Shortly after the launch of Apple’s new Mac M1, we saw reports that attempts to immediately restore and reinstall macOS on these machines could lead to an installation error that would leave your Mac out of order.
In particular, the error message would read: “An error occurred while preparing the update. Failed to customize software update. Please, try again.”
Over the weekend, Apple published detailed instructions for users who are experiencing this problem. In particular, the problem appears to occur if you delete / restore the Mac before upgrading to macOS Big Sur 11.0.1.
If you deleted your Mac with an Apple M1 chip before upgrading to macOS Big Sur 11.0.1, you may not be able to reinstall macOS from macOS Recovery. A message may say, “An error occurred while preparing the update. Failed to customize software update. Please, try again.”
Use one of these solutions to reinstall macOS. You should then be able to use macOS Recovery as expected when reinstalling macOS in the future.
Apple suggests that you can create a bootable installer using another Mac. Otherwise, Apple describes a more technical 17-step process using Terminal to restore your M1 Mac to working order.
If you continue to have issues, Apple recommends that you contact support, and you can also visit our current topic in the forum where users troubleshoot this particular issue.