Is the normal, default behavior for an CMD-R based Mavericks OS Recovery to always pull the image over the internet?

(I am not talking about a deliberate "Internet" recovery CMD+OPT+R)

Back story -- I just purchased an open box 2014 Macbook Air. It was nominally wiped and recovered with os 10.9.3 -- (although I also am pretty sure I am seeing the previous owner's name appearing as default bluetooth options (probably need to PRAM reset as well)).

In any case, I immediately booted again with CMD-R to perform a Full OS reinstall. It immediately let me know installation would take over an hour. Looking at the full logs, and my wifi logs, it spends about 15 minutes downloading "506 chunks", of what I presume is the recovery image.

The first time this happened, I figured it was doing so possibly because there 10.9.4 is now the current OS version, so perhaps it just does a simple check and downloads a new recovery image if the version has changed. I let it complete the full install by default.

However, for giggles, after it was fully complete with the install (fully default), I decided to perform another OS install. Interestingly enough, the same behavior, 15 minutes spent downloading the same 506 chunks.

I would have expected that the recovery image on the disc would be the primary means of recovery, with deltas possibly being downloaded. The behavior I'm seeing seems very "wasteful" OF bandwidth.

I'm just wondering the the prior owner did something that is permanently causing this behavior.

  • Do you actually have a LOCAL recovery (it is a hidden partition) so you will have to unhide it first! if the cmd-r does not find a local valid recovery it will go to internet.
    – Ruskes
    Jul 13 '14 at 20:55

To avoid having to use Internet Recovery make a Mavericks USB installer.

First, download the Mavericks installer from the App Store. This will be placed in your Applications folder. Once downloaded do not run it or move it.

Next open Disk Utility and erase an 8GB USB memory stick, naming it Untitled. If you name it anything else be sure to modify the command below.

Open Terminal and enter the following command-

sudo /Applications/"Install OS X Mavericks.app"/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/"Install OS X Mavericks.app" --nointeraction

When complete you will have a full standalone installer, no network access required.


What you have would be normal if you do not have local copy of recovery.

OS X Internet Recovery

Mac models introduced after public availability of OS X Lion include the ability to start up directly from an Internet-based version of the OS X Recovery system. OS X automatically uses this feature when the Recovery System on the hard disk isn't available (such as when your hard disk encounters an issue, or when your hard disk has been replaced or erased). OS X Internet Recovery lets you start your Mac directly from Apple's servers. Starting up from this system performs a quick test of your memory and hard drive to check for hardware issues.

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