How to force your Mac to boot into OS X after intalling Windows using Boot Camp

After you install Windows via Boot Camp, you may notice that your Mac will now boot up into Windows by default. This brief tutorial will show you how to set your Mac to load OS X rather than Windows each time it starts up.

  1. First things first – start your Mac in OS X. To do this, hold down the Option key while your Mac starts up. You’ll be presented with a list of each bootable Operating System on your Mac. Select the icon for OS X.
  2. os x boot screen with windows listed

  3. Once OS X has started up, click the “Apple” in your menu bar and select System Preferences…/
  4. In your System Preferences select Startup Disk in the System section.

  5. click to enlarge

  6. Now select the icon that represents your OS X disk.

  7. click to enlarge

  8. Finally, exit out of the System Preferences. That’s it! The next time you restart your Mac, OS X will load. You can always boot into Windows again by holding down the Option key when your Mac is starting up. Then just select the Windows disk.

  • Kevaughn

    i was wondering if this site was still running. glad to see you’re still here…….

  • Thanks so much.

  • MRJ4

    I am running Win 7 Pro 32-Bit on my MacBook Pro. Had all the same lag issues everyone on the web is talking about. But, now I am going to do a clean install to upgrade to Win 7 Ult 64-Bit this weekend. I’m really excited and anxious. I printed your directions. They are nice and clear and should be super helpful. Thank you for this. Keep up the good work!

  • Chris

    Brilliant tutorial! I was really stumped with trying to re-access OX-10 after I had installed Windows 7. This solved everything, thanks

  • Niloo

    Thanks for your tutorial,
    Can you help me in this,i have installed windows 7 and by default windows boot and come up ,I need to go back to OS X but as much as I hold the option key nothing change and again Windows boot.I am thinking maybe it happend cause I am using wireless keyboard!!

  • Leonard

    can you in this, when I hold down the option key , my mac shows a lock and a key is required , but i don’t what to key in. What should I do?

  • Peter

    i have the same problem as leonard but i forgot my password so is there anyway to get pass the lock or boot the disk another way besides holding c

  • steve

    I am having the same problem as Niloo, if anyone can help would be greatly appreciated.

  • suzwa




  • ina

    Thank you so much for this little but great tip. Strangely it wasn’t too easy to find a solution to this problem. The apple phone support who helped me through the boot camp set-up process even told me that the Mac will always start up in the operating system that was used last. Well, I quickly figured that wasn’t the case!

  • John Christoforidis

    I’ve installed Windows 10 on bootcamp and also rEFInd bootloader, however my mouse and my keyboard (wireless) don’t respond on rEFInd so it automatically boots into Windows 10 (after the 20-second-timeout). I cannot even edit the conf file. Any ideas?

  • If you try a non-wireless keyboard, does it work? I’ve spent a few min Googling and you’re not the only one that has issues w/ wireless keyboards working during the boot sequence. The nvram command keeps coming up as a way to initialize keyboards earlier, but I *can’t* find the exact command (and if you do, be *really* careful before running it).

  • John Christoforidis

    Exactly what I was thinking of trying, but I don’t have a non-wireless yet.