How to Fix a Mac That Won’t Start

Apple Macs are very powerful and reliable machines to help you with your work. Thanks to Apple unified ecosystem, they are more secured and well-optimized compared to Windows laptops. However, it doesn’t mean a Mac will be immune to problems. Your Mac may sometimes run into different issues like no Wi-Fi, no audio, and much more. But the fact that your Mac refuses to start up is probably the most frustrating problem. So in this article, we will guide you on how to fix a Mac that won’t start.

In fact, there are 2 different situations that you may face. First, your Mac does not respond to the Power button and won’t turn on at all. Second, your mac can start up but it does not boot into the macOS. So let’s take a look at our possible fixes.

Your Mac Won’t Start at all

One day, you press the power button many times, even press and hold it for a while but your Mac refuses to start. In particular, the screen does not light up, the Apple logo does not show up, and no beeping sound. Here are some ways to fix this:

Make Sure Your Mac Get Some Battery Charge

The most common reason for this issue is that your Mac completely ran out of battery. In this case, you just need to plug the charger in, wait for a while, and your Mac will be able to start again. It is recommended that you let your Mac charge for 15 – 20 minutes before using it again. Make sure you disconnect all the external devices like a USB or eGPU in order to prevent excessive power consumption.

Check Your Charger/ Adapter

There are also chances that your charger/adapter may be broken so your laptop didn’t charge properly.  You should check them carefully. You might want to try using another charger to see if it was the root of this problem. 

Make Sure Every Cables are Connected Correctly

In the case that you are using a desktop Mac like the Mac Mini or Mac Pro, you should check that all its cables are correctly seated. For example, if you have a Mac Mini, make sure you connect the video-out cable securely to both the Mac Mini itself and the display. Furthermore, you can try unplugging all the cables and then plug them back in to ensure that they are securely connected.

Take Your Mac To The Nearest Apple Center or Genius Bar

If you have tried all these above but your Mac still refuses to start up, it may have issues with the mainboard. Unfortunately, there are not many things you can do now. Your best shot is to take your computer to the nearest Apple Center or Genius Bar for maintenance.

Your Mac is not Booting into macOS

In this case, your mac can start up when you hit the power button, but it does not boot in to macOS like usual. The problem might be caused by some software conflict or crash on your Mac system. You can fix it by following the below methods:

Reset SMC

System Management Controller (SMC) is a subsystem of Mac computers based on Intel’s platform. SMC has the role of managing system temperature, battery charging, graphical display processing, startup and shutdown, and much more. Therefore, resetting SMC may fix the problem when your Mac won’t start.

Different Mac models have different ways to reset SMC. We have covered a guide on how to reset SMC on all Mac models here.

Boot Your Mac into Recovery Mode

If resetting SMC does not work for you, maybe your device’s drive is damaged. Fortunately, you can completely fix this problem by resetting your Mac in Recovery Mode. Here is what you need to do:

  • Turn off your Mac completely by holding down the power button.
  • Hold down Command + R, then press the power button again.
  • Now you will see the macOS Utilites screen, let go of all the buttons.
  • Select Disk Utility> choose your Mac installation drive (usually Macintosh HD)
  • Click on First Aid.
  • Disk Utility will search for errors on your disk and fix them automatically.
  • Reset your Mac and use it like usual.


Your Mac stores certain settings in a special memory area even when it is turned off. Back in the day, PRAM referred to as a small amount of special memory in every Mac that stored information the computer needed before it loaded the operating system. On Intel-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as NVRAM; on PowerPC-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as PRAM

Issues in PRAM or NVRAM can also cause your Mac not to startup properly. In this case resetting it may solve the problem.  To reset PRAM and NVRAM, you need to perform the following steps:

  • Turn off your Mac completely by holding the Power button
  • Turn it back on.
  • Press and hold the keys combination of Command-Option-P-R before you hear the startup sound.
  • Hold the keys down until the computer restarts, and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  • Release the keys.

Re-installing Your macOS

If other methods do not work for you, reinstalling the macOS may be the solution. Before you consider reinstalling macOS, make sure you’ve made multiple backups for your data. 

Now to reinstall macOS, you need to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode that we mentioned. In the utility menu, you will see the option of “Reinstall macOS”. Select it to have your Mac automatically download the latest macOS installation files and reinstall its operating system. You can also restore your macOS settings from a Time Machine backup. If the operating system is corrupted and damaged, this process will replace it with a fresh, undamaged one.

Contact Apple Support

If all of the above solutions are still unable to save your Mac, it’s time to take it to the nearest Apple Center. There’s maybe some problems with its hardware. You can also contact Apple Support for more diagnose and prediction before turning your Mac in for service

Now you have it, this is our guide on how to fix a Mac that won’t start. We hope that our guide will help your solve the issues that your are facing. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions!

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