Mac startup key combinations

Learn about the Mac features and tools you can access by holding down one or more keys during startup. 

To use any of these key combinations, press and hold the keys immediately after pressing the power button to turn on your Mac, or after your Mac begins to restart. Keep holding these down until the described behaviour occurs.


If a key combination doesn't work

If a key combination doesn't work during startup, one of these solutions may help:

  • Make sure you press and hold all the correct keys in combination together, not one at a time. 
  • Shut down your Mac. Then press the power button to turn on your Mac. Then press and hold the keys as your Mac starts up. 
  • Wait a few seconds before pressing the keys to give your Mac more time to recognise the keyboard as it starts up. Some keyboards have a light that flashes briefly during startup, indicating that the keyboard has been recognised and is 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.
  • 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.

Remember that some key combinations will be disabled when your Mac is using a firmware password.


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