Recovery mode and VoiceOver

Hi to all,

From some reasons I think I cannot avoid using the Recovery mode of OSX 10.9.2.

Since I am still a beginner Mac user, please confirm me whether I can use Recovery mode together with VoiceOver.

Since I might have some partitioning problems, probably I should use Diskutil to fix the potential issues. So if VO cannot be used in this mode, would someone introduce me how to use Diskutil without screen reader and what I can do in order to fix the potential problems on my harddisc?

Thanks for all your help in advance,

Kind regards,



Far as I'm aware, it works fine.

Hello. John, I am pretty sure Voice over works just fine i recovery mode and disc utility. Someone who's used it should clarify this, so I am not giving you false hope. :)

I don't think it is.

Again, I'm not an expert but I think not ont he phone. Remember, when updating you have no progress, so I'd think it's the same in the recovery mode.

Recovery modes

Yes, you can use recovery mode and disk utility they both work fine with VoiceOver.
To the person who asked about the recovery mode on iPhone, can you explain what you mean? As far as I'm aware, iOS doesn't really have a recovery mode. It has DFU mode, but even sighted users can't use that. That's what your phone goes in when doing a task with a computer, such as a software update.

VoiceOver and Disk Utility in Recovery Mode.

Yes, VoiceOver is available in Recovery Mode.

1. Start up your Mac
2. You'll hear the boot sound, press Command and R and hold for 2 seconds to boot into Recovery Mode.
3. Wait about 2 minutes for it to boot up, then press Command and F5 to start VoiceOver as usual.

Unfortunately there is no way for a blind person to know when the Mac has finished booting up into Recovery mode, thus the two minute wait time.

I feel that I should tell you... in my experience with Disk Utility in Recovery Mode, you may have difficulties partitioning the internal HDD of your Mac. I think this is because the Recovery partition is on that drive. When I tried to completely erase all partitions on my drive, I got an error saying that the drive could not be unmounted. I am certain that you can add and resize partitions, as well as delete partitions that you have added... but to delete everything to start fresh might not be possible. You can also format partitions in Recovery Mode. Please note, that was my experience... your's may be different.

If you decide that you want to start fresh and have everything erased including all partitions, there is a way... but it will require some work and time. You will also need some items.

1. A 2GB USB Thumb Drive
2. A 30GB USB Hard Drive.

The first and most important thing you need to do is make a copy of your Recovery partition. I can not stress how important this is, for you as well as everyone else. I recommend that everyone do this in case your Mac's internal hard drive fails. Now then... you'll need to make the USB Thumb Drive compatible to boot into Recovery Mode.

1. Plug the USB Thumb Drive into your Mac.
2. Launch Disk Utility from within Mac OS X.
3. From within Disk Utility, select the USB Thumb Drive... the drive and not its partition.
4. Select the Partition Tab.
5. Choose 1 Partition from the Partition Layout pop-up button.
6. Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Format from the Format pop-up button.
7. Press the Options button and select GUID Partition Table, then press OK.
8. Press the Apply button.
9. Wait about 30 seconds, then close Disk Utility.

There is no need to give the partition a name or to change the size... so just ignore the Name and Size fields. Now that the USB Thumb Drive is compatible to boot into Recovery Mode... you need to copy your Recovery partition onto the USB Thumb Drive. To do this, you need to download the Recovery Disk Assistant from Apple.

1. Go to the Apple Support site and do a search for Recovery Disk Assistant.
2. Download the Recovery Disk Assistant and run it.
3. Agree to the terms and follow the instructions.
4. When the copy process is complete, close the Recovery Disk Assistant.

Please note that the copy process may take several minutes... please do not interupt or close the Recovery Disk Assistant until the process is complete. Now that the Recovery Partition has been copied onto your USB Thumb Drive, it is time to prepare your USB Hard Drive for Mac OS X... the process is relatively similar to the one mentioned above when making the USB Thumb Drive compatible to boot into Recovery Mode. Oh, don't lose that Thumb Drive... you never know when you'll need it, it is like having a Recovery CD for your Mac, keep it safe. Alright, moving right along...

1. Plug the USB Hard Drive into your Mac.
2. Launch Disk Utility from within Recovery Mode.
3. From within Disk Utility, select the USB Hard Drive... the drive and not its partition.
4. Select the Partition Tab.
5. Choose 1 Partition from the Partition Layout pop-up button.
6. Name the partition.
7. Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Format from the Format pop-up button.
8. Press the Options button and select GUID Partition Table, then press OK.
9. Press the Apply button.
10. Wait about 1 minute, then close Disk Utility.

You are now ready to install Mac OS X onto your USB Hard Drive... the process is the same as if you were to install it onto your Mac's internal hard drive, the difference is that you want to install it onto your USB Hard Drive instead of your internal hard drive. Once the installation is complete, your Mac will automatically boot from your USB Hard Drive. Go through the usual first run setup process... and now you are ready to completely purge your Mac's internal hard drive of everything. Use Disk Utility to create, delete, resize, and format partitions on the internal hard drive of your Mac with no trouble. There is no need to launch Recovery Mode this way. Just start Mac OS X from the external drive rather then the internal drive.

When repartitioning your Mac's internal hard drive, make sure that the partition you want to install Mac OS X onto is named "Macintosh HD". You'll also want to choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Format from the Format pop-up button for that partition... make sure also that you have selected GUID Partition Table in the Partition Scheme Options. If you need reference, see the instructions for preparing the USB Hard Drive for Mac OS X above.

One last thing... and this is possibly the most important thing to keep in mind. If you have decided to erase everything on your Mac's internal hard drive via Disk Utility from within Mac OS X on a USB Hard Drive... everything on the drive will be erased. All partitions will be erased, which includes the Recovery partition. This means that when you have repartitioned and formatted your Mac's internal hard drive, you'll no longer be able to boot into Recovery Mode. This is why the very first thing I recommend you do was to make a copy of your Recovery partition on a USB Thumb Drive.

Alright, we made a portable Recovery drive for your Mac using a USB Thumb Drive... we have a portable copy of Mac OS X installed on a USB Hard Drive... and we have completely purged the Mac's internal drive of everything by deleting all partitions and recreating them.

It is time to shut down your Mac and disconnect the USB Hard Drive. Plug the USB Thumb Drive into your Mac and turn it on... there is no need to press Command and R to boot into Recovery Mode if everything was done correctly. You'll need to wait a few minutes longer for Recovery Mode to boot, then turn VoiceOver on by pressing Command and F5. Make sure your connected to the internet via wireless or a network cable. Install Mac OS X normally onto the partition you want if you made more then one on the drive. During the installation process, the Recovery Partition will be recreated on your internal drive. For those who were worried about that, fear not... you will not be bound to the USB Thumb Drive to get back into Recovery Mode.

I think that is everything... I hope that helps.

Thank you for all the useful

Thank you for all the useful comments you sent.

The great thing was that VoiceOver was really working under Recovery mode just as you have written. The only problem I had was the fact I couldn't change the speech engine to Hungarian, while the whole surface including all the dialogs appeared in Hungarian, so I had to listen to the Hungarian text with English phonetics. It was kind of funny, but finally I could solve my problem.

Thanks again for each and every comment.


I put together a tutorial

I put together a tutorial last year detaling how to use the recovery consol. if you want more info contact me from my apple vis link and I'll get you the link to the page where you can find info on the4 stuff I produce for cases like this.

Yes the recovery consol is accessible with voice over and works very well.

Take care.

Braille in recovery mode?

Thanks for the info about using recovery mode with VO and how to make USB recovery media. Does recovery mode work with braille displays?

Hmm. Good question. I don't

Hmm. Good question. I don't own a braille display but maybe someone who does is willing to give this a go.

take care.

I should try it

I should just try it myself and report here but I'm too chicken and also worried about messing up my new Mac that I just bought last month. I'm sure it does as the thing when you're installing an OS update works with braille even though all the settings revert to the default it still works.
So it probably would but I guess I'll never know unless some brave soul tries it and posts about it here. smile

Yeah I'd love to try it, I

Yeah I'd love to try it, I know it works with bt keyboards but not sure with braille. Anyone?

Tc all.

One thing

If you want to repair ACL's and permissions in the home directory, you need to use the resetpassword utility.
This works really well with VoiceOver, but when one executes it from terminal it doesn't get screen reader focus. Cmd+tab doesn't work in recovery, so you'll need to invoke the application chooser with VO+f1 and switch to it from there.
Other than that it works really well.


Really? I just use the disk

Really? I just use the disk utility and repair my permissions there. It takes care of my home dir. Or are you referring to another tool?

Ah I thought I saw stuff in ~

Ah I thought I saw stuff in ~/library beeing repaired. I'll have to take a look at it and decide if I want to do this or not if my system brakes.

Cool. I love learning new things.

I've had one issue where it

I've had one issue where it helped me (a corrupted mail index file).
I thought disk utility did the whole thing as well, until I discovered otherwise. Weird that apple hides it in such a relatively obscure place, but it works really well with VoiceOver :)

Function Keys in Recovery Mode

Hello. I have not tried this myself, I just read about it in another forum topic on this site. That is, the function keys do not act as standard function keys when in Recovery mode, so the FN key at the bottom left or whichever location on a Mac should be used in conjunction with F1. I discovered this while attempting to reset my admin password. I sort of hope I won't need Recovery mode to sort out this iCloud issue, but it's good to know it works well with VO in the event I do need that mode. In addition, a voice prompting me to hit Enter to choose English was spoken when Recovery mode started up. Your mileage may vary though on that one.

Internet Recovery


I'm wondering if VOiceOver works in Internet recovery? I am not talking about the standard recovery, I am talking about internet recovery which boots your computer from Apple's servers and downloads the original OS that came with your machine. Does VoiceOver work for this process as well. I feel like going back to ML just for kicks some day so just wondered if this process is accessible. Do I have to wait for the recovery image to download or can I use VoiceOver straight away?

As far as I know it still

As far as I know it still crashes when you have to connect to a wifi network but you can try this. * shutdown your mac * Hit cmd r and hold it down * While holding down cmd r start your mac snd hold the key stroke down for about 30 seconds. * start voice over * if the language chooser does not go away hit vo m to go in to the menues and hit escape. * Hit vo m twice. This should bring up the wifi menu.

If it does the bug has been fixed. If not and voice over crashes report it to apple's accessibility team and see what they say I reported this when I discovered this in October when helping a friend reinstall their os.

VoiceOver works in recovery mode in English

I've had to boot my Macs in to recovery mode several times, so I can assure that VoiceOver works in the recovery. As for using a voice in a different language, I don't really know if it's possible, since as far as I know, it only allows you to use the built-in OS X voices, except for Alex, and the Vocalizer voices. In a way, I understand this limitation, but it would be nice if they allowed people to at least enable compact Vocalizer voices, which are actually built-in in to OS X itself. Again, this might actually be possible, but since my primary language is English, I haven't given it a try.

Isn't there an internet recovery?

So I'm super new to Macs but I inherited this Mac at work that has a retired employee's stuff on it and I can't log in to it because nobody knows her password. I was considering doing recovery and just erasing the whole thing and re-installing the operating system. I've studied guides on sites like the iDownload blog, and they indicate that I can erase everything and not worry about loosing the recovery partition because all the recovery can be done over the internet. Is that true? Is that form of recovery accessible with VO?

I don't have a clue about

I don't have a clue about internet recovery, however the standard one is usable with the temporary VO it has. The CMD+R at startup.