What is Internet Recovery on Mac and how to access it | Complete Guide

Mac recovery mode is a lifesaver during crises. Depending on the type of crisis, you can choose among four options available in Mac recovery mode. there might be some complications that can be resolved by normal recovery mode but it has its own set of limitations. If there is one option that could come in handy regardless of the severity of the problem, it is Mac Internet recovery mode. Learn why Mac internet recovery mode is crucial and let’s discuss how to use internet recovery mode on Mac.

What is Internet Recovery on Mac?

Internet recovery mode is completely different when compared to the Mac recovery mode. Every Mac has a designated recovery partition of 650 MB which is completely independent of the other drives.

Hence in case of corruption or inaccessibility of Mac, we can make use of Mac recovery mode and reinstall macOS or restore from the Time Machine Backup to fix any problem in the operating system. To enter the recovery mode press the “command+R” buttons while Mac is restarting. You will see the following options:

  • Restore from Time Machine Backup
  • Reinstall macOS
  • Get online help
  • Disk utility

When you select “Reinstall macOS” the recovery partition (650 MB) is accessed where a fresh copy of macOS exists to begin the reinstallation process from scratch. Please note that this process will completely erase your Mac or MacBook volumes, so be cautious while using Mac recovery mode.

Even though the recovery partition is independent, there might be complications that might damage your entire Mac hard drive. In such a situation, normal recovery mode will not work and you will be stuck in a Mac grey screen.

The best part about Mac internet recovery is it can work even if your Mac is not booting. And since internet recovery directly accesses Apple servers, it also works when the recovery partition is damaged.

How to Access Internet Recovery Mode on Mac?

Generally, when normal recovery mode is not working, Mac automatically takes you to internet recovery mode. You will also see a spinning globe that signifies you are being sent to internet recovery mode.

If you want to manually launch the internet recovery mode, you need to hold Option+Command+R keys while restarting the Mac. Wait till the spinning globe appears and leave the keys. Later a progressive bar appears below the spinning globe icon. After the progressive bar is completely loaded you will see the macOS utility window with the same options as normal recovery mode on Mac or MacBook.

  • Restore from Time Machine Backup
  • Reinstall macOS
  • Get online help
  • Disk utility

Internet recovery mode will access the Apple server to fix any issue, so when in internet recovery mode, you need to connect it to any Wi-Fi or ethernet port.

How do I connect my Mac to WIFI in recovery mode?

Once in internet recovery mode, on the top right corner, you will see the Wi-Fi icon. Click on the Wi-Fi icon, select your network to enter the password, and click on connect.

What can You do with Internet Recovery Mac?

Mac internet recovery mode has the exact same options as normal recovery mode but there is a difference in the functionality. For example, when you select “Reinstall macOS” on internet recovery mode, your Mac will download the older version or the macOS that came with the Mac during the time of purchase.

For example, if you bought a Mac with Mojave and later updated it to Catalina, reinstalling macOS using internet recovery mode will completely erase everything on the storage drive and install Mojave. This is why you need to recover Mac hard drive before reinstalling the macOS. You can take a sigh of relief as you can upgrade it to Catalina after the installation is completed.

Pro Tip:

You can create a Mac bootable drive, later you can use the same bootable drive and log into Mac and recover crucial files. Here is how to create a bootable drive using the internet recovery mode.

How to Create a Bootable Drive Using Mac internet Recovery Mode

To create a bootable drive, you need a 12GB or larger flash drive and connect it to your Mac. Now launch internet recovery mode, select the “Reinstall macOS” option, and click on continue. Accept all the terms and conditions and follow general steps until your installation setup asks you to select a storage drive.

You will see the notification “Select the disk where you want to install macOS”. Be cautious and select the pen drive or the external storage drive you connected. After selecting the USB flash drive click on next and wait for the installation to complete.

After creating the bootable drive, restart your Mac, while booting into the operating system Mac will ask you to select from which drive you want to boot into macOS. Select the Bootable drive to log into your Mac. And now you can try to access the data.

Internet Recovery Mac Not Working? This can be the reason why?

Generally, internet recovery mode needs a certified internet connection that accepts WAP, WEP, and 802.1 IP or internet protocols. Typically, any home internet connection accepts all the aforementioned protocols. However, if you are using any proxy or PPPoE connection, internet recovery will not work. Hence, if the internet recovery mode on Mac is not working once verify the connection or try to connect to a different network.

How Long does Internet Recovery Take?

It depends on your internet connection; internet recovery mode demands a high-speed broadband connection.

What is Internet Recovery on Mac and how to access it | Complete Guide was last modified: July 2nd, 2021 by John Harris

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