What Is Mac Safe Mode and How to Start up Your Mac to It

Jaden updated on Jan 11, 2024 | Home > Knowledge Center

The Mac Safe Mode is an excellent in-built feature that aids in troubleshooting the system, and it aids in resolving both hardware and software problems. Moreover, it is also a chosen option when nothing seems to work in favor of fixing the issue.

Mac Safe Mode

Mac Safe Mode: What Can It Do

In Safe Mode, Mac only loads the apps and files that macOS requires to run. That means third-party apps and extensions are not run even if it's installed on the system. With Safe Mode, you can have a basic assessment of the system disk and eliminate system caches that might cause problems.

The primary function of Safe Mode is to turn on the system in a safe environment. Third-party apps are not run; an assessment is done to see the system's issues. In some cases, Safe Mode resolves the problems too.

How to Boot Mac in Mac Safe Mode

Do you want to boot your Mac in Mac Safe Mode? The steps differ based on the Mac model you have.

Step 1. Turn on the system. As the system turns on, press the Shift key and hold it.

Step 2. Release the key when you come across the login window. Log into the system.

Mac Safe Mode Intel-core

Step 1. Shut down the system. Press the power button and hold it.

Step 2. Release it when you see the startup options. Opt for the system disk.

Step 3. Press and hold the Shift key.

Step 4. Choose Continue in Safe Mode. Log into the system.

Mac Safe Mode Apple Silicon

What Are Shortcuts to Be Used for Mac Safe Mode

Different shortcuts can be used for Mac Safe Mode. For instance, Intel-based Macs use the Shift key to enter the safe Mode. On the other hand, M1 Macs use a combination of Power and Shift keys to go ahead with the Safe Mode.

What Are the Options in Mac Safe Mode

Safe Mode on Mac only allows loading vital kernel extensions to troubleshoot different startup errors. That means all third-party apps, features, and startup items are disabled.

Booting into the Mac safe mode leads to the following activities –

  • A directory check of the startup drive
  • Delete font caches
  • Disable third-party fonts (not provided by Apple)
  • Disable login items and startup apps
  • Deletion of the dynamic load cache
  • Running only the needed kernel extensions

How to Use Safe Mode to Resolve Mac Startup Issues

Mac Safe Mode can be used to resolve various Mac startup issues. For instance, you can opt for Safe Mode with an unstable internet connection. Moreover, safe Mode is also preferred when the system faces freezing problems or has slowed down.

You can use Safe Mode if you have trouble booting into the macOS normally. Other instances include repeated crashing of the system or restarting issues. In all these cases, you can rely on Safe Mode.

Using Safe Mode usually resolves all problems in your Mac. You can scan malware and uninstall apps to check if the problem goes away. You can use the built-in antivirus software or download TotalAV to remove viruses and malware quickly. Now, reboot normally and see if the issue is fixed. However, it's time for a severe solution if that doesn't fix the problem.

Factory reset Mac is the final option. You have to fix the problem yourself. However, you must back up all data or lose it completely. Wiping out all data will give you a fresh macOS. If a factory reset doesn't work, too, you need to contact Apple Support immediately.


Safe Mode on Mac is precisely as it sounds. It is a stable environment that allows users to run necessary apps and conduct an assessment to resolve the current issue. You can easily follow a few simple steps to enter the safe Mode. Here, you can scan the system for malware, uninstall apps or files and check if the macOS is updated.

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Updated by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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Written by Jaden

Jaden is one of the editors of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on topics concerning PCs and Mac data recovery. Jaden is committed to enhancing professional IT knowledge and writing abilities. She is always keen on new and intelligent products.

Read full bio

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