Mac Quick Keys Shortcuts

Written by me@grafxflow

30 Dec, 2018



14 handy startup key combinations for the Mac

All Macs using Mac OS X have several startup key combinations that affect how your computer starts up. I myself have had to use several of them to fix this and troublshoot that, but I have always wanted to them all and see what they do.

So here is a list of the most used for example Single User Mode uses Command + S. But they affect everything from changing your bootup drive or even using it as an external drive.

Below are the 14 key combinations with their description.

Hold during startup Description


Start up in Safe Mode.


Start up to Startup Manager.


Start up from a bootable CD, DVD, or USB thumb drive (such as OS X install media).


Start up to either Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics, depending on which Mac you're using.

Option/Alt + D

Start up to either Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics over the Internet.


Start up from a compatible NetBoot server.

Option/Alt + N

Start up from a NetBoot server using the default boot image.

Command + R

Start up from OS X Recovery.

Command + Option/Alt + R

Start up from OS X Recovery over the Internet.

Command + Option/Alt + P + R

Reset NVRAM. Release the keys after you hear the startup sound again.

Command + S

Start up in single-user mode.


Start up in target disk mode.


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.

Hope this is a handy reference for anyone.

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I am a Full-stack Developer who also started delving into the world of UX/UI Design a few years back. I blog and tweet to hopefully share a little bit of knowledge that can help others around the web. Thanks for stopping by!