How to Fix a Mac Not Starting Up

Fix Mac Not Starting Up Cover

It’s rare but you may find yourself in a situation where your Mac won’t start up. There are multiple reasons why it won’t turn on, but you probably just want to get it up and running again as soon as possible. There are some different checks and changes that you can quickly apply to troubleshoot the issue.

Does Your Mac Turn On?

The first obvious thing you need to check – does your Mac not turn on or not start up? These are two completely different things.

Press the Power button on your Mac. If you don’t see the Apple logo, don’t hear a startup chime or any fan or drive noise, or your Mac isn’t turning on at all, follow the below instructions.

Check Your Power Connection

This is the most obvious step. Check the power connection of your Mac. If you’re on a portable Mac, make sure the battery is charged. Sometimes your Mac won’t show an empty battery indicator and won’t turn on. If this is the case, charge it or switch the power adapter to another outlet.

Another fix is to try a different power cable or adapter. If you plug in the adapter and your Mac doesn’t chime or the charging light doesn’t turn on, the power adapter may be the issue. You can borrow one from a friend to confirm it. Sometimes a power cut may have damaged your adapter and you may need a new one. We’d advise against buying a cheap third-party power cable, as they can be faulty and may possibly damage your Mac.

If you’re using an external display for your Mac, it is possible that the display may be causing the issue. Check your Mac to hear if it makes any sounds whilst starting up.

Disconnect All Accessories

Another troubleshooting step is to disconnect all peripherals connected to the Mac. An attached peripheral (such as a printer or USB hub) may be causing issues with the startup sequence.

Fix Mac Not Starting Up Acccessories

Similarly, if you recently installed new RAM or a new hard drive, maybe that’s causing the issues. Try reinstalling the old memory or hard drive to see if it helps.

Perform Power Cycle

The next step is to perform a power cycle which involves forcing your Mac to restart after completely killing the power to it.

On a MacBook, hold down the power key for ten seconds. You’ll hear a squeak as the Mac’s power is forcibly cut. It should power on now when you press the Power button.

If your Mac is a desktop, you will need to unplug it and leave it unpluggged for at least ten seconds before plugging it back in and attempting to restart.

Reset the SMC

In some situations, you may need to reset your Mac’s System Management Controller (SMC). This is usually the last step to take before moving on to a complete reinstall of macOS.

Apple has a complete guide to do this based on your Mac type and version. We’ve included the guide for the latest notebooks and desktops below.

To reset the SMC, follow the below instructions.

On a Mac Laptop

1. Make sure the Mac is off and unplugged, and then reconnect the power cable.

2. Press Shift + Ctrl + Option and keep them pressed for seven seconds.

3. After seven seconds, press and hold the Power button as well. If your Mac is on, it will turn off as you hold the keys.

4. Keep holding all four keys for another seven seconds and then release them.

5. Wait a few seconds and then press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

On a Mac Desktop

1. Shut down your Mac, then unplug the power cable.

2. Wait 15 seconds, then plug the power cable back in.

3. Wait five seconds, then press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

Run Disk Utility in Recovery Mode

If your Mac is turning on but macOS isn’t loading, you may have a corrupted hard drive or OS. This can be fixed very easily through Recovery Mode.

To launch into Recovery Mode, follow the steps below.

1. Make sure your Mac is turned off. Hold down the Command and R keys and press the Power button.

2. While your Mac is booting up, keep these keys pressed until you see the Apple logo.

3. Your Mac should automatically start in Recovery mode. Click on Disk Utility.

Fix Mac Not Starting Up Recovery Mode

4. Select your Mac’s hard drive and click on “First Aid.”

5. If there are any errors with your disk, Disk Utility should find them. Choose to “Repair the disk” if any errors are found.

Fix Mac Not Starting Up First Aid

Once done, try restarting the Mac to see if it boots up properly. If it doesn’t, you can open Recovery Mode again and choose to restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup or install a new copy of macOS.

Fix Mac Not Starting Up Reinstall Macos

If your Mac does not start up after trying these steps, we’d recommend taking it to a Genius Bar or an Apple authorized service center for a checkup.

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