Apple How to

How to Reinstall Mac Internet Recovery

Written by Hassan Abbas

In the event of a serious problem with your Mac, you may want to reinstall your Mac operating system. There’s a simple way to do this using your Mac Recovery partition or through Mac Internet Recovery. You can access the Recovery mode through the keyboard combination Command +R. But what do you do if Mac recovery mode is not working or Command +R does not work? In this article, we are going to talk about How to Reinstall Mac Internet Recovery. Let’s begin!

  • Erase Mac’s boot drive
  • Run Disk Utility to repair the boot drive
  • Make a problematic Mac startup
  • Install an older version of macOS
  • Setup a modern Mac to boot from the external drive

What is Mac Recovery actually?

An instant word on what Mac Recovery mode can do and how it actually works.

Most folks don’t really think about their hard drives (well, SSD these days) in terms of partitions actually. They just see the entire drive as one thing. A hard drive is typically a single volume, however, it is then split up into multiple areas, known as partitions or volumes also. Think of your hard drive as the house, and also the partitions as different rooms.

You are used to only seeing one room in the house, the one which has your Desktop, Folders, and Applications. however, there are actually four partitions, and one is used in extreme cases where you may wish to completely reinstall the operating system macOS (or Mac OS X on older Macs). Even if you completely clean your Mac, and then start again from scratch. The Recovery partition should still be there to make it possible to reinstall macOS, restore from your Time Machine backup, and then repair or remove your hard disk.

It’s a problem if in case you need to reinstall the operating system from scratch and the Recovery partition is missing or for some reason you can’t access it. A problem, but luckily there are also solutions available.

Back in the days before Mac OS X Lion launched in 2011, when there was not a Recovery partition. Rather you needed to have a physical disc with the software on it and an optical drive to insert it into. These days it’s rare to find a Mac with an optical drive, let alone find someone who has their original discs – not that Macs have shipped with install discs in recent times actually.

What to do if Command R not working

There are many reasons why you might find that Command + R doesn’t work and your Mac won’t start up in Recovery Mode:

  • If your Mac is really old – like in so old it’s running Mac OS X Snow Leopard or older. Then it will not have a Recovery partition, the only way to reinstall the OS is to use the discs that shipped with the Mac.
  • If your Mac is running a version of macOS older than Sierra then you won’t have all the Recovery options available in that case.
  • The keyboard might be faulty or your Mac may not connect to it through Bluetooth – in which case, try using another – we suggest one that plugs indirectly.
  • Something might have corrupted your Recovery partition, or you might have removed it while replacing your hard drive or installing Windows through Boot Camp,

The first thing to try is to restart your Mac and click Command and R again as you boot up.

There are many other ways you might be able to force your Mac to start up in recovery mode if Command + R isn’t working for you. Apple has a couple of other commands that you should try:


This method will then download a version of macOS from the internet, that might be a solution if you can’t access the Recovery partition on your Mac.

  • Click Option/Alt + Command + R when you boot up to enter Internet Recovery Mode.

When you enter this mode you will be able to access an Apple server to download the version of macOS. This will be the latest macOS compatible along with your Mac. Note: If you aren’t running Sierra 10.12.4 or later, this will install the version that came with your Mac.

If you don’t want to install the latest version of macOS then try this:

  • Shift + Option/Alt + Command R (if you are running Sierra 10.12.4 or later) will install the version of macOS that came with your Mac, or the one closest to it that is still available.

Note that if your Mac has a T2 chip there may be a simple reason that why Command + R isn’t working for you. Well, in that case:

  • Option/Alt + Command + R will install the latest macOS on your Mac if you have a T2 chip actually.

Mac recovery mode not working

Most of the time, you’ll get into Recovery Mode to work only for everything to freeze up. Perhaps your Mac’s disc is beyond repair and also Recovery Mode inaccessible.

If you have accessed Internet Recovery mode it might be a very slow process that depends on your connection speed. When we experienced this problem we connected our Mac to the hub through an ethernet cable.

Recovery mode is not working?

It is possible to restore a Mac without a recovery partition, however, it can be tricky (especially on older Macs). You have a few approaches available in this:

  • Use Internet Recovery in order to reinstall macOS on Mac with a missing recovery partition. Jump to this section to find out how to do that.
  • Create a boot drive to install a copy of the macOS.
  • Use your Time Machine backup for your start-up drive.
  • You may also be able to create a Recovery partition as well.

We’re going to look at these options below – however, first, a quick explanation of what a recovery partition is.

The recovery partition is working

First, you have to check that your Mac definitely hasn’t got a working Recovery partition. It’s possible that you have been using the wrong key combination, or that your keyboard wasn’t working, such as.

mac internet recovery

Here is how you can boot into Recovery Drive:

  • First, shut down your Mac. (Apple menu > Shut Down.)
  • Hold down the Command and R keys down and click the Power button.
  • Keep holding Command and R unless the Apple logo appears on the screen. Let go of the keys and then wait for the Mac to complete starting up.
  • You should see a screen that will say macOS Utilities (or if your Mac is older OS X Utilities). This is actually the Recovery partition. If you have this, then stop worrying. You’re good to go.

But, if the Mac boots up to your normal view, or if you’re faced with a completely blank screen, then you have not got a Recovery partition.


If your Mac does boot into macOS then you can at least check Terminal in order to see if you have a recovery partition, here’s how you can do that:

  • Open Terminal.
  • Then enter diskutil list.

You should see a list of all the volumes and also partitions on your computer. The first drive (/dev/disk0) will have a partition (typically listed as “3” with Apple_Boot Recovery HD after it). Try to use the Command-R process again.

You can also these tips.

  • First, reset your PRAM. Shut down your Mac and then hold down Command-Option-P-R during boot. Wait for the chimes and then let go.
  • Now check your keyboard (especially if it’s a Bluetooth keyboard). Try to use a wired keyboard if possible.

Okay, so either your Recovery Partition is missing, or doesn’t work and also you’ve tried everything. So now it’s time to look at reinstalling macOS without it. First, if it’s an option here, you should take the time to back up up your Mac using Time Machine. This will enable you to restore all your files, folders, and apps when you’ve reinstalled macOS.

Use Internet Recovery to reinstall macOS

Here’s what to do if you haven’t got a recovery partition on your Mac and want to reinstall macOS.

The first approach is to use a feature that’s called Internet Recovery. Newer Macs are able to boot directly from an internet connection, even along with no Recovery partition available. Here is how you can use macOS Internet Recovery:

mac internet recovery

  • First, shut down your Mac.
  • Hold down Command-Option/Alt-R and click the Power button. (On some Mac keyboards the Option key will be named as Alt).
  • Hold down those keys unless you a spinning globe and the message “Starting Internet Recovery. This may take a while for it”.
  • The message will be replaced along with a progress bar. Wait for it to fill, also expect it to take a while…
  • Wait for the macOS utility screen to appear.
  • Tap Reinstall macOS and follow the installation process.

There are some issues with Internet Recovery. It only works with networks using WEP and WPA security as well. This is most home Wi-Fi networks, however, if you’re on a proxy network or PPPoE then you will have problems. In these cases, it’s mostly best to find another network instead of creating a USB Recovery Stick. if you have Internet Recovery, then make use of it to reinstall macOS if it’s possible.

Create the macOS bootable installer on flash drive

If in case you can’t access Internet Recovery, then you are left with the option to create a bootable installer from a flash drive (at least 12GB in size). Note that this completely removes the USB flash drive, so be careful to remove any files from it first.

The simplest way to create a USB flash installer it to use Terminal actually:

Open your Applications folder and look to see if you have the Install files for the version of macOS or Mac OS X you need or not. In the case of Sierra or High Sierra, you’ll see something like this, such as.

When you have got hold of the installer for the version of macOS that you need, then follow these steps:

Steps | mac internet recovery

  • First, connect your USB flash drive to your Mac.
  • Then open Disk Utility.
  • Choose the volume (under External) in the sidebar. The Volume is the top part,but not the partition (which is underneath).
  • Tap Erase.
  • Ensure it says “Untitled” in the Name field. Don’t change this, then Click Erase.
  • Now open Terminal.
  • Cut and then paste the correct createinstallmedia text into Terminal (the code will depend on the version of macOS,
  • You’ll then have to enter your admin password. And then enter “y” and click Return. It will first clear your flash drive, then turn it into a bootable installer.

Install macOS from the bootable installer | mac internet recovery

Now you can follow these simple steps to use the bootable installer:

  • Ensure the bootable installer (USB flash drive) is connected to your Mac.
  • Then shut down your Mac.
  • Hold down Option or Alt and click the Power button.
  • The startup device list window should appear that displays a yellow drive with Install (software name) below it.
  • Select it and click Return. Now wait for the progress bar to fill.
  • Choose Disk Utility.
  • Choose the drive under Internal (your main hard drive).
  • Tap Erase.
  • Give the drive a name; “Macintosh HD” is traditional but you can choose any of them. Make sure that the Format is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and the Scheme is GUID Partition Map.
  • Tap Erase.
  • Then press Done.
  • Select Disk Utility > Quit Disk Utility.
  • Choose Install macOS and tap Continue.
  • Then follow the install macOS options.
  • Choose Macintosh HD as the installation disk, when presented, and tap Install.

mac internet recovery

macOS will now install on your hard drive from the bootable installer. The entire process can take around half an hour. After this has finished you will have a new installation of macOS along with a Recovery partition as well.


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you guys like this mac internet recovery articles and also find it helpful to you. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys have further queries related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: A Complete Review On Option Key on Mac

About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

Leave a Comment