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What Is ‘Safe Mode’ For?

What does starting up in ‘Safe Mode’ mean, and when should it be used? I am having the occasional trouble starting up my Mac, so should I use it for that? I am running Sierra 10.12.6 on a 2013 iMac.

Comments: 3 Responses to “What Is ‘Safe Mode’ For?”

    5 years ago

    Safe Mode is something you would use to either diagnose or fix a problem.

    When you boot into Safe Mode, only absolutely necessary system extensions are loaded, and no apps or login items will start automatically. Even custom fonts won't load. This gives you the chance to see if a problem is caused by something wrong with your system or hardware, or if it is being caused by something else you have installed or are running.

    But just booting into Safe Mode by itself can fix things sometimes. Some checks are performed, repairs are done if your files need it, and some system maintenance, like the clearing of various caches occurs. So sometimes you can boot into Safe Mode, then boot normally after that, and a problem can be fixed.

    In your case, I wouldn't think Safe Mode will help. But you can try it. I'm also clear SMC and NVRAM:

    See Use safe mode to isolate issues with your Mac for more info.

    5 years ago

    Thanks Gary, you were right - Safe Mode didn't help. Your link about clearing SMC and NVRAM mentions that it is good for the most recent Macs, but can I use the procedure for my older 2013 iMac running Sierra 10.12.6? Thanks.

    5 years ago

    Jane: Yes, try resetting SMC and NVRAM. They probably won't help, but it is worth a try as the next step would be to take it to the Genius Bar for firsthand help.

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