How to Start MacBook Pro in Safe Mode?

How to Start MacBook Pro in Safe Mode? – No-Fail Guide

Ever found yourself in an unexpected situation with your MacBook Pro acting up mysteriously and you don’t know why? Well, in such cases, knowing how to start MacBook Pro in safe mode can be a lifesaver.

This article will equip you with practical steps on starting your MacBook Pro in Safe Mode, useful tips on troubleshooting potential issues, and a good understanding of the significance of using Safe Mode. Your journey towards becoming a Mac problem-solving guru starts here!

Got your MacBook acting strange? Is it not loading applications as it should or it has become unresponsive? Starting it in safe mode might just be what you need. By booting into this special diagnostic mode, macOS performs checks and prevents certain software from automatically loading or opening. This piece of knowledge is handy for isolating issues with your device.

What Does Safe Mode on Mac Do?

Starting your Mac in safe mode is a diagnostic tool used to identify and resolve issues with the macOS operating system. By booting into safe mode, your Mac performs certain checks and prevents some software from automatically loading or opening.

Start MacBook Pro in Safe Mode: What Does Safe Mode on Mac Do?

This process can pinpoint conflicts and issues caused by third-party software or corrupted files. Here’s what happens when you start your Mac in safe mode:

  • Performs a Directory Check: Safe mode forces a directory check of your startup disk, similar to running Disk Utility’s First Aid, helping to identify and fix potential file system problems.
  • Disables Startup Items: All user-installed startup items, login items, and launch agents are prevented from automatically loading. This can help isolate issues related to specific apps or services starting up with your computer.
  • Loads Essential Kernels Only: Only kernel extensions (kexts) that are necessary for macOS to run are loaded. This minimizes the chances of software conflicts that might cause system instability.
  • Disables Third-party Fonts: Non-Apple fonts installed on your system are disabled, and font caches are cleared. Corrupted font files can sometimes lead to applications crashing or not behaving as expected.
  • Deletes Dynamic Loader Cache: The dynamic loader cache, which helps speed up the launching of applications, is deleted. On occasion, a corrupted cache could lead to system freezes or applications failing to start.

By understanding what safe mode does on a Mac, users can better diagnose underlying issues that may be affecting their computer’s performance or functionality. Initiating a reboot in safe mode is particularly helpful when troubleshooting persistent operational problems that standard troubleshooting steps haven’t resolved.

Also Read: How to Disable or Turn off Camera on MacBook Pro?

Steps to Start MacBook Pro in Safe Mode?

Starting your Mac in safe mode can be an essential troubleshooting step when facing issues like application crashes or system glitches. This special startup mode forces your Mac to boot up with the minimal necessary software and drivers, making it easier to diagnose problems.

The process varies slightly depending on whether your Mac uses an Intel processor or is equipped with the newer Apple silicon (M1 chip). Here are the simplified steps for both:

For Intel-based Macs

  • Shut Down Your Device: Begin by completely shutting down your Mac.
  • Power On and Activate Safe Mode: Press the power button to turn on your Mac, then immediately press and hold the Shift key as it boots up.
  • Release Shift at Login Screen: Keep holding the Shift key until you see the login window appear. Now, you can release it.
  • Log In: You might need to log in twice if requested.

For Silicon-based Macs (M1 Chip)

  • Shut Down Completely: Make sure your Mac is turned off before starting this process.
  • Enter Startup Options: Press and hold the power button. Release it once you see options for startup disks or other boot options appear on the screen.
  • Enable Safe Mode: Select your startup disk, then press and hold the Shift key while clicking “Continue in Safe Mode.”
  • Release Shift and Log In: Let go of the Shift key when prompted to log in, which might also require entering credentials twice.

Following these procedures should help initiate safe mode on your iMac or MacBook Pro, allowing for a more straightforward approach to diagnosing and resolving various system issues. Remember that how you use your computer in safe mode—for example, testing problematic applications or repairing disks—can vary based on what problem you’re trying to fix.

How do I know if my Mac is in safe mode?

Ensuring your Mac operates in Safe Mode can be crucial for troubleshooting and diagnosing various system issues. Safe Mode starts your MacOS with the minimal necessary drivers and software to run, which can help identify problematic apps or settings causing issues. Here are straightforward steps to confirm whether your Mac is currently running in Safe Mode:

  • Observe Performance Speed and Visual Cues: Initially, notice if your Mac’s performance seems slower than usual; this could be a first hint that it’s operating in Safe Mode. Also, look for “Safe Boot” in red letters on the login window which directly indicates that you’re in Safe Mode.
  • Check for “Safe Boot” on the Menu Bar: After logging into your account, look towards the top menu bar. If you see any indication or text mentioning ‘Safe Boot’, it’s a clear sign that your system is indeed running in Safe Mode.
  • Verify Boot Mode via System Information:
    • Click on the Apple logo located at the top-left corner of your screen.
    • Select “About This Mac” from the dropdown menu.
    • In the window that opens up, click on the “System Report…” button.
    • From the left sidebar within System Report, select “Software.”
    • Look at the details shown on the right; among them find “Boot Mode.” If it states ‘Safe’ instead of ‘Normal,’ then your Mac is confirmed to be running in Safe Mode.

By following these steps, you can easily identify whether your Mac is currently operating under Safe Mode, thereby aiding significantly during troubleshooting processes or when altering settings to enhance system performance.

Also Read: How to Check Your MacBook Battery Health? – Ultimate Guide


Can I perform regular tasks while my MacBook Pro is in Safe Mode?

You can perform basic tasks, but some features like audio, wireless networking, etc., may not work properly.

How can I start my MacBook Pro in Safe Mode?

You can start your MacBook Pro in Safe Mode by restarting it and holding down the Shift key as soon as the startup process begins.

How long should I hold the shift key to start my MacBook in safe mode?

After you’ve begun restarting your MacBook Pro, hold down the Shift key until you see the Apple logo appear on your screen.

What signs indicate that my MacBook Pro has started in Safe Mode?

If your MacBook Pro is in Safe Mode, you’ll see “Safe Boot” in the upper-right corner of your login screen.

Can I use all the features of my MacBook Pro in Safe Mode?

No, some features might not work in Safe Mode as it loads only essential system software.

How can I exit Safe Mode on my MacBook Pro?

To exit Safe Mode, simply restart your MacBook Pro without holding down any keys during startup.

Also Read: MacBook Pro Freezing Issues – Quick & Easy Fixes Guide


Knowing how to start MacBook Pro in safe mode can be a lifesaver for any MacBook user. It’s the easiest way to troubleshoot software issues and perform other diagnostics on your macOS.

Now that I’ve explained the process, you should have no problems getting into and out of safe mode on your MacBook Pro. Remember, it’s always a good idea to back up your data before trying anything new. Safe mode is part of our essential toolkit as Mac users. With this knowledge at hand, you’ll be equipped to solve potential problems with ease.

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