People do occasionally need to troubleshoot their desktop or laptop. Mac provides us with several startup options to aid us in both troubleshooting and system management. So, if you’re getting a flashing question mark or a globe that means your Mac can’t find the system software to boot and your Mac is not working.
If you have an internet connection your Mac can reinstall the system software and get your machine running in no time. However, a hardware failure cannot be fixed by the recovery mode. Apple introduced the recovery mode for the first time in OS X 10.7 Lion.
Recovery mode loads tools from a special disk partition that holds a recovery image and a copy of the Mac OS installer.
Recovery mode can also be used to:
- Restore from a backup: If you have a backup of your operating system saved on the external hard drive. This has to be prepared in advance by connecting to an external hard disk and using Time Machine to copy all of your data including files. You can use ‘Restore from Time Machine’ option to restore an existing backup.
- Reinstall Mac OS: This helps to restore your Mac to a clean slate, it deletes all files and data in the system. Make sure you have a backup of any file that you require as recovering them after reinstallation wouldn’t be possible. Which version of Mac OS will be installed depends on whether you open normal recovery mode or internet recovery mode Mac not working.
- Online Help: Recovery mode is also used to use Safari to troubleshoot your machine online.
- Disk Diagnosis: If there is something wrong with your drives, you can scan, verify, and repair from the recovery screen.
Internet Recovery Mode vs Normal recovery mode.
Normal recovery mode uses an emergency cache if utilities that are saved in MAC’s partition drive which is kept away from rest of your disk space. The data has a total size of 650mb and doesn’t affect the performance of your MAC at all. It does now show in system scans and it cannot be deleted. Recovery mode installs the most recent version of Mac OS that is installed on the system.
Internet recovery, can only install the version of Mac OS that was originally on your computer when it was new in the box. Internet recovery uses an embedded code in your Mac that includes an image for the correct OS. As soon as internet recovery is started the image is uploaded to the internet and Apple gives the required codes for installation.
As the name suggests, internet recovery requires a Wi-Fi or ethernet connection and the boot process takes a lot of time. Ensure you have a good connection and your Mac is charged.
It is however recommended to use the Internet Recovery mode only when your Mac is unable to boot into normal recovery mode. Your Mac will not boot into recovery mode if you are using a raid partition which does not support recovery or if your hard disk has been modified. If the drive is damaged or there is some serious error your Mac may not boot into recovery. Your Mac will automatically boot into the Internet recovery mode if your computer can’t access the normal mode. Internet recovery is burned to your firmware and works even if you don’t have a hard disk connected to your computer.
How to Enter Recovery Mode?
You will need your Apple ID, enough power in your desktop or laptop.
- If you are currently using your Mac restart it and if it’s switched off switch it on, you can enter the recovery mode only through the startup screen.
- When you hear the startup, chime hold Command + R on your keyboard.
- If your recovery partition is working you will enter the Normal Recovery mode which will give you 4 options and you can troubleshoot your device from there. If the partition isn’t working you will be taken to the Internet Recovery mode.
- To enter the Internet recovery mode directly, hold Command + Option + R as soon as you hear the startup chime. After a few seconds, you will be taken to the Internet recovery mode.