5 Most Common Mac Startup Key Combinations You Need to Know [for macOS Ventura/Monterey]

Updated by Dany on Nov 24, 2022
  | Computer Instruction

There are many built-in functional modes on Mac, such as Recovery Mode, Mac Safe Mode, Target Disk Mode, and Startup Manager. You can use Mac startup key combinations to boot Mac into these built-in tools and fix Mac problems, such as macOS Ventura issues, Mac startup disk issues, and Mac boot issues.

In the following parts, we will show you some often-used Mac startup critical combinations on Apple Silicon Macs and Intel-based Macs.

Mac Startup Key Combinations [for Apple Silicon Mac]

First, you should check whether your Mac is an Apple silicon Mac or an Intel-based Mac; we will show you how.

How to Check if You Have an Apple Silicon Mac

The following Mac or MacBook has Apple Silicon inside. Check this list and see if your Mac or MacBook is on it:

  • MacBook Air (M2, 2022)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, M2, 2022)
  • Mac Studio (2022)
  • MacBook Pro (14-inch, 2021)
  • MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)
  • iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021)
  • Mac mini (M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)

If you don't know the exact Mac model of your Mac device, you can check the information about your Mac by following the steps below:

Step 1. Turn on your Mac and open the Apple menu.

Step 2. Click "About This Mac", and all the information about your Mac will show up.

check Mac chip by clicking About This Mac

Step 3. Check the information in the "Chip" column.

Apple Silicon Mac Startup Key Combinations

It is simple for Apple Silicon Mac users to remember the startup key combination because you just need to press the power button or Touch ID.

You can press the power button or Touch ID and release it until the startup options show up on the screen.

What can you do in the Mac startup window? The following tools or options are available:

Mac Startup Key Combinations [for Intel-Based Mac]

There are too many Mac startup key combinations for Intel-based Macs. We will introduce four sets of startup shortcuts you may often use and briefly explain what these shortcuts can do.

Shortcut 1. Enter the Recovery Mode Using Command + R

Recovery Mode is for troubleshooting Mac issues, and there are four options you can select in Recovery Mode:

  • Restore from Time Machine: you can system restore Mac with Time Machine.
  • Reinstall macOS: you can reinstall macOS Ventura or other macOS systems
  • Safari: browse Apple Support to get help with your Mac.
  • Disk Utility: erase or repair disks on Mac.

How to use Command + R to enter macOS Recovery Mode:

Step 1. Turn off your Mac by clicking "Shut Down".

Step 2. Press the power button or Touch ID to start the Mac again.

Step 3. While your Mac is turned on, press the Command + R keys and release the two keys until you see the macOS recovery options on the screen.

hold command and r keys

Step 4. You can choose the available options to fix your Mac issues.

macOS Recovery  Mode

Note: Click the link to fix Mac Recovery Mode not working in six ways.

Shortcut 2. Start Up to Startup Manager with Option or Alt

Mac Startup Manage can help you start your Mac with different disks. This option lets you dual boot macOS Ventura and Monterey on a Mac. How to get into Startup Manager with the Option or Alt key?

Step 1. Turn off your Mac by clicking "Shut Down".

Step 2. Press the power button or Touch ID to start the Mac again.

Step 3. While your Mac is turned on, press the Option or Alt key and release the key until you see the Startup Manager on the screen.

Step 4. Select a startup disk and press the Return key.

switch macOS Ventura and Monterey

Shortcut 3. Boot Mac into Safe Mode with Shift Key

Mac Safe Mode also can help you resolve some Mac startup disk and system issues, and you can access third-party applications in Safe Mode. How to boot Mac into Safe Mode with the Shift key?

Step 1. Turn off your Mac by clicking "Shut Down".

Step 2. Press the power button or Touch ID to start the Mac again.

Step 3. While your Mac is turned on, press the Shift key and release the key until you see the Apple logo on the screen.

Intel Mac Safe Mode

Step 4. Wait for the loading to be accomplished, and you will be in Mac Safe Mode.

Shortcut 4. Reset NVRAM Using Command + Option + R + P

When your Mac encounters display issues, Mac won't shut down, hard drive issues, and wrong time settings, you need to reset NVRAM on your Mac.

Step 1. Turn off your Mac by clicking "Shut Down".

Step 2. Press the power button or Touch ID to start the Mac again.

Step 3. While your Mac is turned on, press the Command + Option + R + P keys and release four keys until you see the Apple logo on the screen.

NVRAM Reset Keys

Rescue Data When Your Mac Encounters Startup Issues

Most of the time, you need to apply Mac startup key combinations to enter macOS Recovery Mode, Safe Mode, and Startup Manage because of some Mac startup issues or system bugs, such as Mac no startup disk. In that case, you may already lose essential data on your Mac or risk losing important data.

How to rescue data when your Mac encounters startup issues, or your Mac cannot boot? The best solution is applying a professional data recovery program – EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

How to Create a USB Bootable Media

Step 1. Install and run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac on another Mac computer, and select "File > Create Bootable USB". Then, choose a USB drive to create the bootable disc.

Install and run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac to Create Bootable USB

Warning
The creator will prompt to erase the drive to reallocate the space; then it can write the bootable files to this drive. Please back up all USB files before processing "Eraser".

Step 2. The program starts to create a 2GB space and save the boot files. The rest space on the USB can be still used for storage.

 create a 2GB space

Step 3. Once it completes, please follow the guide to boot the corrupted Mac from the bootable disc and start the recovery. We suggest you restore the data to an external hard drive. 

boot the corrupted Mac from the bootable disc

How to Recover Data from Mac Hard Disk

Step 1. Select the disk location (it can be an internal HDD/SSD or a removable storage device) where you lost data and files. Click the "Search for lost files" button.

select a location and scan for lost Mac data

Step 2. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac will immediately scan your selected disk volume and display the scanning results on the left pane.

wait for the scan to complete

Step 3. In the scan results, select the file(s) and click the "Recover" button to restore data from Mac.

recover data from Mac hard disk

[Fixed] Mac Startup Key Combinations Not Working

It is possible that your Mac startup key combinations are not working, and your Mac just starts up normally without entering Recovery Mode or Safe Mode. You can fix Mac startup key combinations not working with three methods:

  • Method 1. Check your keyboard performance, and replace or repair your keyboard. If you are using a magic keyboard, try to reconnect it to your Mac.
  • Method 2. Repair a Mac disk with Disk Utility. Sometimes the disk problems may cause Mac startup key combinations not to work.
  • Method 3. Update to the latest macOS version to fix system issues.

Mac Startup Key Combinations FAQs

We have learned many Mac startup key combinations in this passage, and you can learn more from the following questions and answers:

How to fix Mac that won't start in Safe Mode?

If your Mac won't start in Safe Mode, you can fix the problem in four ways:

  1. 1. Use the Option key to boot Mac into Safe Mode.
  2. 2. Check Mac security settings.
  3. 3. Reset SMC.
  4. 3. Try to reboot into Safe Mode.

How do I boot Mac from USB with startup key combinations?

You can boot Mac from a USB flash drive with Mac Startup Manager. How to do that?

  1. 1. Connect your USB installer to your Mac.
  2. 2. Press the power button to turn on the Mac.
  3. 3. Hold the option key to boot Mac into Startup Manager, then you can choose the USB to boot.

How do I start my Mac when it is frozen?

Check if your Mac is Apple silicon or Intel-based in the "About This Mac" menu.

  1. 1. For Apple silicon Macs: Press the power button and release it until the options appear.
  2. 2. For Intel-based Macs: Press the Option or Alt key and release the key until you see the Startup Manager on the screen.

Can I recover data from a Mac which won't start?

When your Mac cannot boot, you need a portable recovery tool to recover data. You can recover data with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac in three steps:

  1. 1. Scan your Mac disk to find files on your Mac.
  2. 2. Filter files and select important files to recover.
  3. 3. Preview and retrieve essential files.

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