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How to use the Mac recovery mode

Want to know How to use the Mac recovery mode? This tutorial will give you Details about Shortcut keys for Mac recovery mode, and the ways to booting Mac in recovery mode.




What is Mac Recovery Mode?

Recovery Mode is a special mode that will load mac OS built-in recovery tools available from a special disk partition that holds a recovery image along with a copy of the macOS installer.

Suppose if your Mac cannot be recovered in any other way, then it is much better to use Recovery Mode to diagnose disk problems, get help online or install the version of macOS that previously ran on this Mac.

If your Mac won’t boot properly, then there is a hidden “Recovery Mode” that you can use to diagnose and fix issues or reinstall macOS completely.

You can use Mac Recovery Mode to achieve the following:




  • It will help you to Scan, verify, and repair connected drives with Disk Utility.
  • Helps to Erase, install, or reinstall factory-preloaded OS X version.
  • Restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup.
  • It will only Check your Internet connection or get help online using Safari.

Why & When Should I use Mac Recovery Mode?

Mac recovery mode is used in the following cases to solve the problems that you face with your Mac.

  • You need to troubleshoot the problems, such as failure to start up your Mac.
  • Suppose if there is an issue with your disk and you want to use Disk Utility to repair it.
  • Disk Utility was unable to repair the issue with your drive inserted in your Mac.
  • You are encountering problems with a particular version of macOS and want to go back to an older version.
  • You want to do a clean install of macOS – this could fix issues that might be slowing down your Mac.
  • You want to erase your disk for another reason.
  • You want to restore from a Time Machine backup.
  • You are having any problems with your internet connection.

How to use the Mac recovery mode

If you really want to know how to use the Mac Recovery Mode here are the details on how to do that. You should also have a look at the key combinations required, how to use Recovery HD, how to boot from Recovery over the internet, and how to find things like Terminal once you are Recovery Mode.

This Recovery HD partition macOS Recovery (often referred to as Mac Recovery Mode) contains the latest version of the macOS that you installed on your Mac machine and makes it possible to troubleshoot issues
with your Mac.

The most often used way to enter Recovery Mode is this:




  • Click on the Apple logo at the top-left main menu of the screen.
  • Select Restart option to reboot your Mac.
  • Immediately hold down the combination of “Command + R” keys until you see an Apple logo or spinning globe on the screen.
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  • You will see the spinning globe only in case if the Mac is trying to start macOS Recovery via the internet because it is unable to start from the built-in recovery system available on the Mac machine.
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  • Eventually, your Mac will show the Recovery Mode Utilities window with the following options:

However, there are a number of different key combinations that you can use to boot in Recovery mode depending on what you want to do,
we detail these below.

Which shortcut keys to use for macOS Recovery Mode:

Depending on what you want to do with macOS Recovery there are a number of key combinations available in keyboard to use during start up:

Command + R
Use this command if you want to install the latest version of macOS that you had installed on your Mac (it won’t install a newer version if you had not upgraded).

Note that if you’re selling or giving away a Mac that is using OS X El Capitan or earlier you should also use Command + R – this will make sure that the installation isn’t associated with your Apple ID.

Option/Alt + Command + R
Use this command if you want to upgrade to the latest version of macOS that is compatible with your Mac machine.




Shift + Option + Command + R
This will install the version of macOS that came with your Mac, or the one closest to that version if it is not available as a download.

Mac Recovery Mode options:

How to Boot Mac into Recovery Mode with Local Recovery

  • Reboot your Mac machine.
  • Hold the “Command” and “R” buttons until the boot chimes are triggered.
  • You will see the OS X utility window that will prompt you to choose one of the four options to get the Recovery Mode with Local Recovery.
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When you start up in Recovery Mode you will see the following options:

Restore from a Time Machine backup
If you have a Time Machine backup this is an easy way to restore your system and get the data that you have been taken as a back-up.
Reinstall macOS
This will allow you to reinstall macOS (the version will depend on the key combination used above)
Get Help Online
To access Apple’s support web pages. This gives you access to Safari so you can look for the help you need, but some browser features won’t be available.
Disk Utility
So you can verify and repair connected drives.

  • Disk Utility is used to erase, format, or manage internal disks and external storage devices.
  • Disk Utility can also be used to add and manage volumes, or if you want to organize your data into partitions, then this can be used.
How to factory reset Macbook pro 3

Note: Hold down Option/Alt-Command-R or Shift-Option/Alt-Command-R at startup to force macOS Recovery to boot over the Internet.

Booting Mac in Recovery Mode from Time Machine

Recovery Mode in OS X provides a set of solutions for users to utilize when users need to repair and reinstall their operating system in an emergency. You can also reset the Mac password using recovery mode if needed.




Instead of reinstalling macOS, you can choose to restore your Mac from a time machine backup. This is like restoring a system image on another operating system. You’ll need an external disk containing a backup image created on the current computer to do this.

It is really important to keep backups of your Mac machine and Apple facilitates with its Time Machine feature. When you deal with computers, backup plays a key role as it restores or recovers the data that you missed.
It would be best to store your backup on an external drive so that you can initiate Recovery Mode using this when your hard drive is wiped out.

Follow these steps to boot Mac into Recovery Mode:

  • Reboot your Mac machine.
  • Hold down the Option button when the startup chimes sound.
  • Connect your Time Machine drive.
  • It will take some time for the system to detect the drive. You might need to key in your password in some versions if the password is set for it.
  • Choose the drive to launch your Mac into Recovery Mode.

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How to use the Mac recovery mode-FAQ

What is recovery mode?

Recovery Mode is a special mode that will load mac OS built-in recovery tools available from a special disk partition that holds a recovery image along with a copy of the macOS installer.

Is there any shortcut keys to use for MacOS recovery mode?

Yes. Depending on what you want to do with macOS Recovery there are a number of key combinations available on the keyboard to use during the start-up

Does recovery mode delete any thing on Mac?

No. Recovery mode does not delete any thing on the mac.

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