What to do if iMac/MacBook won't boot past Apple logo?

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on May 5th, 2019 |

Just like all computers, Mac computers are susceptible to a number of errors that stop them from booting up correctly. When your iMac/MacBook won't boot past Apple logo or Mac stuck on loading/login screen, you can't access the Mac machine or all data stored on the Mac. In this tutorial we look at the steps you need to take when your Mac won't boot past Apple logo.

This article talks about how to recover data from the unbootable Mac computer, as well as how to fix the issue iMac/MacBook won't boot past Apple logo. Read on.

How to recover data from the unbootable Mac computer?

The first step in dealing with a boot failure is to save your data. If you have turned on Time Machine backup, you can restore files from it. But if you haven't, you can still recover lost data with the help of professional data recovery software.

iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is able to recover data from unbootable Mac computer, recover Time Machine backups, recover data from failed internal Mac hard drive, recover data from unmountable APFS boot volume, as well as from unmountable Macintosh HD, unreadable, inaccessible APFS external hard drives, USB drives, SD cards, Pen drives and much more. It is compatible with macOS Catalina 10.15/Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/Sierra 10.12 and Mac OS X 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

Video Tutorial: How to recover data from unbootable Macs?

Solution 1: If you have only one Mac computer

Don't worry. It's still possible for you to recover data from the unbootable Mac through iBoysoft Server, which might be the best solution for you if you only have one Mac and it is not booting up right now.

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: Run the following command:

s='/private/var/tmp/boot.sh' && curl -o $s http://boot.iboysoft.com/boot.sh && chmod 777 $s && $s

This will launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery through iBoysoft Server.

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.

Recover data from unbootable Mac computer

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.

Recover data from unbootable Mac computer

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.

Step 1: Download, install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on the healthy Mac.

Step 2: Click 'iBoysoft Data Recovery' from the menu bar, and then click 'Create boot drive' from the drop-down menu.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 3: Insert a USB drive into this unbootable Mac computer.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 4: Follow the wizard to create a bootable recovery drive.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 5: After that, please insert iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery bootable USB drive into the unbootable Mac computer, and then press the Power button and Option key (⌥) to start the computer up.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 6: Select iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery from the boot options and follow the wizard to recover your data and save the recovered files to another disk.

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

Step 7: Wait for your Mac to boot up, open "Terminal" application from "Utilities" drop-down menu.

Open Terminal

Step 8: Run the following command:

'Volumes/Image Volume/boot.sh'

Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery Command

How to fix the Mac won't boot past Apple logo issue?

Fix 1: Check the power connection

Check the power is on and your iMac/MacBook is correctly plugged in. If possible, change a power cable or try a different power adapter. If your mac is a laptop, it's not necessary to boot immediately the moment after you plug it in. Just give it a few moments after plugging it in and then turn it on.

Fix 2: Disconnect all third-party peripherals

Often it could be that one of third-party peripherals gets you Mac into trouble. Please shut you're your Mac and disconnect all wired and wireless peripherals attached to your Mac computer, such as printers, USB hub, etc.

Fix 3: Perform a power cycle

If you don't hear the chime or any sign of life when you boot up, you should perform a special power cycle. On your Mac, you need to uplug the power cable and hold hold down the Power button for about 10 seconds. Without releasing the Power button connect the power cable. Wait 10 more seconds holding it and then start your Mac in a normal way.

Fix 4: Run Disk Utility in Recovery Mode

If your Mac is booting but the operating system is unable to loading up, you may have a corrupted startup drive. Fortunately, it's possible to repair the disk in Recovery Mode.

Step 1: Boot your Mac into Recovery Mode: hold down Command + R keys immediately after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac, release the keys until you see the Apple logo.

Step 2: From the macOS Utilities menu, select Disk Utility.

Step 3: Select the startup disk and click First Aid on the top menu bar

Step 4: Click Done and restart your Mac.

Fix 5: Reset your Mac's PRAM and NVRAM

Step 1: Press and hold Power button for a few minutes till Mac turns off.

Step 2: Wait a few seconds and press Power button to turn on Mac.

Step 3: Hold Command+Option+P+R keys while booting Mac to reset NVRAM.

Step 4: Reboot computer again to see if the Mac computer can boot into macOS Mojave.

Fix 6: Reset the System Management Controller (SMC)

When you Mac sleeps or shuts down unexpectedly and you can't boot it, you can try resetting the System Management Controller (SMC).

If the battery is non removable:

Step 1: Shut down Mac and plug in the power cord.

Step 2: Press Shift-Control-Option, then press Power button.

Step 3: Hold the keys for about 10 seconds.

Step 4: Release the keys.

Step 5: Press Power as you would normally start your Mac.

If the battery is removable:

Step 1: Unplug your MacBook Pro from the power supply.

Step 2: Remove its battery.

Step 3: Press and hold down the Power button for 5 seconds.

Step 4: Release the Power button.

Step 5: Place the battery back in.

Step 6: Re-connect to the power supply.

Step 7: Press the Power button to boot your MacBook Pro.

On Mac desktop computers

Step 1: Unplug the power cable.

Step 2: Give it 15 seconds.

Step 3: Plug the cable back in.

Step 4 :Wait 5 more seconds and press Power again.

Fix 7: Start the computer in Safe Mode

When starting the Mac in Safe Mode, the system will certain verifies your startup disk and attempts to repair directory issues. To boot boot up your Mac in Safe Boot, you need to shut the Mac down and start it up while holding down Shift. Release the Shift key when you see the login window. If your Mac loads successfully in Safe Mode, try restarting without pressing any keys.

Fix 8: Erase and reinstall macOS

If the solutions above cannot fix the boot failure, you have to reinstall macOS. The operation will erase the whole startup drive, please make sure you have backed up.

Step 1: Boot your Mac to Recovery Mode.

Step 2: Select Disk Utility from the macOS Utilities menu.

Step 3: Select the startup disk from the side bar.

Step 4: Click on Erase from the top.

Step 5: Setup the required information to reformat the disk and click Done when finished.

Step 6: Go back to macOS Utilities screen and select Reinstall macOS.

Fix 9: Use Apple Hardware Test

If you are unable to erase the boot drive, there might be some hardware malfunctions on the drive. You can use Apple Hardware Test to help determine whether the startup disk is physically damaged. To know the method, please refer to: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201257. If your Macintosh has hardware problems, you should send it to local repair center.


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

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