Mac Geek Gab, my favorite podcast, is like the old Car Talk radio program, but for Apple geeks. It’s one of a handful of podcasts I listen to religiously and I learn something new in every episode. Over the years, I’d heard hosts Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun direct listeners to The Eclectic Light Company website for a solution many times but had never visited it myself.

Mac Startup Modes

Recently, the hosts were talking about how new Macs with Apple M1 processors finally ditch the arcane key commands for startup modes such as recovery and safe. Intel Mac users restart their Macs and then immediately hold down:

    • Command-R for macOS Recovery mode.
    • Option-Command-R for macOS Recovery over the internet to install or upgrade to the latest compatible version of macOS.
    • Option-Shift-Command-R for macOS Recovery over the internet (to reinstall the macOS version that came with your Mac.
    • Shift for Safe Boot mode.
    • T for Target Disk mode.

And so on.

But if your Mac sports an M1 processor, you can forget those (and all those other) hard-to-remember startup key shortcuts. Instead, press and hold down the Power button until the startup options window appears, and then select the startup mode you desire.

The Mac Geek Gab guys were 100% correct about Eclectic Light’s explanations — they were among the clearest and most concise I’ve seen and were well worth reading.

The Eclectic Light Company

But it turns out The Eclectic Light Company website is much more than a couple of useful articles.

There's much to explore at The Eclectic Light Company.

There’s much to explore at The Eclectic Light Company website.

I went there seeking information about startup modes, but I fell down the rabbit hole. I then spent more than an hour perusing the other geeky delights, including more than 40 free Mac utilities created by Howard Oakley, the site’s proprietor and chief illuminator.

The Eclectic Light Company menu of Mac utilities.

The Eclectic Light Company menu of Mac utilities.

And these are not just free utilities, they’re free and useful utilities such as:

    • Silent Knight, for checking your Mac’s security systems.
    • T2M2 (The Time Machine Mechanic), for analyzing and diagnosing Time Machine issues.
    • Scrub, for cleaning folders or volumes of potentially sensitive data.
    • Cirrus, for controlling, investigating, and diagnosing iCloud issues.
    • Alifix, for refreshing Aliases and identifies broken Aliases

But wait, there’s more!

Beyond the useful (and free) utilities, you’ll also find an outstanding collection of articles and links to items of interest to anyone wanting to know more about what goes on under the hoods of new M1-based Macs.

Another section offers thousands of well-curated links to articles about troubleshooting specific Mac issues.

Finally, since the site’s subtitle is “Macs, Painting, and More,” you’ll also find musings and images on art and painting.

So, check out The Eclectic Light Company today if you can spare the time. Or bookmark it and enjoy it some other time. Either way, if you’re a Mac geek, you’ll want to have The Eclectic Light Company on your radar.

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