How to recover M1 Macs and reinstall MacOS

In addition to Apple moving to Silicon, performing things like recovery is different with the M1 Mac than their Intel predecessors. Take a look at how to recover and recover M1 Macs, what the differences are, when to use them, and what to try before taking these steps.

Performing a recovery (factory reset) with Intel Max uses Max Recovery. While this is still an option to do something like reinstalling MacOS on M1 Macs, on the other hand there is a separate process to fully restore M1 Mac or in limited cases, M1 Mac needs to be restored.

How to Recover and Recover M1 Macs – MacBook Air, Pro and Mac Mini

What is M1 Mac Revive?

Here’s how Apple describes when you need to “revive” the M1 Mac and how:

In very rare situations such as power failure when upgrading to MacOS, a Mac may become unresponsive and therefore the firmware will have to be restored. Updates a recovery firmware and updates RecoveryS to the latest version. A recovery is designed to make no changes to the startup volume, user data volume, or any other volume.

However, keep in mind that if you need to reinstall MacOS after performing a reset, it will wipe your drive.

What is an M1 Mac Recovery?

A recovery will erase your Mac’s drive, but it will restore the firmware, update the recovery to the latest version, and reinstall the latest version of MacOS. For example, you may want to back up your data.

Already tried reinstalling MacOS?

If you can boot up your M1 Mac to Max Recovery, you may be able to reinstall Macs without restoring or doing a full recovery that requires both a second Mac and an Apple configurator 2 This will wipe your drive.

  • With your Mac powered off, press and hold the power button until you see “Load startup options”
  • Choose options and click Continue
  • Enter your password if necessary
  • Now select the reinstalled MacOS and continue and follow the requests

All you need to recover or recover M1 Macs

If you can’t do this or know that you want to fully recover your M1 Mac, here’s what you need:

  • Install a second Mac with the latest version of Apple Configurator 2 (and Internet access)
  • Apple notes that “you need to configure your web proxy or firewall ports to allow all network traffic from Apple devices to Apple’s network” “Read more here.
  • A USB-C to USB-C cable (or USB-to-C cable) Apple notes it must support power and data, and Thunderbolt 3 cables will not work for this process.

How to recover or recover

If your M1 Mac is unresponsive, you can first try a reset that won’t delete your data. If that doesn’t work or if you know you want to delete your M1 Mac, you can do a recovery. Here are the key steps:

  1. Turn on Apple Configurator 2 for the secondary Mac and connect it to your problematic Mac
  2. Restart your M1 Mac which does not respond to any particular order
  3. Use the secondary Mac’s Apple Config 2 to recover or restore

Secondary (Working) Mac

  1. Make sure you are in the latest version of Apple Configurator 2
  2. Power plug-in and connected to the Internet
  3. Plug in the USB-C cable
  4. Turn on Apple Config 2 unch

Preparing a non-functional M1 MacBook Air or Pro

  1. Press the power button
  2. If you hold down the power button, press all these keys simultaneously for about 10 seconds
    • Right shift key
    • The left option key
    • Left control key
  3. After 10 seconds, release all keys except the power button until the Mac appears on your secondary Mac’s Apple Config 2

Apple notes that “you will not see any screen activity” on the Mac you are trying to recover / restore.

Preparing a non-functional M1 Mac mini

  1. Plug it into a monitor to see when the process is complete
  2. Unplug your Mac Mini Power cable for at least 10 seconds
  3. Press and hold the power button
  4. While pressing the power button, plug the power cable back in again
  5. Release the power button
  6. Your status indicator should be light red (amber) but you won’t see any screen activity right now

Recover from secondary (working) Mac

  • In Apple Configurator 2, select the M1 Mac you need to restore / restore
  • From the menu bar at the top, choose Action> Advanced
    • Or click on Device> Advanced-
  • To like Restore the device
  • Apple notes that “when you recover the firmware you must verify that the process was successful because Apple Configurator 2 cannot warn you.”
  • Now you can exit Apple Configurator 2 and unplug the USB cable

Recovering from Secondary (Working) Mac

  • In Apple Configurator 2, select the M1 Mac you want to restore
  • From the menu bar at the top, pick Restore Steps
    • Or click on M1 Mac> Restore
  • Select Restore in the dialog box to confirm the process
  • The process may take some time, during which the Apple logo will appear and disappear
  • When the process is complete you will restart the Mac
  • Like the recovery, “When you restore the Mac you must verify that the process was successful because Apple Configurator 2 cannot warn you.”
  • Max Setup Wizard will be present if the recovery is successful for any M1 Mac highlighted by Apple
  • It is best to leave the Apple Config 2 on your secondary Mac and plug in the USB cable

For more information on M1 Max recovery and recovery you can find Apple’s support document here. And support dock for using Max Recovery with M1 Max with reinstalled MacOS

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