MacOS Safe Boot
MacOS Safe Boot

Booting your MacBook in Safe Mode is an effective troubleshooting step for resolving various issues, from software glitches to hardware problems. Safe Mode limits what runs as your Mac starts up, helping you diagnose issues and maintain your system’s health. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to safe boot a MacBook.

Understanding Safe Mode

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to understand what Safe Mode does:

  • Limits Startup Items: Only essential system extensions load, preventing potentially problematic software from automatically running.
  • Checks Startup Disk: Safe Mode performs a check of your startup disk, similar to Disk Utility’s First Aid.
  • Disables Accelerated Graphics: To reduce variables, Safe Mode uses the basic graphics drivers.

Preparing to Enter Safe Mode

  • Back Up Your Data: Always ensure your important data is backed up before attempting troubleshooting steps.
  • Charge Your MacBook: Ensure your MacBook has sufficient battery power, or better yet, connect it to a power source.

Steps to Enter Safe Mode

For Intel-Based MacBooks

  1. Shut Down Your MacBook: Go to the Apple menu and select ‘Shut Down’.
  2. Power On and Hold the Shift Key: Press the power button and immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Release the Shift Key: Once you see the login window, release the Shift key. Note: You may need to log in twice if you have FileVault turned on.

For Apple Silicon MacBooks

  1. Shut Down Your MacBook: Use the Apple menu to shut down your device.
  2. Power On and Hold the Power Button: Press and hold the power button until you see the startup options window, which shows your bootable volumes.
  3. Select Your Startup Disk: Click your startup disk, then hold down the Shift key and click ‘Continue in Safe Mode’.
  4. Log In: You might need to log in more than once if FileVault is on.

Verifying You’re in Safe Mode

  • Check the Menu Bar: After logging in, you should see ‘Safe Boot’ in the menu bar.
  • System Information: Go to ‘Apple Menu’ > ‘About This Mac’ > ‘System Report’. Under ‘Software’, it should say ‘Boot Mode: Safe’.

Using Safe Mode for Troubleshooting

  • Test for Issues: Once in Safe Mode, try replicating the issues you were facing. If the problem doesn’t occur in Safe Mode, it’s likely related to software that’s loaded during normal startup.
  • Removing Problematic Software: If you suspect a particular app or service is causing issues, you can uninstall or update it.

Exiting Safe Mode

To exit Safe Mode, simply restart your MacBook normally without holding any keys.


Safe Boot is a powerful tool for diagnosing and resolving issues on your MacBook. By understanding and effectively using Safe Mode, you can maintain the health and performance of your device, ensuring a smooth and efficient experience.

Remember, if your problems persist even after using Safe Mode, it may be wise to consult with an Apple professional or visit an Apple Store for further assistance.

Eric Chan

Hi! I’m Eric and I work on the knowledge base at  You can see some of my writings about technology, cellphone repair, and computer repair here.

When I’m not writing about tech I’m playing with my dog or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Shoot me a message at if you want to see a topic discussed or have a correction on something I’ve written.

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