So I have this MacBook Air that I haven't used in a year and I forgot the password. Problem is, the display has been broken for a long time, so I have been using an external monitor with it, but I couldn't find a way to get Recovery Mode to display to the external monitor.

I managed to use the VoiceOver function to erase the hard drive, but because I didn't remember the shortcut to close the window, so I could immediately reinstall OS X, I restarted the computer.

Now it won't output to the external monitor, and VoiceOver doesn't do anything, so all I have is a blank screen.

Does anyone know what this screen looks like and can give some simple guidance so I can reinstall OS X using the keyboard?

Update: I remember it saying that it ran Mac OS X Lion while I was going through the options, and while I'm not sure exactly which type of MacBook Air it is, it is small and its model number is A1370.

Update 2: After leaving it alone for a while, we restarted it holding command+R again, and it worked. Not sure what changed, but it worked.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. Can you provide more information in your question, such as what model MacBook Air this is, and what version of OS X it's running? This will help us solve your problem.
    – Munesawagi
    May 3, 2016 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


Shut down the computer, plug in the external monitor and keyboard and turn on the computer holding down command+R for a while. Then, close the lid of the laptop and it should display on the external monitor.


The OS doesn't work with the external monitor until a certain phase during the OS installation, or something like that.

Is the display completely broken or just the backlight? In the latter case the workaround is that the Apple logo on the lid of the MacBook Air allows you to shine a lamp through it to light up the centre part of the internal display just enough to use the GUI there to hopefully get to the stage where it will then enable your external display.

At least this worked for me on my 6,1 MacBook Air from mid 2013.

  • The display was completely broken. But now it seems to have gotten working, somebody else came and rebooted it and it worked. Thanks for your time, though.
    – user182095
    May 4, 2016 at 12:35

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