Instructions: Boot Mac in Internet Recovery Mode (Intel and Apple Silicon Macs)

Booting the Mac in Internet recovery mode has the advantage that the computer is then supplied with an operating system downloaded from the Apple server. This can be just as useful on an old Mac, iMac, and MacBook as it is on a recent model where the memory has become corrupted and you can't access the internal recovery partition.

So if the data on the hard drive is mud and you can't reinstall macOS from it, try Internet recovery mode. Here you can find out how. Important right from the start: there must be an internet connection (by cable or WLAN).

Instructions: Boot Mac in Internet Recovery Mode, explained step by step. Which macOS / OS X will be installed? Is that also possible via WLAN? Here you get all the answers;)
Instructions: Boot Mac in Internet Recovery Mode, explained step by step. Which macOS / OS X will be installed? Is that also possible via WLAN? Here you get all the answers;)

Update 16.11.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX: different approach for Intel and Apple Silicon Macs

With the Apple silicon Macs (M1, M2 and above) have changed the procedure to start the Mac in Internet recovery mode. If you have such a Mac, it goes as follows:

  1. Turn on Mac with the Touch ID button and hold this button for a few seconds
  2. then click the WiFi icon and see if the Mac has an internet connection
  3. Now click “Options” and “Continue” to start in Internet recovery mode

If you can't find a Touch ID button on your Mac, chances are you still have an Intel Mac. In this case, please follow the instructions below.

Internet recovery mode on Intel Macs

For all the impatient, here are the instructions for booting a Mac into Internet recovery mode in just 5 steps. A more detailed version of it as well as a preview of which operating system will be installed by the procedure can be found below.

  1. Start Mac and immediately hold down cmd + alt + R
  2. Release the buttons when the Apple logo appears
  3. If there is no LAN connection, establish a WLAN connection
  4. After downloading the data, select Reinstall (reinstall macOS) in the utilities
  5. Wait for another download and carry out the installation

On Mac restart: Recovery keyboard shortcuts

Preview: Which macOS will be installed?

With the procedure described, the operating system (Mac OS X, macOS) that you last used on it is not necessarily installed on the Mac. Apple gives this information on the Support page on the subject of "reinstalling macOS":

  • If macOS Sierra 10.12.4 or later has never been installed, you can get the macOS that came with your Mac or the next available version.

  • If your Mac has the Apple T2 Security Chip and you've never installed a macOS update, you will get the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac.

  • If your Mac's motherboard was recently replaced as part of a repair, macOS Recovery may only offer the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac. If you've erased your entire hard drive instead of the startup disk on that hard drive, macOS Recovery may only offer the macOS that came with your Mac or the next available version.

Instructions: Start Mac in Internet recovery mode

To start the Mac in Internet Recovery Mode, hold down the cmd (command) + alt (option) + R keys immediately after switching it on. As soon as the Apple logo appears, you can let go of it again. If there is no LAN connection to the router, you have to select a WLAN network and enter the associated password. Then a rotating globe and a loading bar appear. 

This indicates that data is being downloaded from the Internet. Then the Internet Recovery Mode appears with the window “macOS Utilities” or “OS X Utilities” - there you select “Install macOS again” or “Reinstall OS X”. Data is then loaded again from the Internet, which can take some time. Once the download is complete, the downloaded Mac operating system can be installed. Finished.

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13 comments on "Instructions: Boot Mac in Internet Recovery Mode (Intel and Apple Silicon Macs)"

    1. Hello Erik! Presumably you have an M1/M2 Mac? Then it goes like this:
      – Turn on the Mac with the Touch ID button and hold this button down for a few seconds
      – then click the WLAN icon and see if the Mac has an Internet connection
      – Now on “Options” and “Continue” to start in Internet recovery mode
      I'll quickly add that to the article above.

      1. no, intel based. Mac Pro 5.1
        instead of the globe, a blinking folder with a question mark appears.
        The question mark is also circulating over my head, because there is no working solution to this problem either.
        Just wrote off the device. I think the end of his life has come. It's a shame... need something like that? Equipped with 2x 2,6GHz CPUs and 64GB Ram, original ATI graphics card and running 580s in addition...

        But you can add to the article ;-)

        1. Hello Erik! Thanks for the offer, but my wife will kill me if I have any more Macs lying around. 😂 Could it be that the Mac is very old and doesn't have Internet Recovery yet? Or maybe the keyboard is not working properly?

  1. it's touted by Apple that the Mac Pro 5.1 can do it... and I'm sure I used to do it that way too. Keyboard is original Apple and taken from running Mac. But it also does not accept a start from an installation medium such as a USB HDD or stick. No matter what I want to foist on him, the box always ends up in the flashing folder.

    1. Blinking folder actually means it can't find a bootable system. Maybe something broke? Man... a nice Mac Pro from back then. I also have two of the aluminum chunks in storage. 😊

  2. I actually work with the mp6, but with 4 monitors, 2 of them with 4k, it's often a bit sluggish in terms of windows. the 6C processor is not exactly a driving force either, only the m.2 module performs - when it is needed. So never.
    That's why I wanted to breathe new life into the MP5.1 with the opencore legacy patcher (it was really easy on the 2011 MacMini and the box runs properly with the i5, 16 gig ram and ssd).
    I'm inclined to join your forum and see if anyone else has new ideas beyond what I've already read and tried...

    As you say, a nice Mac from back then...
    but one thing doesn't work at all, sorry (!): leave the Macs on the memory. It hurts my soul... well, I'm sure you do too ;-)

    1. Hello Erik! Yes, try it and see if anyone else in the forum has an idea. It can't get any worse. 😊
      Yes, the two G5 Macs hurt me too... but what can you do. I don't have a real job for either of them. :-(

  3. Hello, I just had a case with an Intel MacBook Air 9,1 from 2020. After CMD+ALT+SHIFT-R comes the network prompt, which also lists the local networks, but after entering the password, nothing happens except for the “wheel” turning hectically.
    It took me a while to figure out that the WLAN password could only consist of numbers (checked back and forth several times!), then it worked fine.

    1. Hello Spruance! Does that mean you had to change your WiFi password to one that only contains numbers?! I wouldn't have thought of that in my life. But I have often read that a LAN cable can be the solution to indefinable problems. Then of course you don't need a WiFi password. But it's interesting what stumbling blocks there are.

      1. Hello Jens, that wasn't really magical because I was allowed to use a neighbor's WiFi as an experiment. I noticed that his password only contained numbers, and I tried it myself. The desire was there because his WiFi signal was weak.

        This must be a flaw in the recover boot of this model, because this software is in a ROM or NVRAM on the computer itself. However, I can't find any reference to it on the Internet.

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