In November 2020, Apple debuted its first Apple silicon powered Macs – the M1 Mac mini, M1 MacBook Pro, and M1 MacBook Air – all of which introduce a new system for accessing recovery and security options at startup. This article explains how to use the new boot and recovery interface to start up your computer in safe mode.

apple silicon mac startup recovery screen

What is Safe Mode?

Starting up your Mac in safe mode can help you determine whether an issue you're experiencing is caused by the software that loads every time your Mac starts up. It does this by preventing your Mac from loading things like login items, non-system fonts, and system extensions, and performing a First Aid check on your startup disk. It also deletes certain caches, including the kernel cache, which are recreated on the fly when needed.

How to Boot into Safe Mode on M1 Apple Silicon Macs

  1. If your Mac is powered on, shut it down ( menu -> Shut Down).
    shutdown menu bar

  2. Turn on your Mac and continue to press and hold the power button until you see the startup options window.
    m1 mac startup options

  3. Select your startup disk.
  4. Press and hold the Shift key, then click Continue in Safe Mode.
    boot

  5. Release the Shift key.
  6. Once your Mac has booted into safe mode (you'll see "Safe Boot" in red in the upper right), log in using your account credentials.
    apple silicon safe boot

If the issue you're experiencing still occurs in safe mode, or your Mac restarts several times and then shuts down, reinstall macOS and double-check that the system software and any third-party apps are up to date.

sys-prefs
If the issue you're having doesn't occur in safe mode, that indicates a potential problem with a startup item. In such cases, make a note of the login items listed under your user account in System Preferences -> Users & Groups. Once you've done that, remove them all using the minus (–) button, then add them back and restart your Mac after adding each one. When the issue next occurs again, remove the last login item you added, and that should resolve the problem.

Top Stories

mac mini macbook pro macbook air m1

How to Erase an M1 Mac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 11:25 am PST by
This article explains how to erase (or format) the built-in startup disk of a Mac with Apple silicon. Note that erasing your Mac permanently deletes all files on it, so follow the backup advice carefully. If you plan to give away, sell, or trade in a Mac, erasing your Mac should be the final step. First, Back Up Your Data Before you do anything, you should back up the files on your Mac. You ...
wwdc 2021 details

How to Watch Apple's WWDC 2021 Keynote on June 7

Thursday June 3, 2021 3:45 pm PDT by
Apple's 32nd Worldwide Developers Conference will be a digital-only event much like WWDC 2020, with developers worldwide able to participate for free. WWDC is aimed at and designed for developers who create apps for Apple's platforms, but Apple always holds a keynote event that's of interest to the general public. Apple's keynote event will take place on Monday, June 7, and it will provide...
Siri Remote 2 how to scrub Feature copy

Apple TV: How to Scrub Through Video Using the New Siri Remote (2nd Gen)

Sunday May 23, 2021 8:14 am PDT by
With the new Apple TV 4K now in customers' hands, some users are reporting issues when trying to control video with the redesigned Siri Remote. Specifically, some users are complaining that using the circular gesture on the new clickpad ring to fast-forward or rewind paused video isn't working as expected. Rather than scrubbing through video continually in the direction of the gesture, the...
airtags

How to Add an AirTag to Find My on Your iPhone

Friday April 30, 2021 12:18 pm PDT by
Apple's AirTags are small, button-shaped devices that are designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets to allow these accessories to be tracked using Bluetooth right alongside Apple devices in the Find My app. If you've just got hold of a new AirTag, you'll want to get it set up and ready for use. Before you do, make sure you've updated your iPhone or iPad to iOS 14.5 or iPadOS...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air m1

How to Launch the Intel Version of a Universal Apple Silicon App

Friday March 12, 2021 3:51 pm PST by
Macs powered by Apple silicon, such as the M1 MacBook Pro, can run both iOS apps and Mac apps, but they can also run x86-64 software that's been built to work on Intel architecture, thanks to something called Rosetta 2. Rosetta 2 is the translation layer that enables a Mac with Apple silicon to use apps built for an Intel-based Mac. The first time you launch an app that requires it, an alert ...
m1 mac family

How to Check Your Mac's Warranty and AppleCare+ Status

Thursday May 6, 2021 1:35 pm PDT by
In macOS Big Sur 11.3 and later, it's easy to find up-to-date information about your Mac's warranty or AppleCare plan. You can check whether your device is covered and see what kinds of repair and support are included with your cover. You can also find your agreement number, proof of purchase and expiry date. To get information on your Mac's warranty status and/or AppleCare+ plan, first...
transfer files between macs

How to Transfer Files Between an Apple Silicon Mac and Another Mac

Tuesday December 1, 2020 1:21 pm PST by
If you have an Apple Silicon Mac and an older Intel Mac lying around, you can connect the two using Sharing Mode, so that the older Mac appears as an external hard disk to your new machine. Sharing Mode on Apple Silicon Macs replaces the older Target Disk Mode found on Intel Macs, and can be used similarly to transfer data between two Macs. Mac Sharing Mode turns the system into an SMB file...
big sur battery feature blue

How to Check Your Mac's Battery Cycles

Wednesday May 12, 2021 9:22 am PDT by
Apple's latest MacBooks offer some of the most impressive battery life seen on any notebook, with the company's adoption of Apple silicon taking power efficiency to a whole new level. But like all rechargeable batteries, the actual lifespan of a battery is dictated by the number of charge cycles it's been through. Keep reading to learn how to check the battery cycle count on your MacBook. ...
m1 mac family

How to Record Your Mac's Screen

Tuesday May 18, 2021 3:41 pm PDT by
If you've ever wanted to record a video of your Mac's screen but don't know quite how to do so, then you've come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how you can record any Mac desktop activity in just a few simple steps. Recording the activity on your Mac's screen can be useful for a number of reasons. For example, if you want to teach someone how to perform a particular function on...
how to take burst photos iphone 11

How to Delete Redundant Burst Mode Photos on iPhone and iPad

Thursday April 8, 2021 4:37 pm PDT by
Burst Mode refers to when the camera on your iOS device captures a series of photos in rapid succession, at a rate of ten frames per second. It's a great way to shoot an action scene or an unexpected event, since you're always more likely to end up with the picture you were aiming for. Whenever you take a series of burst photos, they automatically appear in the Photo app under the Album name ...