Fixing a circle that has a line through it on Mac

An unusual sign suddenly appears when you start your Mac. It seems like a circle with a line through it. A MacBook that fails to turn on usually isn’t the bearer of good news but rather a sign of some severe problems.

Your Mac is in danger of losing all your files. You can fix the Mac prohibition symbol by rescuing your data and then using the solutions below to avoid permanent data loss. 

What Do Prohibitory Signs Mean on Mac?

Circles with lines through them indicate that the chosen startup disk contains a Mac OS that is not compatible with the Mac device.

Mac has not detected an OS on the system’s startup disk, but it does not mean that Mac has failed to detect an OS. Although it has an operating system, it is possible to boot from the Mac OS build or model, but it cannot boot from the Mac OS build. The Mac will start up to a circle that has a line through it when this issue occurs.

MacBooks and other Macs typically boot into a preventive symbol following a macOS update. The Mac operating system might have to be downgraded for backups. An operating system incompatibility may cause a problem.

For this reason, it is recommended that you check the model of your Mac and the macOS version before upgrading. You can resolve the prohibitory symbol Mac issue and get your machine back on track without losing files or documents when you encounter the issue.

When Your Mac Shows the Prohibition Sign, What Do You Do?

It is possible to get past the prohibitory message on the Mac startup screen. Various methods can be used to accomplish this. Here are the steps you have to follow to bypass the prohibition sign that appears on your Mac upon startup.

1. macOS Recovery Mode

It is important to boot from your macOS recovery mode option before you can pass the prohibition sign. The method of achieving this can be accomplished by either using a local recovery system or by using an online recovery system. Below are the steps you need to follow.

You can force shutdown your computer by holding the power button for five seconds or more. In most cases, you should be forced to shut down your MacBook in five seconds or less.

Immediately after a shutdown, restart your MacBook after waiting about 30 seconds. You should restart your computer by pressing the power button and immediately pressing the ‘Command’ and ‘R’ keys simultaneously.

Then let go of the two keys once you see the Apple logo. A macOS utility should appear. Your macOS system is now in recovery mode.

2. Repair the startup disk

Getting a prohibition sign on your Mac startup could also be due to a corrupted Macintosh hard disk. Through its First Aid program, the disk utility on your MacBook is capable of locating and fixing disk issues resulting in an issue like the prohibition sign on startup. First Aid is an option on the recovery mode menu of Disk Utility to repair the startup disk.

To begin the repair process, choose the First Aid option from the Disk Utility menu after your Mac has entered macOS recovery mode. Once you’ve successfully repaired the volume, you can quit Disk Utility and restart your Mac normally through the normal startup process.

If the above step doesn’t work, follow the next step. 

3. MacOS Reinstallation

Your next option is to reinstall macOS on your MacBook if you still see the prohibition sign after following the steps above. However, you will lose the data on your Mac if you choose this option. Data recovery is an option you should consider if you don’t regularly back up your important files. The recovery process could save your important files from your damaged MacBook.

Data recovery from your faulty Mac can easily be implemented with the help of iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac. You can use this Mac data recovery program to recover data from a Mac that shows a prohibitory symbol when booting it into recovery mode, opening the Terminal window under the utility menu, and then typing in the command provided below.


No doubt it’s very disturbing to continually fix a circle on Mac and most importantly it affects your work negatively. In order to determine if the annoying sign of a circle with a line through it is gone, restart your Mac or M1 Mac after following the advice given in the above article. It’s hopefully gone from your Mac’s boot up when you remove this prohibitory symbol.

A failing hard drive means that your startup disk cannot be detected by Disk Utility or the macOS installation wizard, in which case you need to replace it. Please contact Apple customer service for help if needed.

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