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Question: iMac recovery or reset not possible with High Sierra


I sold an iMac "27 late 2009 with MacOS El Capitan to a friend.

I made the clean up before passing it.

Obviously I made a mistake and didn't follow the Apple instruction properly with the factory reset.

I started the reinstallation process and quit with cmd-Q before the Apple is asking approval for the law text. I thought this is no longer my computer so it is not my job to approve anything anymore.

I passed the imac to a friend and he got stuck with the apple id part. It didn't approve his apple id and therefore he couldn't do anything with the iMac. It gave message "This item is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later"

After two days of googling I found solution and possible reason for this issue. I should have approve the law text and start the installation with my apple ID which was originally used when I bought the iMac and after that I should have quit the installation process with cmd-Q.

OK, so this friend now has fully working iMac and he updated the MacOS to High Sierra. But then he wanted to install SSD and therefore he tested the recovery mode before doing any hard disk installations, and again it doesn't take his apple ID username/password. It says "This item is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later" the same message that he got before. It seems that the recovery is trying to reinstall the El Capitan MacOS which is assosiated with my apple ID and therefore he can't reset the iMac with his apple ID. We have tested several key combinations: Command (⌘)-R, Option-Command-R, Shift-Option-Command-R

So, I am now asking if anyone has any idea why in the heck this iMac is trying to reinstall the old Mac OS instead reinstalling the High Sierra which has been assosiated with his apple ID and currently running on iMac? Basically now he Can't resell this iMac to anyone unless I go there and insert my apple ID. This person lives 125km away, so I am not very keen on driving back and forth just because Apple has made the reselling too difficult.

iMac, iOS 11.2

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Dec 12, 2017 2:20 PM in response to jsadler1969 In response to jsadler1969

Hi, Basically yes, the first issue is solved by now, the one we got when the iMac was set to factory settings, but the issue was basically that I didn't follow correctly the instructions and I quit the installation too early.

So, the solution for the first issue was that I had to take a car and drive to my friend and set my apple ID credentials into the iMac and start the installation. And after it has finished the installation it will ask the credentials for the new user.

This thread gave me a hint what is going on with the installation https://discussions.apple.com/message/28818634#28818634

But our new issue is that my friend has associated correctly (or at least I hope so) the Apple ID with this iMac and he has upgraded the Mac OS to High Sierra with his Apple ID, and now if he does the reset or reinstallation it will offer El Capitan Mac OS instead of High Sierra. And as the El Capitan is Purchased with my Apple ID, therefore it wont accept any other apple ID credentials.

This is the case, I believe, the Installed Mac OS is tied into Apple ID account and therefore you will get the error message "This item is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later" when you try to reinstall Mac OS version that you haven't purchased with your own Apple ID. So, in your case, you need the credentials which were used when the Mac was installed with the MacOS version which the recovery process is offering to you.

There are several other methods which may or may not work. For example, at the Recovery mode select the Help and open there the Safari and login to iCloud with your user account, then leave it open and go back to recovery and now select reinstall. This method was in that link I posted above.

Another method would be that you install the original Mac OS from the DVD's that came with the Mac. In my case that was not a solution as I don't have those DVD's anymore.

But my solution was that I had to go there to my friends place and enter my credentials. That was only way to get it working.

And now the new issue what we have currently is that he can't sell that iMac to third person as the reinstallation requires my credentials because it tries to restore El Capitan instead of High Sierra which is currently running and purchased with his Apple ID credentials.

Dec 12, 2017 2:20 PM

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Dec 13, 2017 4:44 AM in response to sami136 In response to sami136

I'm answering to my own question, the problem has been resolved.

My friend called me and he said that he called to Apple and they knew that this kind of behavior has been happened before. They didn't say that it is a bug, but sounds like a bug to me.

They instructed to download the High Sierra from the Apple store instead of just update.

I don't have anymore Mac so I don't know how this actually look in the Apple Store, but my friend said that there are two choices. You can use the "update", which he did previously, or use the "download" for High Sierra. There are some issues with the upgrade. It seems that it doesn't update the OS underneath, in this case the El Capitan. It just updates some parts of the OS (?). I don't actually understand completely because I am just now telling what my friend told to me.

But anyway, solution was to go to Apple Store, Download the High Sierra and it then offers you to install the new OS. Make the installation and after you have completed, it should be OK. And now if you test with the restore mode by using the key combination (I believe it was Option-Command-R) it should now show you the High Sierra version. And it doesn't even ask you to enter any apple ID credentials (or at least that was what my friend told to me).

Hopefully this was helpfull to someone. I have still my brother's iMac to sell so, I believe I'll be tackling with these same issues again...

Dec 13, 2017 4:44 AM

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Dec 13, 2017 7:45 AM in response to sami136 In response to sami136

Before selling, I would highly recommend erasing the hard drive and reinstalling the OS after erasing it. You can do this from Disk Utility in Recovery mode (Cmd + R) at startup.

After erasing, it will remove that Apple ID information from the machine. Then go ahead and reinstall the OS. That way the person receiving it will get a fresh machine. If you can't boot into recovery, it may be because you're using a bluetooth keyboard. Sometimes, bluetooth keyboards won't start communicating with the machine until after you are passed the point of needing to enter in the key command. I would try a wired keyboard if you can somehow get access to one if you do not have one.

Dec 13, 2017 7:45 AM

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Dec 13, 2017 8:29 AM in response to stuartjash In response to stuartjash

I did format the drive and I used the type that overwrites the hard disk seven times. It won't remove Apple ID information. There were no problems with the wireless keyboard.

This problem has been resolved and if you want to know how, then please read the thread before commenting.

Dec 13, 2017 8:29 AM

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Question: iMac recovery or reset not possible with High Sierra