Mac startup key combinations

Find out about the Mac features and tools you can access by holding down one or more keys as your Mac starts up. 

On a Mac with Apple silicon

Find out if you have a Mac with Apple silicon

  1. Turn on your Mac and continue to press and hold the power button as your Mac starts up.
  2. Release the power button when you see the startup options screen, which displays your startup disks and a gear icon labelled Options.
  3. From this window, you can start up from a different disk, start up in safe mode, use macOS Recovery and more. Find out more about these options

On an Intel-based Mac

If you're not using a Mac with Apple silicon, you're using an Intel-based Mac.

Guidelines for using these key combinations

  • Press and hold all of the keys in the given combination together, not one at a time. 
  • If you can't get a key combination to work when restarting your Mac, shut down your Mac first. If your Mac won't shut down, press and hold the power button for up to 10 seconds until your Mac turns off. Then press and hold the key combination after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac.
  • You may need to wait a few seconds before pressing the keys to give your Mac time to recognise the keyboard as it starts up. Some keyboards have a light that flashes briefly at startup, indicating that the keyboard is recognised and ready for use.
  • If you're using a wireless keyboard, plug it into your Mac, if possible. Or use your built-in keyboard or a wired keyboard. If you're using a keyboard made for a PC, such as a keyboard with a Windows logo, try a keyboard made for Mac.
  • Some key combinations won't work if your Mac is using a firmware password. Turn off the firmware password first.
  • If you're using Boot Camp to start up from Microsoft Windows, set Startup Disk preferences to start up from macOS instead. Then shut down or restart and try again.

Key combinations for an Intel-based Mac

Command (⌘)-R: start up from the built-in macOS Recovery system. Or use Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-R to start up from macOS Recovery over the internet. macOS Recovery installs different versions of macOS, depending on the key combination you use. 

Option (⌥) or Alt: start up to Startup Manager, which allows you to choose other available startup disks or volumes. 

Option-Command-P-Rreset NVRAM or PRAM.

Shift (⇧): start up in safe mode

D: start up to the Apple Diagnostics utility. Or use Option-D to start up to this utility over the internet.

N: start up from a NetBoot server, if your Mac supports network startup volumes. To use the default boot image on the server, press and hold Option-N instead. 

Command-S: start up in single-user mode. Disabled in macOS Mojave or later.

T: start up in target disk mode.

Command-V: start up in verbose mode. 

Eject (⏏) or F12 or mouse button or trackpad button: eject removable media, such as an optical disc.

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