How To Use Mac Recov­ery Mode – Guide

Most of us would agree that Macs are very reliable machines. You can use your Mac every day for years without significant problems with software or performance. Occasionally, however, problems do occur. Your Mac may stop responding, a malware file may damage your macOS installation, you may accidentally delete an important system file, etc. You may even have to clean your Mac to sell it or do the same after buying a used Mac. All of the above is possible to do in Mac recovery mode, a powerful feature that most people are not familiar with. So, let’s dive into what is the recovery mode, how to restart your Mac in recovery mode and how to exit recovery mode when you’re done.

What is Mac recovery mode

Mac Recovery Mode is a special mode on macOS that carries native recovery tools that help you restore from a Time Machine backup, get online help, reinstall macOS or erase a hard drive, and more. The recovery tools are loaded from a special disk partition that contains a recovery image and a copy of the macOS installer. If you are unable to recover your computer by other means, the recovery mode is useful for diagnosing disk problems, installing the previous macOS that ran on your Mac, or getting help online. Mac recovery mode comes with four main features:

When to use recovery mode on macOS

The Recovery Mode tool made a debut with OS X 10.7 Lion. It contains the latest version of macOS that you have installed, so that you can troubleshoot any problems with your computer. You may never need to use it, unless you want to do the following:

How to Use recovery mode on macOS

There are different key combinations to use at startup, depending on what you want to do with the recovery mode. The Command + R shortcut helps you install the latest version of macOS that you had on your Mac before the problem arose up. The Option / Alt + Command + R shortcut works when upgrading to the latest version of macOS compatible with your Mac. The Shift + Option + Command + R shortcut works when installing the version of macOS your Mac had or the version available if it is not offered for download.

What to do if you are unable to boot into macOS recovery mode

If macOS Recovery does not work, force it to boot into Internet recovery mode. You can do this manually by pressing and holding the Option / Alt + Command + R or Shift + Option + Command + R keys at startup. When you do this, you will see a globe spinning instead of the usual Apple logo at startup. If that doesn’t help your Mac to boot, try to boot using an external Mac bootable disk or bootable installer.

When to use Internet Recovery

Internet Recovery is useful when your Mac cannot create a partition for Recovery HD, either because the drive is partitioned with Boot Camp Assistant and modified, or you are using a RAID volume that does not support the recovery partition. Even if the partition was created successfully, the recovery mode may not access it due to serious system errors or damage to the drive. In such cases, your Mac will start Internet Recovery automatically, but if a recovery partition is functioning, you will not access it. It reinstalls the original version of macOS that came with your Mac – the factory-installed version. And this may not be the most recent version. Internet Recovery uses code embedded in your computer, which includes an image for the specific operating system. When you enter this mode, a request for the correct reinstallation codes is sent, transmitting this image to Apple servers. It takes more time to boot from Internet recovery mode than normal partition-based recovery. In addition, it requires an Internet connection, so make sure yours is strong and stable and that your Mac has an adequate charge.

Final note

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