Macbook Pro/Air Stuck on Apple Logo with Loading Screen? (How To Fix)

apple, smartphone, desk-1282240.jpg

You start your MacBook Pro up, ready to kick things off for the day. While it’s getting ready, you fix yourself a cup of coffee. You return to your desk and find a stock-still, unflinching Apple logo on your screen.

If you are reading this, chances are your MacBook Pro has not moved on to a usable state. The uncertainty presented by the lack of activity can be panic-inducing. But we’re not really up the creek without a paddle here. There are steps that we can take before considering booking a Genius Bar appointment.

What Causes A MacBook To Stuck On The Apple Logo With Loading Screen?

Recalling the recent changes or updates made on your MacBook could be helpful in understanding why it is lingering at the Apple white logo screen. Among the things that could bring it on are:

1. MacOS update/installation in progress

The Apple logo or progress bar may stay onscreen a lot longer than usual after your MacBook restarts during a macOS installation.  As the installation moves along, you might see the progress bar move slowly and it would pause for long periods. It is usually best to start a macOS installation in the evening so that it can finish overnight.

2. Bad peripheral

A bad peripheral or its cable can cause one of the pins on one of your MacBook’s ports to get stuck at a certain state. If a peripheral does not respond to a command when you start up your MacBook, it can stop the startup sequence from continuing.

3. Improper shutdown

If your MacBook was inadvertently turned off or was in any situation that did not permit it to go through the proper shutdown procedure, the screen could just be frozen. Unforeseen shutdowns, however, also have the potential to do damage to the OS which can lead to a boot loop.

4. Snag caused by updates

The odds that a macOS update could cause a loading screen are not unlikely. Some drivers could be incompatible with the newly-introduced updates.

5. Incompatible applications

Applications can misbehave after an update and can interfere with the boot process of your MacBook.

What Are The Ways To Get Out Of The Apple Logo Screen?

You have waited it out and/or determined that your MacBook Pro is not installing updates but it still can’t get past the Apple logo screen. Here are the next steps that you can follow to get your MacBook Pro back up and running.

1. Shut down your MacBook Pro

Press and hold the power button until your MacBook Pro turns off. Unplug everything from the MacBook. Wait for 30 seconds to a minute and then power it back on. If your MacBook Pro starts back up with no problem then we can say that one of the peripherals has caused the issue.

Reconnect one of the peripherals and then restart your MacBook. Repeat this process of connecting one peripheral at a time and then restarting your MacBook until you identify the bad peripheral.

2. Boot your MacBook Pro into Safe Mode

When you are in Safe Mode, the MacBook Pro does a directory check of the startup drive. If the drive directory is not impaired, the OS will continue the startup process with just the bare resources needed to boot.

To start in Safe Mode, shut down your MacBook first if it is turned on. Power it back on and then hold the Shift key until the Apple logo comes up on the screen.

Login and once you are at the desktop, navigate to the Spotlight and type in “Disk”. Select “Disk Utility” from the search results.

The Disk Utility will show you the remaining free space. Make sure that you have at least 10GB of free space. Your MacBook Pro could run into boot issues if the available space is less than that. Delete unneeded files and clean up your Trash, if necessary.

Cache files can also accumulate overtime and if their volume becomes sizeable enough, it could rob you of your much needed disk space. They’re harder to spot than the usual suspects such as media files. With an application like CleanMyMac X, you don’t have to hunt down cache files yourself and you can delete cache files in just a few steps.

Download CleanMyMac X, if you haven’t already, and then launch it. Choose “Smart Scan “ in the left-hand panel. Click “Scan“ at the bottom and then hit “Clean”.

Now back to the Disk Utility. Click on your startup drive on the left-hand side. It is usually labeled “Macintosh HD” except if you had renamed it to something else in the past.

Select “First Aid” from the top ribbon and then click “Run” to start the check on the disk. The First Aid utility will also attempt to repair file system errors if it finds any.

It is also recommended to uninstall recently installed applications. The Safe Mode restricts some applications from running so if your MacBook Pro boots just fine in Safe Mode, it is possible that one of the restricted applications is to blame.

Uninstalling may not be enough though. Uninstalled applications can still leave remnant files in the system. You can clean them up with the CleanMyMac X. Simply launch the application, pick “System Junk” from the left-hand panel, and hit “Scan” and then “Clean.”

After performing the applicable steps above, restart your MacBook Pro as you normally would. If your MacBook stalls again at the Apple logo screen, you may move on to the next step.

3. Reset the PRAM/NVRAM

The Parameter RAM (PRAM) and Non-Volatile RAM (NVRAM) are responsible for storing specific settings such as the volume and the display resolution. There are capacitors that keep these two constantly active so even if you turn your MacBook Pro off, the PRAM and NVRAM do not get cleared.

If a setting or two is corrupted, it could cause your MacBook to stay at the Apple logo. Resetting the PRAM/NVRAM could allow your MacBook to boot normally. Keep in mind though that resetting them will return your MacBook’s hardware settings to default.  The audio output, for example, will be set to the internal speakers and display options will go back to the factory settings.

To reset the PRAM/NVRAM, turn your MacBook Pro off. Power it back on and immediately press and hold Option + Command + P + R simultaneously. Release those keys once you see the Apple logo or once you hear the startup chime.

4. Reset the SMC

One of the things that the System Management Controller (SMC) controls is how your MacBook pro responds when the power button is pressed. In addition to that, it also starts the hard drive spin-downs and the power-up sequence. Therefore, resetting the SMC is another option that we can take to get a MacBook out of the Apple logo screen. But just like resetting the PRAM/NVRAM, resetting the SMC can reset hardware settings to defaults.

The procedure on how to reset the SMC varies depending on the type of Mac that you have. You may follow these instructions in the Apple support site to reset the SMC.

5. Run the Disk Utility in Recovery Mode

We showed you earlier how to run the First Aid utility after booting into Safe Mode. But what if the Safe Mode fails? You can still run First Aid via the Recovery Mode.

Turn your MacBook Pro off. Turn it back on and as you do, press and hold the Command + R keys simultaneously. Release them as soon as the “macOS Utilities” screen comes on.

Select “Disk Utility” and click “Continue”. Choose the disk that needs to be fixed (typically the one that says, “Macintosh HD”) and then click “First Aid”. Give it time and wait for the “Done” button to come up. Close the Disk Utility to return to macOS Utilities and then restart your MacBook from the Apple menu.

6. Run the Apple Diagnostics

The Apple Diagnostics comes with all Macs with OS X Mountain Lion or newer. It tests your Mac for hardware issues and provides suggestions for possible solutions.

Before launching the Apple Diagnostics, make sure that all peripherals are disconnected.  Power off your MacBook Pro. Turn it back on and then immediately press and hold the “D” key until you get a screen asking you to pick your language. Make your language selection and it should move on to a screen that says, “Checking your Mac…”

Once it is done, it will list down the errors with their reference codes. It will also offer suggestions on how to address the issues that it identified. Take note of the codes in case you need to get help from Apple Support. You may restart or shut the MacBook down after this.

7. Reinstall macOS from Recovery

Reinstalling macOS could repair corrupt system files. You have the option not to delete your files and other data if you take this route. Take note that you would need Internet connection to reinstall the Mac operating system.

Reboot your MacBook Pro and as soon as it turns on, hold down the Command + R keys. This will bring up the macOS Utilities window. Select “Reinstall macOS”.

It will prompt you if you want to erase your disk. If you don’t habitually back your data up, choose not to erase it.

Allow the installation to complete and do not put your MacBook Pro to sleep or close the lid during the installation.

8. Boot into the single-user mode or verbose mode

Advanced users who are at ease with using UNIX can use single-user mode or verbose to identify startup-related issues. The instructions on how to use single-user mode or verbose mode can be found here.

If All Of These, Unfortunately, Failed…

There could be more complex issues than meets the eye. Contact Apple Support or take your MacBook Pro to the nearest Apple Store for a thorough inspection.

As we will never know when misfortunes can happen, it is always best to routinely back up your data. Apple’s Time Machine does an excellent job of making this possible for you. You may also backup your MacBook Pro or Air to an external hard drive, or store your data in an online/cloud backup, or make use of other backup software so that you can safeguard those precious files.

Here’s how Apple Support describes the app:

“With Time Machine, you can back up your entire Mac, including system files, apps, music, photos, emails, and documents. When Time Machine is turned on, it automatically backs up your Mac and performs hourly, daily, and weekly backups of your files.”

“When you use Time Machine on a computer using Apple File System (APFS), Time Machine not only keeps a copy of everything on your backup disk, it also saves local snapshots of files that have changed on your internal disk, so you can recover previous versions. These local snapshots are saved hourly (unless you deselect Back Up Automatically) and they’re stored on your computer’s internal disk.”