Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

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Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by S.Crow »

I have an M1 Mini and when I tried the system reset prior to selling it, it failed and I can't seem to recover it.
After looking at Apple support, it appears that I require another Mac running a recent version of macOS to be able to create a bootable USB stick and that can be used to reinstall the O/S.

Is this the gist of it?
I can't recall whether this other system needs to also be Apple Silicon based?

I'm hoping to borrow a laptop soon which I think is M1 to get this sorted.
Prior to the reset failing, the OS was up to date and this was about 3 months ago.

I'm not an Apple person, so some of their terminology is a bit vague for me, but I should be okay.
Thanks.
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by BigRedX »

There should be a data recovery partition on the system drive. Boot up the Mac whilst holding down the alt/option key and see if it is visible. You should get a list of bootable "drives". If the main system is trashed only the data recovery partition will be visible. If so select it to boot into and you should be able to install a fresh version of Mac OS. You will need to be connected to the internet for this to allow the OS installer and subsequent files to download.
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by MarkOne »

BigRedX wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:57 pm There should be a data recovery partition on the system drive. Boot up the Mac whilst holding down the alt/option key and see if it is visible. You should get a list of bootable "drives". If the main system is trashed only the data recovery partition will be visible. If so select it to boot into and you should be able to install a fresh version of Mac OS. You will need to be connected to the internet for this to allow the OS installer and subsequent files to download.

On M1 Macs the process is slightly different.

1. Turn off your Mac (or ensure it is already off).

2. Press and hold the Power button.

3. A message stating you'll be able to access startup options soon will appear. Keep holding the button down.

4. Click Options > Continue to open up Recovery.

And then there should be options there to allow you to rebuild your machine.
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by S.Crow »

Thanks all.
I'll take another look as it wasn't clear how to recover.
I tried the options that were presented to me and they didn't work.
The reset feature scrambled things, so hopefully the recovery partition can be used.
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by S.Crow »

I can't seem to do anything with this as it requires internet access to carry out a task.

“Select a WiFi network from the menu or attach a network cable to proceed.”

Two options
Next is greyed out.
Restart

I've started looking online and it appears that I need to download a full system image and create a bootable USB drive from that, as that way doesn't require internet acccess.

So far, all the info I've seen requires third party tools, so is there a simple guide from Apple on how to do this?
I am going to carry on looking, but I only have access to the Mac Air for another 5 hours so if any has a pointer that would be appreciated.
I'm new to this Apple world so it's slow to wade through stuff and I obviously have to be extremely cautious about installing 3rd party apps.
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by BigRedX »

Why can't you connect this Mac to the internet?
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by S.Crow »

BigRedX wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 11:16 am Why can't you connect this Mac to the internet?

Because I didn't realise that there's a tiny icon in the top right corner of the screen that allows you to choose a network. :headbang:
Sorted now and it is installing with a minute left.
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by BigRedX »

Great news.

I would have said just plug in an ethernet cable (it's always faster and more reliable than WiFi), but I suspect that this Mac requires a specialised USB-C to RJ45 lead for this.
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by S.Crow »

BigRedX wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 11:51 am I would have said just plug in an ethernet cable (it's always faster and more reliable than WiFi), but I suspect that this Mac requires a specialised USB-C to RJ45 lead for this.

WiFi only upstairs.
I really should have realised that there was a way to choose a network.
That doesn't excuse them from not making it obvious on the restore page though.
Using a tiny icon from a mobile phone that in my case was displayed on a 24" screen is form over function. :roll:
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Re: Can I restore macOS to an M1 Mini without a working Mac?

Post by bn1studio »

As I found out, yes, you need an Internet connection. The M1 Mini has a standard RJ45 Ethernet connector

My process nowadays is always to install & update a new system, make a disc image of it using Carbon Copy Cloner, then use Migration Assistant to move over the User(s) I need
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