I messed up my Macbook pro 16 inches in the following way:

  • it came installed with Catalina
  • I upgraded to Big Sur Beta
  • Wanted a fresh install, tried to reinstall from recovery but didn’t install fresh OS
  • Went to recovery and deleted all volumes
  • Created one APFS volume
  • Went to internet recovery, tried to install Catalina, it gives me "Downloading installer information to the target volume failed" (tried multiple networks/hotspot with google dns, but same)

What can I do to un-mess this situation ?

Edit: downloaded Catalina dmg and restored it to flash disk, booted into recovery but says security settings do not allow booting from external devices, when I try to change the settings it tells me no administrator account found to log in !

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    When you say you deleted all volumes in recovery, that’s not sufficient - you need to erase the entire disk in my experience to Big Sur back to Catalina. See my answer on the erase steps. You need a new APFS container, not to empty contents inside the one you had.
    – bmike
    Sep 26, 2020 at 13:40
  • I tried this as well, same error. I’m taking it for repair
    – Rima
    Sep 26, 2020 at 16:09
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    Good call! A store with a mac can sort it pronto. They may even have a caching server so you can boot to recovery in 5 minutes since those images cache locally, as to the installers from Apple CDN.
    – bmike
    Sep 26, 2020 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


This is pretty easy if you have a network that works or a second Mac.

I’m not sure you have either based on the initial version of your question. You may have both based on the edit.

The erase install process works great for us on the hardware you have. I wouldn't mess with bootable media if you can download from Internet Recovery.

Instead - erase the disk, which returns you to the Catalina installer. While it's running - look for Command-L and Command-3 to show the log file and show all logs.

It's unlikely you need Apple Configurator, but know you can bypass everything and start by restoring the T2 chip and then write a new BridgeOS if needed on T2 Macs.

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    Also- for next time Rima - you don’t need to erase Catalina or Mojave to install BigSur - you can just make a new volume and install the OS along side. Dual and Triple boot on hardware is quite easy and won’t leave you stranded if one OS no longer boots to you want to go back. Virtualization is also very nice on hardware that powerful.
    – bmike
    Sep 26, 2020 at 13:39
  • Thanks for the answer; unfortunately I don’t have a second Mac :(, I flashed the image in Windows. This is a lesson to not venture without reading
    – Rima
    Sep 26, 2020 at 16:08
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    We can get you sorted out, I’m almost sure of it. Do you have an external hard drive @Rima ? If so, boot to internet recovery and install any OS on to that external. Then you can boot from that (hold down option key) and then we proceed to fix the internal drive... Windows will not download the correct drivers in my experience without a lot of hard work. I recommend the easy path...
    – bmike
    Sep 26, 2020 at 16:10
  • I'm not able to install OS to external disk, the error I'm getting is before the choice of disk, on the very first screen when clicking continue
    – Rima
    Sep 26, 2020 at 17:27
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    @Rima good luck - keep us posted what sorts this out!
    – bmike
    Sep 26, 2020 at 18:03

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