If your entire computer is frozen, and not just Safari, you’ll need to hold the power button for three seconds until the screen goes dark. Then press the power button again to restart your computer. Step 4: Check if your Safari is up to date by reopening the app. Then go to the top right and choose SAFARI ABOUT. Without enough free space on your startup disk, macOS is unable to run maintenance scripts and background processes that keep your computer ticking along. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t specify exactly how much free space is required to keep your Mac happy. A general rule of thumb is to keep 15 percent of your startup disk free at all times.
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Many Mac users have reported the same problem: Mac stuck on the login screen, even for the macOS Big Sur.
Commonly, Mac like MacBook Pro stuck on the login screen may because:
- The mouse won't move and you can't type in your login password
- Mac freezes at login screen with a spinning wheel
- Mac doesn't accept the right login password
- You forget the login password and type the wrong one
Usually, a force and hard reboot might fix the problem. If not, the solutions are usually more complicated.
And there's a high risk of data loss when Mac stuck on the login screen. So, you'd better recover your data from your Mac first.
Then, confirm your situation and try the solutions in this post to fix your Mac that can't load past the login screen.
How to prevent data loss when Mac stuck on login screen?
You can watch this video to learn how to recover files from a Mac or MacBook that stuck on the login screen and won't boot up.
To recover data from Mac that won't load past the login screen, using data recovery software is the only way if you have no backups.
iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac (Support Apple Silicon M1 Mac and macOS Big Sur) is highly recommended.
This data recovery software would be helpful to recover data from the Mac that can't log in. And for safe and quick data recovery, it's required to run iBoysoft Data Recovery in macOS recovery mode.
Don't want to read the detailed data recovery steps? Please watch the above video.
Two situations your Mac/MacBook gets stuck on login screen
Before you go further, you should know there are two kinds of Mac login stuck situations. It depends on if you have enabled FileVault to encrypt your startup drive.
1 Mac won't load past login screen after entering password
It happens to users who encrypt the system drive. You'll be asked for a password before you see the progress bar. Then, the loading bar may stop somewhere between 50% and 75%, or even 100%.
Your Mac won't let you log in with the right password because of a Kernel program incompatibility, file system corruption, or some core data lost.
In this case, the password is usually accepted, and you need to check this post: Mac is stuck on loading screen for a solution.
2 Mac won't accept password or you can't enter password in sign in screen
Another case is that the startup is not encrypted by FileVault or APFS feature.
Assuming that you use a MacBook Pro, you'll see the loading bar first. But the MacBook Pro's login screen may not appear or gets stuck. MacBook Pro won't accept password but freezes with a spinning wheel or you are unable to type in password. Even in the macOS Recovery, Mac also won't accept your password.
This MacBook Pro stuck on login screen issue is usually caused by software conflicts, frozen software, or configuration errors. It happens especially after you update to macOS Big Sur.
What to do when Mac won't load past login screen?
Anyhow, no matter what situation you've run into, these methods would help you fix the Mac (like MacBook Pro) stuck on login screen issue.
Solution 1: Bypass Login items at startup
In some cases, it's software that stops you from getting to your Mac. Then, you can try these steps to sign in your iMac or MacBook.
- 1. Start your MacBook normally.
- 2. On the sign in page, enter the admin account and password if you can, but DON'T click on Log in immediately (in case of a login loop).
- 3. Press and hold the Shift key to stop frozen apps launching. And then, you can click on the Login button.
Solution 2: Boot your Mac in Safe Mode
Booting Mac into Safe Mode will only launch necessary programs. It's efficient to isolate incompatible software and repair some errors when Mac login window not responding.
To boot an Intel-based Mac into Safe Mode:
- 1. Press and hold the Shift key while tapping the power button to restart your Mac.
- 2. Release the Shift key till you see the Apple logo and loading bar.
To boot an Apple Silicon M1 Mac into Safe Mode:
- 1. Completely shut down your Mac and wait 10 seconds around.
- 2. Press and hold the power button until you see the startup disk icon and gear icon with Options.
- 3. Press and hold the Shift to continue booting M1 Mac to Safe Mode, then try to uncheck login items.
If your Mac loads successfully in Safe Mode, try to uncheck login items in Users & Groups. Click the Apple icon > System Preferences... > Login Items.
Sometimes Apple computer won't let you login to Safe Mode because FileVault is enabled. You could decrypt your startup drive temporarily by booting Reset Password Assistant. This makes Safe Mode be able to check and repair errors before the login window appears.
If you succeed in turning off FileVault, you can restart your Mac normally. Then you can see if it brings up the login window. But if the progress bar is stuck underneath the Apple icon, you can try Safe Mode again after turning off the FileVault.
Solution 3: Reset NVRAM / PRAM
NVRAM, as well as PRAM, is a small amount of memory that your Mac uses to store certain settings and access them quickly. Thus, whenever your Mac is not booting up, you can try to reset the NVRAM / PRAM.
Now, restart your Mac and simultaneously press Command + Option + P + R keys for about 20 seconds until your Mac restart automatically.
NVRAM is available on M1 Mac, but it automatically runs during startup and automatically reset the NVRAM if needed.
Solution 4: Boot your Mac into macOS Recovery mode
Mac could stuck on the login progress bar in a normal startup. But if you can boot into macOS Recovery Mode, you could troubleshoot this issue more easily.
Recovery mode, sometimes called sigle-user mode, is a lite built-in macOS utility to check and repair some system issues.
To boot into macOS Recovery Mode:
Booting M1 Mac to macOS Recovery Mode is different from the following steps for Intel Macs.
- 1. Press and hold the power button until the Mac turns off.
- 2. Restart the Mac and immediately press and hold the Command and R keys.
- 3. Release those keys when you see the loading bar.
Mac Recovery Mode Not Working, How to Fix?
Occasionally, macOS Recovery mode may not work on your MacBook Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Air, and iMac. Read this post to check what you can do. Read more >>
If you successfully boot into macOS Recovery Mode, you'll see a macOS Utilities screen. (In some old system, it's called Mac OS X Utilities.) Then, you can do several things to fix the Mac stuck on login screen issue.
1. Repair the startup drive in Disk Utility
Probably, the Mac won't past the Apple logo or login screen because of file system or disk errors. Fortunately, you can check for and repair errors with the built-in tool First Aid.
2. Reset password
Mac could be stuck on the login screen after you forget Mac's password. If you've entered the wrong password too many times, the system could be locked. Then the Mac won't accept the password even it's the right one.
In this case, you should reset your password first. Apart from other ways, resetting your login password via Terminal is a common way.
- 1. In macOS Recovery mode, open the Terminal by clicking Utilities > Terminal in the top menu bar.
- 2. At the Terminal prompt, type resetpassword, and then hit Return / Enter.
- 3. Follow its onscreen wizard to reset the password.
With the password hint, you can change the password of a non-encrypted account. Then you can restart your Mac and log in to your Mac again.
3. Check and fix user preference settings
Sometimes, the .plist files related to user preferences could be changed. Then, your login information would not be accepted.
In this case, you can use the mv command in Terminal to rename the preference folder. And you can troubleshoot and nuke the problematic .plist file easily.
The other times you can't log in to the Mac just because the access to the user directory was changed. You can run chmod to change the access permission.
4. Reset launch services database
If the Mac gets stuck on the login screen and won't accept the password, you can remove the .csstore file ( a launch services database) in Terminal and fix the problem.
- 1. Open Terminal in macOS Recovery mode.
- 2. At the Terminal prompt, type the following command, and then hit Return / Enter.
- 3. Remove every .csstore file you can find by rm command.
Hopefully, you can log in to your Mac after a rebooting.
5. Reinstall macOS in macOS Recovery mode
If you see a folder with question mark on the Mac, or get stuck at 'Create a computer account' on your M1 MacBook Air or M1 MacBook Pro, you can simply reinstall macOS to reset your Mac that can't log in.
But reinstall macOS may make your important data loss, you'd better recover data from your Mac before reinstalling macOS.
• How to reinstall macOS on your Mac
• How to reinstall macOS Big Sur on M1 Mac
This will be helpful especially if you need to downgrade from a recent macOS Big Sur update to macOS Catalina.
How to Reset your M1 Mac when it stuck on login screen?
Ways to factory reset your M1 Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro and reinstall macOS Big Sur when the Mac frozen at login screen. Read more >>
Whether your Mac won't let you in with the right password or you even can't enter a password, this post will give you solutions. By the way, don't neglect data recovery when your Mac stuck on the login screen. Or, you'll face permanent data loss.
System cleanup in one click
A frozen or unresponsive Mac is rare, but Macs aren't immune from some of the same weaknesses as other computers. At one time or another, we've all had documents disappear, programs crash and faced that spinning beachball of dread during a busy working day.
The best thing you can do is not panic, then follow some simple instructions to get up and running again. If you are finding this is happening more often, maybe it's time to look at long-term solutions. Maybe you've not updated your operating system recently? If that is the case, then you should note a new one comes out soon. With macOS Big Sur offering lots of benefits, now is the time to give your Mac an update.
Stop Your Mac From Freezing
A powerful tools to speed up your Mac and fix keeps freezing issues.
My Imac Keeps Crashing And Restarting
At the same time, you may need to declutter the Mac, removing old files and long-forgotten documents to avoid troublesome Mac freezes.
Why does Mac keep freezing?
Macs are fairly powerful, durable devices. It takes a lot to slow them down, or a simple issue of the Mac running too many programs, apps and browser tabs (all of then use processing power). Like with any computer, when too much is stored and too many apps are fighting for CPU processing power, you're stuck with a spinning wheel and your beloved Mac not responding to clicks and pleas.
Apps crashing are some of the most common reasons behind a Mac freezing. Usually, an app freezing won't crash the whole Mac, but that is a risk when your memory is full, or there are lots of applications running at once.
Here are some of the main reasons Macs freeze most of the time.
Main reasons your Mac is frozen
- Too many apps running (this affects memory and cpu)
- Too many background processes (same)
- App crashed (there's a problem with a single app)
- Sluggish browser (too many tabs open)
- Overworked email client (too many attachments)
- macOS loaded with system junk or needs an update
- Not enough free hard drive space
- Hardware problem with your disk or RAM (diagnostics required)
- Malware (the ones that cause Macs to open multiple windows or draft emails, thus overloading the system)
How to fix a frozen macOS
Let's start with a bit of obvious advice: don't panic, don't do anything you'll regret, don't push every button. In this part we'll go over unfreezing a Mac and preventing issues in the future. Depending on your current trouble, we'll try to determine the core reason and what to do in each case.
First aid: How to unfreeze a Mac
First, you need to bring your Mac back to life. When it's unresponsive - either as a result of an app or the computer is struggle to function — you can either click Restart, from the main menu, or press Command-Control-Power (Eject for keyboards and iMacs) to get it to restart.
If neither of those solutions works, then you can hold the power button down which will restart the device. Not an ideal solution, since you can lose anything unsaved, but at least that should restore it to normal.
How to retrieve lost data after the freeze
What if you resurrected your Mac and realized some of the files are missing? Don't worry just yet, install Disk Drill, the world's premier data recovery software for macOS. It was created for the cases when Mac crashed and you lost data and when you accidentally deleted files. Disk Drill is powerful enough to retrieve long-lost, mistakenly deleted files from Macs, external hard drives and USB drives and camera cards. Simply open the app and scan the chosen drive or partition, preview to find exact files you want to restore and restore them.
Now, let's make sure your Mac doesn't make a freeze into a habit.
Most common Mac slow and freeze reasons and fixes
Unresponsive because of a specific app
Apps may running in the background, freeze and crash. Try to determine which apps cause the crash. You start at this: when does the crash happen? If it's when you turn on or work in a specific app, maybe you need to either reset it or remove it entirely.
FIX: To remove apps or set them to back default, use a Mac optimizer app called CleanMyMac, it's has a specific Uninstaller module which can safely perform the task. CleanMyMac is available on Setapp collection and you can use it for free during the trial period.
How to uninstall apps with CleanMyMac:
Imac Keeps Freezing And Restarting How To
- Find CleanMyMac in Setapp and launch it.
- Find Uninstaller tab.
- Find the app in question.
- Checkmark it and click Uninstall.
To reset an app, repeat the first three items and then right-click on the arrow near the app name and select Application Reset instead. Resetting an app to default settings and cleaning up its cache can help if you're sure you really need the app and you can't afford to simply remove it.
Also, don't forget to check for app's updates, there's a change your problems sprout from an outdated version.
How to force quit a frozen or unresponsive app
Imac Keeps Freezing And Restarting
When an app freezes, which becomes obvious when an application is unresponsive in the middle of something, or you are shown the spinning beachball of despair, you can Force Quit (either in the app, from the dock or main menu).
Freeze because of a cluttered desktop
A cluttered desktop can seriously slow down your Mac, and can also cause many problems. That is because every icon on your desktop is an image, not just a link, and it's redrawn each time you start your Mac.
FIX: To clean up your desktop, and organize icons and files, try to use Spotless app. Simply drag your files onto the Spotless pop-ep drawer in your Menu bar and instantly create a rule to organize them in their own folder or place them to Trash. You can automate tidying up with Spotless rules so that all your new files at the end of the day or week get placed into their designated folders.
Freeze because of crushing background apps
This is usually when an app has been running without you realizing it. If your Mac freezes on startup than it's probably one of the startup items, apps that launch when your Mac turns on. You'll need to check on them and remove the extras.
FIX: Stop programs from running at startup on Mac: go to Settings > Users and Groups > Login items and uncheck any app that you don't want to launch when switching your Mac on, or restarting it. This way you'll escape weird crashes that render your Mac frozen.
Freeze because too many apps are running at once
How many are too many? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer; but once your Mac seems to struggle running simple tasks, or slows down when you've got multiple tabs or apps open, it's an indication that it is struggling to cope.
FIX: How to check what apps are running on your Mac right now? Open Activity monitor and take a look at the list of apps. Next to each you can see how much RAM and CPU power they eat up. You can switch between CPU and memory tabs to view each. Those that are the heaviest could cause the problem, so if you're sure you know what that app is, you can quit it.
How to close multiple applications on a Mac: in the Activity monitor, simply select and press the X mark in the top left corner. This will force quit the app. Resort to this only if your app is entirely unresponsive, otherwise use the menu in the top bar with the app's name, next to the apple icon. For instance Chrome > Quit Google Chrome.
In the same way you can manage processes on Mac. Rows without icons are processes. There are system ones and user-generated processes. Don't rush to quit any process before reading a little about it on Google. It might be important.
Freeze because there's no space on hard drive
An overloaded drive can be the reason your Mac fails to work properly and freezes or nearly-freezes. You can check if it's the problem by clicking the Apple icon > About this Mac > Storage. If there's not too many GB left on the free side of your disk, time to clean up.
The easy way to get rid of extra files and give your system a polish is to use CleanMyMac. It's cleaning module is everything you want from a good app: it has a one-click solution and a bunch of semi-automated options for picking out and removing large old files.
To clean your hard drive with CleanMyMac:
- Open CleanMyMac.
- Choose the Smart Scan in the left side
- Click Scan.
- Hit Run.
If you take a few moments to carefully clean up Large and Old files, you'll be gigabytes and gigabytes out, you can't imagine how much garbage hangs in there. From personal experience, it takes about half a year to clutter a Mac with random stuff.
- Click Large & Old Files and click Scan.
- Find what you'd like to remove in there.
- Hit Remove.
Now, here are a few other app suggestions to free up more space.
Gemini — removes duplicated images and similar photos.
Dropshare — lets you quickly move files into the cloud.
When Mac freezes but mouse still moves
A rare case that can signal two things: your Mac is nevertheless locked up and regular solutions fit (restart, check Activity monitor, find problematic apps, clean hard drive)or there's a hardware problem.
There's a way you can check if the latter is the case without taking your Mac to a service store. Install iStat Menus and use its indicators to see if there's an ongoing problem with your drives or battery. Pay attention to the CPU temperature and battery life in particular.
Another way to diagnose your Mac would be to run a specific hardware test administered by Apple itself.
Here's how to run Apple Hardware Test
Preparation: disconnect all external devices except keyboard, mouse, display, and power connection. Put your Mac on a table or anything flat (a soft bed would be a poor choice).
- Shut down the Mac.
- When turning back on, immediately press and hold the D key until you see the Test icon.
- Select language and click the right arrow or press the Return key.
- Click the Test button to begin. You can also press T or Return.
- Upon completion, take a look at the lower part of the window and study the results.
- To quit, hit Restart or Shut Down at the bottom.
How to avoid a Mac freezing
When a Mac freezes, those solutions are reactive, and while you are going to be up and running again soon, you should think about fixes that will help you avoid crashes in the future.
CleanMyMac is one way to cleanup an untidy Mac. Other apps worth installing from Setapp collection include iStat Menus we mentioned before, a handy app that will quickly identify what is absorbing so much CPU processing power and advise those applications are closed. Unlike Activity Menu, iStat Menus providers users with even more useful data, and is available through Setapp, along with hundreds of other apps for Mac customers, all for one convenient price. Remember to pay attention to CPU temperature as a key potential indicator of an upcoming freeze. When it's too high, quit apps and processes that take too much of its power.
That's about it on the matter of freezing Macs, we hope this article has been of help. Every app we mentioned is available on Setapp, an app collection by subscription. More than a hundred ultra-useful tools for all kinds of Mac maintenance, lifestyle, and work tasks. Sign up to try it.