It was last November that Apple presented its first computers equipped with the M1 chip. The first one MacBook Air with M1 and we had the opportunity to put it to the test.
In this way, we know that the performance increase is very significant thanks to the new processors. But not all is there, as there are some aspects to consider when managing the system with macOS as some things change.
We have already written several articles about this, as if a Mac with an M1 processor is worth buying. We also have a comparison between 13 ”MacBook Pro (M1) and MacBook Pro (Intel). Also check all the news about Apple’s M1 chipset.
In this article, we want to focus on the technical changes that we have seen compared to Mac models with an Intel chip, such as booting from external drives, using target disk mode, entering mode recovery or restarting the Equipment.
What are the differences?
Now that Apple is making its own processors for Macs, there are subtle but essential differences in how you should interact with the macOS system compared to Intel processors.
This may mean that the proven quick fixes for issues related to the Equipment, are no longer available for new computers. We’ll cover some of the biggest differences below.
How to enter ‘recovery mode’ on a Mac M1
On current Intel chip Macs, if you want to use “ recovery mode ” to clean up your Mac or reinstall macOS, you must enter special mode by pressing and holding “ Command + R ” keys during startup. . Then, when you start your Mac, you will have access to tools such as “Disk Utility”.
On a Mac M1, the process is somewhat different.
- To get started, you need to shut down your Mac.
- Then press and hold the power button.
- When the Apple logo appears, you will see a text informing you that if you keep pressing the power button, you will be able to access the boot options.
- Finally, you will be able to enter “Options> Continue” and this will open the “Recovery Mode”.
If the options offered by this mode of use interest you, you can consult our article on how to reinstall macOS using recovery mode
How to reset the SMC system management controller
Traditionally on an Intel Mac, one way to troubleshoot issues that arise with fans or power supplies is to reset the System Management Controller (SMC).
This is accomplished by shutting down your Mac for a short time and then restarting it, or by using certain key combinations, all of which are explained in the article on how to reset NVRAM, PRAM and SMC of a Mac.
Mac M1s don’t have a system management controller, so that route is obviously gone, but so far we’re not quite sure how to deal with thermal or power management issues when they arise.
There are probably methods out there, but at the time of writing we haven’t figured them out yet, and Apple hasn’t provided them.
How to reset NVRAM
Another troubleshooting method missing from M1 Macs is the ability to use a key combination to reset NVRAM. This can be a useful solution for startup issues, audio issues, or if your Mac has the wrong screen resolution.
On Macs with an Intel chip, it is enough to hold down the ‘Option + Command + P + R’ keys while starting the machine, but to our knowledge there is no equivalent on Macs delivered with the M1 chip.
How to restore from Time Machine or use ‘Disk Utility’
If your Mac is having serious problems, you may need to restore a Time Machine backup, a snapshot backup, or use “Disk Utility” software to repair or delete data on your hard drive.
While both options are still available on the M1 Macs, the way you access the options has changed. With Intel Macs, you need to hold down the ‘Command + R’ key (as described above) while booting the computer to boot to a recovery partition.
From there, you can choose the type of backup or repair you want to use.
On newer M1 Macs, the path is slightly different, as you need to turn off the device, press the power button and hold it until you see a message regarding boot options.
Click on the “Options” button and you should see the same functionality as on Intel devices.
How to choose a different volume
By following the above process, we also have the option to choose the options ‘Utilities> Boot Security Utility’ for more tools. Here you will usually find three options: full security, medium security, and no security.
Apple describes these levels as follows:
- Total security. This ensures that you can only run your current operating system or signed operating system software that Apple currently trusts. This mode requires a network connection when installing the software.
- Medium security. It allows you to run any version of the signed operating system software that Apple has trusted.
- Without security. There is no requirement on the boot operating system.
Mac M1s only have the first two levels of security, probably because Apple hardens the system against any vulnerabilities. Unlike this, you will no longer be able to set a firmware password, apparently without knowing its meaning.
How to boot from external drives
Another difference is the ability to boot from external drives. With Intel Macs, there were options in a section called “ External Boot ”, but this is missing on newer M1 Macs.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use external boot drives, just that the path you need to take has been changed.
Instead, shut down your Mac M1, then press and hold the power button. This time, wait until the boot options are fully loaded before releasing the button. You will see the available boot volumes displayed.
We have seen reports of issues with Big Sur unable to use external boot drives on Mac M1 or Intel, but hopefully this issue will be resolved by the time you read this. If you don’t know how to start your Mac this way, follow our guide on how to install macOS on an external hard drive.
How to use Safe Mode
If you think that Software that you installed may cause problems, you can verify this by restarting your computer in safe mode. You can do this on both types of Macs, but again, you’ll need to use different commands.
On the Intel Mac, all you have to do is restart your Mac while holding the “Shift” key.
For Mac M1 users, shut down the computer and restart while holding down the power key until you see that the boot options have finished loading. Then select the internal drive and hold down the “Shift” key to choose “Safe Mode”.
How to use Apple diagnostic mode
Another very useful feature for troubleshooting is to use Apple’s “diagnostic mode”. On Macs with an Intel chip, simply hold down the “D” key while restarting to automatically enter mode.
On newer M1 Macs, you will need to hold down the power key while restarting until the startup options appear. Immediately press “Cmd + D” to enter Apple’s “diagnostic mode”.
In the case of MacBooks, it is important to manage the battery charge properly if you are going to use the laptop connected to the electrical outlet in order to prolong its health and prolong its life.
Intel MacBooks have options for “Power Naps” and “Battery Life Options” designed to help you with these tasks.
The new Mac M1s now take over the tasks themselves, so the system monitors their activity and power requirements to protect the most appropriate battery levels.
Bluetooth connected devices
Dentro de ‘Preferencias del sistema’ de un MacBook M1 y en ‘Opciones adicionales’, no verás la configuración para abrir el ‘Asistente de configuración de Bluetooth’ en el caso de que al iniciar el equipo no sea detectado un teclado o ratón de este Type.
This is not surprising since MacBooks always have a keyboard and a trackpad standard to be able to handle them from the first moment, but the same omission also appears in the new Mac mini M1.
We assume that Apple has just turned on the “Bluetooth Setup Assistant” permanently if it does not detect any input device, because the feature still does not work. It seems something more aesthetic than functional.
How to use a Mac as a hard drive for another computer (target drive)
Mac M1 users may notice that in the “Startup Disk” section of “System Preferences” there is no longer “Target Disk Mode”. On Intel Macs, it was used to allow another Mac to boot over a Thunderbolt connection.
So there is no “ target disk mode ” on a Mac M1. However, you can still achieve a similar result with the following process:
- Connect the two Macs via a USB-C cable or a Thunderbolt cable (but unfortunately not the one that came with the MacBook).
- Once done, restart the Mac M1 by pressing and holding the power button to load the boot options.
- Then select “Options> Utilities”, then choose “Volume sharing”.
- Once you’ve entered your password, the drive should appear on the other Mac. You can find the shared drive in the “Network” section of “System Preferences”.
So far, all the features and utilities you need to know about new Mac computers with M1 chip to be able to use “ recovery mode ”, repair internal drive, reinstall macOS, restore your files, or configure policies. disk security.
Keep in mind that to reinstall macOS, you will need an internet connection. To connect, you can use a wired or wireless network connection. Check out our tutorial section to learn more about tips in macOS.