How To Use Mac Recovery Mode – Guide

MacOS recovery (often called Mac recovery mode) was introduced in 2010 with OS X 10.7 Lion. This Recovery HD partition contains the latest version of macOS you have installed on your Mac and is a great way to troubleshoot your Mac. It is a handy tool that most Mac users will never need unless one of the following options be true. If you have a Mac with a T2 security chip, you will need to use macOS Recovery Mode whenever you want your Mac to boot from an external drive. For security reasons, macOS Catalina simply does not boot from an external drive unless you go through this process.

What can you use macOS recovery for

How to to start up Mac recovery mode

The secret to using macOS Recovery is to restart your Mac in a specific way. You will boot your Mac into this recovery mode and will likely do so at least a few times to troubleshoot issues. So there’s a reset procedure to get used to, and you may need to buy a USB keyboard for a Mac or use the built-in one on a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Wireless keyboards may work, but not reliably. In our tests, Apple’s own wireless keyboards tend to work better than third-party ones. It can be difficult to time it right. Holding Command-R at exactly the right moment and releasing is an art. However, if that doesn’t work for you, try shutting down instead of restarting. Wait a moment and press the power button button and get ready to hold these buttons. If your Mac has crashed or for some reason you’re unable to choose Restart from the Apple menu, press and hold the Power key to turn it off. Don’t do it casually: it’s a last resort. Then wait a moment and press the power button button again and press Command-R. All modern Macs will show an Apple logo during the boot process, in which case you’ll have to release the Command and R keys. If you see a folder icon with a question mark, turn it off for about 10 seconds and try again – but hold down Command-R faster or release it slower. Depending on how your Mac is set up up, you will probably be asked for a password. This is the password you use to log in to your Mac if you are the only one or an administrator. Please note that this is not your Apple ID, but the password for this computer.

What happens next

Your Mac will continue to boot until Recovery HD finishes booting. They know this happened by giving you a single control panel in place of your normal desktop wallpaper, snaps, and file clutter on your desktop. It’s the macOS utilities panel and contains the three most commonly used options when someone starts up in rescue mode – plus help guide. This help is a link to Apple’s online support documentation and may well be what you need, but you can read these pages on your iPhone. So the three useful features are restoring from Time Machine Backup, Reinstalling macOS and Disk Utility. They are likely listed in reverse order of utility. You have entered Mac recovery mode due to a problem and that usually means a drive issue. In that case, the first thing to do is run Disk Utility. This will examine the drive you are sharing with and fix many potential issues. Normally, it can’t repair the hard drive your Mac just booted from, but that’s why you booted into this recovery HD. When the drive is OK, you should restart your Mac and take a look. If the problems are resolved, that’s fine. And if not, you go back to Mac recovery mode – but possibly in a little different way. If you know you want to clean your Mac’s main drive, which you can do with Disk Utility, you can also restore it from a previous Time Machine backup. However, if you know instead that you want to reinstall macOS, you can do so without going through this window. Instead, restart your Mac using one of two possible keyboard shortcuts. Once the reset begins, choose Option-Command-R and hold down until you see the Apple logo. This will automatically update your Mac to the latest macOS supported version. Alternatively, you can press Shift-Option-Command-R. This will automatically install the version of macOS that came with your Mac. It’s possible that Apple has decided to no longer allow this particular version to be installed, but if it does, this keyboard shortcut will provide the closest version. This is usually a way to go back from a recent macOS update to an update that you know will work.

Extra Recovery Mode Options

While you may find that these top three options provide everything you need, there’s more – and they’re surprisingly easy to miss. How this macOS utilities panel opens up as the only thing on your screen, and especially because it’s right in the center, you tend to focus on it and can easily miss a menu bar. This macOS utilities panel is a Mac application and therefore has Mac application menus with the familiar Restart or Shutdown in the Apple menu. If your Mac is newer, these menus also contain extra options needed to resolve certain issues.

Final note

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