How to Fix a Circle with Line Through it on Mac

Home > HowTos > Troubleshooting Tips Updated by William on July 1, 2024 | Approved by Cesar C

When starting up a Mac computer you may get one frustrating issue that you see a circle with line through it on Mac. It simply means that there is a serious problem with your device. You have to be very cautious as to how to resolve the issue because all files on your system are in danger. MacBook Pro circle with slash can make you lose data permanently. If you notice a circle with a line through it on your device, you do not have to fret. The right solutions will help you resolve the issue. This post looks at how to fix the issue of Mac circle with a line.

Part 1. What does a Circle with a Line through it Mean on Mac?

A circle with a line through it means that the chosen startup disk has a Mac OS that cannot function on your Mac device.

This does not mean that Mac has not detected an OS in the system’s startup disk. It has but the only problem is that the operating system is unable to boot from the Mac OS build or model. When this issue occurs, you will get the Mac starts up to a circle with a line through it.

Mac systems, including MacBook Pro, usually boot into a prohibitory symbol after completing a macOS update. People may want to downgrade the Mac operating system to an older version with Time Machine backup. Unfortunately, this problem may persist because of the incompatibility of the operating system.

Therefore, it is recommended that you check the Mac model and the macOS before you upgrade. When you experience the prohibitory symbol Mac issue, you can use the right solution to resolve the issue and get your system on track without losing files or documents.

Part 2. 2 Ways for How to Fix the Prohibitory Symbol on Mac

You can resolve the issue of the MacBook Pro circle with a slash and get your computer back to work. Here are the methods that you can explore to resolve the issue.

Method 1. Use Disk Utility to Fix Circle with Line through It on Mac

When the Macintosh HD is corrupted, you can also experience the circle with a line through it Mac problem with your system. You can use the First Aid feature in Disk Utility to repair the errors that cause the unexpected problem with your Mac that makes it impossible to turn on.

When you try to start your Mac computer and it would not boot beyond the prohibitory symbol Mac, you should use the First Aid feature to check, verify, and repair the system’s startup disk. This should be done in macOS Recovery mode. To do this, follow the simple steps below.

  1. Force the Mac system to shut down. Simply hold down the power button for about five seconds to do this.
  2. Restart your Mac PC and immediately hold both the ‘Command’ and ‘R’ keys together
  3. Release the keys when the loading bar starts or you see the Apple logo. After this, the macOS Utility will come up, which shows that your computer is in macOS Recovery mode.
  4. From the recovery mode, select Disk Utility and click on ‘Continue’
  5. Select the disk in Disk Utility by choosing ‘View’ and then ‘Show All Devices’ from the toolbar or menu bar.
  6. Select the last volume on the disk and click the ‘First Aid’ button. Next click ‘Run’ to start checking errors in the selected volume. When the Disk Utility completes the check, select the next item in the sidebar and run ‘First Aid’ again.
  7. Do this for all the volumes in the disk and then the container and the disk itself. When completed proceed to repair the disk. If there is an error that Disk Utility cannot repair, you can format the disk. However, if you do this, it will permanently delete the data on the disk.

Method 2. Backup Mac to Time Machine and Reinstall macOS

If you are unable to repair the startup disk with First Aid, it means that the problem of the Mac circle with the line is caused by the incompatibility of MacOS. This may happen when you upgrade your operating system to the latest version but it is not compatible with the computer.

It can also be caused when the macOS version or build on your startup disk has been damaged or you downgrade your system from Time Machine backup. If this is the reason why your Mac starts up to a circle with a line through it, you can resolve the issue by reinstalling a macOS that functions with your Mac model.

This works on MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac, and MacBook Air. Follow the steps below to backup Mac to Time Machine and reinstall macOS.

  1. Click the icon of Time Machine on the menu bar and select ‘Backup Now’.
  2. Select ‘Backup Now’ to launch the process.
  3. Monitor the progress of the backup by clicking the ‘Time Machine’ icon again in the menu bar. As soon as the backup is finalized, you will see a notification on the screen of your system. When you are done with this process, you can go ahead to reinstall.
  4. Select ‘Reinstall macOS’ from the ‘Utilities’ window in macOS Recovery and click ‘Continue’.
  5. Follow the on-screen prompting to complete the installation process.
  6. After the completion of the reinstallation, your Mac may restart to the setup assistant. Follow the prompting to complete the setup.
  7. Shut down and restart your system to start using it again.

Part 3. How to Recover Data Lost While Fixing Prohibitory Symbol on Mac

While trying to fix the problem of prohibitory symbol Mac, you may run into a bigger problem, which is data loss. The good news is that you can recover data lost during the process of fixing the issue. In this part, we will look at two different methods that you can explore to resolve the problem of data loss when solving the problem of the MacBook Pro circle with a slash.

Method 1. Restore Files from Time Machine Backup

You can use Migration Assistant to transfer from the Time Machine backup back to your Mac computer. You need to make a Time Machine backup of your system to be able to use Migration Assistant to restore your files and every other thing in your user account. To restore files from Time Machine backup, follow the simple steps below.

  1. Ensure that your Time Machine backup disk is accurately connected and turned on.
  2. Click to open ‘Migration Assistant’ on the Mac system. You can find ‘Migration Assistant’ in the Utility folder in the Application folder.
  3. When prompted on how you wish to transfer the data, select the option to transfer to startup disk, Time Machine backup, or Mac and click ‘Continue’.
  4. Select a backup location and click ‘Continue’.
  5. Select the data that you want to transfer and click ‘Continue’ to begin the transfer. It might take long hours for large transfers to complete.

Method 2. Run Data Recovery Software for Mac to Get Back Files

iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac is the easiest but professional software that enables you to recover lost or deleted files from your hard disk or other storage devices. Irrespective of the magnitude of the data loss, you can trust it to recover all for you.

It is 100% safe and efficient and works to recover data from various sources, including hard drive/volumes, Emptied Trash, USB, SD Cards, external devices, APFS volume/drive, and more.

  1. Download and install the iBeesoft Data Recovery tool for Mac on your system and launch the software. Deselect all and then select the specific file types that you want. When you are done, click ‘Start’ to go next.
  2. Select the directory to scan and click ‘Scan’ to begin the scanning process of lost files.
  3. Preview the result from the scanning process to confirm that all lost files have been found. If you are satisfied with the result, click ‘Recover’ to save the files on your Mac. If you are not satisfied with the files found, you can use the ‘Deep Scan’ option for further and more advanced searches.

This post has explored the different ways you can resolve the problem where Mac starts up to a circle with a line through it. Additionally, it looks at how you can recover lost files while trying to fix the issue of the prohibitory symbol Mac. When you experience any of the issues described in this post, you would be able to resolve them using any of the methods highlighted in this post.