START MacOS in Safe Mode  ▷ Step by Step Guide ▷ 2020

Tired of having problems with your Mac? Problems that can be solved just by simply booting it up in safe mode. In this article we will not only explain how to boot and start Mac in safe mode step by step.

You will also learn what it is, what it is for and what functions are not available when we do a safe boot. The truth, is that using this tool helps you analyze the problems that the Mac presents in the foreground.

It’s a pleasure, because it opens up a panorama for us to solve setbacks, in addition, not to allow the overheating of the Software, so it is a preventive measure.

What is safe mode and what is it for in MacOS?

safe mode on macOS

Safe mode is a way to start the MacOS, to prevent the Mac from overheating or the software components from becoming self-contained. The intention is to protect and diagnose the equipment.

This tool is also called “safe boot” and when we access its use several things happen:

  • Among the multiple functions it exercises, sets the veracity of the boot disk by trying to fix directory bugs if required, it may end up loading some requested kernel branches.
  • Cancels the naturalness of elements that make up the login boot so that it does not open automatically, lightening the software, allowing a review of the sources that you have installed a point before the machine presented problems.
  • By last discard cache, kernel, and other saved files on Mac. All this allows you to identify in safe mode if the problem can be fixed from there, the diagnosis will help you to know more about your problem, be able to identify the cause and thus solve it.

Steps to boot into safe mode on Apple’s MacOS operating system

The steps are easy to followYou just have to be a bit rigorous to do the procedure well, remember that Safe Mode is a scanning tool to identify certain Mac problems so it will also isolate important functions.

Many of those problems come from unwanted active files or programs, the Mac being in safe mode does not suspend the files or programs so it does not let them work and thus you will have total control.

  • Take into account that if the Mac is on you will have to restart it, to do this go to the Apple menu and click on “Restart”. You will not have enough restarting it only once, the correct procedure is to restart it 2 times to ensure and confirm the procedure. If instead the Mac is off, turn it on and let it start to boot.

Fix Mac Keyboard Misconfiguration, Restart Mac

  • Go to the keyboard and visualize the key “Shift”, wait until the machine starts to start up and press the shift key without releasing it (it is very important that you do not release it). The other possibility is to use an adjacent keyboard via Bluetooth, the pressure should be just after hearing the startup sound or wait for Apple logo appears. It is important that you wait with the button “Shift” held down about two minutes it takes for the team to respond, when the login screen appears you will continue to the next step.

Shortcut using the

  • At this point you have already achieved hold the shift key without releasing it for two minutes or less, your machine is already in safe mode so you can release the key. As the user is blocked you should only sign in to your Apple account, here the procedure is how you regularly do it, select your account and enter the password to enter. Take into account that if your Mac has the “FileVault “, before anything you must log in to unlock the boot disk because this will not allow your Mac to function properly.
  • When you’re ready, it’s time for the diagnosis. Evaluate if when you log in you had problems with startup or with any general functionsIf not, it is most likely that some of the files or programs that you have on your MacOs are damaged to the point of causing a serious problem. The moment of truth is, if the problem reaches the point of overpassing Safe Mode, you have a software or hardware problem.


  • Take the opportunity and disable all startup programs and files you can, those that you believe are causing problems or those that take the longest to respond. In this way, when you start your Mac in natural mode, it will start up much faster. Being in this mode you have the control to eliminate applications such as antivirus packages or programs that are difficult to execute, it will not be a problem. All you need is to arm yourself with courage and erase what no longer serves you or never served you.
  • By last exit safe mode by restarting your Mac, go to the Apple menu and click “Restart”, Follow the steps that the machine will indicate and in a two by three you will have your MacOs in normal mode again.

What features are not available in Mac safe mode?

This mode works by restricting some functions that cause problems to the machine when logging in. Many of them are natural functions of a Mac that one would think should not cause problems.

  • While in this mode using the Video viewer is not available and neither is DVD player for watching movies.
  • All video apps are closed, including a very popular one like iMovie, the captured video.
  • It intervenes with things that one downloads from the web, including music and files that include some type of audio, so the safe mode does not allow playback of audio input or output devices.
  • Likewise limits the use of connectors to other devices such as USB, FireWare and Thunderbolt, the intention is to avoid overheating and the Mac to load new devices.
  • Don’t wait for a Wifi connection while in safe mode, it is highly unlikely that it will be available. However there are MacOs that do have connection possibilities but this is depending on what you have.
  • Accessibility as a feature of a Mac will be affected by Safe Mode so most likely you can’t use some of them like for example “VoiceOver”.
  • One of the most frequent to use as file or program sharing is completely disabled.
  • There are tools that go further, the next level is a post safe mode also known as “OS X Leopard” who completely disables the graphical abilities that a Mac possesses. So a menu bar is in a solid color even though we have configured it with a translucent capacity., in a personalized way.
  • And finally in this very particular tool, we find that the screen will flicker and look deformed while logging in so you shouldn’t be afraid. Remember that the latter only happens in a safe mode; in normal mode it is a system problem.

My Mac won’t start in safe mode How to fix it?

There are options that can take you to a safe mode, these are alternatives, it is preferable to use the traditional way if it does not work for you, you can access it by connecting to a computer and sending terminal commands (codes) that allow this use.

  • To access you need enter in the command line sent via codes, to do this open the terminal remotely or simply log into the computer with the SSH tool.
  • Terminal commands are encrypted, you can use several of them to access, one is the “sudo nvram boot-args =” -x “ On the other hand, if you also want to have access in a more detailed mode, you can do it using the command “sudo nvram boot-args =” -x -v “.
  • Once you have finished your use of safe mode you can return to normal use by activating the command “sudo nvram boot-args =”.

It is recommended that if you do not feel qualified to access this type of command you should go to a specialized technician, it is always better to have a professional to entrust you with our devices, Also note that these commands are only for Macs that for some reason cannot access traditional safe modeIf you can access it naturally, do so.

Solve login problems with safe mode, wait no more and avoid overheating in your software. Recognize your team’s problems and eliminate them, and leave your MacOs in the best performance after having cleaned it with the safe mode.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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