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2 Ways to Start Mac in Safe Mode and Exit

Starting Mac in safe mode means that safe boot Mac with only necessary kernel extensions, which usually happens when the Mac cannot boot normally because of incompatible software or hardware issues.

If you have no idea about how to boot Mac in safe mode, please follow the article. Two effective options will help you to enter Mac safe mode.

  1. Option 1: Boot option key "Shift"
  2. Option 2: Terminal

Option 1: Boot option key "Shift"

What you need: workable keyboard and power supply

Undoubtedly the keyboard makes Mac safe boot easy for someone who just wants to boot Mac in safe mode once.

1. Start or restart Mac and press and hold down Shift key.

2. Release the key until you see Apple logo.

release shift key when apple logo appears

3. When login screen appears, choose a user to access Mac computer.

choose a mac user to login

Note: Computer login is always required while you safe boot Mac even though you have set Mac automatic login with one user.

Now you can check the Mac boot mode in System Report > Software. And if you restart Mac again, Mac will boot normally and you will leave safe mode.

restart mac to exit safe mode


Option 2: Terminal

Probably it seems a little difficult for someone who is not familiar with Terminal but it will help you safe boot Mac while there is no keyboard attached to your Mac or you want to boot Mac in safe mode until you disable it by yourself.

How to run Mac in safe mode with Terminal:

1. Open the Terminal in Finder > Applications > Utilities.

2. Type command sudo nvram boot-args="-x" and press Enter.

turn on safe mode with terminal on mac

Note: Please type your user password when prompted. Remember, Terminal doesn't show your password you type it. If you enter the wrong password, Terminal asks you to try again.

3. Restart Mac from Apple Menu and Mac will automatically boot in safe mode.

4. Choose a user on login screen to sign in Mac.

You will find even you have set automatic login on Mac, now there are still login screen appearing with "Safe Mode" letter at the right-bottom corner. Select a user to sign in Mac safe mode.

If you want to exit safe mode now, please open Terminal again and type the following command to run. Enter password if required. Then restart Mac and it would boot normally.

sudo nvram boot-args=""

turn off safe mode with terminal on mac


How to check whether your Mac is booted in safe mode?

1. Click on Apple logo in the Mac menu bar and then About this Mac.

click on about this mac

2. Click System Report on pop-up window.

view system report

3. Click Software and you can see the Boot Mode is Normal or Safe.

successfully boot mac in safe mode

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