Skip to content
Thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 34 years
and the TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals

Troubleshooting Startups Will Work Differently in Apple Silicon Macs

For decades, the go-to fix for many Mac problems was to reset PRAM/NVRAM and the SMC by holding down special keyboard combinations at startup. In more recent years, we’ve tried to remember all the startup key combinations for macOS Recovery, Single User Mode, Target Disk Mode, and more. Jason Snell at Six Colors reports that’s all about to go away in new Apple Silicon Macs. Similar to how iPhones work, merely holding the Power button at boot will take you into a new Recovery screen with all of those options and more.

But wait, there’s more! Sadly, Target Disk Mode is going away, but Apple is replacing it with a new Mac Sharing Mode that turns your Mac into an SMB file server. Transfer speeds will likely be slower over the network than with Thunderbolt, but in theory, any computer with an SMB client will be able to grab files from that Mac. It might also be an easy way to turn an old Mac into a dedicated file server. See Jason’s article for more helpful details.

Read original article

Subscribe today so you don’t miss any TidBITS articles!

Every week you’ll get tech tips, in-depth reviews, and insightful news analysis for discerning Apple users. For over 33 years, we’ve published professional, member-supported tech journalism that makes you smarter.

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. The Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Comments About Troubleshooting Startups Will Work Differently in Apple Silicon Macs

Notable Replies

  1. Thanks, Josh.

    It’s not obvious to me what advantage replacing TDM with SMB sharing has. Obviously, SMB sharing is a nice addition, but I’d have preferred TDM sticking around around for those special cases where SMB sharing over a network won’t do.

  2. The other startup mode changes sound good but I don’t like the loss of Target Disk Mode (TDM). Having more or less direct access to the internal drive is so much faster and allows you to use a variety of tools. Apple discourages boot drive cloning but as long as the destination drive already had all the firmware updates installed during OS updates, it still worked in TDM (at least booting from an external drive is still supported).

    The article also mentions the Apple processor Macs will have a Recovery-Recovery OS (presumably in an uber-firmware, separate from the internal drive) instead of Internet Recovery. I think I only used Internet Recovery once, to install an OS on an older machine that I didn’t have a handy installer for.

  3. Sorry, but would somebody clarify what SMB stands for?

  4. Server Message Block. A network protocol. What Apple has relied on for macOS file sharing since they’ve deprecated AFP.

  5. A mouthful. Very interesting. Thank you

  6. Is there a ‘recovery’ mode for iPhones? I’ve not heard of this before. I just shut my iPhone down and held in the lowers button during startup. All this seemed to do was to abort the startup while the Apple logo was still on screen, and shut the phone down again. Is there any more info on iPhone recovery mode?

  7. Ah, thanks. I thought maybe there was some kind of (untethered) recovery mode like on MacOS, where I would get a screen for running a repair or re-installing iOS over the internet.

Join the discussion in the TidBITS Discourse forum


Avatar for jcenters Avatar for Simon Avatar for cwilcox Avatar for amarillo56 Avatar for jzw Avatar for ddmiller