Advanced Mac users can boot into Single User Mode, which skips the recognizable, welcoming user interface and loads directly into Mac OS’s command line.
Single User Mode on a Mac can be useful for some administrative and troubleshooting duties, but it’s typically best left to experienced Mac users who are well-versed in command-line usage.
You may learn how to enter Single User Mode on any Mac and how to leave it in this guide.
How to Start the Mac Os in Single User Mode
On a Mac, entering Single User Mode requires quick action during the boot process. You can accomplish this from a system start or a system restart. How to access Single User Mode is as follows:
- Restarting the machine or starting the Mac
- When the boot process starts, hold down the COMMAND + S keys simultaneously.
- Holding down the Command and S keys will cause single-user mode to load when you see white text on a black background.
- To access the Mac in Single User Mode, use the admin password.
Before being able to boot into Single User Mode, you must enter the FileVault password if you use disk encryption (and all Mac users should)
Similar to this, you must enter your Mac firmware password if you use one before you can load Single User Mode.
When in Single User Mode and authenticated, you can use tools like fsck to repair a disk or press the escape key twice to display a list of all possible command-line options. Keep in mind that in order to access more accustomed settings, you might need to mount the file system.
It should be noted that while Single User Mode grants you access to a command prompt, it does so with root privileges and is entirely distinct from the standard command line interface accessed from the Terminal, with fewer commands, tools, programs, and other data available (without mounting the file system anyway). It’s beneficial for performing disk maintenance and repair options because it’s designed to be less complex than a casual foray into the Terminal or using the Terminal via Recovery Mode.
Prior to Starting
These suggestions are for situations where your Mac won’t boot. A black screen, an error message, or your computer hanging on the white Apple logo are all possible outcomes. This troubleshooting tutorial is not for you if your computer is functioning normally.
Running First Aid won’t hurt if you detect troubles with your starting drive as a result of performance problems or irregular behavior. It would make more sense to start by asking what First Aid actually does.
Your Mac does a brief consistency check when it starts up to examine the startup disk’s partition scheme (the area where volumes are located) and volume directory structure (which catalogs the stored files and folders).
Launch Disk Utility, Select the Volumes in The Following Order, Then Click First Aid and Run:
- Data Macintosh HD
- (Assuming you haven’t changed the startup volume’s name) Macintosh HD
- SSD container disk
How to Start a Mac in Single-User Mode
The single-user mode is designed to carry out specific maintenance, troubleshooting, and administrative duties. By starting your system with the bare minimum of resources and allowing just one user to take control of the typical multi-user environment, these tasks are accomplished.
There are multiple alternative ways to boot into single-user mode, depending on your Mac’s chipset.
Any inappropriate commands are likely to have a significant impact on the stability and functionality of your system while in single-user mode.
What Is Mac’s Single User Mode?
In the bare-bones UNIX environment, the single-user mode functions. It does not have a graphical shell and just has a primary console that supports the command line. It also only has a few system daemons running. A typical UNIX multi-user system is indicated by the single-user mode itself. As a result, by reducing the multi-user system to a single user, only maintenance duties are carried out in order to access the resources that are normally shared.
the sole-user setting For example, Mac is accustomed to fixing the starting drive and ejecting trapped media from drives. The single-user method’s simple environment enables users to carry out some crucial commands. These commands can launch various system daemons, read or write files, mount additional storage devices, conduct simple startup drive repairs, etc. The single-user mode can easily accommodate all of these UNIX requirements.
Similar to other Unix operating systems, Mac OS X contains an unpublicized function called single-user mode that enables you to boot the system with the fewest restrictions. As the name suggests, it only permits one user to log in, who must be a human who is physically sat at the keyboard and directly connected to the device. Network interfaces are idle, no daemons are running, and not even the root filesystem is mounted.
If ever, you won’t operate your Mac in single-user mode. This is where you can manually and safely run /sbin/fsck -y to verify and correct filesystem faults, for example. Some low-level diagnostic tasks might call for it.
You can alter all system user passwords, including the root account since the root is the only user who logs in while the single-user mode is enabled. Thus, if your passwords are lost and you don’t have a system CD handy, you can think of single-user mode as an emergency back door into the system.
Entering Single-User Mode at Startup
Single-user mode is only accessible during system startup. Hold down to enter single-user mode.
launching with Single-User Mode -S when the Apple logo is on screen. After a little period, startup console messages begin to appear on the screen in place of the blue Mac OS X starting screen.