Table of Content
    Mac Data Recovery

    [Fixed] Command + R Not Working Issue on Mac

    Table of Content

      Summary: This article will cover ways to fix Command R not working issues on all Macs, including Intel-based, T2 security chip, and Apple M1. Suppose you cannot boot in Recovery Mode or access the Time Machine backup. In that case, Stellar Data Recovery becomes a great alternative that allows you to restore the whole drive or any specific important files.

      Command + R is one of the most common troubleshooting shortcuts on Macs. With this combination, you can boot into Recovery Mode, which allows you to reinstall macOS, reset the admin password, erase the hard drive, reset Mac, and so much more. But what can you do if one day you try to boot into this powerful mode and suddenly Command + R is not working? 

      If your Mac Recovery Mode doesn’t work, you will see the normal login window, black or just a blank screen instead of the macOS Utilities window. Command + R not working on Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur or Catalina is as common as on older macOS systems, so that you can use the troubleshooting steps almost on all Mac computers. 

      How to Fix Command + R Not Working on Mac

      There are plenty of different reasons why you are facing Command + R not working on Mac. This may include incorrectly following the Recovery Mode boot instructions, keyboard corruption, or problems with the Recovery partition. 

      To fix Command + R not working follow the steps one by one:

      • Try booting into Recovery Mode once again.
      • Check keyboard issues.
      • Use alternative keyboard combinations instead of Command + R.
      • Reset NVRAM/PRAM.
      • Use Internet Recovery Mode.

      This article includes the most obvious reasons you can’t boot into Recovery Mode and the best ways to fix the Command + R not working issue. It also features a backup plan on reinstalling macOS or resetting Mac to factory settings even if you don’t have access to Recovery Mode after all these steps.

      A. Boot into Recovery Mode Once Again

      We all have been in situations where we read the instructions just briefly enough to get a common understanding. But when you try to boot into the Recovery Mode, it is important to follow each step exactly as it says in the instructions. Otherwise, it may result in the belief that Command + R is not working. 

      So follow the steps below carefully to boot into Recovery Mode:

      1. Restart your Mac and press Command + R on the keyboard.
      2. Release the buttons once you see the Apple logo and the progress bar.
      Command + R combination

      Do not shut down your Mac, close the lid or unplug the power cable during the loading process. 

      Tip – : It shouldn’t take more than 3 seconds between starting the Mac and pressing the Command + R buttons. A good option is to press the shortcut combination and the startup button simultaneously.

      B. Check Keyboard Issues

      Checking the peripherals is one of the first troubleshooting techniques for many Mac-related issues. Command + R not working can be caused by a faulty USB port, broken keyboard, issues with Bluetooth, or physical damage of one specific key. 

      To check the correct work of the USB port connect another device or use a different keyboard.  If you are using a Bluetooth keyboard, it is recommended to switch it to a wired one. 

      Hopefully, this easy manipulation helps to fix Command + R not working issues. Read on, if you can’t boot into Recovery Mode even with a new wired keyboard connected. 

      C. Use Alternative Command + R Keyboard Combinations 

      Unfortunately, Command + R doesn’t work the same way for all Mac computers. If you own a really old Mac that runs on macOS Snow Leopard (10.6) or older there is no recovery partition available and you have to use a disk that comes with a Mac to reinstall the OS. Also, if your Mac runs on macOS Sierra (launched in 2016) or earlier versions of macOS, the Recovery Mode won’t have the full functionality and some newer options will be missing. 

      Command + R won’t work to boot into the Recovery Mode even on some newer Mac models that run on T2 or Apple M1 chips.

      Open About this Mac from the Apple menu bar or go to to find out if your Mac has an Apple M1 chip or T2 security chip. Follow the instructions to boot into the Recovery Mode depending on the specifications of your Mac.

      About This Mac > macOS Monterey

      To boot in Recovery Mode on Macs with T2 security chip:

      1. Press and hold Option (Alt) + Command + R when starting a Mac.
      2. Release the keys once you see the Apple logo or the spinning globe icon.

      To boot in Recovery Mode on Macs with Apple M1 chip: 

      1. Press and hold the Power button.
      2. Release the button once you see “Loading startup options”.
      3. Choose Options on the screen and click on Continue.
      4. Type in the administrative password.

      D. Reset NVRAM/PRAM

      NVRAM which stands for Non-volatile Random Access Memory and PRAM (parameter RAM) is a small amount of special memory that saves information about essential Mac settings such as brightness, display resolution, startup disk options, time settings, etc. Since this information is used to boot Mac faster it is important to reset NVRAM/PRAM when you have any kind of boot options and when Command + R is not working. 

      To reset NVRAM/PRAM:

      1. Shut down Mac.
      2. After 10 seconds press the power button and Option + Command + P + R simultaneously. 
      3. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo appear twice or when you hear two startup chimes.

      After these actions reboot your Mac and try to start in the Recovery Mode.

      Tip – : Apple M1 chip Macs have an auto-reset NVRAM option so you can skip these steps and try running in the Internet Recovery mode instead.

      E. Use Internet Recovery Mode

      Unfortunately, if Command + R is not working after following all previous steps this most likely means that your recovery partition is corrupted and can’t work properly. That’s where Internet Recovery comes for help.

      Internet Recovery mode is very similar to the Recovery Mode and offers the same functionality, the only difference is that it loads recovery options over the Internet from Apple’s servers instead of your hard drive.

      To boot in Internet Recovery Mode on Intel Macs: 

      1. Shut down your Mac and wait for 5-10 seconds.
      2. Press and hold simultaneously the power button and Shift + Option + Command + R or Option + Command + R keys on the keyboard.
      3. Release the buttons when you see a spinning globe icon.
      4. Connect to your Wi-Fi network.

      The loading time might take some time as it depends on the Internet speed, it can even feel like Internet Recovery is stuck, but it is important to wait until it loads. So plug in the charging cable and don’t shut down or restart the Mac. 

      If you can’t boot in Recovery Mode on M1 Mac even after all the instructions above, you can try to use the “fallback recovery mode”. This new mode was introduced on M1 machines and is basically the same as Internet Recovery Mode on Intel Macs. 

      To boot in Fallback Recovery Mode on M1 Mac: quickly press and release the power button, then press and hold it until you see the loading bar or the Apple logo. 


      Mac Recovery is a special boot mode in which you can recover your Mac in different ways, including reinstalling macOS, restoring from a backup, erasing and formatting drives, and more.

      There are several reasons why Command R not is not working on Mac. In most cases, it happens due to issues with the USB port, keyboard, Bluetooth, or a corrupted recovery drive.

      To boot M1 Mac: Press and hold the power button until you see “Loading startup options”, then click on Options and Continue

      To boot an Intel-based Mac: Start your Mac while pressing and holding Command + R (Recovery Mode), Shift + Option + Command + R (Internet Recovery Mode for macOS 10.12.4 and later), or Option + Command +R (Internet Recovery Mode for all other Macs).

      You won’t be able to erase or format the drive you are currently booted from. Instead of Recovery Mode, you can boot into the Internet Recovery Mode, which allows the same functionality.

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      About The Author

      Ruslana Lishchuk linkdin

      Ruslana is a tech content writer whose true passion is finding out about everything Mac-related. She specializes in creating macOS guides and tips & tricks. In her spare time, you’ll find her doing yoga or discovering local coffee shops in search of the best filter coffee.


        1. Hey Frank,

          If your Mac is running a version macOS older than Sierra (launched in 2016) then you won’t have all the Recovery options available that you may have heard of. Try other methods shown in the blog.

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