If the shift key is depressed before the chime occurs, the system will ignore the shift key signal and continue to boot normally. When the login screen is shown, the upper right-hand corner will display the words Safe Boot. In the window that opens, select the Software category in the left-hand sidebar. In the central area, you should see Boot mode: Safe mode tested and repaired if applicable the startup drive. The issue could have been a drive in poor health.
Use safe mode to isolate issues with your Mac
You may want to make sure you have a backup strategy in place. Safe mode also disabled all your startup and login items. If, when you restart your Mac using the normal boot process, the problem returns, it could be a corrupt, out-of-date, or conflicting login or startup item. Font issues are usually limited to specific apps, so when you return to the normal boot up process, be sure to try the app that was giving you problems. System, kernel, and font caches were deleted.
Any one of these cache files could have been corrupt, or contained out-of-date information that could have caused the issue you were having.
In order to complete the repair, your Mac is automatically restarted. You may want to restart your Mac once again in safe mode to ensure no further drive repairs need to be performed.
How to Enable Safe Mode from Command Line on Mac
Exiting Safe Mode To exit safe mode, simply restart your Mac without holding down any keyboard shortcuts. If you used Terminal to set boot args, see the Terminal section, below, for instructions on how to reset the boot args. Single-User Mode Single-user mode is a minimal UNIX environment with no graphical shell, only the bare minimum of system daemons running, and a basic console to support a command line.
The name single-user is a reference to the normal UNIX multi-user environment, and the need to occasionally force a multi-user system into single-user mode to perform maintenance tasks that require exclusive access to normally shared resources. Even in this minimalist environment, there are quite a few UNIX commands available that allow you to perform basic repairs to the startup drive, mount the storage drives, read and write files, and start various system daemons.
Once the single-user console is available, you can enter many common UNIX commands.
Troubleshooting Mac startup problems
Single-user mode can be used for many different functions, including repairing a drive or ejecting stuck media in a drive. Continue to hold down the two keys until you see white text on the display. You can repair a drive by using the fsck command. Fsck stands for File System Check the name is sometimes referred to as File System Consistency checK ; it can be used with various optional parameters. Single-user mode provides a Terminal-like interface where UNIX commands can be entered, including fsck -fy to verify and repair the startup disk, and exit to complete the boot process and return to the desktop.
You should only use fsck as a last resort to gain access to a drive having problems. Fsck will run through various phases of checking the startup drive.
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This means fsck found and repaired one or more problems. Because there can be additional issues after a repair is made, you should rerun fsck until you see the message:. Once you see the above message, you can finish booting your Mac normally by entering the following at the prompt:. Terminal can be used to set the type of startup you wish to use. Shown here are booting to safe mode -x , booting to single-user -s , and resetting the boot-args to default. Press return or enter. Enter the password, and press return or enter.
Can't boot in normal mode, only in safe mode
You can quit Terminal, and then restart your Mac. No need to hold down any key; with the changes you made above, your Mac will always start up in the mode you set. To reset your Mac back to starting up normally, launch Terminal and enter the following at the command prompt:. Name required.
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Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. How long can it take to run fsck -fy in single user mode? Note the missing forward slash at the beginning. The correct string is the following:. Trying to set boot args for -x, after the admin password entry, I got the following message: Mac's Safe Mode minimizes the applications you have available on your Mac to help identify where any issues might be coming from. Starting up your computer and making it run in Safe Mode is also known as a safe boot safe boot is how your Mac starts, Safe Mode is how it runs.
A safe boot also checks through your startup drive to make sure there are no problems there.
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A fault in your system like corrupted boot sector might be preventing you from using your Mac at all. By booting in Safe Mode, your Mac can work with macOS core processes to get back into the system and identify problems, such as floating extensions or rogue applications, that you can then remove. When your computer is prompted to perform a safe boot, it will perform a number of tasks before you can use it, which include:. Once your Mac is running in Safe Mode, some applications will no longer be available.
You can manage the list of startup applications manually, removing the potential buggy apps one at a time to see if it affects the performance. There is still a problem though. To diagnose your Mac more precisely, we recommend performing a full scan with some dedicated Mac cleaning app. As described above, CleanMyMac is our favorite you can download this app here for free. Note that it may take longer than usual to boot your computer: You will not have to hold the Shift key when the computer restarts, simply log in when prompted.
To find your boot mode, click on the Apple logo in the menu top left and select This Mac. Choose System Report, then Software, and from there you will be able to see whether you are in normal or safe mode. Your performance speed will change. Typically macOS will run slower when it is in Safe Mode due to the reduced processes, but if you have noticed some serious lagging this may be improved by the faulty applications being restricted. Running your macOS in Safe Mode is normally used to troubleshoot glitches that you have noticed, such as lag, crashing, or spontaneous closures of applications.
You should try to use your Mac as you normally do so that you can see if the issues have disappeared in Safe Mode or are still there.