Are Apple and others misleading users about the use of bootable USB or SSD Mac OS installers with M1 Macs and Monterey?

Everything you write is correct, but it seems to be putting a scarier-than-necessary spin on it.

Yes, if the internal SSD completely fails, then you’re going to need Apple to repair it, and if the SSD’s “ISC” APFS container gets corrupted, you’re going to need another Mac with Configurator to recover.

But these problems are extremely rare. Just as rare as an iPhone getting so trashed that you can’t recover without DFU mode. It occasionally happens, but most people will never need to go there.

If you need to “wipe” an Apple Silicon Mac, you need to only delete the APFS container containing macOS (and its various related volumes). There is no need to delete the other two containers (ISC and 1TR), and if you jumped through the hoops necessary to do so, you would end up creating failures requiring a DFU-based recovery.

As long as you haven’t trashed your ISC and 1TR containers, you can boot an external installer, just like on Intel Macs. And when the installer runs, it will create the macOS container that will hold the OS’s various volumes.


The other new related feature is the ability to restore the Mac to factory conditions by “Erase all content and settings” feature, which does exactly that leaving a pristine SSV.
I see many people who want to do a “clean install” believing they have to erase the SSV in DU, which is no longer relevant, and more liable to lead to problems.

1 Like

thank you for your interesting post

what is the rationale ?

When I migrated from T2 → M1 Monterey, I had all kinds of problems like constant rebooting, crashes, etc
After days of troubleshooting, I pinpointed the issue as being app related, namely
1- karabiner elements
2- deepl the translation software
As soon as I deleted those apps, everything has been running smoothly. Similar problems are widely reported with those apps.
Anyone without some understanding of Macs would have brought the M1 to the service center for being defective.
As true internal SSD failures become rare, app related pseudo internal SSD failures may become more common, leading the way for better diagnostic apps to detect boot and kernel panic issues

I would ask the very same question. An educated guess would be the lack of firmware and the effort to rebuild legacy features that should no longer be necessary. Booting from external media can be a security risk. Since the T2 Security Chip on Intel starting around 2018 the ability to external boot was restricted by default and you had to enable the ability in Recovery mode.

1 Like

It’s not needed.

Internet Recovery is used to boot a Mac into Recovery mode when there is no local Recovery volume to boot from.

An Apple Silicon Mac should always have at least one Recovery volume. There should be one for each installed macOS, plus the “1TR” (One True Recovery) volume.

If all of them get trashed (which would be pretty hard to do by accident), then you would use Configurator to put it back.

Once booted into Recovery mode, if you use it to (re-)install macOS, it will download the installer from Apple’s server, just like on the Intel Macs (whether that recovery boot is Internet- or or not).

1 Like

it’s clear now thank you