Mac computer won't boot/start up/turn on after Mojave update

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on Mar. 8th, 2019 |

Summary: This article will show you how to fix Mac computer won't start/boot after Mojave/Catalina/High Sierra update. Besides, you can also learn how to recover data from unbootable Mac computers with Mac data recovery software - iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

With the availability of macOS 10.14 Mojave, many users have updated their Mac operating system to enjoy advanced features. However, some people found that their Mac computers wouldn't boot after Mojave update, or Mojave stuck on boot/login screen, external hard drives get corrupted after upgrading High Sierra to Mojave. Thus, they were looking around for solutions to fix unbootable Macs.

Today, we will go into detail on this topic.

Table of contents
1. How to recover data if Mac won't boot after Mojave update?
2. 6 solutions to fix Mac computer won't boot after Mojave update issue

Part I: How to recover data if Mac won't boot after Mojave update?

Firstly, let's take a look at an example.

"Hi, after the installation of Mojave, my MacBook Pro won't start properly. It stuck at apple logo loading screen for 30' to 1hr, then it took another hour just to appear the app bar in the desktop. Everything was extremely slow and won't finish the loading process. I can't even shut down because one click takes forever to respond. Please help! Thank you so much!"

--from Apple Community

When your Mac won't boot after Mojave update, the top most thing should be stoping using the unbootable Mac immediately, including attempting to fix the error. That's because your any operation on the dead/crashed Mac computer may write new data on it, which will overwrite the old data and make it irrecoverable.

Besides, if you finally failed to fix the unbootable Mac after trying out all the solutions, erasing the Mac hard drive and reinstalling macOS Mojave is the last chance to make your Mac computer work again. This process will wipe all data stored on the Mac hard drive. Thus, you need to recover data from the unbootable Mac as soon as you can.

Note: If you have backed up your data regularly on external drives, you can jump to Part II to fix the unbootable Mac directly, and then copy back data to the Mac again.

However, if you have no backups, you can turn to reliable Mac data recovery software to recover lost data.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is non-destructive data recovery software for Mac that is able to recover data from unbootable Macs after updating to macOS Mojave 10.14 and macOS Catalina 10.15. Specifically, it can recover lost data after Mojave update failed, recover data from failed internal Mac hard drive, recover data from corrupted APFS boot drive, recover data from unmountable APFS boot volume, etc.

Besides, this Mac data recovery software can also recover deleted photos, videos, documents, music and emails from various devices, such as external hard drives, SD cards, USB flash drives, memory cards and so on.

Video Tutorial: How to recover data from unbootable Macs?

Solution 1: If you have only one Mac computer, and it's unbootable

The best solution is to recover data in Recovery Mode through iBoysoft Server. Follow the steps here.

Note: To perform the steps below, please make sure you can boot your problematic Mac into Internet Recovery Mode. That's to say, you need to connect it to a network, such as a WIFI network.

Step 1: Click the Power button to turn on the Mac, and immediately press COMMAND+OPTION+R keys to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.

Step 2: Open Terminal from the Utilities drop-down menu.

Step 3: Type: s='/private/var/tmp/' && curl -o $s && chmod 777 $s && $s and press Enter. This will launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery through iBoysoft Server.

s='/private/var/tmp/' && curl -o $s && chmod 777 $s && $s

Step 4: After launching iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, please select the Mac internal hard drive and click the "Next" button. This program will start scanning for lost files on the drive.

Step 5: Preview the scanning results, and choose the files you want to get back.

Step 6: Click the "Recover" button. You need to specify a different location to store the recovered files.

You can also refer to How to run iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery in Recovery Mode.

Solution 2: If you have two Mac computers

If you fortunately have another healthy Mac computer, or you can borrow one from your friends, you can create a bootable drive and then recover data from it.

Step 1: Create a bootable drive on the healthy Mac computer.

1. Download, install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

2. Click iBoysoft Data Recovery on menu bar and then select "Create Boot Drive".

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

3. Insert a USB drive into the healthy Mac, and choose it as the media to create a bootable drive on.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

4. Click "Make bootable" button. The creation process will start immediately.

Note: This process will erase all data on the USB drive. So please be sure to make a backup if there're important files.

5. Wait a moment while it is creating the bootable drive.

6. When the process completed, you'll see a window showing the next steps to recover data. You can take a note, or take a photo with your phone, of the onscreen information. When everything is ready, click the "Close" button.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 2: Recover data from the unbootable Mac computer.

1. Insert iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery bootable USB drive into the unbootable Mac computer.

2. Reboot your Mac computer and hold down the Option key (⌥) at startup.

3. Select iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery from the boot options. This program will launch when your Mac boots up.

If you're running macOS Mojave or earlier, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery will launch immevdiately when your Mac boots up. But, if your Mac is running macOS Catalina, you need two additional steps to launch this program.

4. Wait for your Mac to boot up, open "Terminal" application from "Utilities" drop-down menu.

Open Terminal

5. Run the following command:

'Volumes/Image Volume/'

Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery Command

Now you can recover data from the unbootable Mac computer just as in solution 1.

Part II: 6 solutions to fix the unbootable Mac computer after Mojave update

After recovering data from the unbootable Mac hard disk, you can now fix the not booting Mac without worrying about data loss. Try out the solutions one by one till you can start up your stuck/dead Mac as normal.

Solution 1: Reset NVRAM/PRAM

NVRAM/PRAM is a small memory section on your Mac which stores certain settings. Though not always helpful, it won't hurt to reset NVRAM/PRAM and try to fix the unbootable Mac.

  1. Step 1: Press and hold Power button for a few minutes till the Mac turns off.
  2. Step 2: Wait a few seconds and press Power button to turn on the Mac.
  3. Step 3: Hold Command+Option+P+R keys while booting Mac to reset NVRAM/PRAM.
  4. Step 4: Reboot computer normally to see if the Mac computer can boot into macOS Mojave.

Solution 2: Reset the SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) deals with every settings including battery management, keyboard backlighting, etc. It's worth trying resetting SMC to fix Mac not booting after Mojave update issue.

If you're using a Mac desktop, like iMac, unplug the power cord and wait about 15 seconds > plug the cord back in and wait another 5 seconds > restart your Mac.

If you're using a Mac laptop, like a MacBook Pro/Air, press and hold Shift + Ctrl + Option/Alt for 7 seconds > simultaneously hold down the Power button for another 7 seconds while pressing these keys > release the key, wait a few minutes and restart your Mac.

Solution 3: Boot your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe Mode can help resolve issues that might prevent your macOS Mojave from starting up. Press and hold the Shift key while tapping the power button to start your computer. Release the Shift key till you see the Apple logo and loading bar. If your Mac loads successfully in Safe Mode, try restarting without pressing any keys.

Solution 4: Run Disk Utility in Recovery Mode

If your Mac won't boot after Mojave update, it's possible that the internal hard drive is corrupted. In that case, you can run Disk Utility in Recovery Mode to fix the corrupted file system or the drive.

  1. Step 1: Boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.
  2. Step 2: From the macOS Utilities menu, select Disk Utility and click Continue.
  3. Step 3: Select the disk that you installed macOS Mojave, usually Macintosh HD.
  4. Step 4: Click First Aid on the top menu bar.
  5. Step 5: Click Done and restart your Mac.

Solution 5: Reinstall macOS Mojave in Recovery Mode

Though the reinstallation of macOS in Recovery Mode is supposed to keep all data intact, it's better to make sure you have a backup copy or have recovered data from the unbootable Mac computer with Mojave data recovery software.

  1. Step 1: Boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.
  2. Step 2: From the macOS Utilities menu, select Reinstall macOS and click Continue.
  3. Step 3: Follow the onscreen instructions to reinstall macOS.

Solution 6: Erase and reinstall macOS

If none of the solutions above helps, then the last chance is to erase the drive and reinstall macOS Mojave or any other Mac operating system. This process is destructive to the data on the unbootable Mac. So once again, make sure you have recovered lost data from the not booting Mac.

  1. Step 1: Launch Disk Utility in Recovery Mode.
  2. Step 2: Select the unbootable Mac hard disk.
  3. Step 3: Choose Erase, complete name, format, scheme, and then click Erase to reformat it.
  4. Step 4: Return to macOS Utilities in Recovery Mode, and select Reinstall macOS.
  5. Step 5: Choose the erased Mac hard disk and follow onscreen prompts to complete the installation.
  6. Step 6: Reboot your Mac to check if it can boot into macOS Mojave or any other Mac operating system.


Whenever your Mac failed to boot after macOS update, recovering data with reliable Mac data recovery software, like iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery, should be prior to the reparation. Once the data is safe, you can try out every solution above.

In the end, if you still have questions to fix Mac computer not booting or not starting up error after Mojave update, please feel free to let us know.


Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.

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