MacBook Recovery Mode

MacBook Recovery Mode

MacBook Recovery Mode is a troubleshooting option for those encountering issues with macOS on their laptop. Renowned for its reliability and simplicity, macOS is Apple’s low-stress answer to Windows and serves as the default operating system for the MacBook. While many swear by the software’s features, it does not escape one of technology’s harshest realities: Things break.

When the inevitable happens, users often feel a sense of helplessness. The problem might seem complicated and unmanageable, but the laptops boast a powerful problem-solving tool in MacBook Recovery Mode.

When initiated, it boots to a lighter macOS with minimal utilities. By loading a more limited framework than the complete operating system, users can attempt to address potential problems that have degraded macOS. In many cases, a methodical, patient approach and the software are all that are needed to avoid repairs.

How to Boot MacBook into Recovery Mode

Learning how to boot the MacBook into recovery mode is the first step. Though similar and straightforward, the exact procedure for entering MacBook Recovery Mode differs depending on its processor. In late 2020, Apple introduced its own processor, the M1, to streamline processing units. Its successor, the M2, debuted in June 2022. Most newer MacBooks will include an M1 or M2 processor. To check specifications, consult the product manual, or click the Apple menu in the top-left corner, then About This Mac. The processor is listed in the Overview.

Owners of an M1 or M2 processor must use the following sequence:

  1. Shut down the MacBook.
  2. Press and hold the “Power” button.
  3. Keep pressing until the notification “Loading Startup Options” appears.
  4. Click Options, then Continue.
  5. Enter the admin password if prompted.

Users of an Intel-based MacBook must follow these instructions:

  1. Shut down the MacBook.
  2. Press the “Power” button.
  3. Press and hold Command + R once it turns on.
  4. Release when the Apple logo appears.

If successful, a window of macOS utilities should appear.

MacBook Pro Recovery Mode

MacBook Pro Recovery Mode is a corrective tool for those experiencing issues with macOS. Most of the available applications are designed to fulfill that mission. However, actions performed within Recovery Mode can lead to sudden, accidental data loss. Exercise caution when continuing.

Restore from Time Machine

Time Machine is one of macOS’s built-in features. As Apple’s backup mechanism, Time Machine creates extra copies of databases and files from the MacBook at regular intervals. With hourly backups for the past day and daily backups for the past month, Time Machine allows users to return to a time when macOS was functioning well.

In the case of Time Machine, recent data loss can occur as users restore macOS to an older point. Save newer files to an external hard drive before executing Time Machine.

Reinstall macOS

The most straightforward option.

Operating systems become clunkier with use. There are various reasons macOS could become unresponsive, including a malfunctioning application, a deadlock in the operating system, or a corrupt startup disk. Whatever the reason, simply installing macOS again could solve the issue. It is important to note that reinstalling macOS does not mean it will delete stored data. Although, if a corruption issue exists, the data could still be compromised, especially if an encrypted file system is used.


The third option on the macOS utility menu is Safari. Connect to the internet using an Ethernet cable or click the Wi-Fi icon in the top-right corner of the screen. Once connected, Safari launches a limited browser with disabled extensions and plug-ins but allows users to access helpful websites, like Apple Support. From there, users can navigate through frequently asked questions and guides.

Disk Utility

Resetting macOS to factory settings is the last resort. Still, it could be the solution if nothing else fixes the issue. Wiping macOS will delete all stored data, so performing another external backup is suggested, if possible. To reset:

  1. Click Disk Utility, then Continue.
  2. Choose a startup disk (most often named Macintosh HD).
  3. Click Erase on the bar menu.
  4. For newer macOS versions, click APFS in the new drop-down menu. For older macOS versions, click macOS Extended (Journaled).
  5. Click Erase to confirm.
  6. Click Done once the process finishes.
  7. Quit Disk Utility.
  8. Proceed to Reinstall macOS

Resetting macOS to factory setting is advised if donating or selling the MacBook since it’s the most effective data-removal practice.


MacBook Pro Recovery Mode has more options outside of the default window, including Terminal, macOS’s command-line interface. Terminal is one of the most unforgiving macOS applications, often demanding a comprehensive understanding of commands. Beginners should be aware that incorrect syntax for a command can have irreversible, unintended consequences for the computer.

To open Terminal, locate Utilities along the horizontal navigation bar. Once highlighted, select Terminal in the drop-down menu. A window will appear.

For example, resetting a password is one of the most common uses of Terminal in Recovery Mode. To reset a password, type “resetpassword” into the window without quotes and hit Return. The command launches Recovery Assistant. Pick the new password, provide a hint, and click Next. When finished, restart the MacBook and enter the new password.

Share Disk

In addition, Recovery Mode allows for files to be transferred between Macs. Begin by connecting the computers with a USB or Thunderbolt cable. Click the Utilities option along the horizontal navigation bar, then Share Disk. After choosing the desired disk, select Start Sharing.

Open a Finder window on the opposite Mac. Click Network in the sidebar, then double-click the sharing Mac. Connect as a Guest and transfer the files.

Startup Security Utility

Adjusting security settings is the final significant feature of MacBook Recovery Mode. However, novice users should not experiment, as the default, fully-enabled set-up is recommended.

MacBook Air Recovery Mode

MacBook Air Recovery Mode is identical to its counterparts. Follow the above instructions to complete a given task.

How to Get Out of Recovery Mode for MacBook

How to get out of Recovery Mode for MacBook is another frequent question. The MacBook will automatically exit Recovery Mode by restarting during the macOS reinstallation or Time Machine restoration. Otherwise, choose the Apple icon in the upper-left corner of the screen, select the preferred startup disk, and then click Restart.

MacBook Can’t Enter Recovery Mode

MacBook can’t enter Recovery Mode?

While Recovery Mode will work most of the time, there are occasions when it does not. In that event, the simplest explanation is usually a faulty keyboard. A wired keyboard will sometimes resolve that issue. If the keyboard is not the source of trouble, there could be an underlying problem with its hard drive or partitioning.

Solutions to Data Loss after MacBook Recovery Mode

MacBook Recovery Mode is not a surefire solution.

At some point, data recovery is a consideration if the contents of the computer are valuable.

Fortunately, there are still options to salvage the situation and recover your data if it seems you have tried almost everything. We are an industry leader at Secure Data Recovery Services in successfully solving complicated cases involving MacBook data recovery, Mac data recovery, and hard drive and SSD data recovery.

You send us any MacBook model. Our certified technicians use our best-in-class cleanroom to provide a comprehensive diagnostic analysis and offer a no-obligation quote. If we proceed with recovery, you receive a risk-free “No Data, No Recovery Fee” guarantee, backed by our documented 96% success rate.

Call us at 800-388-1266 for a free, 24/7 consultation.