Mac Stuck On “Setting up your Mac”, Fix

Several users have reported an issue in which their Mac gets stuck or freezes (becomes unresponsive) during the installation or configuration of an OS X update. Users have stated that software update went smoothly until the Mac was stuck on the “Setting up your Mac…” screen at boot for a very long time. If you experience this problem during setup startup and can’t continue, this article offers tips on how to fix this problem.

You Mac may get stuck when a problem occurs with the OS X update that prevents the computer from booting up successfully.

Setting Up Your Mac

See also: Mac White Screen

Fix “Setting Up Your Mac…”

If your Mac become unresponsive during setup, first allow your Mac to complete the process. if it is taking too long (hours), then reset the System Management Controller (SMC) on your Mac to fix this problem. Here is how:

Resetting the SMC is done slightly differently depending on the type of  Mac you have.

MacBooks With Non-Removable Battery, like MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

  • Turn off your Mac
  • Connect your notebook to a power source
  • Press and hold these keys at the same time: Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button
  • Release everything (Shift-Control-Option keys, the power button)
  • Turn on the computer

Older MacBooks with Removable Battery

  • Power down your Mac
  • Disconnect the power, if it is connected
  • Remove the battery
  • Press and hold the power button for five seconds
  • Replace the battery
  • Connect the power
  • Turn on your Mac

Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini

  • Turn off your Mac
  • Disconnect the power
  • Wait 15 seconds
  • Connect the power
  • Wait five seconds
  • Turn on your computer

See also: Back up your Mac that will not start up

Devices: MakBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Pro

Software: OSX El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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35 thoughts on “Mac Stuck On “Setting up your Mac”, Fix”

  1. My MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) has had this problem for the past few releases, which is to say “the last few years”. It doesn’t make the Mac non-functional, but it does mean that my splash screen is not the fancy photo. I am now on the Catalina Beta, and should see a picture of Catalina Island. What I see is the “Setting up your Mac” screen, overlaid by whatever I have open.

    shift+option+control+power does *not* fix the issue. Also, as described, it sounds like the SMC should be corrected and I *subsequently* power up the Mac. That’s not what I see. I press shift+option+control and then, with those pressed, press power. The Mac instantly boots.

    Not operating as described.

  2. My MacBook pro (late 2013) got stuck at “Setting up your Mac” screen (completely unresponsive) while being updated to Moja e (the update went smoothly before that) and your tip worked. Anyway, I don’t understand why the System Management Controller (SMC) was faulty.


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