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I want to delete the Recovery Partition

Before macOS El Capitan you could Delete the Recovery Partition by removing all partitions

and haven't used this but you can also enable debug mode in disk utility to see the recovery partitions seems like

so how do I delete the recovery partition above Yosemite? (prefer an answer that works above High sierra) I don't prefer to use diskutil I prefer a GUI

  • 1
    To what end? No partitions means the disk is not usable… until you add at least one partition. This feels like an XY Problem Try to ask about what problem you are trying to solve, rather than how to do what you think might solve it. – Tetsujin Apr 16 '20 at 13:40
  • @Tetsujin well one reason is just for fun another reason is if you delete all partitions it deletes the invisible recovery partition at the same time – one tskk Apr 16 '20 at 13:43
  • The Recovery Partition is generated at macOS install, not by formatting. If you just reformat the drive by hitting Erase instead of Partition, you get one partition, no Recovery. – Tetsujin Apr 16 '20 at 13:57
  • There is no uniform "Recovery Partition" in El Capitan and later. All Macs with an APFS container as system partition (no dual-boot macOS_older/macOS_newer!) have an APFS recovery volume in the APFS container. Macs with no APFS container as "system partition" (then either HFS+ or CoreStorage) have an extra recovery partition. – klanomath Apr 16 '20 at 14:12

All macOS installations stored in an APFS container share the same volume for the recovery software. As you will see, you are not trying to delete a partition or volume, but rather you are trying to delete a folder. Below is the output from diskutil apfs list for a 2018 mac Mini with High Sierra and Catalina installed.

APFS Container (1 found)
+-- Container disk1 8FCE2EBA-130E-457C-B9D0-9E99E9D0E755
    APFS Container Reference:     disk1
    Size (Capacity Ceiling):      800000000000 B (800.0 GB)
    Capacity In Use By Volumes:   787100897280 B (787.1 GB) (98.4% used)
    Capacity Not Allocated:       12899102720 B (12.9 GB) (1.6% free)
    +-< Physical Store disk0s2 4AE31492-9B5C-493E-A58D-A928FD3E2E88
    |   -----------------------------------------------------------
    |   APFS Physical Store Disk:   disk0s2
    |   Size:                       800000000000 B (800.0 GB)
    +-> Volume disk1s1 0FDF3012-D218-45C2-BBE0-ED6CACE7A766
    |   ---------------------------------------------------
    |   APFS Volume Disk (Role):   disk1s1 (No specific role)
    |   Name:                      Muskie (Case-insensitive)
    |   Mount Point:               /Volumes/Muskie
    |   Capacity Consumed:         32164876288 B (32.2 GB)
    |   FileVault:                 No
    +-> Volume disk1s2 84EB1BDE-F08F-483D-B065-693880652C2D
    |   ---------------------------------------------------
    |   APFS Volume Disk (Role):   disk1s2 (Preboot)
    |   Name:                      Preboot (Case-insensitive)
    |   Mount Point:               Not Mounted
    |   Capacity Consumed:         107225088 B (107.2 MB)
    |   FileVault:                 No
    +-> Volume disk1s3 CF03D90E-17EC-4D47-990E-5AC8D0C32D04
    |   ---------------------------------------------------
    |   APFS Volume Disk (Role):   disk1s3 (Recovery)
    |   Name:                      Recovery (Case-insensitive)
    |   Mount Point:               Not Mounted
    |   Capacity Consumed:         1042989056 B (1.0 GB)
    |   FileVault:                 No
    +-> Volume disk1s4 632713E8-E441-44F4-97EB-C0FC38C1CF6A
    |   ---------------------------------------------------
    |   APFS Volume Disk (Role):   disk1s4 (VM)
    |   Name:                      VM (Case-insensitive)
    |   Mount Point:               /private/var/vm
    |   Capacity Consumed:         8591003648 B (8.6 GB)
    |   FileVault:                 No
    +-> Volume disk1s5 9EA92030-BE13-423D-BDAB-4F68CB5EA359
    |   ---------------------------------------------------
    |   APFS Volume Disk (Role):   disk1s5 (Data)
    |   Name:                      Snapper - Data (Case-insensitive)
    |   Mount Point:               /System/Volumes/Data
    |   Capacity Consumed:         733787320320 B (733.8 GB)
    |   FileVault:                 No
    +-> Volume disk1s6 BD93DE8A-F1DF-43A1-BAB6-84EDC57F9177
        APFS Volume Disk (Role):   disk1s6 (System)
        Name:                      Snapper (Case-insensitive)
        Mount Point:               /
        Capacity Consumed:         11218186240 B (11.2 GB)
        FileVault:                 No

Here disk1s3 is the recovery volume. Next, I will enter the following commands to mount and view the contents of the root folder.

diskutil mount disk1s3
ls -l /Volumes/Recovery

The output is shown below.

davidanderson@Snapper ~ % diskutil mount disk1s3
Volume Recovery on disk1s3 mounted
davidanderson@Snapper ~ % ls -l /Volumes/Recovery 
total 0
drwxr-xr-x  17 root  wheel   544 Feb  9 18:16 0FDF3012-D218-45C2-BBE0-ED6CACE7A766
drwxr-xr-x  39 root  wheel  1248 Apr  8 22:23 BD93DE8A-F1DF-43A1-BAB6-84EDC57F9177
davidanderson@Snapper ~ % 

Each folder contains the recovery files for a installation of macOS. Note, the folder name is also the UUID assigned to the volume where the macOS operating system is stored. So, say you wanted to remove the recovery files for Catalina sorted in the volume labeled Snapper, then you would want to delete the folder named BD93DE8A-F1DF-43A1-BAB6-84EDC57F9177. The GUI way of doing this would be to use the Finder application. However, the /Volumes folder is hidden so you will need to press the key combination +shift+. to reveal this folder in the Finder application.

I would not recommend removing the folder holding the recovery files for Catalina, unless you were going to remove the other folders and volumes created where Catalina was installed.


It is normally not possible to use the GUI for this. You will need at least a bit of Terminal.

macOS hides the Recovery partition from users so it will not be possible to do this via GUI completely. But here is a solution with a bit of Terminal and GUI.

You can try deleting the Recovery volume

sudo diskutil apfs deleteVolume disk1s3

Then you might be able to use Disk Utility to extend Macintosh HD.

Do you realize that if you delete every partition, then your computer won't be able to boot (If its your Internal Disk)?

Anyway, good luck!

  • Why should anyone delete the recovery volume in a container? – klanomath Apr 16 '20 at 14:05
  • sorry I'm bad at asking questions here I edited my question because someone said my question felt like an XY problem hope I made it sensible! – one tskk Apr 16 '20 at 14:06
  • @klanomath The Recovery partition within the APFS container is the partition from which macOS Recovery boots up. The partitions in disk0 are always the EFI and Container Disk (in APFS). – Todd Apr 16 '20 at 15:51

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