How to use Safari in macOS Recovery Mode

From accessing online resources to resolving network issues, this guide will show you how to use Safari when you enter macOS Recovery or Internet Recovery Mode on your Mac.

Safari on a black background

The macOS built-in Recovery Mode is great for bringing your Mac back to working order. Invoked at boot time, it gives you more access to the system than you get in regular boot-up.

The tools at your disposal in Recovery Mode let you repair disk errors with Disk Utility, reinstall macOS, restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup, set a firmware password, choose a startup disk, use Terminal, and more.

Recovery Mode also includes a stripped-down version of Safari: use it to go online and search for solutions to your problems if the startup disk is corrupted and you cannot get past the macOS login screen.

The macOS Recovery Mode feature includes a version of Safari with preloaded links to resources at Apple’s support website, so you can get additional help right away. You can also browse just about any other website, search the web with Google, and more.

Launch Safari in Recovery Mode on Mac

1) Start your Mac in Recovery Mode. To recap:

On Apple silicon Mac: Shut down your Mac. After that, press and hold the power button until you see “Loading startup options…” on the screen.

On Intel Mac: Shut down your computer. Press the power button and immediately press & hold Command + R until the Apple logo appears.

2) Now, on newer versions of macOS, click Options > Continue. After that, select a user, click Next, enter its password, and hit Continue. From here, select Safari and click Continue.

macOS Monterey Recovery screen
macOS Utilities on new versions of Mac operating system (macOS)

On older Macs, after a while, the Mac Utilities window will appear. Select Get Help Online and click Continue.

Recovery Mode OS X Utilities window Mac


You can now use Safari in Recovery Mode. If your Mac isn’t connected online via Ethernet, connect to a wireless network by clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the top menu bar.

It’s worth keeping in mind that plugins and extensions cannot be added to the version of Safari included with macOS Recovery. Additionally, you cannot stream video or use a private browsing mode in Recovery Mode. Other restrictions apply, too.

For instance, your Safari Reading List, history, bookmarks, and other Safari settings are unavailable in Recovery Mode. To protect your privacy, browsing history collected while you were using Safari in Recovery Mode is erased instantly when you quit Safari.

Using Safari in Internet Recovery Mode

If the boot sector is missing on the startup disk or the recovery partition is damaged, you won’t be able to enter Recovery Mode. Thankfully, newer Macs automatically enter Internet Recovery if standard Recovery is unavailable. An online version of Recovery Mode, Internet Recovery starts up your Mac from Apple’s servers.

Starting Internet Recovery icon on Mac

You’ll be asked to join a Wi-Fi network if your Mac isn’t already connected to the Internet via Ethernet because Internet Recovery mode needs to go online and download a recovery system image from Apple’s servers.

Select Wi-Fi during recovery on Mac

After the recovery image has been successfully downloaded, Internet Recovery will start up your Mac from it and present you with the same options as standard Recovery Mode.

Requirements for using Safari in Recovery Mode

You should be aware of certain network requirements and restrictions imposed by standard and Internet-based Recovery Mode. Your Wi-Fi or Ethernet network must use DHCP. Additionally, you can only use WPA/WPA2 authentication for Wi-Fi networks.

You cannot use Safari or reinstall macOS in Recovery or Internet Recovery if your Mac is connected to a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network that uses these authentication methods:

  • WEP
  • WPA-Enterprise
  • Certificate-based authentication / 802.1x
  • Specific proxy servers that are configured in network preferences
  • Captive Wi-Fi networks where you click an “Agree” button to access the Internet
  • PPPoE if there is no router handling the PPPoE connection

If your Internet connection has unsupported settings, adjust them in your router’s web interface to a supported configuration before entering Recovery or Internet Recovery.

Both Recovery Mode and its online counterpart, Internet Recovery, provide the same recovery tools, which let you accomplish the following maintenance tasks:

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