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A recovery volume, previously recovery partition, is a hidden section of a macOS or Mac OS X startup drive which contains software for macOS Recovery in case a user's installation of macOS or Mac OS X becomes corrupted or unbootable.


Stored as "Recovery HD", the contents are comparable to that of an installation DVD-ROM. If the recovery volume itself is damaged, the Mac will switch to Internet Recovery and download the software from an Apple server.[1][2]

The following utilities are included:[1][3]


Mac Recovery Mode was first introduced in 2011 with Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and was stored in a hidden HFS Plus partition.[1][4] Starting with the introduction of APFS in macOS High Sierra (10.13) in 2017, the "Recovery HD" was stored in a hidden volume instead of a partition.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mac OS X Lion Adds Recovery Partition Support by David W. Martin, Cult of Mac. 2011-02-25.
  2. Revive and restore Apple devices, Apple Support. Accessed 2021-10-25.
  3. How to reinstall macOS, Apple Support. 2021-10-25.
  4. How to use Mac Recovery Mode by Karen Haslam, Macworld UK. 2021-02-02.
  5. Cloning Apple's Recovery HD partition, Bombich Software. 2020-12-12.

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