How to Solve the Grey Screen Problem at Startup on Mac

Last updated on December 23, 2018 by Natasha

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How to Solve the Grey Screen Problem at Startup on Mac

If there is one thing Mac users don’t want to see during the Startup of their device is that Black void that appears on the screen. It is often termed the blackness of uncertainty simply because users don’t know if any unsaved documents will still be hanging about or if they would have gone to the great beyond. Having that empty mac grey screen sitting there just staring at you can be quite frustrating.

What is a grey screen on Mac

If you go on a scavenger hunt across the Internet, you will observe that problems revolving around Mac grey screen and its derivatives are one of the most search phrased on sites like Reddit, Quora, and message boards. Of all the derivatives of Mac grey screen issues Mac users face, the most nerve-racking of them is the grey screen that appears at startup on Mac. All you have is a blank screen looking at you in the face without you having any clue as to what to do and what could be the problem. It sometimes makes your mind wander far, as we can be sure that you’ve heard stories of the frustrating grey screen on startup on Mac. It will interest you to know that isn’t actually a grey coloration that is visible to you, but rather a black screen. Yes, you read that right. What you see originates from more or less a black screen.

Generally, Grey screen problem at startup on Mac is referred to as it is because the display on the screen during startup is grey and it often signifies that you Mac has an issue. This grey appearance shows itself after you restart or start your Mac. When the alarm bells start ringing is when instead of a blue screen welcoming you, you have a grey screen saying hello. Many times, you might get a different hint to notify you that something is wrong with your Mac. It could that the screen is stuck on a rotating globe display or the Apple logo. Whatsoever the sign is you know that you are stuck along with your Mac. The major issue with this Grey Screen at Startup up on Mac is the fact that knowing the problem and probable cause is a challenge. We highlighted some methods on how you can fix Grey Screen at Startup on Mac.

Solution 1: Disconnect all external devices

Step1 Force to shutdown

The first step of action every panicky Mac user takes is pressing down on the power button in order to expedite the Mac shut down.

mac force to shutdown

Step2 Disconnect external plugins

The next point of call is to disconnect any external devices, such as external cables, external hard drives, ethernet cable, and other peripherals.

mac disconnect plugins

Step3 Turn on your computer

Lastly, switch on your Mac.

mac switch on

Solution 2: Use Disk Utility to Repair Disk

This method helps to check whether there are any problems with your Hard drive. Running disk utility allows you to confirm if there is any problem with your hard drive, and fix it up, and in that way fix the Mac grey screen. Just Boot into OS X recovery Mode to start the disk utility.

Step1 Powercycle Mac

Utilize the power button to power down your Mac. Then, hold the Command key along with the R key to power your Mac on.

mac power on and command key image


A screen with the header “OS X Utilities.” Select “Disk Utility.”

Mac disk utility


On the left of the Disk Utility display, select your Mac’s built-in hard drive. For the built-in drive, choose the second listing.

mac built-in hard drive


On the bottom right corner of the Disk Utility window, select “Verify Disk.”

mac verify disc image

Solution 3: Safe boot

This method carries out specific diagnostics to make sure your device is in the right frame of mind; The fortunate news is that often, the safe boot also helps eliminate the frustrating greyness staring at you in the face.

Step1 Restart Mac

Restart your Mac as you hold Shift.

mac restart

Step2 Restart via Verbose mode and Safe mode

Safe Boot may be carrying out the repair in the lengthy time it takes to finish the task. So you may decide to start up by holding Shift, along with Command key, and also V key. This starts two modes in the system; Verbose Mode and Safe Boot, and it lets you know what Safe Boot is doing. If this method works, then you can be happy as your mission is accomplished. As soon as the desktop refreshes fully, restart the Mac. Fingers crossed you won’t see any grey screen. But if you still have the worrying grey screen smiling at you, well don’t lose hope, you can still get your Mac Fixed.

mac modes

Solution 4: Repairing Startup Drive

If you have looked at all the other alternatives and you are still faced with the same grey problem, then it means that your Mac’s Startup Drive is at fault. Now, this is the tricky part, the next step you would have to take would mean you have to go through the Data-erupted route if you are to fix the grey problem. Before setting out to try your hand on some risky venture, let’s ensure that your Mac is able to start from an OS X install disk, or External drive (Flash Drive) or the Recovery HD. If it starts with either, then it means the Startup Drive is at fault.

Step1 Use Recovery HD

Power down your Mac. Hold the Command and R keys at the same time to start your Mac.

mac recovery hd

Step2 Use OS X Installer DVD

Place the installer DVD, in your Mac’s optical Drive. Power down your system. Hold the “C” and power your system on. Your Mac boots from the Media in the Mac’s Optical Drive.

mac dvd installer

Step3 Use External Drive

Power off your Mac. Connect your flash drive to the USB port. Hold Option Key as you power on your Mac. Utilizing the arrow keys to choose your desired drive. Press enter or return.

mac external drive

You are in good shape when your Mac is up and running from either of these three solutions; then it means you have the possibility of repairing your startup drive. Remember that with this method, there is every chance that you might lose some of your data during the repair. For better handling of the situation, get in touch with a Mac expert to help you initiate a backup if you don’t have one. If the Mac Grey Screen problem persists then…

Solution 5: Reinstalling Mac OS X

Step1 Powercycle Mac

Well, it finally comes down to this. Press and Hold down the power button to power down your device. Either Hold the Command key along with R key at the same time to power on the Mac.

mac powercycle and hold command key with R key to start

Step2 Reinstall Mac OS X

A screen with the headline OS X Utilities will pop up. Select “Reinstall Mac OS X.”

mac reinstall

For those that have a backup, they won’t really fear what a reinstallation process will do. Well if after this, the problem persists, and then you have no backup, it will be best to see a Mac Technician to bail you out.


The Grey screen at Startup on Mac can be frustrating to any Mac user. Luckily we’ve highlighted a couple of ways via which you can go past the dreaded grey screen on Mac. Make use of the methods chronologically. The first method is the easiest and contains little risks, while the last method is the difficult one, and that means it contains more risk as you would lose all your files if you don’t have a backup. Don’t beat yourself with a stick when you see the grey screen on your mark; there is a way you can get it sorted, use any of the five methods we’ve presented to you.

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December 6, 2018

Post By Natasha to Computer Troubleshooting

Last updated on December 23, 2018

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