Mac White Screen: How To Fix Your Mac That Won’t Turn On

You wanted to use your Mac, but instead, your Mac won’t startup?  Does your Mac computer stuck on a white/gray screen (after a start-up chime)? Does your computer get stuck at the Apple logo? Sometimes an error or issue with your macOS operating system may cause your computer to stop functioning properly and display a white screen. There can be several reasons why a computer won’t boot and display a white screen. However, there are several tips you can try to fix it. This article explains how to fix this white screen issue so your Mac can work as normal.

Mac display a white screen with at the Apple logo

This problem may affect various Mac devices: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro.

If your Mac keeps freezing, see this article.

Before doing anything, you may want to make sure that you have a copy of your information to use if your Mac becomes unusable. So you may want to try backing up now before doing anything. Backing up may be possible even if your Mac does not boot. If you have already backups, then you may skip this step. You may be able to use OS X Recovery to backup your Mac.

See also if you are not able to update your Mac.

How To Fix Mac White Screen Problem

Please check to see (by rebooting your Mac) if your issue is resolved after performing each step.

Disconnect everything

1-Shut down your Mac by holding down the power button. Disconnect all peripherals (printers, scanners, USB devices etc) that are plugged in to your Mac, except the mouse and keyboard. After disconnecting everything, try restarting your computer. If you Mac starts without any issue, this means that one of your accessories is causing this. Try to figure out the problematic peripheral(s) by reconnecting your accessories one at a time until your problem is fixed.

Safe Mode

2-If restarting your Mac with your peripherals disconnected does not work, try this step. Try Safe Mode (or safe boot) if you Mac does not turn on. Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode designed to fix macOS problems. Thus Safe Mode can be a useful troubleshooting method. Here is how you can start your computer in safe mode:

  • Shut down your Mac and wait at least 10 seconds.
  • Restart your Mac. And immediately, press and hold the Shift key as your computer restarts. You need to press the Shift key immediately after the startup sound/chime before the Apple logo appears.
  • Release the key when you see the gray Apple logo or the login screen. Then log in, please note that you may have to log in a few times.
  • Be patient because safe mode is slower. if you Mac starts up, restart your Mac normally without pressing any buttons. Do not press the Shift key when restarting.

Repair Disk

3-Try repairing your startup disk by opening Disk Utility from macOS Recovery. We are doing this because it is possible that the disk may be corrupted. Please follow these steps:

macOS Utilities

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Restart your Mac and hold option+R keys immediately after the Apple startup chime. Keep holding the buttons until you see the Apple logo.
  • When your computer starts up, you will see the “macOS Utilities” window.
  • Select Disk Utility and click Continue.
  • Select your startup disk (by default, it’s called Macintosh HD, unless you renamed it).
  • Click The First Aid icon and then click the Run button. Disk Utility will now try to find and repair any problems.Disk Utility to Repair
  • When you are done, then reboot your Mac.

Slow startup? see this article.

Reset PRAM or NVRAM

4-You may want to reset “non-volatile random-access memory” or NVRAM (this is also called PRAM). Follow these steps:

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Wait at least 10 seconds.
  • Turn on your Mac.
  • Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys together immediately after the startup sound.
  • Your computer will restart (keep holding the keys)
  • Release the keys when you hear the second startup sound. This process will reset NVRAM.

Reser SMC

5-Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) may fix your problem. Here is how:

Follow these steps if you have a modern Mac notebook (like MacBook Air, MacBook Pro) without a removable battery:

  • Turn off your computer.
  • Connect the power adapter.
  • Press the Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.
  • Then release all the keys at the same time.
  • Reboot your computer.

Follow these steps if you have an older Mac notebook with removable battery:

  • Turn off your computer.
  • Disconnect the power cord.
  • Remove the battery.
  • Hold the Power Key for five (5) seconds, then release the power button.
  • Reconnect your battery and power cord.
  • Turn on your Mac.

Follow these steps if you have an Intel-based Mac Pro, iMac, and Mac min

  • Turn off your computer.
  • Disconnect the power cord, wait fifteen (15) seconds, and connect the power cord.
  • Wait five (5) seconds and turn on your computer.

Reinstall macOS

6Reinstalling macOS may fix this and you may use macOS Recovery to do this. Here is how:

  • Shut down your Mac. You will need to restart your Mac from macOS Recovery. There are a few options you may choose. Here are the startup options:
    • Restart your Mac and immediately, press and hold the Command-R keys until you see a spinning globe: This option will reinstall the latest macOS that was on your Mac. We recommend this option. This will reinstall the macOS version that is stored on your Mac.
    • Restart your Mac and immediately, press and hold the Option-Command-R keys until a spinning globe appears: This will upgrade to the latest macOS.
    • Restart your Mac and immediately, press and hold the Shift-Option-Command-R keys until you see a spinning globe: This will reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac when it was bought.
  • Select Reinstall macOS, then click Continue and then follow the onscreen instructions

macOS Reinstall

See also:

If nothing above helped you, you may have a hardware problem. Contact Apple.

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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92 thoughts on “Mac White Screen: How To Fix Your Mac That Won’t Turn On”

  1. ALWAYS keep a corded keyboard and a corded mouse around for these kinds of emergency repairs…. they’ve saved me quite a few times when the bluetooth or Logitech wouldn’t connect

    Reply
  2. I have (ithink) 2005 macbook proit won’t reboot after a power switch shutdown due to frozen screen. I ended up with just gre apple and it never went any further. Di Command R to get to the Command-R utility screen. I selected install macos high Sierra. Got error “the recovery server could not be contacted”. Now what?

    Reply
  3. I have a white screen with a large black lock on my iMac. No Apple logo. I can’t do anything. None of key combinations have worked so far

    Reply
  4. What are you supposed to do if it’s on your Mac Pro with a wireless keyboard? How do you get into safe mode?

    Reply

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