I am trying to reinstall my macOS. I'm currently on version 10.15.5 (Catalina) and my disk is formatted as APFS. However, when restart the computer and hold command+R to go to recovery mode I get the version of the OS that is way older (Mavericks). When I go to disk utility I see that the version is from 2012, and my disk isn't even visible (probably because that version of disk utility doesn't recognize APFS). When I click to reinstall OS I see that the version that will be installed in indeed Maverick, and the installer also doesn't see my disk.

Is there any way to update it to the newest version? When I start up my OS and open disk utility it is a newer version and it sees my disk successfully. Or is there any other way to reinstall macOS?


Reinstalling is pretty easy these days:

If the old recovery functions, I wouldn’t worry about it. If you can boot to internet recovery, that also means you don’t need it.

  1. Make a backup - you may need to erase everything to fix this, so be ready now.
  2. Boot to any recovery OS and reinstall your OS - this doesn’t delete anything but does overwrite the system and make a new OS install and migrate all your apps, data, settings to the new install.

If you decide you need this to be updated / perfectly clean, follow the erase install guide. You will need your backup since this deletes everything from your Mac:


Sounds like the recovery partition is from Mavericks and very old. Best thing to do is backup your data using Time Machine or a clone tool such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper to an external drive. Then create a bootable macOS installer for Catalina on an 8GB+ 12GB+ flash drive (prior to Catalina 8GB+ was sufficient). Boot from that and delete everything off the internal drive of the Mac. Then install Catalina and restore using /Applications/Utilities/Migration Assistant and point it to the backup drive.

In the past there were utilities and techniques to remove the recovery partition and recreate it. But it's far cleaner and better to just backup everything then nuke and pave so to speak with a clean install. Those utilities exist but you won't get the latest recovery partition and the only time I used such a method was when I needed to recover a very old system that wasn't upgradable to the latest macOS.

I would not restore from backup at the start of the installer as it might put things back to the way they were (restoring your Mavericks recovery partition) and you would be back at square one. The Migration Assistant should restore your Apps and data once you have a clean install of macOS and updates. Then update your full backup to a new Time Machine backup drive or re-clone it at this point to ensure your backups have the new recovery partition.

You could also hold Option + CMD + R while powering on to use Internet Recovery to upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac and nuke the internal drive completely. But this requires unfiltered WiFi and a fast connection or it will take forever. Burning a flash drive is faster even with the best WiFi / Internet speeds.


There is a third-party utility, Recovery Partition Creator, that creates or updates the recovery partition on your startup disk.


You also need a copy of the OS installer app.

  • @user3439894 The latest version is 4 something at the top of the page.
    – benwiggy
    Aug 22 '20 at 17:15

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