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I want to restart a MacMini with macOS Sierra in safe mode, but I have only remote access.

You can do this with this:

sudo nvram boot-args="-x"

(source: https://support.apple.com/en-sg/HT201262).

But for macOS Sierra this gives an error:

nvram: Error setting variable - 'boot-args': (iokit/common) not permitted

You have to start in RecoveryMode to be able to do this.

Is there a way to restart in Safe Mode remotely?

  • That's weird, it works for me on Sierra. Do you have anymore info about the Mac you can provide us? – Rushil Srivastava Mar 18 '17 at 20:34
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This is similar to Trying to set boot-args with nvram gets "general error" on Sierra. I have the same situation - you must be in Recovery mode to set nvram variables, so you cannot start in Safe Mode remotely, unless you have disabled SIP.

I've been able to set nvram variables remotely after disabling SIP (csrutil disable), but disabling SIP requires you to boot to Recovery mode.

However, if you have something like DeployStudio in your environment, you can:
1. Create a DeployStudio workflow that runs a simple bash script to disable csrutil
2. Configure your NetBoot set to auto-run that workflow for that machine
3. Configure the machine to reboot to that NetBoot set and reboot to kick things off.

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