15 Startup Key Combinations for Mac

| TMO Quick Tip

Your Mac and OS X have a variety of startup keys and key combinations you can use to affect how the device starts up. Shift key, for instance, starts your Mac in Safe mode, and C (or c) starts up from a bootable CD, DVD, or thumb drive. Command-S is for "single-user mode," which essentially means booting to the command line.

Apple Command Key

The Apple Key, or the Command Key

I was personally familiar with these and several others, but it turns out there are 15 total combinations, thanks to a KnowledgeBase article Apple posted. I'm betting many of you don't know them all, either, so here they are.

The links below point to other support documents on Apple's website.

15 Startup Key Combinations for Mac
Hold during startup Description
Shift ⇧ Start up in Safe Mode.
Option ⌥ Start up to Startup Manager.
C Start up from a bootable CD, DVD, or USB thumb drive (such as OS X install media).
D Start up to either Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics, depending on which Mac you're using.
Option-D Start up to either Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics over the Internet.
N Start up from a compatible NetBoot server.
Option-N Start up from a NetBoot server using the default boot image.
Command (⌘)-R Start up from OS X Recovery
Command-Option-R Start up from OS X Recovery over the Internet.
Command-Option-P-R Reset NVRAM. Release the keys after you hear the startup sound again.
Command-S Start up in single-user mode.
T Start up in target disk mode.
X Start up from an OS X startup volume when the Mac would otherwise start up from a non-OS X startup volume.
Command-V Start up in verbose mode.
Eject (⏏), F12, mouse button, or trackpad button Eject removable media, such as an optical disc.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Comments

Graham McKay

Wireless (bluetooth) keyboards can be a little tricky to activate the key stroke at the right moment. Too soon or too late will fail to register.
Best results I’ve obtained have been by pressing the keys immediately upon hearing the startup chime. So even trickier if you’ve muted the startup chime!

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