot from by clicking on it.
 startup disk
  1. Initiate Safe Mode: With the startup disk selected, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard. As you do so, you’ll notice that the “Continue” button under your chosen startup drive will change to “Continue in Safe Mode.” Click on it to start your Mac in Safe Boot.
  2. Wait for the Mac to boot and log in: Your Mac will now start up in Safe Mode, just like on Intel-based Macs. Wait for the boot process to complete, and you’ll eventually reach the login screen. Enter your username and password, as usual, to log in.

Here is how you can boot a Mac in Safe Mode. From this point onward, the process for using Safe Mode on Apple Silicon Macs mirrors that of Intel-based Macs. You can proceed with troubleshooting your software issues or performing necessary maintenance tasks while in Safe Mode.

How to Exit Safe Mode on Mac

Exiting Safe Mode on a Mac can be done by following these brief steps:

  1. Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen.
  2. Choose “Restart” from the drop-down menu.
  3. During the restart process, do not press and hold any keys on your keyboard.
  4. Your Mac will boot up normally, exiting Safe Mode.

By simply restarting your Mac without holding any keys, you can exit Safe Mode and return to the regular operating mode with all functionalities and third-party applications available.


By mastering the art of booting your Mac in Safe Mode, you equip yourself with a powerful technique to overcome common challenges and ensure the smooth operation of your Mac. So, the next time you encounter a persistent issue, don’t hesitate to boot a Mac in Safe Mode and unlock its potential for effective problem-solving.

Author Bio:

Dinesh Lakhwani

Dinesh Lakhwani, the entrepreneurial brain behind “TechCommuters,” achieved big things in the tech world. He started the company to make smart and user-friendly tech solutions. Thanks to his sharp thinking, focus on quality and the motto of never giving up, TechCommuters became a top player in the industry. His commitment to excellence has propelled the company to a leading position in the industry.

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