MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix in 2023

MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix

If you’re MacBook is frozen on the recovery screen then check out our guide on MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix!

MacBooks are some of the best laptops you can buy on the market. They are fast, powerful, and reliable machines that get a lot of work done. While MacBooks are much more reliable than Windows or Linux-based devices, they are still not perfect.  

MacBooks can never be perfect, if they are then there will be no need for innovation. So MacBooks have their issues and one of the most notorious ones is when they get stuck in Recovery Mode. I have faced this issue personally and it made the device useless for a few days. 

After hours of researching online and talking to Apple’s tech support, I found that the issue for me was with my memory controllers. There are multiple fixes for this issue, and this guide covers all the fixes you can try. Here’s our guide on MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix

After having reviewed all of Apple’s official documents and referring to our credible sources; my team and I found that:

If a MacBook is stuck in recovery mode the best method to fix it would be to Restart the MacBook. Not only does this help get rid of incompatibility issues but restarting the MacBook will also disconnect and reconnect the MacBook with all its hardware. This will reset the and ensure that it runs smoothly. To restart the MacBook, the user must hard press the power button and turn it on.

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MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix

What is MacBook Recovery Mode?

Recovery mode in macOS is a built-in function of MacBook that gives you utilities that can help fix problems that are related to the macOS. To boot into Recovery, press and hold Command Key + R when powering on your MacBook. 

Some of the Recovery mode utilities include:

  1. Reinstall macOS or OS X
  2. Restore your Mac from the Time Machine utility of your MacBook.
  3. Disk Utility gives you the option to repair or erase disks on your MacBook. 
  4. Online Help Utility allows you to browse the internet from inside the Recovery mode itself. But browser plugins and extensions. 
  5. Other Utilities include Firmware Password Utility, Terminal, Network Utility, and more.

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Why is my Mac stuck on Recovery Mode?

MacBooks especially the ones with an Intel CPU can get stuck in recovery mode because of the PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory), NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory), and SMC (System Management Controller). These are subsystem-level components that are vital for macOS to run. So resetting them can fix your MacBook. 

In some cases, the startup disk of your Mac can malfunction which may put your MacBook into a recovery mode boot loop. We explain how to fix this issue below, so keep reading. 

And sometimes, when you were attempting recovery on your MacBook, something might have gone wrong in the process which is why your Mac is now stuck in a boot loop. No matter what the reason is, we have covered the fixes in our article, MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix. Try all the fixes. 

What to do if my Mac is automatically booting into recovery mode?

A Mac will infrequently start in recovery mode automatically. The Mac will boot back into recovery mode in this case even if you restart it. There may be a number of causes for this.

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When the Mac starting disc cannot be located, the disc fails, or there is no viable system software version available, the Mac will automatically boot into recovery mode.

If the startup disc cannot be located, pick “Startup Disk” from the Apple menu, then “Macintosh HD boot volume” or the name of your boot drive.

You will have to download the macOS system software again if the system software cannot be located. On an M1 Mac or an Intel Mac, you can reinstall MacOS.

The computer will need to be serviced if the drive fails, or the disc may need to be replaced (assuming the disc is replaceable, which is not the case with most modern Macs that have soldered the SSD onto the logic board).

On Intel Macs, this might also occur as a result of NVRAM settings; in this case, resetting NVRAM usually fixes the issue immediately.

How to Get Out of Recovery Mode

Like any piece of software, even the Recovery Mode that is supposed to save you can be the cause of problems. Sometimes your MacBook can get stuck in Recovery Mode.

This can make the MacBook almost useless, as you can’t boot into macOS. But luckily there are many fixes that you can try to get out of the recovery mode of your MacBook. Below are the fixes you can try if your MacBook is stuck in the Recovery Mode. Here’s our guide on MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix!

Restart Your Mac

Whenever something goes wrong with an electronic device, restarting the device can fix it if the issue is nothing serious. Any bug or issue that crept up while using your MacBook will get fixed with just a restart.

Restarting also fixes any incompatibility issue that’s present. When your MacBook restarts, it will disconnect and reconnect with all the hardware again and get things back to running smoothly. In the case of a stuck Recovery Mode, restarting a few times may be useful. 

Since you can’t boot into macOS, you will have to long-press on your MacBook’s power button till it shuts down completely. Let it aside for a minute or two and then power your MacBook on.

Wait for your Mac to restart and if it still gets booted to Recovery Mode then check the other methods below one by one.

Create a New User Account

Sometimes when the user account on your MacBook can be corrupted. This can lead to your MacBook getting stuck in the Recovery Mode as it can boot into any account. 

You can go around this issue by creating a new User Account. You can then log in to your MacBook using this account. To create a new User Account:

  1. Open Users & Groups Preferences in the recovery mode.
  2. Now, choose the lock icon, you will be prompted to enter your Admin password so enter it. 
  3. Now, under the Current User option, choose Login Options, here you’ll find an Add [+] button. Click on Add [+].
  4. Now, Create a new Admin User Account.
  5. Once created, restart your MacBook and you will be able to log in through the new account.

But in case you are still stuck in the Recovery Mode after the restart then you can move on to the next method. 

Try accessing the Safe Mode

Another proven fix for this issue is restarting your MacBook into safe mode. This will activate only the essential Mac features and won’t try to load into your account, so if there are any problems with your MacBook’s account management, it won’t affect a safe mode restart. 

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To restart your MacBook into Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Power down your MacBook.
  2. Now, switch on your MacBook while holding the Shift key.
  3. Release the Shift key when you are asked to log in to your MacBook.

Once you are in safe mode you can check if there is something wrong with your MacBook User account and fix it. But if you can’t boot into safe mode then you can try other fixes below. 

Reset the System Management Controller

If none of the above worked, the problem is probably deep down at low-level processes. Your MacBook can be stuck in Recovery Mode due to the System Management Controller (SMC).

The SMC on a MacBook is responsible for many autonomous functions. These functions include battery and power management along with other systemic functions.

If the SMC of your MacBook is corrupted, then resetting the SMC of your MacBook can fix the issue. To reset the SMC of your MacBook, follow these steps carefully:

  1. Save all your files and work, and close any existing application.
  2. Now, shut down your MacBook.
  3. Once it is off, press and hold, Control + Option + Shift for seven seconds at least.
  4. Now, after seven seconds, along with the above keys, press the power button too for an additional seven seconds.
  5. Let go of all the keys, wait for a few seconds, and power up your MacBook again.

Alternatively, if your MacBook has a removable battery, then you can reset the SMC by following thee steps:

  1. Shut down your MacBook and unplug the charger, if connected.
  2. Now remove the battery for your MacBook.
  3. Press and hold your MacBook’s power button for 5 seconds at least.
  4. Reinstall the battery onto your MacBook.
  5. Power on your MacBook again and try to log in.

If your MacBook still boots into recovery mode then you can try resetting the NVRAM and PRAM.


If resetting the SMC didn’t fix the issue, then resetting the NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) and PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory) might do the trick. A bugged memory can make the system load into Recovery Mode thinking something is at fault.

Resetting both NVRAM and PRAM will get rid of the bugs and might fix the issue. Resetting them is similar to resetting the SMC, follow these steps:

  1. Switch off your Mac.
  2. Press and hold these keys, Control + Option + P + R for about 20 seconds, that is until the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time. 

You need to keep one thing in mind before resetting NVRAM and PRAM. It might reconfigure the display, startup disk settings, and time zone to factory defaults. You can always change them back to your preference later, so you don’t have to worry. 

If the issue persists after all this then the problem might be with your storage disks, so might need to repair them.

Repair the startup disk

A corrupted startup disk could cause problems that may put your MacBook on a recovery loop. This means that you can be stuck in the recovery mode because of the startup disk. You can fix this issue by repairing the disk. To repair your startup disk, follow these steps:

  1. No, restart your MacBook. Press and hold Command Key + R when your MacBook is starting to reboot. 
  2. A Utility Menu will appear, select the Disk Utility option from here, and click on continue.
  3. Select the volume or disk you want to repair, it is probably Macintosh DS. Now click on the First Aid button.
  4. Wait for the repair process to finish. Restart your MacBook and see if the problem still exists. 

If the problem still exists then you will have to reinstall your whole macOS.

Use Time Machine Backup to fix MacBook Stuck in Recovery

If your MacBook is stuck in recovery mode, you can use a Time Machine backup to fix it. But for this to work, you need to have your Time Machine backup file on an external drive.

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So, if you have a Time Machine backup of your MacBook on an external drive, then follow these steps to fix MacBook stuck in Recovery issue,

Step 1 Restart your MacBook and click the Options tab during start-up.

Step 2 Connect your external drive which has the Time Machine backup.

Step 3 After your MacBook boots, choose the Recovery Drive to boot safely into your Mac. Click on Use Disk to update your system storage to the Time Machine backup file.

Note that doing this will take you back to the Time Machine backup state and so you might lose data and files.

Erase and Install macOS

If your entire macOS is corrupted then reinstalling it might be the only fix. To reinstall macOS, there are the steps you have to follow:

  1. Restart your MacBook
  2. You will be booted into your recovery mode, or you can press and hold Command Key + R.
  1. Once you are into Recovery Mode, you will see the Utility Menu, from here select the Disk Utility option, and press Continue.  
  2. Now, choose the drive that you want to reinstall macOS from the Device list. 
  3. In the Disk Utility toolbar, click on the Erase icon, and you will see a drop-down panel.
  4. No set the Format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) option. 
  5. Click Apply and wait for the Done button and click on it.
  6. Now quit Disk Utility and return to the Utility Menu.
  7. You can now choose the Reinstall OS X option which will reinstall macOS on your MacBook. 

This should fix all the issues with your macOS and once the OS is reinstalled, you can boot into your MacBook without getting stuck in the Recovery Mode. 

Contact Apple Support

If you couldn’t fix the problem with any of the above methods, then there might be a hardware problem, either a broken disk or some other component. This means you need to get professional support.

Whatever the problem is, it is best to contact Apple online or book an appointment with Apple’s Genius Bar. Apple will find and fix the issue for you.

MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix – Final Thoughts

Getting stuck into the Recovery Mode of your MacBook is a problem many users have faced including me. While the cause of the issue can be uncertain, there are plenty of fixes that you can try. 

It is mostly an issue with memory controllers or the hard disks of your MacBook. The above guide should definitely fix the MacBook stuck in the Recovery Mode issue, as long as there is no physical hardware damage. check out our entire guide on MacBook Stuck in Recovery: How To Fix!

How To Fix MacBook Stuck In Recovery: FAQs

Why is my MacBook stuck in recovery mode? 

It’s entirely possible to get stuck in recovery mode while restoring your system. Generally, it happens due to unnecessary junk files that can make your MacBook run pretty slow. However, you can fix this issue by simply resetting your system’s NVRAM and SMC. If you’re still unable to get out of the recovery mode, you should contact Apple Support for professional help. 

How do I bypass the Internet Recovery on MacBook Pro? 

To skip the Internet Recovery on MacBook Pro, you can simply hold the Command + R button and restart your system. Keep holding the buttons until you’re able to hear the startup chime again, and then try doing an SMC or NVRAM reset. 

Does recovery mode delete everything on MacBook? 

No, the recovery mode will not delete everything on your MacBook by itself. However, if you’re choosing the option of erasing the disk, then yes, recovery mode will be able to delete everything on a MacBook. 

How do you force restart a MacBook Pro? 

To force restart your MacBook Pro, you can press and hold onto Command + Ctrl keys along with the power button. Also, ensure that you’re holding all three keys until the system restarts by itself. 

How do I boot into disk utility? 

To access the Disk Utility function, first press the Command + Space key. It’ll open the Spotlight Search, where you can type for Disk Utility and hit enter. Apart from this, you can also enter the Disk Utility section by first clicking the Launchpad icon and then choosing Other Folder to see the option of Disk Utility. 

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