If your Mac starts up to a question mark

A folder with a flashing question mark means your startup disk is no longer available or doesn't contain a working Mac operating system.

Flashing question mark screen


If the question mark only appears momentarily before your Mac starts up normally:

  1. Reset NVRAM.
  2. Make sure your preferred startup disk is selected in Startup Disk preferences.

If the question mark persists, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the power button on your Mac for up to 10 seconds until your Mac turns off.
  2. Turn on your Mac and press and hold Command (⌘)-R immediately to start up from macOS Recovery.
  3. While in macOS Recovery, use Disk Utility to repair your startup disk.
  4. If Disk Utility didn't find any errors or has repaired all of the errors, reinstall macOS.
  5. If you still need help, please contact Apple Support.
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