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Mac seems bricked. Internet Recovery and Recovery USB not working.

I’m hoping someone has a suggestion to help me fix my Mac which seems to be bricked.

Currently when I boot my Macbook Air 2014 it loads the prohibitory symbol and doesn’t seem to go anywhere from here.

If I try holding down CMD & R it loads Internet Recovery Mode. This is able to connect to the server and starts downloading. I’ve managed to get to the recovery screen once where I was going to try wiping the hard drive but I couldn’t see the hard drive there. It froze so I had to hold down the power button. Which I’ve had to do a lot recently, I’m wondering if this could be part of the problem.

Luckily my Dad has a new Macbook Air which I was able to use to create a recovery USB version of Mojave. I’ve tried using this by booting with CMD & option key and selecting the drive. This seems to get frozen and also won’t load.

I’m wondering if there is something else I can try?

Do I have the option of taking the SDD out and wiping it using a caddy?

Thanks for any help! Starting to lose hope now.


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Your system’s firmware is not the correct one for your systems installed OS. You now likely have no OS on the drive now but still have the wrong format on it.

Your system likely had MacOS Sierra or something older and you installed either High Sierra or Mojave onto the drive but for some reason didn’t update the systems firmware so it can’t recognize the newer APFS file system the drive now has on it (Sierra and older MacOS uses HFS+)

The easiest way to fix this is to leverage your dads system to format and then prep the needed USB drive to install the correct OS onto your system.

First is your dad’s Mac running Sierra? If it is then we can move forward.

If not you’ll need to see if you can get ahold of the Sierra OS installer so you can create a bootable USB system to startup your system and you want to copy over the OS installer to it as well. Then you can use it to prep your system. Unlike a bootable OS installer we need a full OS installed onto the drive. Make sure you formatted the USB drive with GUID and a journaled file system!

But, we still have a problem! As the your systems drive is still not formatted to the needed HFS+ file system. Here we’ll leverage your dads system using Target Disk Mode and connecting your system to his via a Thunderbolt cable. Here’s how Use target disk mode to move files to another computer.

Here we want to format your systems drive with a fresh GUID format and setup using a journaled file system (HFS+). That way we are back to the correct format for your system to use.

Next we want to reboot your system with the Sierra USB drive we’ve created. Still have one hiccup here! You’ll likely need to use the Option (⌥) key to gain access to the Startup manager to select the USB drive as the startup disk. Now we should be able to run the OS installer! - DONE!

Reference: Mac startup key combinations

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