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How to Fix Mac Stuck at Apple Logo: 6 Tried and Tested Fixes

Troubleshoot and fix your Mac’s boot-up issue at the Apple logo.

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Last updated: December 19, 2023

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TL;DR

To fix a Mac stuck at Apple logo, follow one of these methods:

  1. Force restart your Mac by holding the Power button.
  2. Boot in Safe Mode to start with essential system extensions to diagnose issues.
  3. Reset NVRAM or PRAM to reset system settings.
  4. Reset the SMC to address hardware-related problems.
  5. Repair the startup disk using Disk Utility to fix issues with the startup disk.
  6. Reinstall macOS if all other methods fail.

Mac stuck on Apple logo – that’s a dreaded sight I faced recently when my MacBook Air M1 (2020) got stuck and wouldn’t boot. I wasn’t sure what to do but with some research and trial, I finally got it working. Then, I thought I should create a guide to help others in the same situation. So, here’s a straightforward, easy-to-read resource-packed guide with the steps I’ve personally used to fix my Mac stuck at Apple logo.

Before We Begin

Cache and junk files often pile up, leading to issues with your Mac booting up normally and getting stuck at the Apple logo. Download MacKeeper and use its Safe Cleanup to remove junk files and make sure your Mac won’t freeze again.

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If your Mac is stuck on Apple logo during bootup, you can try one of the following solutions. I’ve tried them all on my MacBook Air M1 (2020), but they’re also compatible with other models.

1. Force Restart Your Mac

When my Mac was stuck at the Apple logo, the first thing I did was force restart it. Since nothing was working, it was my only option at that point. It’s a quick way to reset your system without causing any harm.

Here’s how to force restart your Mac:

  1. Press and hold the Power button for about 10 seconds. It will force your Mac to shut down completely.
macbook pro touch id
  1. After your Mac shuts down, wait for a few seconds.
  2. Press the Power button again to turn on your Mac.
  3. Check if your Mac boots up to the login screen without getting stuck at the Apple logo.

2. Boot in Safe Mode

Booting your Mac in Safe Mode is a great diagnostic tool. Safe Mode starts your Mac with the minimum required software and drivers, which can often bypass the issue causing the startup problem. It can also determine if a software conflict or incompatible software causes the bootup problem.

In Safe Mode, some features and apps might not work as they usually do. The purpose of Safe Mode is purely diagnostic, helping you determine if the issue is related to your Mac’s basic settings or software.

Here’s how to boot your Mac in Safe Mode to fix your MacBook stuck at Apple logo:

Apple Silicon Macs

  1. Click the Apple icon and select Shut Down from the drop-down menu.
click the apple icon and select shut down
  1. Wait for your Mac to shut down completely, and press the Power/Touch ID button to turn it on.
macbook air touch id
  1. Keep holding the Power button until you see the Loading startup options screen.
loading startup options screen on mac
  1. Select a volume from the options.
select a volume
  1. Press and hold the Shift ⇧ key and click Continue in Safe Mode.
macbook air shift key
  1. Your Mac will restart automatically, and you will see Safe Boot in the menu bar when the login screen appears.
safe boot mode on mac

Intel-Based Macs

  1. Restart or turn on your Mac and press and hold the Shift ⇧ key immediately.
macbook air shift key
  1. Keep holding the Shift ⇧ key until you see the login screen.
  2. Release the Shift ⇧ key and log in to your Mac.
  3. You’ll see Safe Boot in the menu bar on your first or second login window.
safe boot mode on mac

3. Reset NVRAM or PRAM

Resetting NVRAM (nonvolatile random-access memory) or PRAM (Parameter RAM) can solve various startup issues on your Mac, including being stuck at the Apple logo. This process resets certain settings stored in this memory, like sound volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, and more.

Here’s how to reset NVRAM or PRAM on Mac:

Intel-Based Macs

  1. Turn off your Mac and press the Power button to turn it on.
macbook air touch id
  1. Press and hold the Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + P + R keys simultaneously on your keyboard before the gray screen appears.
macbook air option command p r keys
  1. Keep holding the keys until your Mac restarts and you hear the startup chime twice.
  2. Release the keys and let your Mac start up normally.

Apple Silicon Macs

On the M1 or M2 Macs, NVRAM does not require manual resetting. Instead, it is tested during startup and will reset itself automatically if necessary. There is no special key combination to initiate an NVRAM reset on an M1 or M2 Mac. Just power it off and turn it back on again.

4. Reset the SMC

The SMC is responsible for controlling various hardware components on a Mac, including power management, fans, and some input/output functions. Resetting the SMC can clear any errors or conflicts preventing your Mac from starting up properly.

The process for resetting the SMC varies depending on your Mac’s battery type. If you have an older Mac model produced before 2009, it should have a replaceable battery.

Below, I have mentioned the steps for resetting the SMC on a Mac with a removable as well as non-removable battery:

Due to the absence of an SMC in Apple Silicon Macs, you cannot perform an SMC reset. Refer to the next method to fix your Mac stuck at Apple logo.

With Removable Battery

  1. Shut down your Mac.
click the apple icon and select shut down
  1. Remove its battery.
remove macs battery
Image Credits: iFixit
  1. Press and hold the Power button for five seconds.
macbook air touch id
  1. Release the Power button and reinstall the battery.
reinstall macs battery
Image Credits: iFixit
  1. Turn on your Mac by pressing the Power button.

With Non-Removable Battery

  1. Tap the Apple icon and select Shut Down from the drop-down menu.
click the apple icon and select shut down
  1. Press and hold the Shift ⇧ + Control ^ + Option keys with the Power button for 10 seconds.
macbook air power shift control option keys
  1. Release all the keys and press the Power button to turn on your MacBook.
macbook air touch id

5. Repair Startup Disk Using Disk Utility

Your Mac may be stuck at Apple logo during startup due to an issue with the startup disk. Mac’s startup disk contains the operating system and all the files necessary for it to run. If the startup disk is damaged, corrupted, or experiencing issues, your Mac won’t be able to boot up properly.

One potential solution is to repair the startup disk using Disk Utility. Here are the steps to use Disk Utility to fix a Mac stuck at Apple logo:

Before repairing your Mac startup disk, create a backup of your Mac files to prevent data loss.

  1. Restart your Mac and hold down the Command ⌘ + R keys until the Apple logo appears.
macbook air command r keys
  1. In the macOS Utilities window, select Disk Utility and click Continue.
select disk utility from macos recovery screen
  1. Click the View icon in the top left corner and select Show All Devices.
click the view icon and select show all devices
  1. You will see all connected disks, containers, and volumes on your Mac in the left sidebar.
disk container volumes in disk utility
  1. Select the volume, container, or disk you want to repair from the sidebar. Start with the bottom volume and work your way up before moving to the containers and the disk.
  2. Click the First Aid button at the top of Disk Utility.
select startup disk and click first aid
  1. Click Run on the pop-up window. You may be asked to enter your administrator password.
click run on the first aid prompt
  1. Wait for First Aid to complete, and then click Done. Repeat these steps for the next volume, container, or disk.
  2. Restart your Mac for the changes to take effect.

If Disk Utility finds issues that it can’t repair, it may indicate a more serious problem with your hard drive. In such cases, I recommend backing up your data and seeking professional support.

6. Reinstall macOS

If nothing else works, you may have to reinstall macOS to fix your Mac stuck at Apple logo. This can resolve any issues with the operating system and get your Mac up and running again.

Before reinstalling macOS, back up your important files to avoid data loss.

Here are the steps to reinstall macOS:

  1. Connect your Mac to the internet, as you will need to download the latest version of macOS during reinstallation.
  2. Restart your Mac and hold down the Command ⌘ + R keys while it boots up. It will launch the macOS Utilities window.
macbook air command r keys
  1. Select Reinstall macOS from the macOS Utilities window and click Continue.
click reinstall macos in macos utilities
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to select your startup disk and begin the reinstallation process.
  2. The installation process can take some time, so be patient and wait for it to complete.
  3. Once the installation is complete, follow the on-screen instructions to set up your Mac.
  4. Once you’ve completed the setup process, you should have a fresh macOS installation.

Keep Your Mac Clean With MacKeeper to Prevent Boot-Up Issues

Unwanted junk and unnecessary files can be the source of your Mac’s lagging performance, frequent crashes, slow loading times, and failure to boot. Maintaining your Mac’s health and performance is crucial for avoiding boot-up issues like getting stuck at the Apple logo.

MacKeeper is a popular utility software that can help keep your Mac clean and optimized. Its Safe Cleanup quickly frees up disc space, improves startup speed, and enables your Mac to run at its best.

Here’s how it can assist:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Open MacKeeper and select the Safe Cleanup option from the left menu.
click safe cleanup under the cleaning section
  1. Click Start Scan to scan your Mac for any issues causing it not to boot.
click start scan in safe cleanup
  1. Once the scan is complete, select the items you want to remove or click Check All.
select junk files to remove or click check all
  1. Click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files
  1. If the issue persists, click Rescan.
click rescan to scan the system again

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

MacKeeper is an all-in-one utility tool that can do much more than just clean junk files on your Mac. You can use it to run a virus scan on your Mac, free up Mac RAM, and manage the login items. If you want to learn more about its features, read my detailed MacKeeper review.

Now that you’ve fixed the Mac boot-up issue, you’ll want to prevent it from happening again. Here are some tips:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I know if my Mac is experiencing a hardware issue?

    Your Mac is experiencing a hardware issue if it doesn’t boot or is stuck at the Apple logo even after you have tried all troubleshooting methods. You can take your Mac to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Store to get it checked.

  2. What should I do if my Mac gets stuck on a blank screen?

    If your Mac gets stuck on a blank screen, try resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). To do this, shut down your Mac, hold down the Shift ⇧ + Control ^ + Option keys and the Power button simultaneously for 10 seconds, and then release all keys and turn on your Mac.

  3. Why does my Mac keep restarting?

    Your Mac keeps restarting due to software issues, such as problematic updates or incompatible software. Try running First Aid in Disk Utility or booting in Safe Mode to diagnose and fix the issue.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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