Written byAmanda Wong
How to Fix MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac Stuck on Loading Screen
Summary: If your MacBook Air/Pro/iMac stuck on loading screen, you can try these 10 proven fixes to restore a frozen Mac. It also guides you to save your files in macOS Recovery mode to avoid data loss.
An Apple logo and progress bar appear on the screen when Mac takes a startup or installs macOS updates. Normally, a full startup takes about 30 seconds, and during the macOS installation, the progress bar may last much longer than usual.
However, if you've waited long enough(for hours) and the progress bar still remains on the screen without any change, then it's highly likely that the Mac stuck on loading screen. It usually happens after a recent macOS update, like a macOS Monterey update, or macOS reinstallation. Relax, you can find the fixes below.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Why is your MacBook Pro stuck on loading screen
- 2. How to avoid data loss when iMac stuck on loading screen
- 3. Proven methods to fix MacBook Air stuck on loading screen
- 4. Conclusion
Why is your MacBook Pro stuck on loading screen
Normally, Mac would show the Apple logo at startup once it finds your local startup disk. Then, you will see the progress bar with or without the Apple logo as the startup or macOS installation continues. But if the MacBook stuck on apple logo with loading bar scenario appears, the reasons may lie in:
- Corrupted operating system.
- Hard drive failure.
- Damaged hardware.
- Unsuccessful system upgrade.
- Malfunctioned peripherals.
- RAM module failure.
How to avoid data loss when iMac stuck on loading screen
When your MacBook won't turn on at all and Mac/iMac freezes on startup. All the documents, photos, videos, etc. on Mac are in danger of loss. It would be fine if you have backed up Mac in advance. Otherwise, rescuing data from your Mac is a primary task.
Watch this video to learn how to rescue data when the Mac stuck on loading screen with iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.
For detailed step-by-step information, you can read the following post to recover data from an unbootable Mac such as the MacBook Pro stuck on loading screen, macOS update stuck on Apple logo, etc.
Proven methods to fix MacBook Air stuck on loading screen
Some Mac users report that the MacBook Pro stuck on loading screen with the Apple logo, MacBook Pro stuck on loading screen with loading bar, MacBook won't load after a macOS update, or even the Mac progress bar stuck at 100%.
Solution 1: Disconnect the peripherals & Restart your Mac
Restarting Mac is a quick fix when your MacBook Air/Pro/iMac encounters a boot problem. This way is easy and sometimes works. And as we said before, malfunctioned peripherals will also give rise to Mac stuck on loading screen problem. So, you'd better disconnect all peripherals.
- Press and hold the power button for a few seconds to turn off Mac.
- Disconnect all peripheral devices from your Mac.
- After a few minutes, press the power button to restart the Mac.
Solution 2: Boot your Mac into Safe Mode
MacBook stuck on Apple logo with loading bar could be caused by software conflict or incompatibility. So, to confirm it, boot Mac into Safe Mode. It will prevent your Mac from launching unnecessary programs and login items at startup. It also does a basic check of your boot disk and solves some of the Mac slow startup issues.
To boot your Intel-based Mac into Safe Mode:
- Force your Mac to shut down.
- Press and hold the Shift key while tapping the power button to start your computer.
- Release the Shift key until you see the Apple logo and loading screen. Then it gets into Safe Mode.
To boot your Apple M1 Mac like M1 iMac into Safe Mode:
- Shut down your Mac and wait for seconds.
- Press and hold the power button until the startup disks and Options appear on the screen.
- Press and hold the Shift key, then click Continue in Safe Mode.
If your Mac boots past the loading bar and enter Safe Mode successfully, you'll see "Safe Boot" on the right top of the screen. That also shows the culprit is the software conflict.
Find out the conflicting program or software, usually the recently installed third-party software, and then uninstall apps. Next, you can simply reboot your Mac. If your MacBook Safe Mode is not working, try the next solution.
Solution 3: Reset NVRAM/PRAM
PRAM or NVRAM is a non-volatile random access memory. It is used to store system settings on Mac, including startup disk selection and recent kernel panic information. So, when the MacBook stuck on Apple logo with loading bar, resetting NVRAM/PRAM might get your stuck MacBook Pro fixed.
To reset NVRAM/PRAM, you can simply restart your Mac and simultaneously press Command + Option+ P + R keys. If you have an M1 Mac, you don't need to reset NVRAM. Because it will automatically run test and reset on startup if something went wrong.
Solution 4: Reset the SMC
SMC (System Management Controller) is used to control a number of Mac core functions, including sudden motion sensor and thermal management. Typically, when MacBook Pro stuck on loading screen, SMC reset helps to resolve such unresponsive issues related to power and hardware.
To reset the SMC on a Mac computer stops loading halfway, follow the steps below. Note that there is no SMC on M1 Mac.
Reset SMC on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
- Force shut down the Mac that is frozen on loading screen.
- Press Shift + Control + Option on your keyboard and press the power button at the same time.
- Hold these keys for 10 seconds and then release the keys.
- Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.
Reset SMC on Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and iMac
- Shut down your Mac and then unplug a power cord.
- Wait 15 seconds. Then, plug the power cord in.
- Wait several seconds and turn on your computer by pressing the power button.
Solution 5: Reselect the startup disk
Sometimes, the Mac stuck on the loading bar results from your last booting from an external hard drive or the other internal hard drive (if you have two). In this scenario, you need to reselect the startup disk.
- Boot into macOS Recovery mode.
- 2. Select Apple icon > Startup Disk.
- 3. Choose the startup disk you want to use.
- 4. Type your password to unlock the startup disk if it's encrypted.
Solution 6: Repair the startup disk
The boot disk that is corrupted may also cause the Mac stuck on the progress bar. Fortunately, you can use First Aid, a built-in disk repair tool on your Mac, to fix the errors on the startup disk.
- Firstly, boot your Mac into macOS Recovery mode.
- Choose Disk Utility.
- Select the startup disk and click First Aid in the Disk Utility window.
- Wait for it to check and repair the disk.
If First Aid successfully found the errors and repaired them, you can restart your Mac computer quickly without a slow startup. Disk Utility helps Mac boot up, and your Mac desktop or MacBook won't be frozen on the startup screen this time.
Solution 7: Boot Mac into Single User Mode
Single User Mode is another boot mode on Mac used to troubleshoot Mac problems and perform administrative tasks. You will access to a Unix prompt, where you need to use commands such as fsck to perform basic repairs to the startup drive. It may work to fix Mac stuck on Apple logo when loading.
- Start or restart your Mac, hold down Command + S key combinations together.
- Keep holding down Command + S keys until you see white text on a black background, indicating that the Mac Single User Mode is loading.
- Enter the admin password to gain access to the Mac computer if it asks for it.
Solution 8: Reinstall macOS
Perhaps, it is the error with Mac operating system that causes the Mac stuck on loading screen problem. The current macOS may be outdated or corrupted, then you can reinstall macOS in macOS Recovery mode.
Besides, you may encounter Mac update stuck on Apple logo, such as Big Sur update stuck on Apple logo on your device, you also need to reinstall mac OS. However, if the iMac stuck on loading screen after updating macOS, then you can downgrade macOS to an earlier version.
Solution 9: Restore Mac to an earlier date
If you have backed up Mac with the Time machine, you can use the backup drive to restore Mac from Time Machine to an earlier date when the Mac stuck on loading screen problem doesn't exist. Here's how:
- Boot your Mac into macOS Recovery mode.
- Choose Restore from Time machine from the Utilities window and click Continue.
- Choose the Time Machine backup disk, then click Continue.
- Select a backup by date, then click Continue.
- Select the Mac hard disk to receive the backup content and click Restore.
- Restart your Mac.
Solution 10: Reformat the corrupted startup disk
If the startup disk can't be fixed by First Aid and is still unmounted in Disk Utility, it may be critically corrupted. In this case, you need to erase the disk and then reinstall mac OS in macOS Recovery mode to fix the Mac stuck on loading screen problem.
However, disk erasure will wipe all your files off the drive. So, if you have important files on this Mac, you should first rescue data from the Mac when Mac freezes on startup. It's necessary especially if you don't have any backup.
After data recovery, you can proceed with reformatting the Mac hard drive.
- Restart your Mac into macOS Recovery mode.
- Select Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities menu and click Continue.
- Select the startup disk(often named Macintosh HD) from the left sidebar.
- After clicking Erase on the top, you need to name it as Macintosh HD, and then give it a scheme and format.
- Click Erase to confirm this operation, and then wait for it to complete.
Go back to the macOS Utilities window and click Reinstall macOS. And then, follow the instructions to reinstall Mac operating system.
It's terrible if your Mac stuck on the loading screen at startup. For the Mac computer that freezes on startup, you should first check if you have a backup of your data to avoid permanent data loss. If not, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac will be a good helper to recover lost data when the Mac stuck on loading screen. Then, you can try out the solutions above one by one till your Mac boots up rather than hangs on slow startup.