Restoring Apple Silicon M1 Macs Leading to macOS Installation Errors

Several customers who purchased a new Mac with an M1 Apple Silicon app have discovered an issue when attempting to restore the machine, which leads to it becoming non-functional and stuck on error screen that says "An error occurred preparing the update. Failed to personalize the software update."

MacOS Big Sur error message
There are at least three threads on the MacRumors forums outlining the issue and warning against restoring one of the new machines. MacRumors reader RyanFlynn describes the problem:

I just received my M1 MacBook Pro and Macbook Air. Because I don't need any of the included software, it is always my procedure to restore the operating system without things like garage band and iMovie.

during the install process, an error occurs relating to "customizing the system update"

after a couple hours on the phone with Apple care, they told me that 75 other people have called in with this issue, and They have no work around. I was instructed to return my systems, or wait for a fix. Without having an operating system running, there is no way for me to install any future updates, so these computers are effectively bricked.

While Apple Support wasn't able to provide RyanFlynn with a reliable fix for the problem, other MacRumors readers have discovered a solution that appears to work.

Apple has instructions on using Configurator 2 and a secondary Mac to revive or restore an ‌Apple Silicon‌ Mac that has become unresponsive. This method requires the newest version of Apple Configurator 2, a functional Mac, and an appropriate cable to connect the two Macs.

Restoring in this way restores the firmware, updates recoveryOS to the latest version, and erases and installs the latest version of macOS on internal storage, thereby erasing all data. This method was successful for two MacRumors readers who had the recovery problem.

Apple may have a fix coming for this issue in the future, but for now it's best to avoid restoring an ‌Apple Silicon‌ Mac. For those that have already done so and are running into trouble, the Apple Configurator solution may be worth trying.

Top Rated Comments

BootLoxes Avatar
23 months ago
Couldnt you just uninstall the apps you need? Resorting to a restore right out of the gate seems a bit excessive.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
loekf Avatar
23 months ago
Some things I dont understand. You can remove apps like iMovie and GarageBand and just put the additional stuff into a folder. Why would you restore the OS ?
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MauiPa Avatar
23 months ago
Sounds like an invalid procedure to begin with. I would never attempt that. 1). Just delete the apps you don’t want. Makes sense, right. 2) restoring from a non m1 image, what does that even mean?
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
groundedUX Avatar
23 months ago
Why do some people complain about these people who restore? Just because YOU wouldn’t do it, and just because there are other, probably better ways something can be done doesn’t remove the FACT that people operate in ways that may be different from you. Calling out those people as “wrong” or “why would they do that when they can just uninstall” does not prove your superior intellect, it simply proves you are short in EMPATHY, which btw - understanding this concept is foundational for any company building products for people as well as a foundational concept for any person dealing with any other human in any positive way.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DHagan4755 Avatar
23 months ago
I understand the whole desire to wipe the new Mac & "start clean" but you can delete those stock apps from Launch Pad without having to go through that hassle.

Meanwhile Apple will definitely improve the restoration process.

Attachment Image
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlocker Avatar
23 months ago
Thank you all you early hardware adopters for making my life easy for the next 2 years.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple studio display blue

Apple Updates Boot Camp to Support Studio Display

Sunday March 20, 2022 5:40 am PDT by
Apple this week released an update for Boot Camp, its solution for running Windows on Intel-based Macs, to support the newly-launched Studio Display. Boot Camp Update 6.1.17, released to the public earlier this week, adds support for the Studio Display and updates drivers for AMD and Intel GPUs. To update to the latest Boot Camp drivers, users need to navigate to the Start menu in Windows...
onedrive m1 macs

Microsoft Releases Preview of Native OneDrive Client for Apple Silicon Macs

Wednesday December 8, 2021 4:19 am PST by
Microsoft today offered OneDrive users a pre-release version of its OneDrive syncing client for macOS that is optimized to run natively on Apple silicon. The official support for M1 Macs should make the OneDrive Arm preview run faster on Apple's latest machines, since the client will no longer need to go through Apple's Rosetta 2 translation layer. OneDrive users need to be in the Office ...
Intel Not Mac Pro Feature

Macs With Intel Processors Still Coming Amid Transition to Apple Silicon

Tuesday December 21, 2021 10:55 am PST by
While Apple is rapidly transitioning its Mac lineup from Intel processors to its own Apple silicon, it's worth highlighting as 2021 wraps up that the relationship between Apple and Intel hasn't been entirely severed as reports indicate Apple still has one more Intel-based Mac in its pipeline that's yet to be released. With the Mac Pro, Apple is not expected to entirely transition its most...
General Dropbox Feature

Dropbox Mac App With Apple Silicon Support Now Available to All Beta Users

Thursday January 13, 2022 1:01 am PST by
Following limited testing of native support, Dropbox's Mac app built for Apple silicon is now available to all beta testers. Earlier this month, Dropbox began testing native Apple silicon support with a handful of beta testers, promising to expand testing to all beta users before the end of the month. Now, all Dropbox users who have enabled "Early releases" in their account preferences will...
microsoft office icons

Microsoft Releases Office for Mac Update With Full Apple Silicon Support in Excel

Tuesday January 18, 2022 4:15 am PST by
Microsoft has released a new version of its Office for Mac productivity suite that includes an updated Excel app with 100% native support for Apple silicon machines. According to the release notes accompanying version 16.57, Excel will now run natively on Macs powered by Apple's M1-series processors without having to use the Rosetta 2 translation layer, which means anyone using a Mac with an ...
macos monterey

macOS Monterey 12.3 Update Bricking Macs That Have Had Logic Board Replacements

Thursday March 17, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
The latest macOS Monterey update, released to the public this week, is bricking Macs that have had their logic boards replaced, causing panic among customers who are unable to get their Mac back to a working state, according to a cluster of user reports posted on social media and Apple's support forums. Apple this week released macOS Monterey 12.3, which among other things, brought Universal ...
m2 feature purple

Evidence of M2 Apple Silicon Chip Spotted Ahead of Apple Event on Tuesday

Sunday March 6, 2022 6:39 am PST by
Evidence that Apple is testing the M2 Apple silicon chip, expected to debut first in a new MacBook Air and refreshed 13-inch MacBook Pro, has been spotted by a developer ahead of Tuesday's "Peek performance" Apple event. As reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, a "developer source" has informed him that in recent weeks, Apple has been testing a chip with an...
nord vpn m1 native

NordVPN Update Adds Native Support for Apple Silicon Macs

Monday August 16, 2021 7:00 am PDT by
The popular VPN service NordVPN has rolled out an update to add native support for Apple silicon Macs. As of version 6.6.1, NordVPN natively supports Apple silicon Macs, such as the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and 24-inch iMac, which each sport the M1 chip. Although the update started to roll out on August 3, a blog post by Nord has today announced that the 6.6.1 update is ...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
battery percentage ios 16

Here's Why the iPhone Battery Status Icon in iOS 16 Is So Controversial

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:34 am PDT by
In the latest iOS 16 beta, Apple has updated the status bar battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the exact percentage remaining rather than just a visual representation of battery level, and while the change has been largely welcomed, some users are unhappy with the way it has been implemented. In iOS 15 and earlier, battery percent has not been present on iPhones that have...
Apple Watch Body Temperature Finished

'High-Accuracy' Apple Watch Temperature Sensor Revealed by Patent Filing Just Weeks Before Series 8 Unveiling

Wednesday August 10, 2022 5:39 am PDT by
Apple has been granted a patent for a temperature sensor suitable for the Apple Watch, just weeks before the company is expected to unveil the Apple Watch Series 8 with body temperature sensing capabilities. The newly granted patent, spotted by MyHealthyApple, was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is titled "Temperature gradient sensing in electronic devices."...