How to Open Terminal on Mac Recovery Mode

Mac Terminal is a great tool for those who use a command-line interface to do things on their computer and it can often be instrumental in fixing problems with your system. What if your system won’t start up or you need to make changes in recovery mode?

Well, it’s not a problem because Mac Terminal is available in Recovery mode and the reason is that it is often needed to remedy problems that your system might encounter. I know I have used it a number of times and many others have done this as well.

My name is Eric and I am a software engineer and tech enthusiast. I use command-line interfaces like Mac Terminal on a daily basis so I know how powerful a tool they are, which is why most systems like Mac provide a way to use them in their recovery or startup modes.

If you would like to see how to do this, check out the steps below and you will be able to access this all-important tool when starting your Mac in Recovery mode.

Where is Terminal on Mac in Recovery Mode?

You will first need to get into Recovery mode and depending on what type of Mac you have (Apple Silicon or Intel-based) there are different methods of doing this

Once you are there, you will find Mac Terminal from the menu at the top of the screen on the Utilities drop-down.

Just click on it and a new Terminal window will open up and you will be able to perform whatever tasks you need to do.

What If the Utilities Menu or Terminal Isn’t Available?

If you start up your system in recovery mode and for some reason, you do not see the Utilities menu, or Terminal, you are probably wondering what is going on and what you can do at this point. While this is a bit uncommon, it does happen. 

In most cases, it is due to a bug or glitch in the version of macOS you are running. I have heard of people having this issue with macOS Sierra, but it is possible that it could happen on any version. 

Another possibility for it not working could be that it is not actually installed on your recovery partition. It should be there but it could have somehow been removed or not properly installed. In any case, there are a few things you can try.

Use the Keyboard Command to Start Terminal

This is the first thing I would try because it is the quickest and easiest solution. You can use the keyboard command to try starting Terminal by pressing the following keys.

Shift (⇧) + command + T

This is the normal key sequence for starting Terminal, so if it is installed on your recovery partition, this should start it up.

Don’t Boot from the Internet

There are options in recovery mode to boot and reinstall your OS from the Internet. If you boot in this mode, the Utilities menu may not be available, so make sure you boot from a local disk or a USB drive.

Start your System from a Bootable USB drive

If needed, you can create a bootable USB drive that will boot you into recovery mode and will have the Terminal application. There are utilities that can create these or you can create your own.

Upgrade your macOS

If you are able to do so, upgrading your macOS may also solve the problem. If the issue is a bug in your OS version it should fix it. If your current install does not have the Terminal app loaded into the Recovery partition, then it may install it for you.

How to Use Terminal on Mac Recovery Mode

Once in Terminal, you can run most of the normal commands that you are familiar with such as copying files, removing files, etc. Keep in mind that this is a slimmed-down version, so there are some commands and features that will not be available. 

A smaller version of the tool is made available in recovery mode in order to save disk space on the recovery partition.

Also, keep in mind that disk partitions will not be mounted, so you will need to manually find and access the drives and directories that you are looking for.

Final Words

I hope the information provided above can help you to get to Mac Terminal when in recovery mode. 

As usual, feel free to send me any questions or comments you may have.

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