How to Fix MacBook Pro Going Back to Login Screen Randomly

A few months ago, macOS Mojave gets launched to the delight of many Mac users. It comes with an interface overhaul that needs to be initiated by the user, involving the popular Dark Mode. New features also include the Desktop Stacks, the reinvented Finder, and the new Gallery view, to name a few.

As far as issues go, however, a Mojave upgrade isn’t really immune to errors. One issue that keeps bugging a number of users is when their MacBook Pro randomly goes back to login screen. Here’s a specific case that demonstrates this problem.

A user updates his MacBook Pro to Mojave the previous day. After the installation process, he clicks on a user and tries to log in. Within just 30 seconds, the screen flickers, taking him back to the login screen.

The glitch happens for all accounts on his machine. He has tried repairing the disk as well as exhausting all other repair processes. But the error manages to persist on his laptop, which admittedly is an old one but should still work fairly well.

Let’s get to the bottom of things with this quick article.

MacBook Pro Returns to Login Screen Randomly

The difficulty here is that there appears to be no clear pattern or trigger for the misbehavior. The computer seems to return to login screen randomly and without any exact reason to do so, other than it happens following a Mojave update.

We’ve connected with our in-house experts and scraped the web for viable solutions to this post-Mojave update issue. Before performing these fixes, though, try to check everything from your hardware connections to your system’s stability via running a Mac repair tool that you trust. Sometimes, junk files that have accumulated over time can interfere with normal systems and processes, in turn ruining your Mac’s performance.

If your MacBook still randomly goes back to the login screen, try these solutions:

Making Basic Checks on Your MacBook

You can try to download iStat Pro and check on your actual RAM usage. It is recommended that you check how full your hard drive is, as you may already be using up your RAM. As a result, your hard drive may have insufficient space to create enough virtual memory.

Make sure, too, that your laptop is not overheating. This can happen while you are playing videos, gaming, or working on intensive processes for a long period of time. Rule out this reason for why your laptop is crashing and randomly returning to the login screen.

Creating a New User Profile

If it appears that the problem is occurring due to your user profile, then you might want to consider creating a new one. Log out of your existing user profile and then log back in with the new one, checking if the issue is finally resolved.

Add a user by following these steps:

  1. On your Mac, click Apple menu > System Preferences. Next, proceed to Users & Groups.
  2. Click the lock icon in order to unlock it. Enter an administrator name as well as password.
  3. Afterwards, click the Add button located below the list of users.
  4. Click the New Account pop-up menu. From here, select a type of user. An Administrator can add and manage other users, install apps, and change settings. A Standard user is set up by an administrator, while users with Managed with Parental Controls type can access only the content specified by the admin. Sharing Only users, on the other hand, can access shared files remotely, but they cannot log in to or change settings.
  5. Input a full name for the new user. Then, an account name is automatically generated. Use a different account name by entering it now. Note that you cannot change this later.
  6. Enter a password for the user. Re-enter it to verify. Enter a password hint as well.
  7. Hit Create User.
  8. Depending on the type of user you create, you can perform different steps. For an administrator, choose Allow user to administer this computer. For a managed user, choose Enable parental controls.

Performing an SMS and PRAM/NVRAM Reset

System Management Controller (SMC) is a chip embedded in Intel-based Mac devices. It is responsible for the workings of most Mac parts, including keyboard and peripherals. It also figures in the operation of your hard drive and power supply. Reset the SMC of your MacBook with these steps:

MacBooks with Apple T2 security chip:

  1. Shut down your laptop.
  2. Press and hold the Power button for some 10 seconds. Restart afterwards. If you are having trouble upon startup, switch off your machine again.
  3. Press and hold the Power + Shift + left Control + left Option keys for a few seconds.
  4. Release all the keys and wait a few more seconds.
  5. Reboot your MacBook.

MacBooks with non-removable battery:

  1. Shut down your laptop.
  2. Press and hold the left Option + Control + Shift keys while you press the Power button for around 10 seconds.
  3. Release all the keys at once and wait for a number of seconds.
  4. Switch on your MacBook.

MacBook released before 2015:

  1. Shut down your laptop.
  2. Remove the battery.
  3. Press and hold Power for 15 to 20 seconds.
  4. Put back the battery again.
  5. Switch on your MacBook.

Older Mac models have Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM), while modern Intel-based ones have Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM). You can reset your PRAM or NVRAM when there are software-related issues, the computer forgot specific settings, or there are connectivity problems.

Follow these instructions to reset the PRAM or NVRAM:

  1. Turn off your MacBook.
  2. Press Power.
  3. Before reaching the grey screen, press the R + P + Command + Option keys all at once. Hold them down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound.
  4. Release the keys together.

Using Terminal

This method comes directly from Apple support, with guidance from their engineers. Here are the steps to follow closely:

  1. Boot into Recovery. Do this by holding the Command + R keys down and turning on your computer.
  2. Open Disk Utility. Next, choose the startup volume.
  3. Take note of the name of the volume, which is typically Macintosh HD. If the name is dimmed, hit the Mount button. Enter the password of a user who can unlock the disk.
  4. Take note of the number that is shown next to Available.
  5. It’s time to quit Disk Utility.
  6. Next, choose Utilities > Terminal. Replace the bolded hard drive name with the name your drive is called. Enter this command: cd “/Volumes/Macintosh HD/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL”
  7. If this command gets accepted, input this on the next line: mv *.plugin ..
  8. It the system takes the command, quit Terminal.
  9. Reboot your computer in normal mode and log in as usual.

Final Notes

It can be incredibly disruptive for your MacBook Pro to randomly return to the login screen following a Mojave update. Since it’s hard to figure out how long this issue will last and what is actually causing it, the solutions above are worth a try. Don’t think twice about getting help from Apple support if the issue persists!

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