support docs: Apple Silicon DFU instructions are hard to follow

Number:rdar://FB9865027 Date Originated:1/29/22, 14:52 EST
Status:Open Resolved:
Product:macOS Product Version:N/A, but macOS 12.2 (21D49)
Classification:Installation/Setup/Migration/Recovery Reproducible:
support docs: Apple Silicon DFU instructions are hard to follow
FB9865027 — macOS

Basic Information

Please provide a descriptive title for your feedback:
support docs: Apple Silicon DFU instructions are hard to follow

Which area are you seeing an issue with?

What type of issue are you reporting?


What does the installation/setup/migration/recovery issue you are seeing involve?
Something else not on this list

What build of macOS were you upgrading from?
N/A, but macOS 12.2 (21D49) 

What time was it when this last occurred? (Example: 12:00 pm EST 02/14/2018)
Not answered


Please describe the issue and what steps we can take to reproduce it:
The instructions to enter DFU Mode (Download Firmware Mode) for Apple Silicon devices are not worded well and difficult to execute.
This is regarding

I am concerned with “Step 2: Prepare the Mac you want to revive or restore” for a MacBook Pro, so the 3rd boldface section, “If reviving or restoring an Apple notebook computer.”

The instructions read:

“. Press the power button.

2. While holding down the power button, at the same time press all three of the following keys for about 10 seconds:

    The right Shift key

    The left Option key

    The left Control key

3. After 10 seconds, immediately release the three keys but continue to hold down the power button until a DFU icon appears in Apple Configurator 2 on the first Mac.

Note: You won’t see any screen activity from the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro you’re trying to revive or restore. If the MacBook Pro uses a MagSafe connector, you won’t see the LED charging light.”

These are not good instructions and if you attempt to follow them, it usually does not work.

I would encourage Apple to get a few people to try testing these instructions and see how many tries it takes them before they get them to work.

Instead, please take a look at 3rd party instructions for the same procedure, e.g.

The instructions listed at “DFU M1 MacBook Air or Pro - Tim’s method” seem to work the best:

“1. Turn on the Mac (or leave it on)
2. Once it starts booting, hold the power/keyboard combo (right shift, left control, left option) until it shuts off 
3. Count to 3
4. Release all but the power button for 7 seconds (or until it shows up in AC2)”

The issue seems to be that Apple’s instructions are not clear whether you should begin with the power on  or off, and part of the purported ten second hold is to shut the machine down so that you can hold down the power button while it is starting up. But this is not clear, and depending whether you start from on or off, the time duration is 5 seconds longer or shorter. It is confusing.

Additionally, when I was trying to follow the instructions I did so incorrectly and Apple Configurator 2 showed an image of a MacBook Pro with the screen lit up, not the grey square with the letters “DFU” inside. Because I had not followed this procedure before, I was unaware that the MacBook Pro image meant I had failed to enter DFU mode, and Apple Configurator 2 proceeded to download a 12GB image to reinstall the MacBook (which took some time) before it reported a failure.

If the instructions had shown a picture of a MacBook Pro with the screen lit up, and then placed a large red X through it and indicated that was NOT CORRECT and the procedure WOULD NOT WORK, that would have been very helpful.

1/29/22, 19:44:02  EST
I wanted to find a screenshot of Apple Configurator 2 showing the icon of of the MacBook Pro with the screen lit up. I spent quite a while trying to reproduce the problem, and instead it would only display to me a different image (also not DFU) of a MacBook with a large padlock. See 19:36:59 screenshot, attached.

Of course, the instructions should also be clear that this, again, is a sign of failure to properly boot the machine into DFU mode.

After digging, I was able to find a screenshot from partially through the recovery process with the image of the live MacBook Pro screen, that’s the 22:11:18 screenshot. Unfortunately the image is a bit dimmed because of the modal “Reviving device” dialog box, however I think the image is fairly clear.

Nonetheless, I made an effort to extract the image and brighten it back up to approximately what it was. See brightened-macbook-image.png.

Screen Shot 2022-01-26 at 22.11.28.png
Screen Shot 2022-01-29 at 19.36.59.png


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