Macos Boot Safe Mode

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Like every other devices, if you are a newcomer to Mac OS X, you might be going through several issues ranging from software malfunctioning to booting issues as there are hell lot of a new things to know for those who haven’t used it before. There could also be some serious problems other than your personal errors, which at times would prevent your operating system from opening. On such occasions, it is safer to boot Mac using Safe Mode.

Why and When We Need to Boot Mac in Safe Mode

Safe Mode on Mac, which is commonly termed as Safe Boot is a way actually to boot your operating system by subjugating most of the system softwares and kernel extensions, allowing only the basic essentials required to just run the system. It is often used to troubleshoot your system when you are having trouble with booting your system or any malware has attacked your computer. Malwares are very shrewd in preventing system processes from eradicating their colonial destruction. Thus, booting the system in safe mode prevents the malwares from blocking the process and you can easily get rid of them. Another case is that if you forgot Mac OS admin password, then booting Mac in Safe Mode will help you recover your account password.

If the problem still exists in your normal boot environment, try Safe Mode. To enter into Safe Mode, restart your computer and immediately after the startup sound rings, press and hold the shift key until a gray Apple logo pops up on the screen. Safe mode is a diagnostic mode in computer operating systems like Mac and Windows, designed for troubleshooting purposes. By booting in Safe mode, you can start up your Mac to perform certain checks while preventing automatic loading or opening of some software. It also helps isolate software issues and/or hardware failures.

Heeding to the importance of the safe mode on Mac we would thereby demonstrate 2 important ways here to securely boot and exit the safe mode.

Also read: How to Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10?

Method #1: Enter & Exit Safe Mode using Keyboard


In this section we would make use of certain key commands from the keyboard to activate the safe mode instead of trying out complex procedures, thus it is suitable for those who are not adept with handling system commands in Terminals. Simply go through the instructions given below to activate the Safe Mode:

How To Boot In Safe Mode

Step 1. Firstly power down the Mac OS X, by clicking “Shut Down….” option from the sub-menu of the “Apple” logo.

Step 2. Now; once it is shut down, turn it on by pressing the power button.


Step 3. Press the “shift” key and hold it the moment you hear the startup sound. And keep holding it until the Apple logo appears. You can release the key once the logo has turned up.

Step 4. The operating system would now boot in Safe Mode, which might take few moments as the directory structure integrity is being checked by your Mac.

Step 5. Before entering the Safe Mode, you still need to enter your Password and Username as your conformational credentials to your specified account, though you get to see the Safe Mode displayed on the upper right corner of the screen.

Step 6. Once you are in, you can carry out your necessary tasks with the limited basic tools and system softwares, which will prevent malicious viruses or malwares from being activated.

Step 7. After you have done your task, click on “Apple” logo and select “Restart” option which would reboot the system in the normal mode.

Step 8. Click Software and you can see the Boot Mode is Normal or Safe.

If you are adept with using Terminal commands, then the next method would be the best option for users like you to follow up.

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Method #2: Boot & Exit Mac Safe Mode using Terminal

Here in this section, we would make use of the Terminal tool which is command interface for UNIX-based operating systems, and very much similar to cmd in Windows. All that you have to do is to follow the given steps:

Step 1. Go to the “Utilities” folder from the “Applications” folder and open the “Terminal” option.

Step 2. Once the empty dialog box of the “Terminal” turns up, paste the following command and press “Return”:

sudo nvram boot-args=”-x”

Step 3. Enter your Mac password if asked.

Step 4. Now; reboot your computer by clicking “Restart” option from the context menu of Apple logo.

Step 5. Log-in with your Mac username and password.

Step 6. Once you are in the Safe Mode, perform all your necessary functions, and once you are done, open the “Terminal’ dialog box again and type in the following command and press “Return”:

sudo nvram boot-args=””

Step 7. Now; reboot your Mac and it would boot in the normal mode once again allowing you to use all the system tools and extensions.


Safe Mode is a magnificent boot option to enter your operating system in such a way that nothing harmful or serious can sneak in to interrupt your task. But you cannot remain in the safe mode all the time, as you would definitely need to exercise your entire admin privileges to carry out your daily tasks, so simply follow the guidelines outlined above to accurately and securely enter safe mode and exit it afterwards.

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You’re ready to work when suddenly your Mac won’t start up properly or suddenly it stalls while you’re in the middle of something important. There are a lot of troubleshooting steps you can try but being the busy bee that you are, you have no time for that! But, again, who are we kidding, obviously you have to do something about it lest you miss your deadline. Three words, Mac Safe Mode, your best friend at times like this.

Why Boot Your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is basically the stripped down version of your macOS. It allows your Mac to run, but only with the most basic functions and features. It is recommended you boot in Safe Mode if you encounter the following problems:

  1. Your Mac froze during startup.
  2. An app is causing problems.
  3. Your Mac is running very slow.

Booting in Safe Mode is considered troubleshooting because it clears the cache and essentially refreshes your system.

How to Boot into Safe Mode

To enter Safe Mode, simply follow these steps:

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  1. Restart or turn on your Mac.
  2. At the first startup chime, press and hold the Shift key. The Apple logo should appear. Keep holding down the Shift key.
  3. When the login window appears, release the Shift key. Log in.
  4. If you have FileVault activated, you’ll be asked to log in twice. You are now in Safe Mode.

Not Sure if You’re in Safe Mode?

Safe Mode on Mac is different if you are using Windows because there won’t be any text on the Desktop telling you, you’re navigating in Safe Mode. You also won’t be limited to a low-resolution screen. Actually, if you’re not observant or you didn’t enter Safe Mode yourself or if someone you know booted your Mac in Safe Mode, it could be difficult to tell the difference. Unless you consciously look for these clues:

  1. The system is a bit slower to respond than usual.
  2. Animations might appear jerky or shaky.
  3. The screen might blink when the login window appears during startup.
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You can also check if you’re in Safe Mode. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple icon.
  2. Go to About This Mac > System Report > Software.
  3. Look at the Boot Mode. Naturally, it will say Safe if your Mac is in Safe Mode. Otherwise, it will say Normal.

What You Can’t-Do While You’re in Safe Mode

Safe Mode has limitations since it’s a dumbed down version of your macOS. So, it won’t allow you to do everything you normally could in Normal mode. Here’s a list of the stuff you won’t be able to do while in Safe Mode:

  1. Wi-Fi networking
  2. Video capture in some video apps
  3. File sharing
  4. Other limitations include:
    • Some audio devices may not work
    • Some USB or Thunderbolt devices may not be available
    • Some graphical elements and effects will not show

True enough, booting in Safe Mode isn’t the best thing you’ll ever have to do with your Mac, but it’s a lifesaver. If you don’t ever want to have to boot into Safe Mode again, make sure you take better care of your Mac. One way to do that is by using 3rd party cleaning tools to scan for issues and get rid of them before they could wreak havoc on your Mac.

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Anyway, you can get out of Safe Mode anytime, especially if you want to see if the problem has already been solved and if you can already boot in Normal mode. Just shut down your Mac and turn it on again, this time without pressing the Shift key.

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