How to Access the BIOS on Mac

Macs don’t have a traditional BIOS in the same way that PCs do. They have similar firmware and settings but accessing them requires a different method.

Entering Startup Options

Full Shutdown: Make sure your Mac is completely powered off. If it’s in sleep mode start by shutting it down.

Hold the Power Button: Press and hold the power button to start your Mac.

Immediately Hold the Key Combination: As soon as you start your Mac press and hold one of the following key combinations.

Option + Command + P + R: This resets the NVRAM or PRAM which stores non volatile settings like volume and display resolution. You’ll hear the startup chime a second time to indicate reset.

D: Runs Apple Diagnostics to check for hardware issues.

T: Starts up the Mac in Target Disk mode making it act like an external hard drive for another Mac.

Option: Shows the Startup Manager allowing you to select a different bootable drive like a USB installer.

Shift: Starts the Mac in Safe Mode which can be useful for troubleshooting.

Release Keys: Keep holding the keys until you see a change. Apple logo, progress bar, a list of drives or another screen depending on the key combination used.

Important Things

Intel vs. Apple Silicon: The key combinations are the same regardless of whether your Mac has an Intel or Apple Silicon processor.

No Traditional BIOS Screen: Macs don’t present the text based menu style BIOS interface most PC users are familiar with. Settings are controlled through macOS tools or the Startup Options menu.

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