Apple is now using its ownprocessors in the , . For the most part, the overall experience of using one of these new Macs is identical to an Intel Mac.
You’ll notice the M1-powered Macs are faster and have crazy battery life. But other than that, almost all of your apps should work without issue — with one notable difference.
One aspect of Apple Silicon Macs that Apple did completely change is how you access recovery mode, which is a tool you need to use to reinstall MacOS, troubleshoot issues or completely wipe the hard drive in the event that you have to return it or decide to sell it. Below you’ll find how to get to Recovery Mode, the tools it includes and, finally, how to fully reset your M1 Mac.
How to access MacOS Recovery on an Apple Silicon Mac
For as long as I can remember, forcing a Mac to boot into Recovery Mode where you can repair the hard drive, wipe your personal information or reinstall MacOS has consisted of restarting the computer and holding Command + R on the keyboard.
That trick will no longer work on an Apple Silicon Mac. In fact, the new process is much easier. Turn off the computer, and then press and hold the power button. When the Apple logo first appears, you’ll see text just below it letting you know to continue holding it in to access startup options. Keep pressing the button for about 5 seconds until the text switches to “Loading startup options.” Next, click Options > Continue.
Select a user with administrator privileges and enter the account password when asked.
The new recovery tool gives you a few options
After signing into a user account, you’ll see a partial list of recovery options.
Restore from Time Machine: Use this option if you want to restore your Mac from a previous Time Machine backup. This is helpful if you’ve lost a bunch of files, changed settings, or installed an app that’s caused severe issues with your Mac.
Reinstall MacOS: If you’re having issues with MacOS, you can try this option to reinstall the latest version of MacOS without deleting any of your files or losing any data.
Safari: You can use Apple’s browser to search and troubleshoot how to fix your Mac.
Disk Utility: The tool you’ll use to repair, troubleshoot or erase your hard drive.
In the menu bar at the top of the screen you’ll also have access to other apps and tools like Terminal, Share Disk and Startup Security Utility.
Erase the hard drive, reinstall MacOS
To completely remove all of your information from the hard drive and reinstall MacOS, open Disk Utility and then select the internal disk labeled Macintosh HD. Click Erase and follow the prompts. Leave the volume name and format alone, but for reference, it should be “Macintosh HD” for the name and AFPS for the format. Click Erase.
A few seconds later, the hard drive will be completely wiped, taking with it all of your files, user accounts and apps.
Once that’s done, close Disk Utility and then select Reinstall MacOS from the list of options. You’ll be asked to select where you want it installed, which should be Macintosh HD (or whatever name you gave your hard drive if you decided to change it).
Your Mac will then download the latest version of MacOS, install it, and when it’s finished, it’ll be as if it was never set up.
I ran into an issue, but here’s how I fixed it
I followed the steps I outlined above — the steps Apple recommends on its support page — but ultimately ran into an issue when trying to reinstall MacOS. I kept getting an error message that there wasn’t an authorized user available to approve the installation. A quick internet search led me to this Reddit thread where others who’ve ran into the same issue were offering advice.
Ultimately what I ended up doing to complete the restore was use the Disk Utility to select the “Data” drive that’s grayed out and erase it, as well. Once it was erased (again, using AFPS format when promoted), I was able to install MacOS with no issues.
But my problem didn’t stop there. I was unable to create a new user account after reinstalling MacOS. Instead, the test MacBook Pro would freeze when I tried to create the default user account. Thankfully, that same Reddit thread has a solution for this as well. It’s a bit technical, but worked for me. You can find the details here, should you run into the same issue.
Once you have your Mac reset, you can return it,, or .