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

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

This tutorial will show you why Mac black screen happens and how to fix black/blue/grey/white screen and turn on your MacBook Pro/Air without problem. Besides, following the tutorial here, you can also recover data even though your Mac is black screen on startup.

Just picture the scene: You have received a load of requirements from your client and the time is really pressing. You opened your MacBook Pro or Air to wake it up 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 touchpad. 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 hoping it come back to work. Nothing happened, however. Your Mac was still stuck with black screen on startup.

Feared of Mac 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.

Table of contents
1. Why is your Mac screen black?
2. How to fix the black screen on Mac startup?
3. How to recover data if the Mac is stuck on black screen?

Why is your Mac screen black?

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, or has installed an update from Apple. That happens maybe because the new operating system or update comes with unsolved bugs, incompatibility issues, 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, say, MacBook Pro or Air, 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. Besides black screen of death, you could also have heard of blue screen. 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.

Nevertheless, there're still lots of troubleshooting ideas we can carry out to fix the black screen issue.

How to fix Mac black screen and not turning on issue?

In this part, we will walk you through 7 tested-and-true solutions to fix the black screen of death on startup. The thing you need to keep in mind is that, your any operation on this unbootable Mac may write new data on to the Mac hard drive and overwrite the origianl data on it. To avoid data loss, especially when you have important files stored on this Mac, or have no backups, you'd better jump to part 3 to recover data at first.

Let's continue.

Solution 1: Check if the power is on

Make sure the charger cable is OK when your Mac 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 becomes brighter. It's possible that your screen dimmed down because you accidentally pressed the brightness keys on the keyboard.

Solution 3: Disconnect all peripherals

Peripherals, including USB or Thunderbolt devices, could lead to Mac black or blue screen, too. Thus, another thing to try to fix this issue is disconnecting all the unnecessary peripherals.

Now, shut down your Mac, remove all peripherals, then reboot your Mac. This might make your Mac function normally again.

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 Mac 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.

How 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 erase all data on the Mac hard drive. So, please make sure you have a backup copy of all data. If not, you can at first jump to the next part and recover data from the Mac hard drive.

Now, follow the steps here to erase the Mac hard drive and reinstall macOS.

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.

After the process finishes, you can restart your Mac and check if it can boot successfully.

How to recover data if the Mac 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. But, it necessarily mean the data will lost for good. For example, if you have backed up your files regularly, you can restore files from your backup copy.

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 the steps below or following this detailed tutorial. This method is high recommended as it is easier and more time-saving.

Step 1: Click the Power button to turn on the Mac, and immediately press COMMAND+OPTION+R keys until you see the spinning globe. This will boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.

Step 2: Go to Utilities > Terminal from the menu bar to open Terminal.

Note: If your Mac hasn't connect to internet, you need to choose a WiFi network in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Step 3: In the Terminal window, type in the following command lines and then press Enter. This will launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery through iBoysoft Server.

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

Recover Data in Recovery Mode through iBoysoft Server

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

Recover data from APFS boot disk

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 APFS boot disk

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.

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

Open Terminal

Step 9: Run the following command:

'Volumes/Image Volume/'

Launch iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery Command

Step 10: Follow the wizard to scan for the lost data on the MacBook Air hard drive.

Step 11: 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?


No one can promise you that your Mac 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 Mac 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.

Scroll down for the next article Scroll down