How to Initiate a Safe Boot and Run in Safe Mode on a Mac

How to Initiate a Safe Boot and Run in Safe Mode on a Mac

Sometimes you may need to initiate a Safe Boot on your Mac and run in Safe Mode in order to troubleshoot and/or fix an issue, such as: corrupt applications and data, damaged fonts and files, constant freezing and crashing. With Safe Boot, your Mac will start up with just the minimal system extensions, preferences and fonts needed to run.

To make things clear: Safe Boot is the process of forcing your Mac to start up using the bare minimum system resources, while Safe Mode is the mode your Mac runs in once a Safe Boot is initiated. So, here’s how to initiate a Safe Boot and run in Safe Mode.

Follow these steps to initiate a Safe Boot and boot into Safe Mode on your Mac.

1. Shut down your Mac – if it’s not already shut down.

2. Press and hold the Shift key – before pressing the power button.

3. Start your Mac while still holding the Shift key.

4. Continue to hold down the Shift key until you see the login screen. This could take a few minutes and you may see a progress bar underneath the Apple logo while starting up.

5. Login to your Mac. You should see “Safe Boot” in red at the top right corner of the login screen; this verifies that you have done the Safe Boot correctly.

Now you can do what you need to do, and restart when you’re done.

Image Credit: Ricky Romero


  1. Your instructions are incorrect. Please review this document:

    1. I followed the instructions above as I was writing and I had no issues; everything worked correctly – it got the job done. There is often more than one method for performing the same task.

      Are you referring to the above stating to hold Shift before starting the Mac and the link stating to hold shift after starting? If so, it shouldn’t make a difference – whichever method you prefer.

  2. Wow! That’s all what I need!

    1. Glad to hear that :)

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