About macOS Recovery on Intel-based Mac computers

The utilities in macOS Recovery can help you restore from Time Machine, reinstall macOS, get help online, repair or erase a hard disk and more.

This article only applies to Mac computers with an Intel processor.

macOS Recovery is part of the built-in recovery system of your Mac. You can start up from macOS Recovery and use its utilities to recover from certain software issues or take other actions on your Mac.

How to start up from macOS Recovery

Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold these two keys: Command (⌘) and R. Release the keys when you see an Apple logo, spinning globe or other startup screen. Need help?

You may be prompted to enter a password, such as a firmware password or the password of a user who is an administrator of this Mac. Enter the requested password to continue:

macOS Big Sur Recovery password prompt pop-up

Startup is complete when you see the utilities window:

macOS Big Sur Recovery utilities window

Restore from Time Machine: Restore your files from a Time Machine backup.

Reinstall macOS: Download and reinstall the Mac operating system.

Safari (or Get Help Online): Use Safari to browse the web and find help for your Mac. Links to Apple's support website are included. Browser plug-ins and extensions are disabled.

Disk Utility: Use Disk Utility to repair your disk or erase your disk or other storage device.

Additional utilities are available from the Utilities menu in the menu bar, including Startup Security Utility (or Firmware Password Utility), and Terminal. 


To quit macOS Recovery, choose Restart or Shut Down from the Apple menu . If you want to choose a different startup disk before quitting, choose Startup Disk from the Apple menu.

 


If you can't start up from macOS Recovery

If your Mac can't start up from its built-in macOS Recovery system, it may try to start up from macOS Recovery over the internet. When that happens, you will see a spinning globe instead of an Apple logo during startup: 

Spinning globe screen

To manually start up from Internet Recovery, press and hold either of these key combinations at startup:

  • Option-Command-R
  • Shift-Option-Command-R
    Learn more

If startup from Internet Recovery is unsuccessful, you will see a globe with an alert symbol (exclamation mark):

Spinning globe with exclamation mark

If you see the globe and alert symbol, try these solutions:

  • Make sure that your Mac can connect to the internet. If you aren’t prompted to choose a Wi-Fi network during startup, choose a network from the Wi-Fi menu , if available.
  • Press Command-R at startup to try using the built-in Recovery system instead of Internet Recovery.
  • Connect to the internet using Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi, or vice versa.
  • Connect to the internet from a different Wi-Fi or Ethernet network. Your network configuration might not allow the internet access that macOS Recovery needs.
  • Try again later, because the issue may be temporary.
  • Start up from another disk or volume, if available, or use a bootable installer to reinstall macOS.

If you still need help, please contact Apple Support.

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