I read on another site that you can use macOS Internet Recovery to install macOS on a blank SSD? Where would the files be stored? On the firmware? If there any way that the firmware could be erased? (I.e. would running sudo rm -rf / on the disk also wipe the firmware or is it more complicated than that? Is there any way that the firmware could be erased?). I'm working on a disaster recovery plan incase I ran a stupid command like sudo rm -rf /.

  • My biggest concern is whether it's possible to delete the firmware and therefore internet recovery. (assuming it's stored on the firmware)
    – user244412
    Jul 21, 2017 at 4:21
  • Have you tried using Command+R to start Internet Recovery when booting up the machine?
    – chungonion
    Jul 21, 2017 at 4:44
  • I don't need to use it at the moment, I'm working on a disaster recovery plan. My main question is it possible for the 'root' user to delete macOS Firmware (not wipe the disk but the firmware itself) from terminal?
    – user244412
    Jul 21, 2017 at 4:47

1 Answer 1


Long Version: The code which permits Internet Recovery Mode (i.e. a slightly modified TFTP client) is stored in the computer's firmware. (In fact, it is a part of it). It's similar to the BIOS chip on Windows computers. When you boot through Internet Recovery, it will download a recovery partition image and load it into the computer's RAM. After this process, you will be able to boot into the normal macOS Recovery interface.

Short Version: If you were to wipe/replace your hard drive, Internet Recovery would automatically download and load a recovery partition image into the RAM, so you would be safe (as long as you have a backup of your data).

PS. Also, it is impossible to wipe the laptop's firmware with a simple sudo rm -rf / command.

Source: Chat with Apple Support

  • So just to confirm it's impossible to wipe the firmware even if I'm flat out stupid with my root account?
    – user244412
    Jul 21, 2017 at 5:42
  • 1
    This answer is in parts wrong! Internet Recovery Mode boots to a macOS netboot image hosted by Akamai (as of today) and doesn't install anything on your hdd/ssd! It's only loaded into RAM. The code to allow a net boot is indeed located in the firmware but is rather small (compared to the netboot image).
    – klanomath
    Jul 21, 2017 at 11:55
  • @NathanielSuchy Yes. You can't wipe the firmware without opening your computer,
    – user220129
    Jul 23, 2017 at 8:53
  • @klanomath Is this "firmware" is a NVRAM chip or something else? (another chip f.e.)
    – m8labs
    Nov 21, 2021 at 1:30

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