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Startup Key Combinations on Mac

  • Learn how to use startup key combinations for Macs
  • Startup Disk Selection, Apple Diagnostics, and more
  • How to use Firmware Recovery Mode and Internet Recovery Mode

On Apple’s macOS, there are multiple keyboard combinations you can hold down when your Mac starts. These combinations can allow you to choose a different Startup Disk, boot into Recovery mode, into a Boot Camp Windows volume, or use one of Apple’s built-in Mac utilities. Depending on if you’re using an Apple Silicon-based Mac or an Intel Mac, the exact keys to press may be different.

For example, if you’re using an Intel Mac, you can hold down the Option key before your Mac boots. This will bring up a graphical startup disk menu selection which allows you to interrupt startup to select which volume to start up from. On Apple Silicon Macs, you need to press and hold the power button until the volume list appears. For full Recovery options on Apple Silicon-based Macs, check out this article.

You can also start up into Apple Diagnostics on Apple Silicon Macs by following the same procedure as Startup Disk Selection above, but instead of continuing to a selected Startup Disk, press Command D to enter Diagnostics. On Intel Macs, simply hold down the D key on startup. For more information, see this page.

If your Mac becomes unbootable, there’s also a built-in firmware Recovery Utility you can use. To boot into Recovery Utility, on Intel Macs hold down the Command R keys on startup until you see the Apple logo. On Apple Silicon Macs, press and hold the power button until “Loading startup options” appears. If you have an internet connection, you can also start up in Internet Recovery Mode by holding down Command+Option+R or Command+Option+Shift+R on startup.

For more information, check out Apple’s full article on how to startup into and use Recovery.
Do you know all the tricks to start up your Mac? From Target Disk Mode to Verbose Mode to NetBoot, there are many hidden features that can help you in a variety of scenarios. Chip Loder, a 30-year Apple industry veteran, shares his expertise in this comprehensive guide on all the tricks you need to know to get your Mac up and running. Check out the article here to learn all the tips and tricks you need to know about starting up your Mac.

For example, Target Disk Mode allows you to boot one Mac from another Mac’s drive. To use it, connect two Macs via one of the mentioned cables and then select the Mac running in TDM as the Startup Disk. Furthermore, you can use Verbose Mode to see exactly what Darwin is doing while booting. Simply hold down **Command V** while starting up and you’ll see all the Darwin startup system messages scroll by.

Finally, you can also start up from a NetBoot Server or even boot into OpenFirmware. To make a server-hosted NetBoot disk image your Startup Disk, go to **System Settings- >Startup Disk** and look for any disk icon with a globe on it. If you happen to be around an old “NewWorld” ROM-based Mac, you can also boot into OpenFirmware. Just hold down **Command+Option+O+F** while powering on and you will be left at the Open Firmware command prompt.

Discover all the tips and tricks you need to know about starting up your Mac with this comprehensive guide here. Don’t miss out and make sure to share this guide with your friends!

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