Mac SSD not Booting? Try 5 Fixes to Boot up Your Mac

This article lists down common fixes users can apply to boot up Mac SSD that refuses to start-up. Such a situation usually requires repairing of Mac start-up disk with Disk Utility application.

Picture this scenario — you get your Mac’s old hard drive replaced with a shiny new SSD but run into problems. After you hit the power on button, you hear the familiar start-up chime but post that, your Mac screen turns white or gray and shows no sign of progress. Now that can be quite a disappointment. But, it’s not something unheard of.

Though it happens rarely, after Mac system software undergoes an update (likely to happen after a hard drive change or firmware update or OS upgrade, etc.), it might sometimes get stuck at a white screen before starting up. This is usually a warning sign depicting an underlying problem with the system and it might occasionally be accompanied by other signals such as loud beeps, blinking question marks, or a prohibitory sign on the screen.

If you face such a situation, the first thing you need to do is stay calm. There are a number of fixes you can apply to revive your Mac and boot it up safely to find out what is causing such erroneous behaviour. Read on to learn how you can help save your Mac and the data enclosed in it.

Before proceeding to the fixes

As a first step, ensure that you have a backup of all the data on your Mac. If you’re wondering how you’ll back up a Mac that isn’t even booting, here’s a useful piece of information — you can back up using Disk Utility which can be triggered to launch before Mac boots up. To do so, follow the steps below:

1. Connect an external hard drive to your Mac

2. Shut down and turn on Mac

3. Immediately after you hear the startup chime, press the Command+R keys together and keep holding them down until you see the Apple logo

4. This will be followed by the macOS Utilities Window

5. Select Disk Utility and click on Continue

Thereafter follow the usual steps to back up the external drive.

Now let us look at a few handy fixes that can help recover a non-booting Mac SSD.

Fix 1: Boot in Recovery Mode

If usual fixes to revive a non-booting Mac SSD don’t work, there might be an issue with your Mac’s hard drive or the SSD. In such a case, you’ll have to turn to Mac SSD data recovery by booting your Mac in the Recovery Mode through Disk Utility. For this, reboot Mac and hold down Command + R keys until you see the Apple logo. This will be followed by the macOS Utilities Window where you’ll need to select “Disk Utility”. Next, select Mac hard drive from the left-hand panel, go to the “First Aid” tab, and run “First Aid” to repair the drive. You may also try verifying your drive by clicking on “Verify Disk” (though not on macOS Mojave or High Sierra).

Fix 2: Boot in the Safe Mode

Booting in the safe mode starts up Mac with the bare minimum requirements and utilities needed. Extra apps and programs that aren’t needed at the starting time aren’t loaded in the safe mode. Thus, if the faulty boot up is being caused by any installed programs or applications, booting Mac in the safe mode will point that out. To do this, reboot Mac and then immediately after you hear the startup chime, press the SHIFT key. Keep holding the key until you see the Apple logo and the progress bar. If your Mac boots up, then uninstall any apps or programs you suspect to be causing the issue. Then try booting up again.

Fix 3: Restore from Time Machine Backup

If you have a recent Time Machine backup, you may restore it to get your Mac back to a working state. This is a quick fix to get a stuck machine up and running again. To do this, launch Disk Utility as indicated in the previous section and select “Restore from Time Machine Backup” in the MacOS Utilities window. However, if you choose this option, you must remember that you would lose any recent changes and data that you may have made to your system after taking the Time Machine backup you are restoring from. Read Backup macOS Mojave with Time Machine

Fix 4: Disconnect peripherals and reboot

A faulty peripheral connected to your Mac could be the source of many problems. To find out if this is the case, shut down your Mac by holding down the power button. Now disconnect all external peripheral devices that were previously connected to the computer such as printers, scanners, external hard drives, USBs, etc. You can leave the mouse and keyboard attached for the time being. Now turn on the Mac. If it boots, you know what’s causing the issue. To pinpoint the exact cause, connect the devices one by one and reboot every time.

Fix 5: Reset PRAM / SMC

This may appear technical, however, it isn’t. Resetting the PRAM and SMC takes only a couple of seconds and works like magic when users face the issue of a Mac SSD not booting. To reset the PRAM, reboot your Mac immediately after the startup chime and hold down Command + Option + P + R together until you hear a second chime. Then release the keys and the PRAM will be reset. Boot Mac and see if it works now. If it still gets stuck, try resetting SMC by shutting down Mac, connecting to MagSafe adapter and wall outlet, holding down Shift + Control + Option + Power keys together for a couple of seconds and then releasing all keys together. Boot again to verify if it works.


If none of the above-mentioned tricks works, you might have to reinstall macOS through Disk Utility or a bootable USB.