Over the past 15 years, Apple’s Mac OS X has had a good reputation for being a dependable platform. However, knowing your recovery options is essential if you have problems starting your Mac. For example, you may encounter various issues while updating your MacBook or Mac Pro. Sometimes things progress normally, but your Mac may fail to start up, meaning the update failed, and you need to recover access. Different factors may also cause error messages that may go away independently. Let’s go over solutions.
Using Built-in Mac OS X Methods to Recover After a Failed Update
If you can’t start your Mac after an update, don’t fret—you’re not without options. If you set up a Time Machine backup and have previously completed some tasks on your computer without difficulties, you may be able to continue using it. Otherwise, the first option is to use the built-in recovery utilities. To do so:
- Before the Apple logo appears on the screen while booting, press the Command + R keys.
- Hold on a while during this process. OS X will load and execute a small copy of itself that works properly.
- The welcome screen will greet you after the loading has finished. Select your language, then proceed to Continue.
The OS X utility screen displays a list of typical recovery alternatives to try to get your Mac up and running. They are as follows:
Method 1: Use Disk Utility for Mac
Disk Utility is the first program that is also not too invasive. You can use it to execute basic operations such as disk repair, setting disk permissions, and checking the health of your system. If you select the partition or erase it when you have data you want to recover, be careful not to choose anything named partition or delete. This option no longer applies if you’re running OS X El Capitan (10.11) or later because Apple now secures file system permissions automatically. You can still try it if you’re running an earlier version of OS X like this:
- Select your OS X disk from the drop-down menu in the sidebar.
- Pick the First Aid button.
- Select the Repair Disk option from the drop-down menu.
If the Disk utility does not help, using OS X’s Reinstallation feature will. However, using the latest iMac model depends on having a high-speed internet connection. Because OS X is rather big, between 6 and 12 GB depending on the version, it might take some time to download, even on a fast connection. Think carefully about your choices when utilizing this function.
Method 2: Install macOS From Scratch
You can also install OS X from scratch if ready to go all out. This will erase all your data, so ensure you’ve backed everything up before proceeding. Now:
- Select the option for deleting all data in the sidebar under the OS X disk one.
- Proceed to choose the Delete tab and choose Security Options.
- To write zeroes over every byte of space on your drive (wipe it clean, essentially) select Zero Out Data from the drop-down menu.
- When the drive is formatted, no one should be able to recover its content. Depending on the size and speed of your drive, this may take some time. After it’s finished, close Disk Utility and move on to Mac installation.
Method 3: Utilize Time Machine Backups
As a Mac user, you may believe the “it just works” approach doesn’t justify investing in backup solutions, but newsflash—it does. Thus, hopefully, you have a backup. If so:
- Select an up-to-date Time Machine backup from the “OS X Utilities” menu and press Continue.
- Connect your Time Machine backup and make sure it is switched on.
- Follow the on-screen instructions so it’s detected.
- Select the latest hard disk backup and click Continue. Your Mac will restore the Time Machine backup and restart to, hopefully, the home screen when finished.
Another option when trying to recover a Mac after the update failed also involves Time Machine backups:
- Connect the external drive that contains your Time Machine backup.
- During the startup sound, press and hold the Option key. The Time Machine backup disc should show up after that.
- Select the most recent hard disk backup and continue by clicking Continue.
- Your Mac will restore the previous Time Machine backup after this process is finished and restart afterward.
2. Cloud-based macOS Recovery (Alternative Boot Method)
Internet recovery is ideal if your macOS has irreparable files and none of the solutions mentioned above is accessible or effective. This allows you to boot directly to Apple servers, where you can download and install OS X on your computer. Unfortunately, this choice isn’t available to all Macs, but it’s worth a shot when other choices have run out:
- When you start your Mac, press Option + Command + R instead of the traditional “Option” key sequence.
- You’ll see an animated globe. Wait a few moments before clicking on the list box and selecting a wireless network to connect.
- Type in the password and follow the on-screen instructions to install a new macOS system.
Cloud services can make things easier; you won’t have to maintain so many accounts and files. Keeping a regular data backup shouldn’t be too difficult either if you utilize the available cloud services. We also strongly advise creating a secure, off-site backup of your system.