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You might need to reinstall your Mac operating system if it has a significant issue. An easy way to accomplish this is using Mac Internet Recovery or your Mac Recovery partition. On an Intel Mac, pressing the keys Command + R will launch maccOS Recovery mode (the process on an M1 Mac is slightly different).

But what should you do if the command + R or Mac recovery mode is inoperable? Below, we'll examine the best answers to these issues.

What Is Mac Recovery Mode?

Apple launched Mac OS X 10.7 Lion to the general market on July 1, 2011. Apple has added a recovery partition to this version of macOS that houses the tools typically seen on the OS X discs.

The Mac's Recovery partition is a prerequisite for Mac Recovery Mode. The recovery partition has a magical quality about it. Even if you erase your hard drive or restart your Mac from scratch, you can still use the Recovery partition to fix some significant problems, such as the inability to install macOS on your computer, a black screen when your MacBook boots, a Mac that won't boot past the Apple logo, etc.

You can fix the startup disc using Disk Utility, reinstall macOS, boot into Recovery Mode, contact Apple support, or restore from an accessible Time Machine backup to correct the problem.

Why is Command + R not working?

There are a few reasons why Command + R might not function, and your Mac might not boot into Recovery Mode:

Your Mac is an Apple Silicon Chip such as M1 or M2 Mac, one of the new Macs released in November 2020 that uses one of Apple's new CPUs rather than Intel, and this is now the main reason. If that describes you, there is a new way to enter Recovery on an M1/M2/M3 Mac. This is discussed in the new M1/M2/M3 Mac operating system.

The only way to reinstall the operating system on an ancient Mac-one that is running Mac OS X Snow Leopard or an earlier version-is to utilize the installation discs that came with the machine.

You won't have access to all the Recovery options that you may be familiar with if your Mac runs a version of macOS older than Sierra (which debuted in 2016).

Try using another keyboard instead, preferably one that plugs directly in. The keyboard could be broken, or your Mac might not be able to connect to it via Bluetooth.

Your Recovery partition may have been tampered with or destroyed while installing a new hard drive or Windows through Boot.

M1 Chip

If Mac Won’t Boot into Recovery Mode

In some cases, even if you strictly adhere to the instructions, Command R might not function. You cannot successfully enter Mac Recovery Mode, in other words.

Fix 1: Use Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a solution to the Mac that won't boot into the Recovery Mode problem. By starting your Mac in Safe Mode, you may check for issues on the startup drive and have any found fixed automatically.

If you are using an Intel-based Mac:

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • It would be best to press the Power button first, then instantly press and hold the Shift key after 10 seconds.
  • You can let go of the Shift key once you reach the login screen.
  • The red Safe Mode icon in the top-right corner of the screen can be seen after these three actions.

If you are using a Mac with Apple Silicon chip:

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds until the starting disks and Options appear.
  • The shift key was pressed while holding it.
  • Continue in Safe Mode by clicking.
  • You can shut down your Mac after utilizing Safe Mode and restart it in Recovery Mode to check the procedure's outcome. If not, try the following approach.

Fix 2: Use another Keyboard

If Command R isn't functioning on your Mac, ensure the keyboard isn't the issue. You can unplug your present keyboard from your Mac and plug in a different keyboard that often works with your Mac to rule out this possibility. You can then test the process by trying to boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.

If everything returns to normal, the keyboard issue should be the cause. A new keyboard must be installed in place of the broken one.

Fix 3: Make sure Your Keyboard Is Properly Connected to Your Mac

As previously stated, the Recovery partition first appeared in 2011. If your Mac is too old, the Recovery partition won’t be present. Mac computers running Snow Leopard or earlier are always affected. If not, Command-R will not work, of course.

Fix 4: Use a Bootable Installer

If you wish to fix the problem, you must reinstall macOS using the original disc that came with your Mac computer. You can make a bootable installer and use it to reinstall macOS on your machine if you misplace the installation disc. After that, you may update your device to the most recent version of macOS by going to the Mac App Store.

Make sure your Bluetooth keyboard is successfully linked to your Mac computer if you’re using one.

Fix 5: Reset SMC

The system management controller is the full name of the SMC. You can reset your Mac to fix any power, battery, or fan problems.

When utilizing a Mac desktop:

  • Pull the power line out.
  • You can plug it back in after roughly 15 seconds.
  • Press the Power button to turn on your Mac five seconds later.
  • To fix the problem, you must boot your Mac into Safe Mode if this approach doesn’t work for you.

Solution 6: Use Mac Internet Recovery to Reinstall macOS

Mac won't boot into Recovery Mode, or Command R may not function if the Recovery partition is damaged or missing. In a scenario like this, you can reinstall macOS using the Mac Internet Recovery to restore order.

  • Turn off your Mac. Press and hold the Power button for a time to force the Mac to shut down if it doesn’t respond.
  • Press and hold Command-Option-R or Command-Alt-R after pressing and holding the Power button (on some Mac keyboards, there is an Alt key rather than an Option key).
  • A spinning globe with the caption “Starting Internet Recovery” can be seen after a while. You can then let go of these keys.
  • After that, the progress bar will take the place of the message. The macOS utility interface won't appear until the bar is full.
  • To reinstall macOS, select Reinstall macOS and adhere to the on-screen instructions.


These are the solutions for problems with Command R or Mac Recovery Mode. We’re hoping they can help you with your problem.

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Written & Updated by Ricky Lin

Ricky Lin is an senior editor of DoYourData who lives in Adelaide, Australia. He is interested in writing technology articles related with data recovery, computer issue fixes, disk clone, iPhone data recovery, video edit, Mac optimization, etc. He Joined DoYourData in 2019 and have written 500+ articles to help both Windows users and Mac users to solve data or computer problems.

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