How to Always Boot Mac OS X in Verbose Mode
Booting Mac OS X as usual shows the Apple logo and eventually you’ll wind up at a login screen or desktop, that’s attractive and all, but some users would prefer to see what’s going on behind the scenes. That’s what Verbose Boot Mode does, it shows you what is really happening during system startup on a Mac, and is great for troubleshooting purposes, but it can also just be interesting to see what exactly is going on during the OS X booting process.
Typically, if you wanted to boot in verbose mode on a per boot basis you would hit Command-V during startup, which brings up the familiar white on black console looking screen with a lot of scrolling text. On the other hand, some users may prefer to always see the complete verbose booting process on every boot including all kernel extension loading, details, and system messages on boot, and to do that you can adjust the firmware from the Terminal with the nvram command, as we’ll cover here.
Turn On Always Verbose Booting for OS X
Simply execute the following nvram command at the Terminal to enable verbose boot mode and set it to ‘always’ (meaning every system boot is verbose by default):
sudo nvram boot-args="-v"
Disabling Verbose Booting on the Mac
Equally simple is the ability to disable verbose booting, which will basically make OS X boot as normal – this is the default boot behavior of every Mac:
sudo nvram boot-args=
Check current nvram firmware boot settings
If you’re curious what the current firmware nvram settings are, type the following:
That will show you the current nvram parameters, indicating if something like verbose mode or safe boot is enabled, but you’ll also see some other data there too that may appear as gibberish – for our purposes here you can ignore all that and just focus on the boot arguments.
What is Verbose Boot Mode?
Verbose boot mode is helpful when troubleshooting your Mac, particularly when used in conjunction with OS X safe booting. It allows you to see everything your Mac is doing on system boot, so if there is an error thrown or something going wrong during the system boot process, it’s easier to identify. It’s a text only boot mode, but it will be exited from automatically when the Mac OS X boot process has completed enough to enter into the graphical user interface. This is what it looks like roughly to boot OS X with verbose option enabled:
Most users will have no need to boot verbose, unless out of curiosity, or performing some particularly complex troubleshooting or diagnostics tasks on a Mac. Nonetheless, it can be an interesting trick to see what’s going on, and in many ways it resembles looking at a Terminal screen or booting a Linux PC as the kernel details scroll by during the loading process.