If your Mac doesn't start up all the way

If your Mac doesn't start up all the way or needs you to do something during startup, it might stop at one of these screens.

Circle with a line through it

macOS startup screen displaying a prohibitory sign and URL: support.apple.com/mac/startup

Learn what to do if your Mac starts up to a circle with a line through it (prohibitory symbol).


Question mark


Options with a gear icon


Blank (empty) screen

Mac notebook blank gray screen

Learn what to do if your Mac starts up to a blank screen, such as an empty gray, black, or blue screen.



Globe with alert symbol

macOS startup screen displaying globe with alert symbol and the URL: support.apple.com/mac/startup

A globe with an exclamation point means that your Mac tried to start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet, but couldn't. Learn what to do if your Mac can't start up from macOS Recovery.


Lock icon

macOS startup screen displaying firmware lock icon and password entry field

If your Mac is using a firmware password, the lock icon appears when you try to start up from another disk or volume, such as an external drive or macOS Recovery. Enter the firmware password to continue.


System lock PIN code

macOS system lock PIN code startup screen

Your Mac asks for a PIN code when it has been remotely locked using Find My. Enter the four-digit or six-digit passcode to continue.


Login window

macOS Big Sur user login screen

At the login window, enter your user account password to log in to your Mac. If FileVault is turned on, this also unlocks your disk. You might see a default desktop picture in the background, which might change to your chosen desktop picture when you select your account.


Thunderbolt, USB, or FireWire symbol

A large Thunderbolt , USB , or FireWire  symbol against a dark background means that your Mac is in target disk mode.


Learn more

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