Recovery mode on Apple Silicon Macs (M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max etc.)

Mac in recovery mode

Even as Sir Apfelot, I've been in despair lately. My new MacBook Pro M1 Max had a few strange niggles, which I usually try to fix by "overinstalling" the system first.

To do this, I start the Mac in Recovery mode or recovery mode and then select "Install macOS". In the selection of the volumes, I then select the current startup volume, which is usually the internal SSD of the MacBook Pro. Then macOS Big Sur or Monterey is installed over the existing system and the action is ready.

So far so good, but apparently I've never had to start an Apple Silicon Mac in recovery mode - even though I've been on for a year M1 13-inch MacBook Pro work. How could I tell? Very simple: The usual key combination cmd + R when restarting didn't work for me. And that was because this keyboard shortcut is exclusive to Intel Macs. At Apple silicon Macs do this differently...and I had to learn that the hard way.

If you reinstall macOS over an existing installation, no data will be lost, but the system files will be repaired or replaced. That solves one or the other error - as well as this boot error.
If you reinstall macOS over an existing installation, no data will be lost, but the system files will be repaired or replaced. That solves one or the other mistake.

Recoverymode on Apple Silicon Macs

To get an M1, M1 Pro, Max M1 or to get into recovery mode on an M2 Mac soon too, you have to Hold down the power button when starting.

Solution: Press and hold the power button during start-up

Then there is the screen on the ARM Macs, as the Apple Silicon Macs are also called, which is used to open the hard disk utility, the Port or start a clean install.

Helpful keyboard shortcuts for system startup

Who more about the Recovery mode want to read, you will find a lot of information in the linked post. Nevertheless, I would like to include a few helpful keyboard shortcuts for restarting the Mac. These are often useful when you have a problem with your Mac and get stuck:

  • OTHER → Boot manager to select the start volume
  • cmd + r → Recovery mode to install the currently installed macOS
  • CMD + OPTION + R → Recovery mode to install the latest macOS compatible with the Mac
  • CMD + OPTION + SHIFT + R → Recovery mode for installing the macOS with which the Mac was shipped
  • CMD+S → Start in single user mode (see fsck description )
  • CMD+V → Start in Verbose mode (log output during booting)
  • SHIFT → Start in Safe-Mods

Notes on the keys used: CMD is ⌘, SHIFT is ⇧, OPTION is ⌥ and CTRL is ⌃. Depending on which keyboard you are using, these can even be in different places.

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

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3 comments on “Recovery mode on Apple Silicon Macs (M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max etc.)”

    1. The multi-button combination doesn't work anymore with my M1 Max. I thought I was stupid or the Mac is broken. : D What kind of Mac do you have?

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