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What To Do If iMac/MacBook Won't Boot Past Apple Logo

Updated on Wednesday, May 11, 2022

iBoysoft author Amanda Wong

Written by

Amanda Wong
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

What to do if iMac or MacBook won't boot past Apple logo?

Summary: This article offers 6 methods to fix MacBook/iMac won't boot past Apple logo. To rescue data from an unbootable iMac, you can use iBoysoft Data Recovery in macOS Recovery mode.

Mac stuck on Apple logo

Table of Contents:

All Mac computers could arise booting issues. For instance, iMac won't boot past Apple logo. Sometimes, you could see MacBook stuck on Apple logo with a loading bar or a spinning wheel (or both), or even the Macbook Pro won't boot past Apple logo then shuts off. Some other times, as the startup continues, the Mac stuck on login screen

Besides, If you're reinstalling or updating macOS, the Apple logo might remain on screen for much longer than usual after it boots up. Then you may encounter the startup problem that Mac update stuck on Apple logo.

In either case, your Macbook won't turn on. You can't access files stored on the Mac either. Then, what to do when iMac won't boot up past Apple logo? This article shows you how to fix iMac won't start up and stuck on Apple startup screen. As your later operations on Mac may cause data loss, you'd better rescue files from your Mac first.

When a MacBook or iMac won't start up and stuck on Apple logo, you surely can do something to fix it. But to prevent permanent data loss, please make sure you have retrieved data from your Mac before proceeding to further steps.

Then, you are safe to fix the iMac won't boot up past the Apple logo with those 6 solutions.

  •  1. Disconnect all third-party peripherals
  •  2. Start the computer in Safe Mode
  •  3. Reset your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM
  •  4. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)
  •  5. Fix the Mac in macOS Recovery Mode
  •  6. Check hardware errors with Apple Hardware Test

Fix 1. Disconnect all third-party peripherals & power cycle the Mac

Sometimes, peripherals connected to your Mac could cause iMac not booting trouble. You can disconnect all wired and wireless peripherals. This includes your printers, USB C adapter, keyboard, mouse, charger, power cable, USB hubs, etc.

Then you can perform a power cycle on your Mac, it will force the MacBook/iMac not booting to restart after cutting off the power.

  • For MacBook with non-removable battery: Press and hold the power button for several seconds to turn it off, wait for 10 seconds and press the power button to turn it on.
  • For older MacBook with removable battery: Press the power button to shut it down, remove the battery, then wait for 10 seconds to install the battery and boot up the Mac.
  • For a desktop Mac: Disconnect the power cord for at least 10 seconds, then replug the power cable and press Mac's power button to restart the Mac.

Fix 2. Try Safe Mode to fix a Mac stuck on Apple logo

To diagnose which part goes wrong more easily when MacBook/iMac not starting up, you can try to boot Mac into Safe Mode. A Mac safe boot will verify your startup disk and repair file system errors.

What's more, a safe boot can move unnecessary caches to the Trash and disable all login items. This will isolate other related programs, making it easier to fix the MacBook Pro won't boot past Apple logo issue.

To boot up your Intel Mac in Safe Mode:

  1. Long press the power button to completely shut the Mac down. 
  2. Restart the Mac while holding down the Shift key. 
  3. Release the Shift key when you see the loading bar 

To start up an Apple M1 Mac in Safe Mode:

  1. Shut down your Mac and wait for seconds.
  2. Hold down the power button until seeing the available startup disks and Options on the screen.
  3. Select your startup disk. Then, press and hold the Shift key, click Continue in Safe Mode.

boot Mac into Safe Mode

If your Mac loads successfully in Safe Mode, the MacBook not booting issue should be caused by software incompatibility.

As a rule of thumb, usually, the recently installed third-party software is the troublemaker. You can uninstall the app directly and restart the Mac.

If it's in vain or your Mac won't start in Safe Mode, you can restart your Mac into Mac Verbose Mode (Command + V at startup). In Verbose mode, you can see a live report of the booting process.

Then, you'll know which part your Mac gets stuck with. Once you find the incompatible programs, you can simply uninstall it in Safe Mode to get the MacBook not booting past Apple logo resolved.

Fix 3. Reset your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM

NVRAM and PRAM are memories used to store setting information. They include sound volume, display resolution, startup disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic.

So, when an iMac or MacBook Pro stuck on Apple logo during booting, try to reset these settings.

 Note: NVRAM is available on M1 Mac, but it is configured to run test on startup and reset the NVRAM automatically if needed.

  1. Press and hold the Power button for a few minutes till Mac turns off.
  2. Wait a few seconds and press the Power button to turn on Mac.
  3. Hold Command + Option + P + R keys while booting Mac to reset NVRAM.
  4. Reboot the computer again to see if the Mac stuck on Apple logo issue exists.

Fix 4. Reset the System Management Controller (SMC) 

SMC is responsible for power, battery and charging, fans, and sensors. When your MacBook stuck on Apple logo, iMac won't boot past Apple logo then shuts off, or sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly, you can try resetting the SMC. Note that there is no SMC on M1 Mac.

For Notebook computers with the Apple T2 chip, you need to:

  1. Force your Mac to turn off.
  2. On your built-in keyboard, press and hold Command + Shift + Control keys for 7 seconds.
  3. Then hold and press the Power button as well. You need to keep holding all four keys for another 7 seconds.
  4. Wait for seconds and then boot up the Mac.

It works for all Macs using a non-removable battery. It includes MacBook Air models, as well as MacBook Pro models introduced in mid-2009 or later. But it excludes MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2009).

It's different to reset SMC for Notebooks using removable batteries and desktop Mac like Mac mini and iMac. You can reset the SMC when your iMac won't finish booting and stuck on Apple logo.

Fix 5. Fix the Mac in macOS Recovery Mode

Mac Recovery mode is a built-in recovery system on your Mac. When your MacBook not booting past the apple logo, it allows you to fix the issues and make your Mac can boot up again.

To boot your Intel based Mac into macOS Recovery Mode:

  1. Force your Mac to turn off by long-pressing the power button.
  2. Restart the Mac and immediately hold Command + R keys. You can release the keys until you see the Apple logo.

To boot your M1 Mac into macOS Recovery Mode:

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Mac until "Loading startup options" appears. 
  2. Click Options, then click Continue. You can release the keys until you see the Apple logo.

 Tips: Sometimes your Mac can't boot into macOS Recovery. Then you might want to boot into it over the Internet. You can simply press and hold Option + Command + R or Shift + Option + Command + R at startup.

1. Repair Mac hard drive

Usually, if your iMac is booting but the operating system is unable to load up, the reason could be your internal hard drive not mounting on Mac or unreadable. Fortunately, you can run Disk Utility to repair the disk with its First Aid feature.

  1. Select Disk Utilities.
  2. Choose the internal hard drive on the left sidebar of the Disk Utility window
  3. Click First Aid > Run.

If Disk Utility found errors and repaired them, you can restart Mac to see whether it can boot up as usual.

run First Aid on Macintosh HD

2. Free up Mac hard drive's space

Insufficient storage space in Mac hard drive can lead to some issues when the system loads on startup. It may cause the iMac frozen on startup, perform slow, or get stuck with a spinning beach ball while working.

In these cases, you can try to free up the hard drive space.

  • In the macOS Utilities window, open the Terminal utility.

Terminal in Recovery Mode

  • Type ls /Volumes in the command prompt and hit Return. It will list all volumes on your Mac. You need to find the startup hard drive (often called Macintosh HD or macOS) by its name.
  • Type cd /Volumes/"Macintosh HD"/Library/ and hit Return.
  • Type rm -rf Logs/* and hit Return. This will remove some log files.
  • Type rm -rf Caches/* and hit Return to remove caches.

You can also run the find /home -size 1G command to locate files bigger than 1 GB. Then, you can choose to run mv command to move the files to an external hard drive. Or you can use rm command to delete them.

3. Remove incompatible Kernel extensions

Have you recently updated the Mac operating system or downloaded any patches? MacBook not booting up could be caused by software incompatibility.

So, if the Mac update stuck on Apple logo when macOS is updating or after an update, you can remove the conflicting kernel extensions.

  1. Open Terminal in macOS Utilities mode.
  2. Type mount -rw / to mounts your internal hard drive as writable.
  3. Type cd /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/Library/Extensions/.
  4. Type mkdir Unsupported.
  5. Type mv *.kext Unsupported

Then the clashing extension would be removed. You can try to start up the Mac again.

4. Recover the system by APFS snapshot

Sometimes, the macOS update won't work with your model. But if you use macOS Big Sur, Catalina, High Sierra, or Mojave, you might have a chance to roll back system with APFS snapshot.

  1. Select Restore From Time Machine Backup or Restore From Time Machine.
  2. Select a local snapshot (the latest is recommended)
  3. Follow the instructions to downgrade the macOS.

If your confirmed that your Mac model is compatible with the current macOS but it has the boot failure issue, you can also reinstall macOS.

 Note: Rolling the unbootable Mac back to a previous state may cause data loss. So, you'd better rescue files from the Mac first if you have anything important.

5. Reinstall macOS

If the above solutions failed, your startup disk may be corrupted. Erase your startup drive and reinstalling macOS is the last way to help you fix the MacBook Pro stuck on Apple logo when booting.

This operation will make data loss. So, firstly, you should get files off the Mac with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac. Then, follow these steps:

  • Select Disk Utility in macOS Utilities window.
  • Select startup volume from the sidebar of Disk Utility.
  • Click on Erase from the top.

erase Mac drive

  • Set up the required information to reformat the disk and click Done when it's finished.
  • Right click the Data volume (This volume stores your data) and select Delete APFS Volume.
  • Quit Disk Utility and go back to macOS Utilities screen and select Reinstall macOS

Then, follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.

Fix 6. Check hardware errors with Apple Hardware Test

If you are unable to erase the boot drive, there might be some hardware malfunctions on the drive. You can use Apple Diagnostics to help determine whether the startup disk is physically damaged.

If all the mentioned ways fail to boot up your Mac, it may have hardware problems, you should send it to a local repair center.

Why your MacBook stuck on Apple logo when booting?

To make you more clear about why the MacBook stuck on Apple logo, firstly, let’s learn how the Mac boots up.

Every time when your Mac is booting or restarting, it starts to check and verify hardware connections. Then, it checks if RAM, CPU, hard disk, GPU, etc. are working. After making sure these parameters are right, the Mac loads the startup hard drive and its system volume.

As the startup hard drive is detected, you can see the Apple logo with a loading bar on the Mac screen.

If the operating system (macOS) takes control of all hardware and software on your Mac, the Mac boots up. If the system fails to load the macOS information, or the macOS loses control of certain programs, the MacBook Air/Pro/iMac won't boot past the Apple logo.

So, we can draw a conclusion that the Mac stuck on Apple logo usually results from file system corruption and software incompatibility. In rare cases, it causes by hardware issues or insufficient memory or storage.


If the MacBook stuck on Apple logo and can’t boot up, MacBook Pro won't boot past Apple logo then shuts off or,  macOS update stuck on Apple logo, it disenables you to use the Mac computer and access all your files on the startup disk. It is the primary task to recover data from the not-booting Mac. After that, you can apply these effective fixes in this post to get the iMac won't boot past Apple logo problem solved.