How to use Internet Recovery to reinstall macOS

Here's what to do if you haven't got a recovery partition on your Mac and need to reinstall macOS (in fact, even if you don't need to reinstall macOS you probably should, because a missing Recovery Partition is not a good sign).

The first approach is to use a feature called Internet Recovery. Newer Macs are able to boot directly from an internet connection, even with no Recovery partition available. Here is how to use MacOS Internet Recovery:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Hold down Command-Option/Alt-R and press the Power button. (On some Mac keyboards the Option key will be named Alt).
  3. Hold down those keys until you a spinning globe and the message "Starting Internet Recovery. This may take a while".
  4. The message will be replaced with a progress bar. Wait for it to fill. Expect it to take a while...
  5. Wait for the MacOS Utilities screen to appear.
  6. Click Reinstall macOS and follow the installation process.

There are issues with Internet Recovery. It only works with networks using WEP and WPA security. This is most home Wi-Fi networks, but if you're on a proxy network or PPPoE then you will have problems. In these cases it's usually best to find another network rather than create a USB Recovery Stick (our next step). If you have Internet Recovery, then make use of it to reinstall macOS if possible.