How to Fix Your Mac When It Won’t Turn On?

What To Do When Your Mac Doesn’t Start Up

Life without a computer is now hardly imaginable as a lot of everyday things we do digitally and online. We store a big part of our life on it. A computer hard drive has our memories in the form of pictures and videos, and stores important personal and work files. Your computer gives you access to the online world, which is a source of entertainment and information. It also lets you communicate with friends, family, and connect with people all around the world.

Macs are one of the best computers in the market. Many users swear on their quality and longevity compared to other brands. So it can be quite frustrating when your Mac won't start as you lose access to your files and can't work on your projects.

What to do when your Mac does not start up

When your Mac doesn't turn on, the problem is rarely with the whole setup. It's more likely that one of the components, ranging from your display to software, is at fault. To fix the problem, first, you need to find which part of your Mac is misbehaving.


Usually, there are two main issues that can occur. If you press the power button on your Mac and there's no light, no start up or fan sound, and it shows no signs of power, the problem likely lies with the power supply. If you press the power button and you see some signs of life, like hear a start up sound or fans running, see lights blinking, that means your problem is with your Mac's software or hardware.

If you have indicated that the power supply is the cause of the problem, the first step is to check if your MacBook has any battery life left. Try to unplug the power cord from the power outlet, wait for about 30 seconds, and plug it back in. If your model has a battery that can be removed, remove it and plug your Mac to a working power outlet. If your Mac powers on, then the issue is the battery, not the power supply or cable. If you have an iMac, check if your cable is connected correctly. If you have an older MacBook, the green light on the MagSafe cable will indicate if your computer is charged, and the amber light will indicate if it's still charging. If you tried to remove and insert some part (battery, RAM, etc.) of your MacBook and it stopped charging, check if the part was inserted correctly. There can also be a problem with the power cord. Examine it for any signs of damage. Also, test your power outlet.

If your Mac shows some signs of life, disconnect any peripherals (mouse, keyboard, printer, etc.) connected to your Mac. Then press and hold the power button for 10 seconds, release it and wait for a few seconds. Press the power button again to see if your Mac starts. If it works, one of the connected devices may not be compatible with your Mac. You should also check the display brightness settings on your mac screen. The brightness of the screen may be turned down too much. If you have an external display connected to your Mac, check if it's turned on.

If none of the above solutions helped, try to resolve the issue by following the troubleshooting steps below.


Table of Contents:

Boot Your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe mode bypasses a lot of small processes. It limits the macOS to its essential functions while allowing you to recover your Mac.

1. If your Mac is turned on, turn it off.
2. Turn on your Mac and hold down the Shift key on your keyboard.
3. Release the Shift key when you see a login screen.

boot-safe-mode

4. Go to the upper menu bar and click on the Apple logo.
5. Click on Restart.

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Reset The SMC

If your Mac is not turning on, try resetting System Management Controller (SMC).

MacBook computers with the T2 chip:

1. Disconnect all peripherals from the computer except for the power cord.
2. Press Shift + Control + Option + Power keys on your keyboard at the same time. Simultaneously hold them for 10 seconds.
3. After 10 seconds, release all keys at the same time.
4. Press the power button on your Mac to turn on the computer.

iMac with the T2 chip:

1. Unplug the power cord.
2. Wait 15 seconds then plug the power cord back in.
3. Wait for 5 seconds and then press the Power button to turn on your Mac.

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Reset the NVRAM

Non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) is a type of memory with stored data that persists even when your Mac is turned off. It rarely helps, but it's worth a try.

1. Turn off your Mac.
2. Hold down Command + Option + P + R keys on your keyboard and turn on your Mac.
3. Release the keys when you hear the second start up sound.

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Run Disk Utility In Recovery Mode

After you have copied your files, run Disk Utility and reinstall macOS.

1. Turn off your Mac.
2. Simultaneously hold down the Command + R keys on your keyboard and power on your Mac. Hold down the keys until you see the Apple logo.
3. In the mac OS utility window, click on Disk Utility.

run-disk-utility-in-recovery-mode

4. Select your Mac's drive. Usually, it's named Macintosh HD.
5. Click on First Aid.

click-on-first-aid

6. Then click on Run.

run-first-aid

If Disk Utility will ask if you want to repair your disk's errors, click on Repair Disk.

If you see that the First Aid process has failed, continue to the next step.

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Reinstall macOS

If nothing helped, then reinstalling the operating system might remove the problem.

Before proceeding, we recommend you copy your files to another Mac. If you do regular backups and sync your important files to the cloud, you can skip this step.

To copy files, you'll need a second Mac and an Apple Thunderbolt or FireWire cable.


1. Connect both Macs with the Thunderbolt cable.
2. Turn off your Mac.
3. Turn on your Mac while holding down the T key on your keyboard.
4. Keep holding down the T key until the Thunderbolt icon appears on your screen.
5. You should see the hard drive for your faulty Mac on the second Mac's Finder. All you need to do id copy the files from your hard drive.


After you have copied your files, reinstall macOS in recovery mode.

1. Turn off your Mac.
2. Simultaneously hold down the Command + R keys on your keyboard and power on your Mac. Hold down the keys until you see the Apple logo.
3. In the mac OS utility window, click on Reinstall macOS.

reinstall-macos

4. Follow the installation steps.

If non of the steps above helped contact Apple Mac support.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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