OS X Recovery includes a built in set of utilities as part of the Recovery System. To start your computer from Recovery, restart your Mac and hold down the Command key and the R key (Command-R). Keep holding these keys until the Apple icon appears. This indicates that your Mac is starting up. After the Recovery System is finished starting up, you should see a desktop with an OS X menu bar and a “Mac OS X Utilities” window. Note: If you see a login window or your own desktop and icons, it’s possible that you didn’t hold Command-R early enough. Restart and try again.
In order to reinstall OS X, you will need to be connected to the Internet over an Ethernet or Wi-Fi network. The Wi-Fi menu item is in the upper-right corner of the screen. Click the icon to display all available Wi-Fi networks. Click your preferred network name and, if needed, enter a username and/or password.
OS X Internet Recovery
New Mac models introduced after public availability of OS X Lion include the ability to start up directly from an Internet-based version of the OS X Recovery system. OS X automatically uses this feature when the Recovery System on the hard disk isn’t available (such as when your hard disk encounters an issue, or when your hard disk has been replaced or erased). OS X Internet Recovery lets you start your Mac directly from Apple’s Servers. The system runs a quick test of your memory and hard drive to ensure there are no hardware issues.
OS X Internet Recovery presents a limited interface at first, with only the ability to select your preferred Wi-Fi network and, if needed, entering a passphrase. Next, OS X Internet Recovery downloads and starts from a Recovery System image. From there, you are offered all the same utilities and functions described above.
As with the Recovery System, reinstallation of OS X requires an Internet connection. See “Supported network configurations and protocols” below.
Some computers that did not ship with OS X Lion or later installed may have a software update available that adds the ability to use Internet Recovery.
Restoring iLife applications after Internet Restore of OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion
If your computer came with OS X Lion or later and you erase your hard disk and install OS X, you can download iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand from the Mac App Store.
- After installation, start (up) from OS X.
- Double-click the App Store icon in the dock.
- Enter your Apple ID and password.
- Click Purchases.
- If you haven’t previously accepted your bundled iLife applications within the Mac App Store, you should see your iLife applications appear in the Accept portion of the screen. Click Accept.
- You may be asked for your Apple ID and password once again. Your iLife applications now move to the Purchased section. These applications are part of the software that came with your Lion based computer. Your account will not be charged for them. Click Install to complete installation of your applications.
Requirements for reinstalling OS X using Recovery
Reinstalling OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion using OS X Recovery requires broadband access to the Internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. OS X is downloaded over the Internet from Apple when OS X Recovery is used for reinstallation.
OS X Recovery requires that DHCP is enabled on your chosen Wi-Fi or ethernet network, If you bought OS X from the Mac App Store, you will be prompted to enter the Apple ID and password you used to purchase OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion.
The time required to download OS X varies, depending on the speed of your Internet connection and the version of OS X you are installing. If your usual or current Internet connection has requirements or settings not supported by OS X Recovery, either change the settings to a supported configuration for the duration of your OS X reinstall, or seek out acceptable networks from which you are permitted to access the Internet (such as friends, family, Internet “cafe” establishments, or possibly your place of employment with appropriate permission).
Supported network configurations and protocols
|local Recovery System||Internet Recovery|
|PPPoE (where there is no router handling the PPPoE connection)||No||No|
|Captive-Networks (where you click an “Agree” button to access the Internet)||Yes||No|
|Proxies (where specific proxy servers must be configured in network preferences)||No||No|
|Certificate-based authentication / 802.1x||No||No|
What to do if the installer warns that no Recovery System can be created
Some disk partition configurations may result in the OS X installer reporting that it could not create a Recovery System. In these situations, even if you are permitted to continue the install, you may want to quit the installation and create an external, bootable OS X hard drive with a Recovery System, first. You can continue your OS X upgrade on your computer’s startup drive after creating an external Recovery System.
- Your storage device must have at least 13 GB available (after formatting) to install OS X Lion or later and an Recovery partition.
- These steps erase and reformat the storage device. This article instructs you on setting up a storage device to use the GUID partition scheme and the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format, which are required to install OS X and a Recovery partition on your external storage device. You should back up any important files that are on the device to a different drive.
- This procedure installs a version of OS X that is compatible with the Mac it was created with. Using this OS X system with a different Mac model may produce unpredictable results.
- Your computer’s serial number is sent to Apple as part of this process to help authenticate your request to download and install OS X Lion.
Please note that a Recovery System must be present on your computer’s startup volume in order to use FileVault 2.
OS X Recovery includes a version of Safari with links to resources on www.apple.com. This version of Safari can be used to access help resources at Apple’s website and elsewhere on the Internet. The network requirements listed above also apply to the version of Safari included with OS X Recovery. Plugins and Safari Extensions cannot be added to the version of Safari included with OS X Recovery.