How to Get Files off a Mac that Boots to a Circle with Line

The prohibitory symbol error has become a common occurrence for Mac users. This usually happens when users are trying to boost up their systems. It leaves the system into an infinite boot loop, and at the end of the loop, it shows a prohibitory sign that indicates the system cannot boot properly.

If you are also facing the same scenario where Mac starts up to a circle with a line through it, this article will help you understand your situation and offer a solution that will enable you to come out of this Mac prohibitory symbol problem without losing your data.

What Are the Causes for the Prohibitory Sign?

The prohibitory symbol, looking like a circle with a slash through it, indicates that the startup disk you have chosen contains a detected Mac operating system but this system is incompatible with your current Mac model, which stops your operating system from booting.

Or there is something wrong with the bootable installation of the macOS caused by invalid hardware and software components, or some essential system files lost from the startup folder. Thus, your Mac computer is just stuck and showing you the prohibitory sign when starting up.

How to Get Files off a Mac that Boots with the Forbidden Symbol?

There is no doubt that when a prohibitory sign occurs, it puts all your data in the system at risk. What you should do first is make efforts to retrieve vital files as soon as possible. If you have no idea how to conduct Mac data recovery, it is highly recommended that you should try iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac.

iBoysoft Mac data recovery software is the most complete data recovery tool that allows users to recover data from any given scenario. It has proven itself to be the best among its peers when it comes down to recovering data from a system stuck in an infinite loop or the Mac circle with line symbol.

Features of iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery Software

Although there are just too many features to list down, we have handpicked some of the best features that will help you understand the capability of this software.

1. Cover Numerous Data Loss Scenarios: No matter what the reason for data loss, mistaken deletion, accidental formatting, sudden power outages, virus infection, file system corruption, system crashes, and more, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can help you out of different data loss scenarios.

2. Recover Data from Unreadable, Unmountable, Corrupted, and Formatted Drives: It offers a reliable solution for a situation where your data is facing the risk of getting lost because the drive you are using becomes unreadable, corrupted, or is formatted by mistake.

3. Retrieve Lost Files from Unbootable Mac: Mac not turning on, Mac not booting past the Apple logo, or Mac booting up to a circle with a line through it is really an irritating thing. When facing such a case, you may become panicky. Fortunately, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac has the ability to help you solve such a complicated issue and get your crucial files back from Mac that won’t turn on or boots to the Mac circle with line symbol.

  • Support Any Disk-Based Storage Devices and various Mac Models: iBoysoft Mac Data Recovery is fully compatible with various storage media, HDDs, SSDs, SD cards, CF cards, USB flash drives, memory cards, to name a few. It can also be used for recovering data from T2-secured Macs, M1 Macs, M1 Pro, and M1 Max. 

5. Support Different File Types and Formats: Whatever kind of files are missing, be it an Office file, photo, video, audio, or an email, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac can easily get them back as long as the file is not overwritten.

Steps to Get Files off a Mac that Boots with the Forbidden Symbol

Sometimes, the Mac boots to a circle with a slash through it, which will cause your Mac to be unbootable. In this instance, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac is an ideal tool for you to implement Mac data recovery from the unbootable Mac that is displaying the Mac prohibitory symbol.

Step 1 Press the Option, Command, and R key combination (for an Intel Mac before 2018), or the Command, Option, Shift, and R key combination (for an Intel and T2 Mac after 2018) at once after turning on your Mac to boot it to macOS Recovery Mode. For an M1 Mac, you need to press and hold down the Touch ID button immediately after turning on the Mac until the Loading startup options is displayed on the screen. Then, you can click Options to boot it into macOS Recovery Mode.

Step 2 Select Terminal from the drop-down menu after clicking the Utilities window.

Step 3 Input sh <(curl to automatically launch iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac from its server.

Step 4 Begin to retrieve your data from the Mac that starts up with the Mac prohibitory sign (Select the Mac hard drive > Click Scan > Preview the scanning results > Tick the needed files > Hit the Recover button).

How to Fix the Mac Prohibitory Sign Issue?

When the Mac circle with line sign appears, the system may restrict you from doing anything. To solve the problem, here is the tutorial you can refer to.

  • Power off your system.
  • Now boot the Mac into macOS Recovery Mode after restarting it.
  • Use the First Aid function in Disk Utility to repair the startup disk.
  • Back up important files and reinstall a new macOS if the First Aid program can’t handle the issue.


If you can follow the steps we have mentioned above, you will be able to get files off a Mac that boots to a circle with line through it easily irrespective of the circumstances that brought the prohibitory sign issue. Also, you are able to fix the Mac forbidden symbol to get your Mac back to normal.

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