macOS Recovery

How to boot Apple silicon Macs in safe mode

Macs powered by Apple silicon feature a different startup process than their Intel-based counterparts. In this quick tutorial, we're going to show you how to start up your computer in macOS Recovery, which is the built-in recovery feature of your Mac.

All the ways you can start up your Mac

We've talked quite a lot about Recovery OS, an underestimated feature of OS X that makes it easier to troubleshoot your Mac even if it refuses to start up properly.

But as you'll see for yourself in this post, Recovery OS is but one of the more than dozen different ways to start up your computer, aside from OS X's regular startup mode. In this tutorial, we'll list all the ways you can start up your Mac and detail each one.

19 useful Mac startup keyboard shortcuts you should know

For those of you who have wondered about the many ways you can start up your Mac, here's a list of the Mac startup keyboard shortcuts you can invoke to access handy macOS features which are only available at boot time.

Most of the time, your Mac just works—until it refuses to start up properly due to an unforeseen system error, a misbehaving app, a broken system component and what not. Beyond system errors, different people have different needs when it comes to starting up their computer.

For example, you could be a pro user who dual boots between macOS and Windows on a daily basis. Others might be wondering about booting a Mac from a disk other than their designated startup disk. Or perhaps you're looking to isolate the cause of a software issue in the macOS Safe Mode or boot straight into Recovery OS as the last option?

How to restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup in Recovery Mode

Suppose a software update or an app you installed has corrupted system files and as a result your Mac refuses to start up properly, what do you do?

Those who have planned ahead and created a bootable USB install disk for El Capitan can do a clean install of macOS, and then restore their Mac from the most recent Time Machine backup.

But there's a better way to deal with such situations. In this tutorial, we'll educate you on booting into macOS' Recovery Mode and using the built-in recovery tools to restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup.

Using Safari in macOS Recovery Mode

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.

In this tutorial, we'll teach you how to enter macOS Recovery or Internet Recovery Mode and use Safari to browse the web when your Mac won't start up properly.

Installing or reinstalling macOS in Recovery Mode

Before selling your Mac, it's always a good idea to wipe its startup disk clean and then erase your computer and reinstall macOS. And should your computer exhibit issues preventing it from starting up properly, reinstalling macOS will bring it to perfect working order.

Reinstalling macOS is a piece of cake provided you have created a USB install disk for El Capitan to begin with. As you may have guessed, not many people take that extra step.

In helping take the pain out of reinstalling macOS, Apple has included so-called Recovery Mode in macOS. Invoked at boot time, Recovery Mode helps you check your connected disks for errors, get help online and reinstall macOS.

This tutorial covers entering Recovery Mode and taking advantage of it to erase, install or reinstall the latest version of macOS that was previously found on your Mac.

How to repair Mac disk errors in macOS Recovery Mode

macOS on your Mac includes a disk-repairing app, called Disk Utility, which you can use to scan your connected drives for errors, erase a disk, repair disk permissions, check the disk's structure for physical errors and more.

But what can you do, if anything, should your Mac experience issues preventing it from starting up properly? Not to worry, our friends, because macOS lets you launch a standalone version of Disk Utility from your Mac's built in recovery partition.

In other words, macOS' Recovery Mode gives you a chance to repair a malfunctioning startup disk that prevents your Mac from booting properly.

How to start up your Mac in Internet Recovery Mode

In addition to the startup volume which holds a bootable copy of the operating system along with your applications and data, your Mac's disk contains a hidden recovery partition that you can boot from in order to reinstall macOS, perform a quick check of connected disks and more.

But what if the recovery partition gets damaged, for instance? Enter Internet Recovery Mode, an Internet-based version of Recovery Mode found on newer Macs, which loads recovery tools from Apple's servers.

With Internet Recovery Mode, you can reinstall macOS and troubleshoot issues in the unfortunate scenario of your Mac's startup disk having become corrupted or completely unreadable. In this tutorial, you'll learn everything there is about Internet Recovery Mode and how to use it to your advantage if your disk encounters an issue or the startup drive has been replaced or erased.