[Fixed] Command R Not Working on Mac (Boot in Recovery Mode)

command r not working

 The failure of Command +R can be frustrating, especially when you’re running late to wind up on a project on your Mac. Besides, you can be penalized for late submission of the project, or if it’s at work, you are sure that your supervisor will not be happy with your work.

The Command +R should not scare you. You can fix it by yourself; you don’t have to incur the cost of hiring a technician. Read the tips for fixing Command +R not working on Mac.


What Causes Command + R Not to Work?

The Command +R may fail because:

  • You are using a macOS version older than sierra. It wouldn’t have all the recovery options.
  • Your keyboard might be defective.

  • Your Mac has a corrupt NVRAM.

  • You are using a Bluetooth keyboard, and it isn’t connected to your Mac via Bluetooth.

  • The recovery partition is damaged or missing.

  • Your Mac runs on Apple's latest processors rather than an Intel processor.

So how can you get back the Command + R shortcut working on your Mac?

You can use different methods to fix the Command + R key not working on Mac. Here is how to do it:

1. Switch from a Wireless Keyboard to a Wired

Mac devices allow users to connect their machines with a wireless keyboard via Bluetooth. However, the feature may fail or delay relying on the computer or have a weak connection. Your wireless keyboard may malfunction, leading to the Command + R not working. If this is the problem, you can solve it by connecting a wired keyboard.

Here is how to go about it;

Step 1: Disconnect your Mac from the wireless keyboard by first powering it off.

Step 2: Link it to a wired keyboard and power it on.

Step 3: Allow the system to fully power on, then power it off again.

Step 4: Power the machine on again and confirm if you can boot it from the recovery mode by pressing the Command + R keys.

If the Command + R is still not working, consider the next solution.

2. Try a Combination of the Power on Keys and Command + R Buttons

The Command + R feature may fail if the buttons and the order of the power-on keys that makes the machine go to recovery mode are different from the one you are using. If this is the issue, you can solve the problem by trying a combination of different keys;

Long press the command + R keys

Step 1: Shut down your Mac.

Step 2: Power off the wireless keyboard by pressing the power button on the keyboard.

Step 3: Next, turn on the Mac and the keyboard at the same time.

Step 4: Swiftly hold the Command + R keys and confirm if the recovery options are available.


3. Press the command + R key and power button

Step 1: Power on your Mac

Step 2: Press and hold the power button, command R keys, then release the power button while still holding the command R key.

Step 3: Check if you can boot into recovery mode

Perform multiple taps on keys (Command & R)

Step 1: Switch on your Mac, and when you hear the startup sound, double-tap the Command + R buttons. Check if the issue has been resolved.

Step 2: If it hasn’t been resolved, switch off your Mac.

Step 3: Power on your Mac and continuously press the command +R keys until the system boots to recovery mode.

4. Press the keys after the Numeric flash

Step 1: Switch off your Mac.

Step 2: Then power it on. After a while, the numeric light (green light on the numeric keys) will flash.

Step 3: Press the Command + R keys and check if you can reboot to recovery mode.

Press the command + R keys before powering on the system

Step 1: Switch off your Mac. Press the desired keys and press the power key on the keyboard.

Step 2: Immediately power on your Mac and press the power key of your keyboard again.

Step 3: Confirm if the system reboots back to the recovery mode.

5. Re-Install the MacOS

If your Mac system does not have an installed or preset recovery partition, your Mac will not boot into the recovery mode through the Command + R keys. in such a scenario, you should reinstall macOS by using an external media like a USB drive or DVD. The new OS will replace the version that doesn’t have the recovery mode.

Run the command + R key to launch the disk utility in the terminal. This procedure will help you confirm if the recovery partition is present. If you discover that the recovery partition is missing, reinstall a new macOS. Here are steps to follow;

Step 1: Put the installation disk in the DVD drive of your Mac.

Step 2: Restart your system and press the C button during the reboot process.

Step 3: On the second page of the installation process, a pull-down menu will appear, choose the Utilities Menu and try to perform a repair or reformat the system to do away with the issue.

6. Reset NVRAM to Default

The NVRAM is responsible for several processes during system startup. If the NVRAM is corrupt, the Command + R will not work. If this is the case, resetting NVRAM to default will solve the problem. However, this solution may not apply to all Mac users. Here’s how to go about it;

Step 1: Start your Mac and close all applications.

Step 2: Open Finder and launch Utilities.

Step 3: Open Terminal and type sudo NVRAM –c

Step 4: Press the Enter key, and enter your Password.

Step 5: Next, type sudo shutdown -r now in the terminal and hit the Enter key for the system to restart.

Step 6: Allow the system to power on and shut it down.

Step 7: Now switch on the Mac and confirm if the issue has been resolved.


When the Command + R fails to work, do not declare your Mac useless. Sometimes you can quickly resolve the issue by switching from a wireless keyboard to a wireless one, reinstalling a clean macOS, or resetting NVRAM to default. Either of the quick fixes mentioned above should fix the Command + R not working in your mac. If all methods above fail, you should consider visiting a certified Mac technician to troubleshoot your computer. But if the mac is still under a warrant cover, send it back to where you bought it for servicing and repairing.

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