If you have an Intel Mac, you can make it boot directly into the boot disk options startup manager by issuing an nvram terminal command. This could be helpful for advanced users in particular whether they’re troubleshooting, have dual boot situations with multiple versions of macOS, macOS and Windows 10 in Boot Camp, macOS and Linux, for accessing a USB boot drive, a Time Machine restore disk, or myriad other situations where you’d want to boot a Mac directly into the startup manager.
Whether or not this is easier or faster than booting an Intel Mac from an external drive by holding down the Option key on system start and choosing the external volume to boot the Mac from is entirely up to you and your use case. But perhaps the Option/alt key isn’t working for some reason on a Mac, or you want to explore the boot options, or you can’t hold down the key on boot for some reason.
Booting Intel Mac Directly to Startup Disk Manager
As with all command line activity, start by opening the Terminal application, then issue the following command:
sudo nvram manufacturing-enter-picker=true
Because the command is prefixed with sudo you’ll have to enter the admin password.
Then it’s just a matter of restarting the Mac, or turning an off Mac back on again, where you’ll go directly to the boot manager.
If you executed this command at some point and aren’t sure if it’s enabled or not, you can always view and clear the nvram contents via command line too. And of course another way to clear NVRAM is to reset NVRAM / PRAM on an Intel Mac.
Similarly, you can enable Safe Boot Mode for Mac via the command line as well.
Remember this is specific to Intel Mac models, as the Apple Silicon Mac models do not have the same firmware options. If you want to explore more nvram commands and options, check out our archives on the subject.
This tip was found via Twitter from @martinnobel_, where the embedded video below shows what happens after the command has been executed.
If you want to make an Intel Mac boot into the Startup Manager automatically, type into terminal: “Sudo nvram manufacturing-enter-picker=true”
This video shows what happens next reboot: pic.twitter.com/f2jTJy0Xd2
— Martin (@MartinNobel_) January 25, 2021