How to Force Start Your MacBook Air/Pro – Quick Guide

If you find your MacBook Air not starting up as it should, knowing how to force start your Mac can be one way to get around the problem.

This is particularly useful when your device is unresponsive, frozen, or just stubbornly refusing to turn on.

Typically, you’ll resort to this method when the usual startup process fails, which typically is an indication of a possible software glitch or a minor hardware issue.

Force starting can often resolve these problems by resetting the system.

Force Starting Your Macbook

Check Your Power Source

The first thing that you’re going to want to do before you try and force start your Mac is ensure that your MacBook Air is connected to a power source. The reason?

A low battery is often the reason users find that their Macbook won’t start up. Even if you’ve left it on charge for a few minutes, you may find it still won’t start.

Be sure to leave your Mac on charge for a good 30-60 minutes to see whether a depleted battery is stopping it from starting up.

Perform a Power Cycle

After you’ve done this, it’s time for you to perform a power cycle.

This is useful for Macbook users because it resets your hardware back to its default state, clears all of your temporary files and resolves various software glitches that can stop your Mac from starting.

To do this, hold down the power button for about 10 seconds. Release it, then press it again to see if the MacBook starts up.

Try to Start in Safe Mode

Starting your MacBook in Safe Mode can help resolve issues preventing it from starting normally.

It’s used as a diagnostic tool, and it allows you to run your device without many software applications, which are the most likely reason why your Mac won’t start.

To enter Safe Mode:

  • Turn on or restart your MacBook Air.
  • Immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  • Release the Shift key when you see the login window.

Click here if you want a more complete guide on enabling safe mode on Macbook. Once you’re in Safe Mode, you should be able to run first aid on your Mac to resolve any potential issues you’re having.

If your MacBook Air still doesn’t start after these steps, it might indicate a more serious issue that’s hardware-related. In such cases, it’s best to seek professional assistance from a certified Apple technician.

What does force starting do to my MacBook Air?

Force starting your Macbook simply reboots the system and clears temporary glitches that may be preventing it from starting normally. It does not delete any of your personal data that you’ve stored on the device.

Can force starting damage my MacBook Air?

If you’re worried about this having an effect on your Mac long term, there’s no need to fret. Force starting is a safe process recommended by Apple for unresponsive devices.

How often should I force start my MacBook Air?

Having said this, there’s no reason to force start your device if you don’t have to. You should only force start your device when necessary, not every time you turn on your device.

Will force starting work if my MacBook Air has a hardware issue?

Force starting primarily resolves software glitches, though it can help with peripheral issues too.

If the issue is hardware-related, there’s a good chance that you may have to take it to the Apple store to be repaired – but only after following the above advice.

This is because while force starting your MacBook Air is a useful troubleshooting step, it’s not a cure-all for every issue. Regular maintenance and keeping your software updated is the key to maintaining a healthy Mac.



Full-time writer, Apple fanboy and macOS supremacist. Currently running: 16" Macbook Pro w/ 64GB RAM & M1 Max. Already wants to upgrade to the M3 😫😭

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