Mac Won't Turn on VS. Mac Won't Boot Up

Even though the result of a Mac that is not turning on or not starting up is the same - your Mac is not working, there is actually a huge difference.

A not turning on Mac means a Mac that is not responding at all after you press down the Power/Touch ID button or open up the lid on newer MacBook laptops. You don't hear a startup chime, a spinning fan, drive noise, and there are no visuals on your monitor. Your Mac shows a black screen and looks completely dead.

A Mac that refuses to start up looks a little bit better, because at least your Mac turns on and just the operating system isn't loading up. Your Mac boots to a strange screen, an unfamiliar symbol or never finishes the progress bar. Your Mac is still alive but is not functioning properly.

Check what screen your Mac boots to

A Mac machine that is not responsive requires completely different techniques to one that is not booting up. We will talk about a MacBook not turning on issue first.

How to fix MacBook not turning on?

After you power on your MacBook, your MacBook will go through a series of complicated events. The computer sends a signal to the computer power supply, which provides proper amount of voltage and electricity to computer's hardware components in a designed sequence. If all essential input and output hardware are functioning well and report no error, your MacBook will chime and the screen back-light will be activated.

The reasons why your Mac fails to power on vary. We will illustrate a series of checks and techniques to troubleshoot the unresponsive MacBook issue.

How to fix Mac not booting up?

If you can feel any signs of life such as a startup chime, air movement from the vent holes, and keyboard backlight, your Mac is turning on. After a short period of time, operating system will load up.

The modern operating system is loaded through a bootstrapping process, known as booting.

After the computer turns on, it first executes a small program (the first-stage boot loader) stored in ROM to initialize RAM to access the internal device containing operating system programs and data. Then the first-stage loader will load a more sophisticated second-stage boot loaderto do error checking, give the user a choice of operating systems to boot, load diagnostic software and other functionalities until the operating system is finally loaded up. Then, the boot loader will transfer the control to it and the operating system will initialize itself, configure the system hardware and load device drivers.

It is a complex process and could be terminated or jammed by any hardware or software errors. An iMac not booting up usually happens after OS update, system crash or incompatible/malicious software installation.

We will run through another sets of checks and fixes to get rid of the errors that prevents the operating system from loading or initializing.

• Worry about data loss? Save your vital documents and other data with this guide

Recover Data from MacBook that won't Turn on

If your MacBook Pro is not booting up, your files are in danger! And your misoperation may cause permanent data loss. Therefore, the best practice is to get files off MacBook that won't boot first before fixing Mac not turning on issue.

  • 1

    Start your Mac in macOS Recovery Mode

    Different Mac models require different methods to boot into macOS Recovery Mode. Please check the image on the left to start.

  • 2

    Access Internet and launch Terminal

    Choose a network for your Mac and make your Mac connected to the Internet all the time. Open Terminal from drop-down menu.

  • 3

    Run command

    Type the following command in Terminal and press Return to launch iBoysoft Data Recovery. Admin password is needed.

    sh <(curl

  • 4

    Recover data

    After launching iBoysoft Data Recovery, follow the wizard to scan data from Mac hard drive and recover important Mac files.

  • Use iBoysoft Data Recovery in macOS recovery mode
  • Terminal Mac Recovery Mode
  • Run command to launch data recovery software
  • Mac data recovery with iBoysoft

What screen your Mac stops at?

If your Mac turns on but doesn't start up all the way, you need to do something to help your Mac finish booting.

FAQ about Mac not turning on issue


You can use target disk mode on Intel-based Macs or Share Disk on M1 Macs to copy files to another healthy Mac. However, either of the methods will need a second working Mac. If you don't have a spare Mac, using iBoysoft Mac data recovery software to recover data to an external hard drive is the easiest way to secure your important files because it doesn't need a second Mac.


If your Mac is not turning on or finishing booting, you can force restart Mac by holding down the Control, Command, and power/Touch ID button at the same time for 3 seconds. Your Mac will fix the frozen booting process and try to reload the operating system again.


You could have a faulty power cable, charging port with poor contact, or dead battery. Try to use another cable or clean the dirt in the charging port. Wait for a few minutes to see if your MacBook battery charges or if the Megsafe light is on. Read this guide to fix MacBook Pro not charging.


The power supply is the first thing to consider. If you are using a desktop, make sure connections are tight, or use a different wall outlet. If you are using a notebook, charge your computer for a few minutes because its battery could be empty.


The reasons why your Mac machine is not turning on are different from case to case, because the errors may lie in hardware breakdown, software faults, or both. It needs a detailed guide to figure out what has caused a non-functional MacBook and fix the issue.


It is very hard to tell the exact time it takes to turn on a Mac computer. In general, your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air will turn on in several minutes. Depending on your battery situation and the number of login items, it can take around 5 to 10 minutes to charge the MacBook to become usable. In an extremely cold or warm condition, it can take hours.

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