You will find the M1 powered Macs are faster and have crazy battery life. But that aside, almost all of your apps should run smoothly – with one notable difference.
One aspect of Apple Silicon Macs that Apple has completely changed is how to access recovery mode, a tool that you should use to reinstall macOS, troubleshoot or completely wipe the hard drive in case you need to return it or decide to sale it. Below is how to get into recovery mode, the tools it includes and, finally, how to completely 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 has existed where you can fix the hard drive, erase your personal data or reinstall macOS, restart the computer, and command + R on the keyboard keep pressed.
That trick no longer works on an Apple Silicon Mac. In fact, the new process is much easier. Turn off the computer and press and hold the power button. When the Apple logo first appears, you’ll see text just below it letting you keep holding it to access the boot options. Hold the button for about 5 seconds until the text changes to “Load Boot Options”. Then click Options > Continue.
Select a user with administrator rights and enter the account password when prompted.
The new recovery tool offers you a few options
After you log in to a user account, you will see a partial list of recovery options.
Recover from Time Machine: Use this option if you want to restore your Mac from a previous Time Machine backup. This is useful if you’ve lost a lot of files, changed settings, or installed an app that caused serious problems with your Mac.
Reinstall macOS: If you have problems with macOS, you can try this option to reinstall the latest version of macOS without deleting your files or losing data.
Safari: You can use Apple’s browser to search and troubleshoot repairing your Mac.
Disk Utility: The tool you use to repair, troubleshoot, or erase your hard drive.
In the menu bar at the top of the screen you can also access other apps and tools such as Terminal, Share Disk and Startup Security Utility.
Erase the hard drive, reinstall MacOS
To completely remove all your information from the hard drive and reinstall macOS, open Disk Utility and then select the internal drive labeled Macintosh HD. Click To clear and follow the instructions. Leave the volume name and format alone, but for reference it should be “Macintosh HD” for the name and AFPS for the format. Click To clear.
A few seconds later, the hard drive will be completely erased and all your files, user accounts and apps will be included.
Once that’s done, close Disk Utility and select Reinstall macOS from the list of options. You will be asked to select where you want to install it, which should be Macintosh HD (or whatever name you gave your hard drive if you decide to change it).
Your Mac then downloads the latest version of MacOS, installs it, and when it’s done, it’s like it never got installed.
I ran into a problem but here’s how I solved it
I followed the steps I outlined above – the steps Apple recommends on its support page – but ended up running into a problem reinstalling macOS. I kept getting an error that no authorized user was available to approve the installation. A quick internet search led me to this Reddit thread where others who encountered the same problem offered advice.
What I finally did to complete the recovery was use Disk Utility to select the “Data” drive that is grayed out and erase it too. Once it was cleared (again, using the AFPS format when it was promoted) I was able to install macOS without any 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 crashed when I tried to create the standard user account. Fortunately, that same Reddit thread has a fix for this too. It’s a bit technical, but it worked for me. You can find the details here, should you encounter the same problem.
After you reset your Mac, you can return it,, or .