How to Start Mac in Recovery Mode

Users whose Mac systems have started becoming unstable increasingly or are exhibiting numerous serious issues might be able to alleviate the situation through macOS' Recovery Mode. It should be noted that there are two options to choose from - either a normal Recovery or Internet Recovery. There are some significant differences between the two.

Normal Recovery relies on the Recovery HD, a cache of vital utilities that are stored on a partition of the system's startup drive. This ensures that everything saved there is kept separate from the rest of the drive and is less likely to become corrupted or affected. The Recovery HD data cannot be cleared through scans or manual removal. Performing a macOS reinstall through Normal Recovery will return the system to the most recently installed version. 

Internet Recovery, on the other hand, will reinstall the system to the original macOS version, which usually means that it will be several patches or updates behind. Using Internet Recovery also takes up longer significantly and requires a stable Internet connection. 

Starting Recovery Mode on Mac

Before starting either the normal Recovery or Internet Recovery, make sure that you remember your Apple ID and that the system has enough power/is plugged into a power outlet. 

  1. The first step of entering a normal Recovery Mode is to either restart the Mac or turn it on if it has been shut down. 
  2. Upon hearing the starting chime, press and hold Command+R on your keyboard.
  3. Keep holding the keys until a new screen is displayed.
  4. You should see the macOS Utilities window. Here you can pick from the four available options - Restore, Reinstall, Get Help, and Disk Utility, according to your particular needs. 

Accessing the Internet Recovery Mode

  1. The first step is the same as the normal Recovery Mode. Turn on or restart your Mac. 
  2. When you hear the start-up chime, press Command+Option+R
  3. You should see a globe with the message 'Starting Internet Recovery' appear on the screen. You may have to wait for a bit. 
  4. Choose a network to use for the Internet connection. This is required for the download of files needed by Internet Recovery. You may need to input the password for the network even if the system was previously connected to it. 
  5. If everything is done correctly, you should see another globe image but this time accompanied with a status bar. During this process, your Mac system is sending information to Apple about its original state and requesting any necessary drivers. 
  6. When the process has been completed, the normal Recovery Mode screen should be displayed. You can now pick one of the same four available options - Restore, Reinstall, Get Help, and Disk Utility, according to your particular issue.

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