How to fix your Mac computer when it won't turn on

How to fix your Mac computer when it won't turn on
It's helpful to rule out several hardware and software issues that could keep your Mac from starting before booking an Apple Genius Bar appointment. YakobchukOlena/Getty Images
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  • If your Mac won't turn on, first make sure it's connected to power.
  • Then, try putting your Mac in Safe Mode or Recovery Mode.
  • When all else fails, make an appointment with the Apple Genius bar to fix your Mac.

Mac computers can sometimes run into issues resulting in them failing to turn on. Here's how to recover from this and get them up and running again.

Check the power

The first step if your Mac won't turn on is to ensure that it has power. Plug it into its charger and, should that not work, try different outlets, power cables, and power bricks.

If your Mac's battery is completely dead, it may need to remain plugged in for a few minutes before it will power on.

Make sure there isn't a display issue

If your Mac has an external display, ensure that the display also has power. Does your Mac make any sounds when turned on? If so, that could indicate that it is the display that is the issue.

Make sure the display cables are connected securely. If there are any input switches or other peripherals between your display and your Mac, try bypassing them and connecting your display directly to your Mac; this could rule out the peripherals as the issue.


If possible, it is advisable to also try another display and other cables; this would help to rule out the display and the cables themselves as the issue.

Quick tip: Make sure that your external display is set to the correct input for the type of connection (i.e. HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA) you have between your monitor and your Mac.

Double-check hardware cables

Loose hardware cables could be a culprit for your Mac not appearing to turn on. Ensure that cables connected to your Mac and any external displays are fitted securely.

Also check the cables for signs of wear and tear or fraying. If they show signs, the issue could be the cables themselves and they may need replacing.

Do a power cycle

Power cycling can sometimes bring Macs back to life. They are performed in different ways for different types of Macs, but all types need 10 seconds or more between cutting the power and rebooting.


If you have a M1 Mac or a MacBook, the power button must be held down for 10 seconds. You may hear an audible click after that time, but it's nothing to worry about and is just the sound of the power being cut.

If you have a Mac desktop, unplugging it and letting it sit for at least 10 seconds is how you cut the power.

Boot in Safe Mode

Booting into Safe Mode is a way to rule out software or driver issues causing your Mac to not function.

Related Article Module: How to start your Mac computer in 'Safe Mode,' to diagnose problems and track down troublesome programs

On an Intel based Mac, this is accomplished by powering on your Mac and then immediately pressing and holding the Shift key; once the login screen has appeared, you may release the Shift key.

On a M1 Mac, Safe Mode is accessed by pressing and holding the power button until the startup options window appears. Once that happens, select a startup disk and then press and hold the Shift key, click Continue in Safe Mode, and then release the Shift key.


To leave Safe Mode, restart your Mac normally and don't press any keys during startup.

Try Recovery Mode

Recovery Mode can be used to repair your hard drive (or solid-state drive), reinstall the macOS operating system from scratch, restore files from Time Machine, and more.

To enter Recovery Mode, turn on your Mac and immediately press one of the three key combinations:

  • Command + R. This starts up Recovery Mode.
  • Option + Command + R. This combination starts up Recovery Mode primed to install the latest version of macOS that is compatible with your device.
  • Option + Shift + Command + R. This combination starts up Recovery Mode configured to reinstall the version of macOS that your system originally came with or the closest version still available.

If you encounter a lock icon, enter your Mac's password. In the event that you have multiple volumes on your disk, you will need to select the volume which you intend to recover and then press Next.

On M1 Mac systems, Recovery Mode must be entered by pressing the power button until Loading startup options appear. From there, you can select the recovery option from above as desired.


Reset SMC

On Mac computers that do not have an M1 chip, resetting the SMC - System Management Controller - is another option for troubleshooting.

On a MacBook with a T2 Security chip

1. Power off your MacBook.

2. Unplug and reconnect it from power.

3. Press Shift + Control + Option for seven seconds, then also press down the power button as well.


4. Hold all four keys for seven additional seconds and then release them.

5. Wait an additional few seconds and then restart your MacBook.

On a Mac desktop with a T2 Security chip

1. Shut down your Mac and unplug its power cord.

2. Wait 15 seconds before plugging the power cord back into your Mac.


3. Wait 5 seconds, then turn your Mac back on by pressing the power button.

Quick tip: Find out if your Apple product has a T2 Security chip by checking the Apple official website and seeing if your model is listed.

On a MacBook with a non-removable battery and without a T2 Security chip

1. Power off your MacBook.

2. Press and hold Shift + Control + Option and the power button for 10 seconds.


3. Release all keys and power on your MacBook using the power button.

On a Mac desktop without a T2 Security chip

1. Power off the system.

2. Unplug your Mac's power cord.

3. Wait 15 seconds before plugging the power cord back in.


4. After an additional five seconds, press the power button to power on your Mac.

Make an appointment with the Genius Bar

If all else fails, it may be time to take your Mac to Apple for professional assistance.

You can schedule an appointment with the Apple Genius bar by visiting, selecting your product, and following the rest of our Genius bar guide.

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