Troubleshooting Guide: Resolving Mac Recovery Mode Boot Issues

Encountering a Mac that refuses to boot into recovery mode can turn an ordinary day into a challenging one. Thankfully, with the right steps, this problem can often be overcome. This troubleshooting guide walks you through the steps to resolve the ‘Mac not booting in recovery mode’ issue.

Keep reading for practical tips and updated strategies, tailored to help you get your Mac up and running smoothly.

Step-by-Step Solutions to Mac Recovery Boot Issues

Let’s look at several strategies to tackle the issue if your Mac isn’t booting into recovery mode as it should.

Step 1: Using the Correct Keys for Recovery Mode

To successfully boot into recovery mode, it’s essential to use the correct key combination for your specific Mac model.

  • On an Intel-based Mac, press and hold the Command (⌘) + R keys during startup until the Apple logo appears.
  • On a Mac with Apple’s latest M1 or later chip, hold down the power button at startup until the startup options window shows up. Click the gear icon labeled Options and then Continue.

Step 2: Verifying Your Keyboard’s Functionality

For Intel Mac users, remember that the keyboard shortcut is your ticket to recovery mode – ensure your keyboard is working correctly.

  • Test your keyboard with another working Mac or PC to check its functionality.
  • If using a wireless keyboard, switch to a USB keyboard to rule out Bluetooth connectivity issues.
  • Explore the macOS Accessibility Keyboard to identify any unresponsive keys on your physical keyboard.

Step 3: Ensuring the Recovery Partition’s Integrity

The macOS recovery image is typically stored in a dedicated disk partition. However, it’s possible for this partition to become corrupted or accidentally erased.

  • Check your disk using Disk Utility from a bootable USB drive if you can’t access the recovery partition.
  • Consider recreating the Recovery Partition or reinstalling the whole OS again via bootable media if necessary.

Step 4: Troubleshooting Internet Recovery Mode

For Macs with the M1 chip, recovery mode operates via an Internet connection, making a functional network essential.

  • Confirm that your Mac is receiving a strong and stable internet connection, ideally through a wired connection.
  • Restart your Wi-Fi router and ensure it’s functioning correctly if experiencing issues.
  • Perform a speed test from another device on the same network to confirm your internet’s reliability.

For Wi-Fi-dependent setups, make sure you’re connected to a network before attempting to enter recovery mode.


By following these steps, you can often resolve the ‘Mac not booting in recovery mode’ issue. Should you have further questions or face additional challenges, consider reaching out to Apple Support for specialized assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is macOS recovery mode, and how do I access it?

macOS recovery mode is a dedicated part of macOS designed for troubleshooting and resolving system issues. It allows you to repair or reinstall your operating system and restore from a backup. For Intel-based Macs, use Command + R keys on startup; for M1 Macs or newer models, hold the power button and follow the on-screen startup options.

My MacBook crashes during recovery mode. What can I do?

If you encounter crashes during recovery mode, it might be necessary to reset both the SMC and NVRAM, as these resets can sometimes rectify booting issues. Consult Apple Support for detailed instructions tailored to your specific model.

How can I restore my Mac with Time Machine?

To restore your Mac using Time Machine, boot into recovery mode, select ‘Restore From Time Machine Backup’ from the utilities window, choose a backup source, select the desired backup, and follow the on-screen directions to complete the process.

What are the steps to create a bootable USB for macOS reinstall?

Creating a bootable USB drive for macOS reinstall can be done with Apple’s createinstallmedia command in Terminal or with third-party applications like DiskMaker X. You’ll need a USB drive with enough storage capacity and a downloaded macOS installer to proceed.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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