I have a MacBook Pro (retina, 13”, early 2015) running macOS Catalina 10.15.7 and I want to erase or reformat it.

I’m performing a factory reset and Command + R is not working to show the recovery mode so I used Command + Option + R. Instead of “macOS Utilities,” it shows “OS X Utilities.”

When I clicked the “Disk Utility,” I can’t find the HD disk I’m using.

Can someone please help me on how can I successfully reset my MacBook Pro?

Additional information:

  • My MacBook Pro built-in keyboard is already faulty. The left Shift key always functioning (meaning always on press) so download Karabiner-Elements to disabled my left Shift key.
  • I don’t have any external keyboard for MacBook. Sometimes I used a Windows keyboard when needed. I tried to use a Windows keyboard to press the Command + R to enter the recovery mode but no luck that’s why I tried the Internet Recovery (Command + Option + R) using the built-in MacBook Pro keyboard.

I can guess what's happening, but not how to fix it, short of physically disconnecting the keyboard.

The startup commands are…

  • Cmd ⌘ R
    reinstall the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac, without upgrading to a later version

This first one is in fact loading from your existing recovery partition.

These next two go online for Internet Recovery

  • Opt ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R
    upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac
  • Shift ⇧ Opt ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R
    reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac, or the version nearest to it that is still available.

Pressing Opt ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R for the latest OS is adding your stuck shift key (because Karabiner isn't loaded yet to prevent it), meaning you get Shift ⇧ Opt ⌥ Cmd ⌘ R which is trying to install a version of the OS (presumably 10.10) too old to read your APFS drive.

I can only guess that Shift ⇧ Cmd ⌘ R is not being recognised as anything at all.


I have some possible solutions. The second option is probably simplest (if nothing goes wrong), but if it doesn't work, having an installer drive (first option) will give you a lot more options. So I recommend at least starting the first option.

Option 1: Create an installer drive

See Apple Support Document HT201372: "How to create a bootable installer for macOS" for full instructions. In summary, download the macOS installer application from the Mac App Store, plug in a flash drive that can be erased (because it will be), and run something like:

sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Big\ Sur.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/MyVolume

Enter your admin password when prompted (it won't echo), and follow the prompts.

When that's finished, select that drive in System Preferences -> Startup Disk, and restart. (Normally, you could hold Option at startup, and then select it; but having Shift stuck down seems to prevent this.)

Option 2: Select recovery mode with an NVRAM setting

You can do this by hand in the Terminal utility, with the command:

sudo usr/sbin/nvram internet-recovery-mode=RecoveryModeNetwork

Enter your admin password when prompted (it won't echo). If you don't want to mess with Terminal, Tim Perfitt of TwoCanoes software made a free Recovery Selector utility that'll do it for you.

Either way, restart, and it should start in Internet Recovery mode without any keys. You might or might not need to reset it back to normal by opening Terminal (from the Utilities menu in Recovery mode), and running:

sudo /usr/sbin/nvram -d internet-recovery-mode

This is because Apple pulled the Big Sur images and is only serving Catalina recovery from its content delivery network (CDN) or because you fall back to an earlier recovery that’s local to your setup.

Technical details are here: https://mrmacintosh.com/macos-big-sur-internet-recovery-unavailable-replaced-with-catalina/

  1. Your windows keyboard is just fine and won’t help if you get an Apple keyboard.
  2. You can still erase your hard drive from Catalina and then reinstall either OS. Just erase the entire drive. Worst case, you may need a second Mac to handle things until Apple pushes out Big Sur recovery. That second Mac can use Apple Configurator or Target Disk Mode to erase and install things for you.

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