What is Mac Recovery Mode and How to Start Mac in Recovery Mode?

Jose Henline
time August 17, 2017 Preview 2.9K
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Generally, Mac operating systems are seen to be safer and more reliability compared to other systems. So, there are very few chances of Mac getting corrupted because of the macOS operating system. But in the case if your Mac runs into complex issues, it also has recovery mode to fix. What is Mac recovery mode and how to start Mac in recovery mode to get issues solved? Below are the details:

What is Mac recovery mode?

Mac recovery mode is part of the built-in recovery system of your Mac that holds a recovery image along with a copy of the macOS installer. It is the last chance to solve possible issues that may prevent your Mac from starting up properly. You can use Mac recovery mode to do below things:

  • Restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup
  • Erase, install or reinstall factory-preloaded Mac operating system
  • Browse the web or get help online on your Mac using Safari
  • Scan, verify and repair connected drives with Disk Utility

How to start Mac in recovery mode?

Starting Mac in recovery mode is very easy. Just follow the guide below to enter in Mac recovery mode.

  1. In the Apple menu, choose “Restart…” on your Mac.
  2. As your Mac restarts, hold down the Command and R keys immediately as long as you hear the startup chime. Hold the keys until the Apple logo appears.
  3. Wait for a while and you will see the macOS Utilities or OS X Utilities window. And your Mac is in recovery mode.
  4. Then you can choose one of the options and click “Continue”.

Option 1. Restore from Time Machine Backup

If you have backed up your Mac to Time Machine before, then you can choose this option to restore your Mac. Follow this guide to do that: How to restore from Time Machine backup.

Option 2. Reinstall macOS

  1. Choose “Reinstall macOS” or “Reinstall OS X” from the utilities window.
  2. Click “Continue”, and follow the onscreen instructions. Then select a startup disk and click “Install”. Enter your Apple ID info if asked. And it will reinstall the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac.
  3. Your Mac restarts after installation is complete.

Option 3. Get Help Online

This option in Mac recovery mode allows you to use Safari to browse the web and find help for your Mac.

Option 4. Disk Utility

You can use Disk Utility to repair, partition, erase, mount or restore your hard drives. Before you do anything to your hard drive like erasing and partitioning the hard drive, please backup it first. Because erasing hard drive will remove everything on it.

If you erase hard drive by accident without backup, you can also try some Mac data recovery software like Cisdem Data Recovery to recover lost files from your Mac hard disks. It can recover photos, documents, videos, archives, music and other files from Mac hard drive only in three steps:

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery on Mac. Launch the software to scan the device where your files were deleted.
    Free Download
  2. Preview all the found files and make mark if it is the one you find.
  3. Then hit “Recover” button to save selected files on another hard drive.recover selected files

By the way, Mac recovery mode also has additional utilities including Firmware Password Utility, Network Utility and Terminal. You can choose one of them from the Utilities menu in the menu bar.

How to fix Mac recovery mode not working?

If your Mac recovery mode is not working, you can try to start your Mac in Internet Recovery Mode by pressing Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-R at startup.

If you still can't start Mac in Recovery mode, and you have another Mac that is able to start up completely, you might be able to create an external Mac startup disk to start up from instead.

If the above two ways can’t help you start Mac in recovery mode, you need to contact Apple Support for help.

Jose Henline
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Jose specializes in reviews, how-to guides, top lists, etc. on PDF, data recovery and multi-media. On his spare time, he likes to travel or challenge some extreme sports.

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