When a drive gets corrupted or damaged on your Mac, you can use First Aid to repair it. But if your Mac won’t turn on or this disk repair tool asks you to run First Aid from Recovery, do you know how to do this? MiniTool Software shows you how to run First Aid from Recovery to repair the disk and how to recover data from the disk if needed.

When Do You Need to Run First Aid from Recovery?

In general, there are 3 situations:

Your Mac Won’t Turn on All the Way

When your macOS crashes or the Mac startup disk is corrupted or damaged, your Mac computer will not successfully boot up. If you need to fix your Mac disk using First Aid, you need to run it from Recovery.

You Want to Fix the Startup Disk on Mac

If you want to repair your startup disk, you need to first boot your Mac into Recovery Mode, access Disk Utility, and then use First Aid to check and fix the drive.

First Aid Found Corruption on the Disk

First Aid can find and repair errors related to the formatting and directory structure of a disk on your Mac. However, if the tool discovers corruption on your disk, it will show you a prompt: First Aid found corruption that needs to be repaired. To repair the startup volume, run First Aid from Recovery.

First Aid found corruption that needs to be repaired

You can click Show Details to see more related information. For example, you can see the error code like

The volume Macintosh HD was found corrupt and needs to be repaired.

File system check exit code is 8

file system check exit code is 8


Problems were found with the partition map which might prevent booting.

problem were found prevent booting

No matter which kind of error you see, you just need to run First Aid from Recovery and then use this tool to repair the disk.

How to Run First Aid from Recovery?

It is not a single action to run First Aid from Recovery. The whole process includes the following steps:

  • Step 1: Back up your Mac data
  • Step 2: Boot your Mac into Recovery Mode
  • Step 3: How to run First Aid from Recovery
  • Step 4: Repair your Mac disk using First Aid

Now, we will introduce these steps in the following parts.

Step 1: Back up Your Mac Data

To safeguard your Mac data, you need to make sure that you have a current backup of your Mac data. If not, you’d better back up your Mac on site.

Tip: If you don’t need to back up your Mac, you can directly skip to Step 2.

Backup Method 1: Use Time Machine

If your Mac can boot up normally, you can back up your Mac using Time Machine. However, if your Mac won’t start all the way, this method is unavailable. You need to resort to third-party software.

Backup Method 2: Use Stellar Data Recovery for Mac

To rescue data from an unbootable Mac computer, a Mac data recovery program is a good choice. You can use Stellar Data Recovery for Mac. This is professional Mac data recovery software. You can run it on macOS Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, etc.

If your Mac can’t boot up normally, you need to use the Professional or above edition of this software to create a recovery drive and then boot your Mac from this drive to rescue data from your unbootable Mac. You can go to MiniTool official site to get the Professional or more advanced edition according to your situation. Besides, since your Mac won’t start, you need to use a normal working Mac and a USB drive to create such a recovery drive.

Note: The recovery drive creating process will erase all files on the USB drive. You should back up the USB drive if there are important files on it.

If you are a novice, you may don’t know how to create a recovery drive and use it to recover your Mac data. Here, we will show you a full guide:

Stage 1: Create a Recovery Drive

1. Connect a USB drive to a Mac that works normally.

2. Download and install Stellar Data Recovery for Mac on that Mac.

3. Use the license key you receive to register the software and enter its main interface.

4. Click the Click here link (at the bottom left side of the software) to continue.

click here

5. You will see the following small interface on which you need to select the connected USB drive. Then, click the Create Recovery Drive button to continue.

click Create Recovery Drive

6. Another interface pops up, reminding you of the consequences. Click OK if everything is prepared.

click OK

7. When the process ends, it will show you a prompt. Click OK to close the prompt.

click OK

8. Unplug the USB drive from the Mac computer.

Stage 2: Rescue Your Mac Data

1. In this stage, you need to prepare an external storage drive to save your Mac data and connect it to your Mac. You need to make sure that the external drive has enough space to store the data you want to restore.

2. Connect the USB recovery drive and the external storage drive to your unbootable MacBook.

3. If you are using a Mac computer with Apple silicon, you can press and hold the Power button until you see the startup options window.

If you are using a Mac computer with an Intel processor, you need to press the Power button to turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold Command+R until you see an Apple logo. Then, you can also see the startup options window.

4. Select RecoveryDrive to continue.

select the Recovery Drive

5. The macOS Utilities interface appears (this is the Mac Recovery Mode). You need to select StellarDataRecovery and click Continue.

select StellarDataRecovery

6. You enter the software main interface. You need to select the data type you want to restore and click the Next button to continue. If you want to recover all types, you can just turn on the button of Recover Everything.

select the data types you want to recover

7. This software will show the drives it can detect on your Mac. Then, you need to select the drive you want to recover data from. Deep Scan is not selected by default. If you want to perform a deep scan, you need to manually turn it on.

8. Click the Scan button to start scanning the selected drive.

select a drive to scan

9. The scanning process will last for some minutes. You need to wait patiently until the whole process ends. Then, a window will pop up, prompting you that the scanning completes. You need to click the OK button to close this window.

click OK

10. You will see the scan results. Then, you need to check the files you want to restore. If you are not sure, you can double-click the file to preview it to make a confirmation.

11. After selecting your needed files, click the Recover button to continue.

click Recover

12. On the pup-up interface, you need to click the Browse button to select the connected external storage drive as the output drive.

13. Click the Save button to save the selected files.

save the selected files to the external drive

Now your Mac files are saved to a safe location.

Step 2: Boot Your Mac into Recovery Mode

How to run First Aid from Recovery? You need to first access the Mac Recovery Mode. We have mentioned it in the above part. Or you can refer to the following instructions:

start up from macOS Recovery

Step 3: How to Run First Aid from Recovery

1. You will see some options in macOS Recovery Mode (macOS Utilities), including Disk Utility. Select Disk Utility and click Continue to access it.

click Disk Utility to continue

2. Go to View > Show All Devices (from the menu bar or toolbar in Disk Utility).

Show All Devices

3. You can see all available disks and other storage devices in the Disk Utility sidebar.

4. Select the disk you want to repair. You need to select the last volume on the disk to repair.

Step 4: Repair Your Mac Disk Using First Aid

1. The First Aid button is on the top toolbar. After selecting the target volume, you need to click it to continue.

2. A small interface pops up, saying Run First Aid on “the name of the disk”? You need to click the Run button or the Repair Disk button to confirm the operation.

click Run

3. This utility will begin to check the selected disk. When the process ends successfully, you will see the prompt for success. Click Done to close the prompt.

If First Aid Can’t Repair the Disk

If First Aid finds errors but can’t fix them, you need to use the Erase feature to erase or format the disk to a normal state.

Erase in Disk Utility

If Your Disk Is Not Showing up in Disk Utility

If you can’t find your disk after you access Disk Utility, you can do the following things to solve the issue:

  1. Shout down your Mac and remove all unnecessary devices from it.
  2. If you want to repair an external drive and it is not displayed in Disk Utility, you need to make sure that it is directly connected with your Mac via a cable. Then, you can unplug it and re-plug it to have a try.
  3. If you still can’t find your disk in Disk Utility, you can contact Apple Support for help.


We hope this article teaches you how to run First Aid from Recovery and repair your faulty disk on Mac. And we also hope Stellar Data Recovery for Mac, the best data recovery software for Mac, can help you recover your needed Mac data. If you have other suggestions and good ideas, you can let us know in the comments or contact us via [email protected].

Run First Aid from Recovery FAQ

Is it safe to run First Aid on Mac?
First Aid is a Mac built-in utility to repair your Mac disk. It is safe to use it. But to protect your Mac data from disk corruptions, you’d better back up your data on that disk in advance.
Which three 3 utilities are found when booting macOS into Recovery?
You will see these 3 utilities in Mac Recovery Mode: Restore From Time Machine Backup, Reinstall macOS, and Disk Utility. But there is another option: Get Help Online. It enables you to browse the Apple Support website to find help for your Mac.
Does running First Aid on Mac delete files?
Running First Aid on Mac will not delete your files. The Erase feature in Disk Utility can delete your files.
When should I run first Aid on my Mac?
If your Mac crashes frequently, displays error messages, or has unusual behavior, you can use First Aid to repair your Mac disk.
  • linkedin
  • reddit