How to fix MacBook Air won't turn on and black screen?

By Katrina | Posted to Mac Data Recovery, updated on Jun 14, 2019 |

This tutorial will show you why MacBook Air black screen happens when booting into operating system, and how to fix black screen. Besides, you can also recover data from the not booting Mac computer with best Mac hard drive data recovery software - iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery.

Just picture the scene: You have received a load of requirements from your client and the time is really pressing. You opened your MacBook Air or Pro to wake it up from sleep and prepared to work to tight deadline. However, you found the Mac screen went black and unresponsive, and the white cursor could move while you anxiously sliding on the touch pad. Nothing else. You plugged in the charger, and waited hours till the indicator light became green (meaning fully charged). Then again, you opened your Mac computer hoping it come back to work. Nothing happened, however. Your Mac was still stuck with black screen on startup.

Feared of black screen of death? What can you do if Mac won't boot? If you're one of the Mac laptop owners who have the similar experience, you have landed on the right place. Just relax, because this tutorial will clearly show you why Mac black screen issue occurs, and more importantly, how to fix it and turn your Mac computer on properly.

Why is your MacBook Air/Pro won't turn on with a black screen?

Besides black screen of death, you could also have heard of blue/green screen of death, or Mac white screen, grey screen or any other color. In fact, which color is shown depends on the model and age of your Mac computer. The mostly used "black" color usually indicates gray or dark, almost black screen.

The causes of black screen can be varied from one another. One of the most common situations is your Mac has recently been upgraded to a new macOS (such as macOS 10.15 Catalina), or has installed an update from Apple. That happens maybe because the new operating system or update comes with unsolved bugs, incompatibilities, or very large disk space consumption. Till then, you may realize that your operating system update failed.

The second one is, the black screen issue appears after you tend to wake up your Mac laptop from sleep, or force restart your stuck Mac computer. This may be due to corrupted hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD).

Also, the following known reasons could also result to Mac black screen problem.

  1. Corrupted display and energy settings
  2. Power issues
  3. File system corruption of macOS partition
  4. HDD or SSD is full or nearly full
  5. Motherboard Failure

In addition, there're still some unknown reasons people cannot tell. Nevertheless, there're still lots of troubleshooting ideas we can carry out to fix the Mac black screen issue. Before we moving on to the fixes, let's at first look at something more urgent.

How to recover data if your MacBook Air is stuck on black screen?

Obviously, if your Mac screen is black with chime on startup, you have no access to the files stored on the Mac hard drive. Files are more important to you than the computer itself, right? So you can't wait to try out different repair suggestions? Though it's understandable how eagerly you are willing to get them back, do you know you're also risking losing your whole data?

Of course, it's OK to go ahead if you have a backup copy of all the files.

How about others, who don't routinely back up their files? Your any operation on the MacBook Air/Pro may write new data onto the hard drive which overwrites the original data. And the overwritten data is irrecoverable forever.

I bet this isn't what you are expecting. So, why not follow the tutorial here to recover lost data at first?

Note: If you have Time Machine backup or backups on external drives, you can skip this part and jump to Part 3 directly.

Without any precious backup, you can still recover lost data on the not booting Mac computer with the help of iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery. It's helped lots of users recover data from dead/crashed MacBook Air/Pro/iMac/Mac mini, including pictures, audio, videos, email files, etc. It can also recover data from unmounted Macintosh HD, APFS-formatted boot volume, and failed Mac internal hard drive, etc.

According to your specific situation, you can choose one of the methods as below to get your lost data back.

Method 1: Recover data in Recovery Mode

If you have only one computer, and the operating system in the Recovery Mode is macOS 10.12 and above, you can run iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery in Recovery Mode by following this detailed tutorial.

Method 2: Create a bootable drive and recover data

This method is helpful if you have another Mac computer, or you can borrow one from your friends. Besides, you also need a USB drive or other external drive.

step 1: Download iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on another Mac computer.

Step 2: Install and launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery on the healthy Mac computer.

Step 3: Click iBoysoft Data Recovery on the menu bar and then select "Create Boot Drive".

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 4: Insert a USB drive into the healthy Mac computer.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 5: Follow the wizard to create a bootable recovery drive on the USB drive.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 6: When the creation process completes, you can insert the USB drive into the unbootable Mac computer, and then turn the Mac on.

iBoysoft Data Recovery create bootable drive

Step 7: Select iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery from the boot options.

Step 8: Follow the wizard to scan for the lost data on the MacBook Air hard drive.

Step 9: Choose the files you want to get back, and then click Recover button.

Besides, iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery can also recover data from formatted, unmountable, unreadable, inaccessible external hard drives, SD cards, memory cards, USB falsh drives and other storage devices on macOS Mojave 10.14/High Sierra 10.13/10.12 and 10.11/10.10/10.9/10.8/10.7.

So, have you got the files you want back successfully? Then, we can start to fix the Mac screen blackout problem now.

How to fix MacBook air not turning on and black screen issue?

Solution 1: Check if the power is on

Make sure the charger cable is OK when your MacBook Air is charging. You should also check your battery cycle to see if it needs to be replaced.

Solution 2: Check your display

Press F1 and F2 keys and check if the Mac screen light is on. It's possible that your screen dimmed down because you accidentally pressed the brightness keys on the keyboard.

Solution 3: Disconnect all peripherals

Shut down your Mac and remove all peripherals expect that needed to boot the system up. Then a rebooting might make your Mac function normally.

Solution 4: Reset Mac NVRAM settings

NVRAM stores things like screen resolution, time zone information, and, crucially, which hard drive to boot from. In some cases, a corrupted NVRAM will prevent macOS from startup. Thus, resetting NVRAM might help for the boot failure.

To reset NVRAM settings, you should press and hold Power button for a few minutes till the Mac turns off, wait a few seconds and press Power button to turn on the Mac. When you hear a startup sound, hold down Command+Option+P+R. Keep pressing the keys until you hear a second startup sound.

Solution 5: Boot your Mac in Safe Mode

Starting up your MacBook Air in Safe Mode helps to check and prevent some software from automatically loading or opening. 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 6: Run Disk Utility in Recovery Mode

Disk Utility's First Aid is always a useful repair tool on macOS. To run it, you need to 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.

From the macOS Utilities menu, select Disk Utility and click Continue. Then choose the system disk and click First Aid on the top menu bar. When the process is finished, click Done and restart your Mac.

Solution 7: Erase and reinstall macOS

If none of the solutions above helps, then you need to erase the system drive and reinstall macOS. This Operation will remove all data on the Mac hard drive, so please make sure you have restored important data.

Step 1: Boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.

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

Step 3: Select the system drive 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. Follow the wizard to reinstall macOS.


No one can promise you that your Mac, including MacBook Pro or Air, will never run into issues like black screen of death and not turning on. But it shouldn't be the end of the world. In fact, you can try to fix the problems by following the solution above.

However, when your MacBook Air won't boot, please firstly check whether you have a file backup, or recover files from the Mac hard drive as many as you can.


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

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