If you’re having boot problems with your Mac and want to reinstall macOS, you can do so from your Mac’s recovery partition. However, if the recovery partition fails to start either, you can use Mac Internet Recovery instead, which loads recovery tools from Apple’s servers.
This guide shows you how to download and use macOS Internet Recovery.
Via macOS recovery mode
macOS is a relatively stable operating system that almost always works without any problems. However, problems can occasionally arise, some of which may require you to reinstall the software. This could be due to boot problems or damage to the macOS partition. This is where macOS recovery mode enters.
The basic macOS recovery mode is a partition on a Mac’s internal drives that you can use to restore and reinstall macOS. You can also use it to restore your system from your Time Machine backup and repair or erase your storage disk.
The macOS recovery partition works 99% of the time, and since it is entirely based on a separate partition on the hard drive, there is no need to download troubleshooting tools from the internet.
What is Internet Recovery Mode on Mac?
In the rare event that the recovery partition is damaged or not working, macOS will go into Internet Recovery Mode. This is a backup mode present on your Mac that allows the system to download repair tools from the internet that you can then use to fix errors on your Mac. Taking your Mac to a repair center to reinstall the software can save the time and effort.
Older Macs came with an extra installation disc to reinstall Mac OS X if the recovery partition was corrupted and not working. However, since newer Macs don’t come with optical drives, macOS offers Internet Recovery Mode for this purpose, which makes sense since almost everyone has a stable Internet connection these days.
Internet Recovery Mode allows you to restore your Mac by downloading and installing the latest version of macOS that is compatible with your Mac. Internet Recovery also automatically performs a quick test of your Mac’s memory and internal hard drives to check for hardware problems.
If both your Mac’s startup disk and its recovery partition are damaged or physically damaged, your Mac will automatically go into Internet Recovery Mode.
Is Internet Recovery Compatible With Your Mac?
Internet Recovery Mode is only available on Apple computers manufactured after 2009. This includes all Macs, whether it’s a MacBook or a desktop computer.
However, if your computer was released in 2010 or 2011, you may need to update to the latest version of macOS to enable Internet Restore.
We recommend installing macOS from a bootable disk if Internet Restore doesn’t work for you.
How one Enter Internet recovery mode
Internet Recovery Mode can be started by holding down a certain combination of keys at startup, similar to Standard Recovery Mode. The keyboard shortcut is a little different on Intel and M1 Macs, which we covered below.
On Intel-based Macs, turn on your Mac (or restart it if it’s already on) and hold the Command + Option + R Hear buttons immediately after the start tone.
Press and hold the buttons until the Internet recovery message appears on the screen: Start Internet Recovery. This could take a while.
After starting Internet Recovery, follow the steps outlined in the next section.
M1 Apple Silicon Macs
On M1-based Macs, the process only works when the Mac is turned off. So if it’s on, turn it off (don’t restart). hold the power Key to start your Mac and hold it to load the startup options.
Once the startup options page loads, select Options Use of Arrow keys and press To return .
Note: M1 Macs will not enter Internet Recovery Mode if the macOS recovery partition is functional and functional. You can restore or reinstall macOS from the recovery partition instead of using Internet Recovery Mode.
Using Internet Recovery Mode
After loading Internet Recovery Mode, follow these steps to use it:
You will need to enter Internet Recovery (Wi-Fi) details in order to load the recovery tools from Apple’s servers. Click the menu to view the available Wi-Fi networks, then choose one to connect to. You don’t need to enter WiFi details when you have an ethernet connection.
Once your Mac is connected to the internet, it will download and boot a recovery system image from Apple’s servers so you can use the recovery tools. Depending on your internet connection, this can take a few minutes or up to an hour. Make sure your Mac is plugged in to avoid running out of battery while downloading the tools.
Once downloaded, you should see the macOS Utilities window. Here you can restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup, reinstall a fresh copy of macOS (downloaded from Apple’s servers), or use Disk Utility.
If you’d like to reinstall macOS to fix any issues on your Mac, you’ll need to first erase the drive from Disk Utility and then select the option to install macOS. This is downloaded from the Apple website and then installed on your Mac. A successful installation should resolve any software problems you may face.
What to do if internet recovery doesn’t work
If macOS Internet Recovery Mode isn’t working for you either, we recommend using an alternate method of booting macOS. You can do this from bootable media (such as a USB stick), or you can take your Mac to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to do it for you.
However, this is very rare and Internet Recovery should be able to do the trick most of the time.