Booting to macOS Recovery and Diagnostics Mode

All Macs now come with a Recovery partition to reinstall macOS and do some common maintenance. In order to restart into recovery, there are a number of keyboard combinations that must be held when the Mac is first started up. There are times when it is useful to select the mode ahead of time; also, it would be helpful to not have to remember all those key combinations and have to press them at the right time.

Recovery Selector

Recovery Selector is a open source app for macOS to select the boot mode when the Mac is next restarted. It can be downloaded from the Bitbucket page. The app will set the correct mode by setting the correct NVRAM variables.


  • Standard Boot: Sets the macOS to boot to the macOS
  • Recovery: Boots the next time to the recovery partition associated with the macOS version on the local disk.
  • Internet Recovery: Boot to internet recovery.
  • Diagnostics: Boot to Hardware Diagnostics (Hardware Test Mode)
  • Diagnostics: Boot to Internet Hardware Diagnostics (Internet Hardware Test Mode)

NVRAM Commands

Get current macOS startup disk

sudo /usr/sbin/systemsetup -getstartupdisk

Set Current Startup Disk

sudo /usr/sbin/systemsetup -getstartupdisk /System/Library/CoreServices

Set to Recovery Mode

sudo /usr/sbin/nvram internet-recovery-mode=RecoveryModeDisk

Set Internet Recovery Mode

sudo usr/sbin/nvram internet-recovery-mode=RecoveryModeNetwork

Set Diagnostic Mode

sudo usr/sbin/nvram internet-recovery-mode=DiagsModeDisk

Set Internet Diagnostic Mode

sudo usr/sbin/nvram internet-recovery-mode=DiagsModeNetwork

Delete Mode

sudo /usr/sbin/nvram -d internet-recovery-mode

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