Along with the move to Apple Silicon, the process of performing restore operations is different on M1 Macs compared to their Intel predecessors. Follow us to learn how to revive and restore M1 Macs, what’s the difference, when to use them and what to try before following these steps.

Perform a restore (reset to factory settings) with Intel Macs use macOS Recovery. While this is still an option to reinstall macOS on M1 Macs, for example, there is another process to fully restore a macOS M1 Mac or in limited cases, the need to revive an M1 Mac.

How to Revive and Restore M1 Macs – MacBook Air, Pro, and Mac mini

What is an M1 Mac Revive?

Here’s how Apple describes when to “revive” an M1 Mac and what it does:

In very rare cases, e.g. For example, if there is a power outage during a MacOS upgrade, a Mac may become unresponsive and the firmware needs to be revitalized. A Revive updates the firmware and updates recoveryOS to the latest version. No changes are made to the startup volume, the user’s data volume, or any other volume when it is revived.

However, be aware that if you need to reinstall macOS after a revival, your drive will be erased.

What is an M1 Mac recovery?

A restore will erase your Mac’s drive, but also restore the firmware, update recoveryOS to the latest version, and reinstall the latest version of macOS. Hence, you want your data to be backed up.

Have you already tried reinstalling macOS?

If you can start your M1 Mac with macOS Recovery, you may be able to reinstall macOS without reactivating it or performing a full recovery that requires both a second Mac and Apple Configurator 2. This will erase your drive.

  • With the Mac off, press and hold the power button until you see “Load startup options.”
  • Select options and click Next
  • Enter your password if necessary
  • Now select Reinstall macOS and click Next and follow the instructions

What You Need to Revive or Restore M1 Macs

If you can’t do this, or if you know that you want to fully restore your M1 Mac, here’s what you need:

  • A second Mac with the latest version of Apple Configurator 2 installed (and internet access)
  • Apple advisories “You may need to configure your web proxy or firewall ports to allow all network traffic from Apple devices to the Apple network 17.0.0.0/8.” Read more here.
  • A USB-C to USB-C cable (or USB-AC cable) Apple determines that this needs to be supported Power and data and Thunderbolt 3 cables will not work during this process

How to revive or restore

If your M1 Mac is not responding, the first thing you can try is a revive that won’t erase your data. If that doesn’t work, or you know you want to erase your M1 Mac, then you can do a restore. Here are the main steps:

  1. Start Apple Configurator 2 on a secondary Mac and connect it to your Mac that is having problems
  2. Reboot your M1 Mac which is not responding with a special sequence
  3. Use Apple Configurator 2 on the secondary Mac to revive or restore it

On a secondary (working) Mac

  1. Make sure you are using the latest version of Apple Configurator 2
  2. Plugged into power and connected to the internet
  3. Plug in the USB-C cable
  4. Start Apple Configurator 2

Prepare a non-working M1 MacBook Air or Pro

  1. Press the power button
  2. When you hold down the power button, press all of these buttons at the same time for about 10 seconds
    • Right shift key
    • Left option key
    • Left control button
  3. After 10 seconds, release all buttons except the power button until the Mac appears in Apple Configurator 2 on your secondary Mac

Apple is finding that there is no screen activity on the Mac you are trying to revive / restore.

Prepare a M1 Mac mini that is not working

  1. Have it plugged into a monitor to see when the process is complete
  2. Unplug the Mac mini power cord for at least 10 seconds
  3. Press and hold the power button
  4. Plug the power cord back in while pressing the power button
  5. Release the power button
  6. You should see the status indicator glow red (amber), but you won’t see any screen activity for now

Reviving from the secondary (working) Mac

  • In Apple Configurator 2, select the M1 Mac that you want to revive / restore
  • In the menu bar at the top, select Actions> Advanced
    • Or Control-click the device> Advanced
  • Choose Revive device
  • Apple states that “If you are reviving the firmware, you must verify that the operation was successful as Apple Configurator 2 may not notify you.”
  • Now you can exit Apple Configurator 2 and unplug the USB cable

Recovery from the secondary (working) Mac

  • In Apple Configurator 2, select the M1 Mac that you want to restore
  • In the menu bar at the top, select Actions> Restore
    • Or Control-click M1 Mac> Restore
  • In the dialog box, select Restore to confirm the action
  • The process may take some time, during which time the Apple logo will appear and disappear
  • Your Mac will restart when the process is complete
  • As with a resuscitation: “When you restore your Mac, you need to verify that it was successful because Apple Configurator 2 may not notify you.”
  • Apple highlights that the macOS setup wizard will appear when a restore for an M1 Mac is successful
  • You can exit Apple Configurator 2 on your secondary Mac and disconnect the USB cable
How to Revive and Restore M1 Mac Walkthrough 2

For more information on how to revive and restore M1 Macs, please visit here Apple’s support document here. And here it is Support document for using macOS Recovery with M1 Macs including reinstalling macOS.

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