If you experience issues running macOS Big Sur on your M1 MacBook Air, ‌M1‌ MacBook Pro, or ‌M1‌ Mac mini, or you want to start afresh with a new installation of the operating system, you'll need to boot into macOS Recovery, which is done slightly differently on Apple Silicon Macs compared to Intel machines.

Keep reading to learn how to start up in macOS Recovery and reinstall macOS 11 Big Sur on your M1-powered machine.

How to Start Up in macOS Recovery and Reinstall macOS

  1. Turn on your Mac and continue to press and hold the power button until you see the startup options window.
  2. Select the gear icon labeled Options, then click Continue.
    m1 mac startup options

  3. If you're asked to select a user that you know the password for, select the one you want, click Next, then enter their admin password.
  4. When macOS Recovery has loaded, select Reinstall macOS from the utilities window.
    reinstall macos m1

  5. Click Continue and follow the installer's instructions.

If the installer offers you a choice between installing on Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD Data, choose Macintosh HD.

Once the macOS installation process is underway, your Mac may restart a show a progress bar several times, and the screen might be empty for minutes at a time. These restart events can be expected and aren't anything to worry about. If the installer doesn't see your disk, or says it can't install on your Mac or volume, you may need to erase the disk first using Disk Utility.

Note that if you erased your ‌M1‌ Mac before updating to ‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌ 11.0.1, you might be unable to reinstall macOS from macOS Recovery. A message might say "An error occurred while preparing the update. Failed to personalize the software update. Please try again." If this happens, Apple suggests creating a bootable installer using another Mac, otherwise you'll have to follow a more technical process involving Terminal to restore your Mac.

Related Stories

macos big sur desktop

How to Install the macOS Big Sur Public Beta

Thursday August 6, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
Apple in August released the macOS Big Sur beta for its public beta testing group, allowing them to test out the new software for Macs ahead of its release this fall. The macOS Big Sur Public Beta is available to anyone with a compatible Mac and it does not require a developer account. This guide walks you through the steps on installing the beta software. Note that you will need about 20GB...
tvos music now playing lyrics synced

How to Enable Time-Synced Lyrics in Apple Music on Your Apple TV

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:16 pm PDT by
If you're an Apple Music subscriber and own an Apple TV, you have everything you need to host a karaoke party. Thanks to Apple's time-synced lyrics feature, you can sing along as you listen to your favorite songs. This article explains how. In September of 2020, Apple released the tvOS 14 update, which can be installed on the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD. If you own either model, you can...
homepod mini roundup

How to Factory Reset HomePod Mini

Thursday May 20, 2021 4:09 pm PDT by
If you're having trouble with your HomePod mini, need to send it in for servicing, or want sell it or give it away, you'll want to return it to factory settings first. Keep reading to learn how. There are three simple ways to reset a HomePod mini. The first can be done via the Home app on iPhone or iPad, the second uses the physical controls on the speaker, and the third involves a computer. ...
macoscatalinafinder

How to Back Up Your iPhone or iPad to a Mac

Tuesday April 6, 2021 3:53 pm PDT by
There are two types of backup available to iOS users. iCloud backups are encrypted automatically and stored in the cloud, and you can create and use them anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. By contrast, Mac-based backups are created and stored on your Mac, encryption is optional, and you have to connect your device to your computer to restore one. This article shows you how to back up your iPhone,...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air m1

How to Erase an M1 Mac

Tuesday March 2, 2021 11:25 am PST by
This article explains how to erase (or format) the built-in startup disk of a Mac with Apple silicon. Note that erasing your Mac permanently deletes all files on it, so follow the backup advice carefully. If you plan to give away, sell, or trade in a Mac, erasing your Mac should be the final step. First, Back Up Your Data Before you do anything, you should back up the files on your Mac. You ...
apple event spring loaded watch feature

How to Watch the 'Spring Loaded' Apple Event on April 20, 2021

Monday April 19, 2021 8:21 am PDT by
Apple Event Happening Now April 20 Event Day! Follow along with our live blog for the latest updates, and we're also live tweeting the event on Twitter. Apple is planning to hold its first media event of 2021 tomorrow on Tuesday, April 20, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time through a live stream. The event is expected to see the unveiling of updated iPad models, likely some information related to...
steam apple logo

How to Fix the 'Steam Needs to Be Online to Update' Mac Error

Friday March 5, 2021 9:27 am PST by
After installing macOS Big Sur updates, some Mac owners have been running into an error when attempting to install Steam: "Steam needs to be online to update. Please confirm your network connection and try again." Unfortunately, this is a long-running Steam issue that Mac users have been experiencing for at least 10 years now, and there's no single centralized fix, and it's not entirely...
big sur battery feature blue

How to Check Your Mac's Battery Cycles

Wednesday May 12, 2021 9:22 am PDT by
Apple's latest MacBooks offer some of the most impressive battery life seen on any notebook, with the company's adoption of Apple silicon taking power efficiency to a whole new level. But like all rechargeable batteries, the actual lifespan of a battery is dictated by the number of charge cycles it's been through. Keep reading to learn how to check the battery cycle count on your MacBook. ...
font smoothing catalina

How to Adjust or Disable Font Smoothing in macOS Big Sur

Tuesday December 1, 2020 1:15 pm PST by
If you recently installed macOS Big Sur and you're wondering why the text looks blurry on your display, it could be because font smoothing is enabled by default. This article shows you how to disable it with a simple Terminal command. Before macOS 11 Big Sur came along, Apple offered the ability to disable font smoothing in the General tab of System Preferences. Unfortunately for some,...
m1 mac family

How to Check Your Mac's Warranty and AppleCare+ Status

Thursday May 6, 2021 1:35 pm PDT by
In macOS Big Sur 11.3 and later, it's easy to find up-to-date information about your Mac's warranty or AppleCare plan. You can check whether your device is covered and see what kinds of repair and support are included with your cover. You can also find your agreement number, proof of purchase and expiry date. To get information on your Mac's warranty status and/or AppleCare+ plan, first...