iMac Won’t Turn On – Why and How to Fix?

Staring at a blank screen of your iMac can be the most frustrating thing to come across. If your iMac won’t turn on and looking for a reason why and how to fix it, you’re reading the right guide.

In this guide, we’ll illuminate simple to advanced fixes and their reasons for common tech hiccups.

Read on to turn the tide on the issue and bring your beloved iMac back to life.

iMac Won’t Turn On – Basic Troubleshooting

Let’s discuss 3 methods that you can follow and fix the iMac problem without being tech-savvy. Small oversights can sometimes be the culprit that doesn’t need advanced troubleshooting.

Method 1: Check the Power Connection (Cable & Electric Outlet)

The initial task, advised by Apple, is to simply check the power connection of your iMac. Here’s why:

Check the Power Connection
  • The power cable may be loosely connected.
  • The electrical outlet can be malfunctioning.
  • Wear and tear power cords can interrupt the electricity flow.
  • Using an incorrect or incompatible power cord.

Steps to check the power connection

  • Step 1: Give the cable a wiggle to make sure it’s tight at both ends – your iMac and the wall.
  • Step 2: Plug something else in the outlet to test if the outlet is good. It can be your phone charger to see if the outlet’s working.
  • Step 3: Look over the cable for any signs that it is damaged.
  • Step 4: If your iMac is newer (post-2012), double-check you’re not using an older model’s cord. Because both aren’t the same. Look at the image below.
  • Step 5: If available, try using a standard PC power cord to see if it makes a difference.

Decision: If it’s for a power hiccup, hopefully, your iMac will turn on by changing the cord or the outlet.

Method 2:  Disconnect Faulty External Devices

When your iMac won’t turn on, it’s not always an internal issue. Sometimes, the external devices plugged into it can be the troublemakers. Here’s why:

  • Accessories with short circuits can prevent startup.
  • Devices drawing excessive power can trigger safety shutdowns.
  • One problematic device can affect the entire system.

Simple Steps to Fix the Troublemaker

  • Step 1: Detach all external devices from your iMac. We’re talking about printers, USB drives, network cables, FireWire cables, external hard drives, and Mini Display cables.
  • Step 2: Hit the power button. If it powers up, you know any of the external devices was the issue.
  • Step 3: Reconnect the devices one at a time and test the iMac each time. When it fails to turn on, you’ve found the problematic device.

This way, you work like a tech detective to figure out who in the lineup of gadgets is the bad apple. And the best part is you don’t need to be a tech wizard. It only needs a bit of patience and unplugging.

To get a visual guide, watch this video:

Method 3: Check the iMac power button (Being stuck)

A dirty power button is a common, yet often overlooked, reason an iMac won’t spring to life.

Check the iMac power button

Accumulated grit and grime jam the button. The unresponsive button won’t properly start your iMac. So, it won’t turn on when you press the button.

Simple Steps to Fix a Sticky Button

  • Step 1: First, make sure your iMac is unplugged for safety.
  • Step 2: Gently place your iMac face down on a flat surface.
  • Step 3: Put a drop or two of WD-40 right on the sticky button. It’s great for loosening up that stubborn dirt. If you don’t have WD-40, use olive oil or coconut oil as they are also good for losing grime.
  • Step 4: Wait for 5 minutes to let that lubricant seep in and do its thing.
  • Step 5: Now, gently press and release the button a few times. This helps push out the dirt.
  • Step 6: Wipe off any excess dirt with a tissue. If it’s still sticking, give it another round of WD-40 and press.

Note: This process is safer than it sounds. Because the iMac’s power button works on a low voltage at 3.4ghz. Even the WD-40 isn’t harmful, as it is non-conductive. So, you’re not just fixing the issue, but doing it safely too.

Method 4: Power Cycle Your iMac

Sometimes, your iMac just needs a full reset to snap out of its slumber. This is where a power cycle comes in, a simple yet effective trick.

How Power Cycle Disturbs your iMac from turning on

  • Your iMac can get stuck in sleep mode and be unresponsive to usual wake-up cues.
  • Temporary software issues can freeze the system and make it seem dead.
  • Even sometimes the internal components need a reset to function properly.

Steps to Power Cycle Your iMac

  • Step 1:  Start by pulling the power cord from the socket. This cuts off all power to the iMac.
  • Step 2: Now, wait for about 15 seconds. This pause lets the iMac fully reset internally.
  • Step 3: Plug the power cord back into the socket. You’ve now completed the cycle and forced your iMac back to the off state.
  • Step 4: Press the power button. With a bit of luck, your iMac should come back to life.

This method is akin to a soft reboot for your iMac. It’s quick, easy, and often exactly what your machine needs to overcome a stubborn refusal to turn on.

iMac Won’t Turn On Black Screen – (Troubleshooting That  Slightly Tech Savvy Can Try)

If you are unlucky to fix the problem with the above basic troubleshooting, here is another method for you.

Method 5: Check for signs of power

Even when your iMac screen stays dark, it doesn’t always mean the computer is off. Sometimes, the iMac is on, but the screen isn’t showing anything. Identifying signs of power is crucial to diagnose the issue correctly.

How do no power signs seem to your iMac isn’t turning on

  • Your iMac is running without displaying anything. So you think it isn’t turned on.
  • It can be a screen problem of your iMac, not a power issue.

Steps to Check for Signs of Power

  • Step 1: Listen for Sounds

In a quiet room, listen for the startup chime, fan noise, hard disk spinning, or the SuperDrive motor. These sounds indicate that the iMac is on.

  • Step 2: Feel for Air Flow

Place your hand near the fan vents. If you feel air or hear the fan spinning, it’s a sign your iMac is powered.

Feel for Air Flow
  • Step 3: Use a Flashlight

Shine a light on the screen in a dark room. If you see dim text, it could be a backlight issue. Try increasing the brightness with the keyboard.

  • Step 4: Check the Caps Lock Key

Press it and see if its light turns on. A lit Caps Lock key means the iMac is running, pointing towards a screen issue.

  • Step 5: Connect an External Monitor

If the internal screen is blank, try connecting to an external monitor. Display on the external monitor confirms a problem with the iMac’s screen.

This method helps you to pinpoint whether the problem lies with the screen or other components.

How To Fix Your Mac Computer When It Won’t Turn On (Advanced Troubleshooting)

If you are really tech-savvy, then follow the below methods in case the problem still isn’t fixed.

Method 6: Resetting the SMC/T2 Chip

Resetting the SMC (System Management Controller) or the T2 chip (in newer models). 

How SMC/T2 Chip affects your iMac from turning it on

  • If your iMac has deeper hardware issues, the SMC/T2 Chip prevents it from turning on. 
  • An interrupted or corrupted firmware update can affect the chip’s functionality.
  • In extreme cases, the T2 chip may need a firmware reinstallation to get back its functionality.

Steps to Reset the SMC/T2 Chip

  • Step 1: Get Ready with the Right Tools

On another working Mac, download Apple Configurator 2 from Apple’s website, or just click the link. Ensure your MacBook’s macOS is updated.

  • Step 2: Disconnect to Begin

Power down and unplug your iMac.

  • Step 3: Create a Connection

Use a USB-C cable to link your iMac to the working Mac. The correct port on your iMac is right next to the Ethernet port.

  • Step 4: Initiate DFU Mode

Press the power button on your iMac, plug the power back in. And then hold for 3-5 seconds until the MacBook shows a DFU logo.

  • Step 5: Execute the Firmware Revival

On the MacBook, choose your iMac under DFU devices. Then go to ‘Action’ →  ‘Advance’. Next select ‘Revive Device’.

  • Step 6: Let the Process Complete

The MacBook will automatically handle the firmware installation. It usually takes around 5 minutes.

  • Step 7: Final Check

Once done, your iMac should restart. Seeing the Apple logo means you’ve successfully reset the SMC/T2 chip.

Note: It is a bit of a technical process but a potential lifesaver for iMacs affected by firmware issues. Especially if you have an iMac after 2018 with the T2 chip.

Method 7: Checking for Faulty RAM

A common yet often overlooked cause for an iMac not turning on is issues with the RAM (Random Access Memory). Specific beep patterns can clue you in on RAM problems.

How RAM issues can prevent startup

  • Certain beep patterns indicate the iMac can’t find any RAM and this is why it won’t turn on.
  • Also, repeated beeps can signal a failure in the RAM’s data integrity.

Steps to Check and Address RAM Issues

  • Step 1: RAM Detective Work

Heard one long beep for every 5 seconds. Open up and see if the RAM’s sitting right.

  • Step 2: Check Three Beeps

If it’s the three-beep alarm, your RAM might need a closer look. Maybe try swapping it with another brand or type, just to see if it makes a difference.

  • Step 3: Reseating the RAM

Sometimes, simply reseating the RAM (taking it out and putting it back in) can fix the issue. While doing this, make sure the RAM modules are securely in their slots.

Tackling RAM issues might sound techy, but it’s often just a case of checking things are in the right place. And who knows, you might just get your iMac up and running again.

Prevention Tips To Avoid Future Power Issues

Think of these tips as your toolkit for keeping power woes off your desk.

  • Inspect your iMac cables regularly for wear or damage.
  • Use a surge protector to safeguard against power spikes
  • Shut down your iMac correctly each time you use it.
  • You should unplug your iMac during storms to avoid any electrical mishaps.
  • A clean space means a cooler, happier computer so keep your iMac space always clutter-free.

What to Do If Nothing Works (Seek Professional Help)

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your iMac might still refuse to wake up. When all else fails, it’s time to call in the pros. Because getting professional help can be a game-changer. It ensures your beloved iMac gets the care it deserves.

Follow the below steps to find authorized service providers

  • Contact Apple support to get free service under warranty.
  • If you don’t have warranty, it’s time to seek help from Apple’s  authorized service providers.
  • In that case, you should check the provider’s good customer reviews to ensure quality service.
  • Also, consider their location as the nearby service centers save your time and hassle.
  • Before handing your iMac to them, verify if they can handle your specific iMac model and issue.

Understanding Repair Costs

Getting a clear picture of repair costs can be a bit tricky. Why? It’s because the cost largely depends on the specific issue and the model of your iMac.

As the MacBook Pro and iMac both are in the same group, so we’ll share a specific cost range for MacBook Pro. According to Apple discussion, the cost may range between $500-$600. At first glance, it seems too much. But, here’s a general breakdown of the cost.

  • Diagnosis fee: Some providers charge for diagnosing the issue.
  • Part replacements: Costs can vary widely depending on the part if that is already damaged. They can be RAM, hard drive, logic board, etc.
  • Labor charges: This varies by location and complexity of the repair.
  • Warranty status:  If they offer warranty for the repair, it costs you.

Servicing Tips:

You must get a quote from the company before proceeding with repairs. It helps you to avoid getting caught by the bill.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my iMac turns on but the screen is black?

Try this quick fix by pressing and holding the power button for 10 seconds to ensure your iMac is off. Then, boot into macOS Recovery (hold Command + R at startup), and use Disk Utility to repair your startup disk.

Can an old iMac be repaired that won’t turn on?

Yes, you can easily fix the old iMac if it’s for a few nitty gritty issues like power connection, or faulty cable. But if it’s for a logic board, or RAM problem, you should seek professional help.


Now that you know everything to turn your iMac on from a dormant situation, go ahead and try one at a time. From simple to complex troubleshooting methods, you’ve got everything necessary for the repair. 

We suggest you start with the simplest methods at home. And if you aren’t comfortable with the advanced solutions, it’s wise not to try them as you might end up harming your iMac instead of getting it to life.

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