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Question: Can’t use recovery mode because Bluetooth keyboard not connected

Our iMac stopped working after an update. The progress bar is complete but it doesn’t start. People suggest using recovery mode or safe mode but this requires the keyboard and it’s a Bluetooth keyboard so it isn’t connected before the computer starts. What can we do instead?

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Dec 17, 2017 9:21 AM in response to qatherine In response to qatherine

You could use a wired USB keyboard, even a Windows PC one would work. Also an Apple TV remote can be used to select the recovery partition at startup by holding the remote's Menu button while the computer is booting up. Of course you have to aim the remote at the computer so the infrared sensor sees it.

Dec 17, 2017 9:21 AM

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Dec 30, 2017 2:16 PM in response to qatherine In response to qatherine

I think Apple has a problem here with recovery mode, at least on newer iMacs. I have a new 5K iMac with wireless, rechargeable keyboard and mouse.


1. You can't use startup keys with wireless keyboards because they don't connect to the system early enough in the boot process.

2. But you can if you wait until the startup chime and then press the keys.

3. But you can't because Apple removed the startup chime and the recommended workaround (sudo nvram BootAudio=%01) doesn't work, at least on my brand new iMac.

4. OK, you really can because the rechargeable keyboard does work early enough in the boot process if you plug in the charging cable.

5. But there is no Recovery Partition on my brand new iMac (doesn't show up in the boot manager; doesn't show up in disk utility). Why? I don't know, but apparently Recovery Mode boots by going over the internet to Apple's servers. So now I am in Recovery Mode.

6. But now my mouse doesn't work in Recovery Mode. I can use the arrow keys to move up and down among the 4 options in Recovery Mode, but I can't select any of them with the Enter or Return keys. Recovery Mode is useless.

7. Summary: Because of a series of uncoordinated changes made by Apple, I can't use Recovery Mode on a brand new 5K iMac.


Suggestions for further work-arounds appreciated (other than the obvious option of buying a USB mouse and keyboard).


Apple, please think this through and fix it.

Dec 30, 2017 2:16 PM

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Dec 30, 2017 7:31 PM in response to RHL CO In response to RHL CO

Apple doesn’t routinely monitor the discussions. These are mostly user to user discussions.


Send Apple feedback. They won't answer, but at least will know there is a problem or a suggestion for change. If enough people send feedback, it may get the problem/suggested change solved sooner.


Click here to send Feedback

Dec 30, 2017 7:31 PM

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Question: Can’t use recovery mode because Bluetooth keyboard not connected