Whether you are looking to use Boot Camp with your best Mac or just need to do some serious troubleshooting, knowing how to select a startup disk on your Mac is a big help. Here's how to select a startup disk in macOS Ventura.
What is a startup disk?
A startup disk is a partition of your drive that contains an operating system. If you want, you can choose what startup disk to use when you boot up your Mac. This is a practice used by many people who decide to use Boot Camp to access Windows and macOS on their Macs.
How to select a startup disk on Mac
The Startup Manager lets you choose a different startup disk during boot. So if you have your Mac partitioned to run Windows or a macOS beta, for example, you can select that startup disk instead of the default disk.
- Shut down your Mac.
- On a Mac with Apple silicon: Press and hold the power button until “Loading startup options” appears. (For Mac mini, wait for the system indicator light to turn amber.)
- On other Mac computers: Press and hold the Option key and the power button simultaneously.
- When you see the available startup disks, select the one you want.
- Click the Continue button (on a Mac with Apple silicon) or the Up arrow (on other Mac computers).
- The next time you restart your computer, it starts up from the disk you selected.
How to set a default startup disk
- On your Mac, choose the Apple menu.
- Choose System Settings.
- Select General in the sidebar.
- Click Startup Disk on the right (you may need to scroll down.)
- Select the icon of the disk you want to use
- Click Restart.
Important note: When you select a startup disk, ensure you are selecting a network startup volume and NOT a network install image. If you select a network install image, that will trigger a reinstall of macOS and may erase your data.
A standard network volume icon appears as a globe with a folder. A network install icon appears as a globe with a downward-pointing green arrow. Be extra careful when selecting the right icon.
Other troubleshooting modes on startup
While knowing how to select a start disk can be important for troubleshooting reasons, there are a ton of different shortcuts you can take upon startup that may sometimes also be over services. So don't forget to familiarize yourself with those as well.
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Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
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- Karen S FreemanContributor