Mac Won’t Boot in Safe Mode – Here are 4 Workable Approaches You Should Know

Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Yulia Ilina

Since Safe Mode is a restricted environment with native apps and essential resources, you can use it to troubleshoot different issues on Mac. But what should you do if you won’t boot your Mac in Safe Mode? When your Mac doesn’t respond to your command for Safe Mode and boots into Normal Mode or is stuck with no response, here are the 4 workable approaches to fix your Mac won’t restart in Safe Mode.

Mac Won’t Boot in Safe Mode

Part 1: How to Fix Mac Won’t Boot in Safe Mode with the Option Key

Mac has the built-in option to fix the Mac won’t start in Safe Mode. You only need to press the Option key to resolve the problem and access the Safe Mode on your Mac per the steps below.

Step 1: Go to the Apple menu and choose the Shut Down button to turn off your MacBook.

Step 2: Press and hold the Option key when pressing the Power button if your Mac won’t start in Safe Mode.

Step 3: Preview a list of the different drives on the Mac and choose the start-up drive before pressing the Enter key.

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Part 2: How to Fix Mac Not Working in Safe Mode with Security Settings

If you cannot boot into Safe Mode, the security settings of FileVault and Mac firmware password may trigger Safe Mode to be stuck or hang. Just turn off the firmware password before another try.

Step 1: Restart your MacBook. Hold the Command + R keys to boot into the Recovery Mode on your Mac.

Step 2: Release keys when you find the utility window. Click the Utilities app and choose the Firmware Password Utility option.

Step 3: Click the Turn Off Firmware Password button and enter the firmware password again when prompted.

Step 4: Once you have done the process, quit the Utilities app and choose the Restart button from the Apple menu.

Turn Off Firmware Password Win Download Mac Download

Part 3: How to Reset SMC/NVRAM to Fix Mac Won’t Boot in Safe Mode

When Mac won’t boot in Safe Mode due to the settings, you can reset SMC for the Intel chip Macs to fix the problem. As for M1/M2 Macs, you have to make sure the Mac is off for more than 30 seconds.

Step 1: Turn your Mac off. Press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds before restarting your Mac.

Note: Since the M1/M2 MacBook does not have SMC or NVRAM features, you have to wait more time before restarting.

Step 2: Press and hold the Shift + Option + Control keys. After that, you can press the Power button to reset the SMC of your Mac.

Step 3: Release all the keys and wait for a few seconds before restarting your Mac and booting in Safe Mode.

Reset MSC Mac

As for resetting NVRAM, you can press and hold the Option + Command + P + R keys together at the same time. After that, you can release the keys after 20 seconds for the Intel Macs.

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Part 4: How to Force Shutdown on Mac to Fix Mac Not Booting

If your Mac does not respond when you want to boot in Safe Mode because of temporary bugs. In this case, you can force shutdown to resolve the booting issue with the following steps.

Step 1: Press and hold the Power button until you find the Mac screen goes dark, which can cause you to lose the unsaved process.

Step 2: Force shutdown of your Mac by pressing the Command + Option + Control + Power keys to safely close applications.

Step 3: Wait for a few seconds before booting your Mac into Safe Mode and fix the problem in starting your Mac.

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Part 5: How to Recover Data if Mac Won’t Work in Safe Mode

How about the losing files because of Mac won’t work in Safe Mode? Mac Data Recovery is the all-in-one data recovery to retrieve lost or deleted files from different scenarios. It provides different scanning modes to restore lost or deleted files. Moreover, you can use the different categories and even the Filter features to locate the files.

1. Retrieve lost photos, videos, Emails, documents, ZIP files, and more.

2. Provide the deep scan mode to retrieve files from different resources.

3. Search for the desired files with the name or the patch from the Filter.

4. Preview the lost/deleted files before purchasing a license or recovery.

Win Download Mac Download

Step 1: Download and install Mac Data Recovery on your MacBook. You can launch the program and choose the Mac Data Recovery menu. As a first-time installation, you need to disable the System Integrity Protection option beforehand.

Mac Data Recovery

Step 2: When you need to check the lost files, you can enable the Check all file types option or select the desired types only. After that, you can choose the hard drive or the Trash button before clicking the Scan button to perform the quick scan mode.

Scan Mac

Step 3: Search and preview the lost files from the category in the left menu. Of course, you can also enter the name or the path for the lost files in the Filter column. After that, you can click the Recover button to retrieve your lost data from your computer.

Deep Scan Mac Win Download Mac Download


Here is a simple guide about how to fix Mac won’t boot in Safe Mode. You can choose the Option key, Security Settings, reset SMC/NVRAM, and even force shutdown to resolve macOS not booting. If there are any lost files, Mac Data Recovery is the ultimate toolkit to get back the files.