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. You may have a Mac with Apple silicon or an Intel-based Mac. Some of the steps may be different for you.

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 into your Mac, except the mouse and keyboard. After disconnecting everything, try restarting your computer. If your 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 your 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:

You will first need to determine if you have a Mac with an Intel chip or a Mac with Apple silicon. You can do so by going to the Apple menu > About This Mac > Overview.

Intel-based Mac

  • 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.

Apple silicon

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Press and hold the power key until you see the startup options window.
  • Select your startup disk, like Macintosh HD.
  • Press and hold the Shift key while clicking “Continue in Safe Mode.”
  • Login.

Now can your Mac startup? Exit Safe Mode and then test again. You can exit Safe Mode by restarting your Mac.

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:

Again, the process differs based on what kind of Mac you have: Apple silicon or Intel.

Apple silicon:

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Press and hold the power key until the startup options window appears.
  • Click the Gear (Options) icon.
  • Click Continue.
  • Select Disk Utility.
  • Select your disk. You can use View > Show All Devices.
  • Then repair volumes, then containers, then disks. The sidebar will show this: Your startup disk, and under it, containers and volumes if available.
Disk Utility

Intel Mac:

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:

Please note that these steps only apply to Intel-based Macs. If you have a Mac with Apple silicon, restarting your Mac will do this.

  • 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

Again these steps apply to Macs with an Intel chip.

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 a 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.
  • If you have a Mac with Apple silicon, follow these steps:
    • Turn off your Mac.
    • Press and hold the power key until you see the startup options window. Click the Options/Gear icon.
  • 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.

Article history:

  • Updated on FEB 13, 2022 to address the recent macOS changes.

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
  5. Just had this issue on a 2009 imac – sure it’s 10 years old, but with an SSD and 8GB RAM transplant it was working beatifully for 24hrz before the white screen. Fix was to replace the BR2032 3V Sony battery with a CR 2032 Panasonic battery in the motherboard. Had to remove the glass and frame, but not the LCD to get to it. Fixed when PRAM reset, SMC reset and verbose, target drive, target drive or diagnostic modes would not boot – just bare white screen.

    Reply
  6. I have tried all the steps above and even after reinstalling the Mac OS the revolving world pops up and asks for a network and after I connect it goes to the Apple logo to load then the white screen comes on again.

    Reply
  7. If this happens to you, my best advice would be DO NOT GIVE UP trying to solve it. I tried almost everything above, resetting NVRAM, SMC, booting to recovery mode, booting to safe mode, internet recovery, and booting to verbose mode. The result was the same every time, white screen with fans high until I forced shutdown. Nothing worked and I spent half a day tearing my hair out. Eventually I gave up and went to bed. The next day I fired it up and it booted first time as normal. Seems to be working reliably again now.

    Reply
  8. Hi There,

    Cannot seem to get this working and have tried everything.

    Mac late 2009’s running OS X.

    Step 1: I booted into safe mode and verified/repaired disk, then restarted still to get WSOD.
    Step 2: I booted into safe mode and erased disk, then restarted into safe mode reinstalled OS X on wi-fi and restarted. Still WSOD
    Step 3: Turned mac off, then back on and did CMD+V, this loaded Verbose mode first time and ended on WSOD. I turned off and back on and still WSOD.
    Step 4: I now turn on and CMD+V does nothing and won’t launch Verbose mode and just ends up on WSOD after Apple logo loads.

    Does anyone know anything else I can try? I am re-installing OS X one last time now and then will try Verbose mode to see if anything happens otherwise I’m at my wits-end.

    Any help appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  9. Help!! I accidentally erased all the macbook pro a1278 data from the recovery mode settings, now when I start the macbook pro up, there is no start up chime, cmd R and all other combinations don’t work at all, and all I’m left with is a flashing question folder… Can somebody help please

    Reply
  10. After having tried and tried with the same problem but not being able to use Cmd+R for recovery mode. I found internet recovery mode! Try it out: Cmd+Option+R

    Reply
  11. See Edmundovic above, July 21, 2016 be sure to connect to internet with Ethernet cable- this was a 2 step process, first press start then Option+Command+R your MBP should connect to the internet run a repair and finish on the WSoD. Next turn off the MBP and press start again then Command+V and you should be on your way!

    I was going to replace HDD but the Edmundovic repair worked great for me and saved me $100!! THANK YOU EDMUNDOVIC wherever you are.

    Reply
  12. I have been having a similar problem.
    White screen comes on, and then a file folder with a question mark appears and is flashing.
    I have tried the fixes above, with no success.
    Any suggestions? Thanks

    Reply
  13. I have seen this happen a couple of times. After a little trial and error and wiggling the mouse around the screen I noticed that the cursor would change to the text symbol instead of the arrow right in the middle of the screen. Since all our Macs are connected to AD and require a sign in, I signed in as the administrator even though I couldn’t see the username and password boxes. After hitting the enter key, it flashed to a new screen “Finishing updates…”. After about 10 minutes it rebooted and everything was gravy.

    So long story short, if you get a white screen, try to enter your login credentials and see what happens.

    Reply
  14. Thank you! Rebooting in safe mode per your instructions seems to have fixed my MacBook Air. Much relief versus taking it to Apple Store out of warranty. Thank you again for kindly providing this information. I would kiss you if I could!
    – a scientist

    Reply
  15. I tried every thing, resetting the PRAM, SMC, Safe Mode..etc…nothing worked. Finally, I unplugged the power cord and turned on the the blank screen and let the battery run down completely. I plugged it back in on the power source, and within 1 hours, the computer came on by itself..problem solved. I have seen others with similar experience, so this was not an original idea. I have a 2013 Macpro

    Reply
  16. After Command+R it downloads some files, shows apple logo for a seccond and goes to white screen. No disk utility or anything else. I’ve tried with OS X mavericks bootable USB stick and after apple logo got an crossed circle. I’ve put a new ssd in and even tried with another ordinary disk. Same results.
    It’s an 2011 Macbook Pro. Please help!!!

    Reply
  17. iMac…same problem…after no problems for almost a decade (Snow Leopard) shortly after installing Sierra (as recommended) I now get a white screen and nothing else. I’ve tried all of the fixes outlined above to no avail. Since it’s an iMac, disconnecting the HDD cable isn’t an option! So…any more suggestions?

    Reply
  18. As a last resort if 1 to 6 don’t work, try disconnecting the hard drive:

    https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/70171/%5BSOLVED%5D+Startup+chime,+no+boot,+white+screen+of+death

    For some reason, it seems that when the HDD/SSD dies, you can’t select a boot disk – hence it’s stuck on the white screen (see the above link for a better explanation. Removing the hdd cable allows you to access the select disk screen, then allows you to permanently change the boot order (i.e. boot from a usb) using this:

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1135944/software/startupboot.html

    The original guide is for a MacBook Air, and it worked on a 2011 iMac with a dead SSD for me. It took me hours and hours of looking for solutions before I found that link, and it helped enormously. If you are handy with a torx screwdriver, don’t bin an old iMac or Macbook, or spend hundreds on repairing it without at least trying it first!

    Reply
  19. I have a late 2009 ’27, has been a perfect Angel until yesterday evening. White screen and won’t boot. So I found these instructions to hopefully fix the problem. Here you say repair. My options are first aid, erase, restore, unmount, and info. So I am assuming first aid! No repair word option. HELP!! lol

    Reply
  20. I have tried all the steps listed above and still have nothing but a while screen with the apple logo and wheel of death. I have a mid 2007 iMac. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  21. Mine will not go past the white screen. Nothing that I’ve done has worked. I have a late 2011 i7 and I have no clue what to do. My whole life is on this computer.

    Reply
  22. I have a 2008? iMac (Sirina? Version) that will load to the end of the progress bar and stop. I found the utilities box. I tried all possilitities and I am on my final try by reloading a copy of OS. It is checking with Apple….it’s been an hour and nothing happened. Any suggestions? My work has been saved!

    Reply
  23. I got macbook 2008 late. I got so little space in my hard drive that I decided to undo partition of the disk. First I had to verify disk. That lead me into trouble as it could not be accomplished as there was some trouble. Therefore I could not finish repair either as the hd must be checked first. So I tried all kind of tricks but it went worse. My first problem was that I had my hd in 2 parts. I tried to combine them but could not because of I had not enough space in my boot section. So I took backup. Then installed osx snowleopard to the latter part of hd. Then I got white screen after I reinstalled snow leopard. It worked in safe mode, shift pressed upon start. But none of these tips didnt work for me. What I did with disk utility was I checked disk rights and fixed them. After that I wiped first part of hd and reinstalled snowleopard to the first and bigger part of my hd. Then I activated firewall and updated osx before anything. It worked fine. Its

    Reply
    • I am unable to boot my Mac . When I switch it on, the ring tone chime sound is heard and then the grey apple logo appears and a black line starts in the grey bar below the logo and in few seconds proceeds towards less than half distance and stops dead. After waiting and waiting nothing happens and the suddenly the computer screen blacks out I.e Mac powers off. Please help.

      Reply
  24. Thanks so much for the detailed methods of getting rid of this problem. You pointed out each step clearly, so I knew what to look for. Other explanations omitted when to press and release keys. You’re the best. Thank you. I’ve got my computer back. Thanks.

    Reply
  25. Hi there, I have a MAc, desktop, worked fine until it started to freeze, shuts down then restarts again.
    I am running El-Capitan, not sure of the version. Tried disc utility and didn’t find any issues.

    Please help, afraid of losing work.

    Mark

    Reply
  26. i have macboo pro i7 late 2011…my problem is my only white screen show after turn power on..so it can’t be enter into desktop…is there any probelem with my vga card?
    tks

    Reply
  27. On my Mac, the screen is just a very light gray color and it won’t load or turn on or anything and I’m not sure what to do. Please help.

    Reply
  28. I have a MAC, my problem is my only white screen show if i open the power botton and after a minute there’s a file logo with a question mark inside show, I don’t know what happen in my MAC. It’s also a BOOT CAMP I don’t think if this also a problrm.. what will I do to repair it?

    Reply
  29. I have this problem with white screen on both my iMac and Mac pro. I have tried everything! This problem must be software related! It is not possible that both my mac computers go white…
    It must be something corrupt with the latest updates from Apple. The story of my iMac is that it first was white screen and after trying everything it’s now black screen! I got it working one time when rebooting it with my Applications install disc but that was the only time. My Mac pro starts up with white screen but I realized when I push the DVD out when I hear the starting sound the Apple logo appears and the computer is loading and It works! So after having this problem for months and tried everything possible I now understand it has to be software related! So why don’t Apple do something!!! I have also checked for Virus but nothing.

    Reply
      • Read my comment I wrote today. It might be because of disk rights. I though also it might be software related as my osx snowleopard worked without update! 10.6. After update it didnt start but instead stopped on starting with white screen after apple logo. I installed osx again on the first part of the disk as I had partition split in 350G and 150G. Dont know if that really matters but you hard drive rights must be checked and fixed with disk utility.

        Reply
  30. This worked! I tried so many things, thank you so much! Dont know if it matters, but I found it helped when it was plugged in! Thanks!!

    Reply
  31. Hi mac jus suddently went off and when i tried putting it on a whit screen came on and the apple sign while loading it went off again what do i do to fix this….. Plz tell me

    Reply
  32. HI, I have tried all this but the blank screen of death continues. I have formatted the HDD and reinstalled from Yosemite Install USB and…. same thing. The safe mode works fine so it seems not to be a problem with my screen but every time I start it up….apple logo and then comes the blank screen. I am very frustrated.
    iMac halted for 10 days now.

    Reply
    • You guys ever work this out? Having the exact same problem here. I’m thinking it’s a graphic card issue – it can handle generic low level calls but normal boot fires up specific drivers which touches the bad circuits and poof.

      Reply
    • I also using mac book ios 13″ but it’s laptop,it’s just shows gray screen and the apple logo and the cirle of processing. It’s been days now doing that,so i want to know what courses that and what should i do?
      Please please help thanks.

      Reply
  33. I have a Mac. I haven’t encountered this issue yet, but if I do I’m glad I will know what to try. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • I have got an iMac at work with this Apple logo issue. These tips are useful but haven’t tried them yet. I did try something which nearly worked but not quite fixed it.
      The thing is the White iMac is technically still in classic. But I tried to open it in OSX so I could access a older media disc, and that’s when it got stuck.
      It’s been like that for 3 weeks.or so. Someone replied to my apple community about it. Iv’e not got back to them yet unfortunatly. I think safe mode might do it or reinstall from boot disc.
      This is very much a relevant issue. It is probably worth backing up for me because of the software.
      I will keep trying. It’s a learning curve you know
      Kristian

      Reply
      • I have tried safe mode and holding down command r.
        The one I tried before was holding option key down.
        We still have the problem. so I will try resetting non volatile RAM. It’s a long shot but it might help a bit. I am starting to wonder if reinstalling Mac OS will even work.

        Reply
      • I can’t do anything from the soft boot. The minute I enter my password, the screen goes grey. That was a while ago. Now, my Mac won’t respond to anything. The white screen comes on, the logo show up, it takes about 5-7 minutes for the black bar to complete its loading and then…it just gets stuck.

        Reply
    • I found that this worked:
      1. Disconnect the batteri (and make a cup of coffee while the power is totally off)
      2. Connect the battery again
      3. Turn on the computer, while pressing cmd + opt + p + r
      4. Shut down the computer with: Left shift + Ctrl + opt + power
      5. Turn on the computer with opt pressed
      6. Choose recovery
      7. Start terminal from the recovery menu
      8. (Check what time it is at your watch or phone) in the terminal write Date 020303432019 (for the third of feb 2019 at 03:43 in the morning)
      9. Start the computer again

      Reply

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