What to do when your Mac won’t turn ON

by Sarah Yasin
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Has your Mac stopped responding suddenly? Doesn’t turn on? Won’t boost at all? Well, Macs aren’t immune to problems. Good for you however, you can figure out how to get your Mac running again. Just read on to see how you can get your Mac or MacBook started through some simple steps.

1.Ensure your Mac has Power

First things first (and this is pretty obvious) check whether or not your Mac has a power source. Plug your Mac battery in, it could be depleted or damaged. There is always a chance of your adapter being damaged too. Try a different power cable if you’ve got a spare lying around. You should also take a look at the port for any dusty buildups that could be disrupting your chargers.

2.Check Your HardwareTop of Form

If you’re using a Mac desktop, check if all your cables are connected right. Try reseating the cables (taking them out then plugging them back in again) to make sure they’re securely connected. Disconnect external peripherals such as printers or graphics tablets as these could be the root of the issue.

3.Run a Power Cycle

In case your Max is stuck in a frozen state and not responding to the power button presses, you can fix it by running a power cycle. This will remove all traces of power from you Mac and allowing you to restart it from scratch.

For a modern MacBook without a removable battery, disconnect the power cable and holds the power button down for ten seconds. If your Mac is running, this will cut the power supply and force it to restart.

For a Mac with a removable battery, shut it down, disconnect the power cable and remove the battery. Then, wait ten seconds before you reinsert it. For a Mac desktop (iMac, Mac Mini or Mac Pro), unplug the power cable, leave for ten seconds. Then plug it back it and restart.

4.Boot your Mac in Safe Mode

Now if your Mac powers but won’t go past the Apple logo or login screen, then booting in Safe Mode may help. For this, press the power button on your Mac and then press and hold the Shift key immediately. Keep it held until you reach the login screen then continue as normal.

Safe mode essentially will only load the basic features of your Mac. In case your Mac decides to come back to the life you might want to check up on what you were doing before it went down. Uninstall any new apps, hardware or any other startups items which may have caused the problem.

5.Reset the SMC (System Management Controller Firmware)

In some cases, you may have to reset the system management controller (SMC) firmware on your Mac. The SMC basically controls all the power functions of your Mac i.e. turning on, turning off, sleep, wake, idle, etc. Depending on what model of Mac you have, you can reset the SMC in the following ways.

For current MacBooks without a removable battery:

  • Plugin the power cable.
  • Press the left Shift+Control+Option(Alt) keys and the Power button and hold them down for 10 seconds.
  • Release all keys at the same time and restart your Mac

For MacBooks with a removable battery:

  • Unplug your Mac from its power source and remove the battery
  • Press the Power button and hold for five seconds
  • Release the Power buttons, reconnect the battery and restart your MacBook

For Mac Desktops:

  • Unplug Mac’s power cord and leave it unplugged for 15 seconds.
  • Plug back in and wait for an additional five seconds.
  • Finally, restart your Mac.

For 2018 MacBook Pro + MacBooks with T2 Security Chip

  • Press and hold the right Shift key + left Options key (Alt) + left Control key for 7 seconds.
  • Keep the keys pressed and hold down the Power button for an additional 7 seconds.
  • Release all the keys and wait for a few seconds. Restart your MacBook.

6.Reset the NVRAM/PRAM

NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) is a small amount of memory that your Mac uses to store certain settings and access quickly. Problems with the NVRAM would very rarely mess with your Mac’s startup but resetting it would still be a good idea. Older Mac use PRAM instead but the process for resetting either NVRAM or PRAM is the same.

  • Press the Power button then press and hold the Options (Alt) + Command + P + R keys.
  • Hold down the keys for around twenty seconds, even if your Mac restarts.
  • If your Mac plays a startup sound once it boots, releases the keys after you hear it chime the second time.
  • If your Mac has a T2 chip, release the keys after the Apple logo disappears the second time.

7. Run the Apple Diagnostics Tool

If your Mac still isn’t responding, you can try running the Apple Diagnostics Tool. This will determine any issues that may be caused by hardware components and also suggest fixes and solutions.

  • Disconnect external devices that are unnecessary, such as your printer.
  • Now Press the Power button. Then, press and hold the D key until you land yourself with a screen asking you to select your language.
  • Once you’ve selected your language. Apple Diagnostics will run its tests. This can take a while.

Once complete, you’ll be shown the results of the test and what you can do to solve the issues. In case of no issues, the cause most likely isn’t your hardware.

8.Use Recovery Mode

Recovery Mode is a special mode that loads the macOS built-in recovery tools from a special disk partition on the hard drive.Follow the steps below to boot in Recovery Mode:

  • Power on your Mac
  • Press and hold down the Command + R keys.
  • Once you see the Apple logo, release the keys.
  • When your Mac completes booting, you’ll see a new macOS utility menu.

You should check out the Disk Utility first. This will enable you to scan and repair your hard drive or SSD. Select your respective drive and click First Aid to begin the repair process.

9.Reinstall macOS on your Mac

If the Disk Utility doesn’t work, you can reinstall macOS on your Mac. You can do this through Recovery Mode (make sure you’re connected to the internet and this tool will download the OS from scratch. Start by powering your Mac. Then, press and hold down the Command + R keys. Choose the ‘Reinstall macOS’ option from the menu to have your Mac automatically download the latest OS installation files and reinstall its OS. In case you have a Time Machine backup, you can restore that too to see if it solves your problem. Once you choose to reinstall your Mac OS, you’re given the option to format your disk as part of the process. Do not select this if you just want to repair your installation.


If nothing listed here worked for you, your Mac most probably has a hardware problem. If it’s under warranty, you should contact Apple and take it to a local Apple Store to have it fixed.

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