How to Reinstall macOS Big Sur on M1 Mac Using macOS Recovery

Uzair Ghani
Reinstall macOS Big Sur on M1 Mac using macOS Recovery method

Here’s how you can reinstall macOS Big Sur 11 / 11.0.1 on M1 MacBook Pro, Air or Mac mini using macOS Recovery.

Learn to Reinstall macOS Big Sur on M1 (Apple Silicon) Macs Using macOS Recovery

If you want to reinstall macOS on an Intel-based Mac, it was a simple case of either holding down the Command + R or Command + Option + R keys at device boot-up. But holding down those key combos on an M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or Mac mini yields absolute nothing.

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So, if you do want to reinstall macOS Big Sur (over the air using internet) on your M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or Mac mini, things are slightly different now. But don’t panic, we will walk you through it all. And it’s actually quite simple now as well.


Note: Please make sure you have a working internet connection (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) for this to work.

Step 1. Power down your Mac completely

Step 2. Press and hold the POWER button on your Mac until you see the startup option page

Step 3. Click on Options

Step 4. You will now see the Apple logo on the display. Wait for it to load completely and you will be presented with a bunch of more options (obviously)

Step 5. You can either erase your disk first by clicking on Disk Utility or just click on Reinstall macOS to install a fresh copy

Step 6. Once you’ve clicked on Reinstall macOS, follow the on-screen prompts for downloading and installing macOS Big Sur. If you are asked which disk you should reinstall Big Sur on, select Macintosh HD

At the time of writing, there have been reports of failed Big Sur updates using the above described method. If you are reading this on the day of the tutorial going live, it’s best you stay away from macOS Recovery. Let Apple fix all the lingering issues so everything goes through as smoothly as possible.

I really, really don’t recommend reinstalling macOS Big Sur using this method unless something has terribly gone wrong with your Mac. For example, your Mac is experiencing severe performance issues, which is highly unlikely on the M1. Or, maybe your Mac just refuses to play ball after installing a botched app. Last but not the least, you’re selling your Mac and want to get rid of your personal data before selling it off.

Whatever the case might be, go through the above method as an absolute last resort.

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