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Has your usage of the M1 Mac version caused you difficulties?


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pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
I already own an Intel iMac. I purchased a Mac Mini M1 for two specific reasons one of which was to provide my 13-year-old with a new computer. The other issue was a backup system that I could easily switch to should my main iMac need repair.

I was booting from a high-speed external SSD instead of the internal Fusion Drive. I wanted to be able to immediately boot the M1 Mini from my external drive in case of failure of my iMac or having it not available for repair.

This does not work. I am now finding that a bootable external drive created on either the M1 (if you are successful) or the iMac are not bootable on the other.

I don't consider this to be a desirable feature. It has negated my original plan for the M1 Mini.

I got no warning from Apple, and I got plenty of misinformation from Apple tier 2 support people who told me many things about the M1 that have turned out to be entirely false.

I am beyond the 2-week return window.

I think Apple is derelict in their testing of the M1 and in their information giving for the new chip.
 

senttoschool

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2017
2,596
5,400
Why would a bootable drive created on an ARM system work for an Intel system? And vice versa?

When MacOS Big Sur is being installed, it detects whether it's an ARM system or x86, then it installs the appropriate files and features.

And this is such a niche use case that if Apple disclosed this, it'd just confuse the hell out of most users. It took me a while to just understand what you're trying to do and I'm highly technical.
 

abhi182

macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2016
173
120
I already own an Intel iMac. I purchased a Mac Mini M1 for two specific reasons one of which was to provide my 13-year-old with a new computer. The other issue was a backup system that I could easily switch to should my main iMac need repair.

I was booting from a high-speed external SSD instead of the internal Fusion Drive. I wanted to be able to immediately boot the M1 Mini from my external drive in case of failure of my iMac or having it not available for repair.

This does not work. I am now finding that a bootable external drive created on either the M1 (if you are successful) or the iMac are not bootable on the other.

I don't consider this to be a desirable feature. It has negated my original plan for the M1 Mini.

I got no warning from Apple, and I got plenty of misinformation from Apple tier 2 support people who told me many things about the M1 that have turned out to be entirely false.

I am beyond the 2-week return window.

I think Apple is derelict in their testing of the M1 and in their information giving for the new chip.
I have not tried booting from an external drive although It is odd that it does not work - esp if it was created with the ARM specific bootflags and files.

Having said that, you would be a lot better off using the internal drive for booting while using the external drive for data storage.
The latency and R/W speeds of the internal drive are over 2-3X faster than most of the fastest external drives available on the market - and that will make for a very noticeable difference on the usage experience
 

pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
I have not tried booting from an external drive although It is odd that it does not work - esp if it was created with the ARM specific bootflags and files.

Having said that, you would be a lot better off using the internal drive for booting while using the external drive for data storage.
The latency and R/W speeds of the internal drive are over 2-3X faster than most of the fastest external drives available on the market - and that will make for a very noticeable difference on the usage experience
You are not correct.
Thunderbolt is faster than my internal fusion drive.

Why should an APFS formatted drive be different on Intel or Arm?
 
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abhi182

macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2016
173
120
You are not correct.
Thunderbolt is faster than my internal fusion drive.

Why should an APFS formatted drive be different on Intel or Arm?
If you have a TB nvme drive then it would have a speed comparable to the internal drive in sequential reads.

The fusion drive on your old iMac is different (and much slower) given the spin platter. The speeds on the internal drive on the M1 typically run about 2.5GB/s R/W sequential.
In either case, there isn't much to gain from using an external drive.

As for the drive being different
The binaries generated at the time of code compilation are entirely different for different processor architectures. Thats the reason why you would see two different binaries available for say a Linux application built for x64 processors and for a raspberry Pi (ARM)

With Big Sur, the installer will check for the system architecture when initiated and would proceed to create a drive suited for x64 (iMac) or ARM (M1)
 
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pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
If you have a TB nvme drive then it would have a speed comparable to the internal drive in sequential reads.
I have a Sandisk Extreme 1TB SSD. I purchased a 256GB SSD Mac Mini. I spent the extra money for 16GB of RAM. My decisions to configure the Mac Mini were based on false information from Apple.
 
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Aggedor

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2020
799
928
I'm not sure you are understanding the responses here. The macOS that runs on your M1 machine is essentially a different operating system to the one that runs on your Intel machine. You won't be able to boot.
 

pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
I'm not sure you are understanding the responses here. The macOS that runs on your M1 machine is essentially a different operating system to the one that runs on your Intel machine. You won't be able to boot.
I don't think you understand my initial post. You should read it again. It's very clear.
 
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thedocbwarren

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2017
430
378
San Francisco, CA
I have a Sandisk Extreme 1TB SSD. I purchased a 256GB SSD Mac Mini. I spent the extra money for 16GB of RAM. My decisions to configure the Mac Mini were based on false information from Apple.
None of that applies to what you want to do. You simply can not boot an Intel OS on an Arm Mac. If the misinformation you mean is Rosetta, that happens after the OS has loaded.
 

thedocbwarren

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2017
430
378
San Francisco, CA
I don't think you understand my initial post. You should read it again. It's very clear.
It was clear to me, you want to have a boot drive that is a backup system that you can run if a machine has failed. You can't do it that way. You can, however, use that external with a tool called Carbon Copy Cloner to build a copy of your drive. That works and will allow you boot that drive up as a clone.
 

thedocbwarren

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2017
430
378
San Francisco, CA
The misinformation came from multiple tier 2 support engineers.
wow, what did they tell you? Sounds like they didn't understand you were talking about the M1 and an Intel iMac. Or they didn't understand enough about the system's hardware to know they are vastly different.

However, you have a wonderful system. You can still do what you want at least on the individual machines with Carbon Copy Cloner if you wish to backup the mini. You would need to make a clone of the iMac on a separate drive to do the same for the Intel Mac.
 

pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
wow, what did they tell you? Sounds like they didn't understand you were talking about the M1 and an Intel iMac. Or they didn't understand enough about the system's hardware to know they are vastly different.

However, you have a wonderful system. You can still do what you want at least on the individual machines with Carbon Copy Cloner if you wish to backup the mini. You would need to make a clone of the iMac on a separate drive to do the same for the Intel Mac.
Why would assume that I didn't convey the proper information? To me, that is an astounding assumption on your part. Why would you assume that I didn't verify that they knew what I was asking?
 
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pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
However, you have a wonderful system. You can still do what you want at least on the individual machines with Carbon Copy Cloner if you wish to backup the mini. You would need to make a clone of the iMac on a separate drive to do the same for the Intel Mac.
Why should I have to do extra work? I've already wasted too much time trying to get the Macs to do something that they should be able to do, but cannot.
 

thedocbwarren

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2017
430
378
San Francisco, CA
Why would assume that I didn't convey the proper information? To me, that is an astounding assumption on your part. Why would you assume that I didn't verify that they knew what I was asking?
hmmm, so the misunderstanding of what I posted proves a point of miscommunication (but will give benifit of doubt being only text.) I was in fact suggesting the tech support persons did not know what they were saying. Anyway, was trying to be helpful only. Sorry you had difficulty with your machine, simple fact remains you can not boot another CPU architecture's OS.
 

pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
I was in fact suggesting the tech support persons did not know what they were saying.
And there is the true fact. I rely on Apple support, especially tier 2 support to give me accurate information. Shame on Apple for not properly training their techs.

Shame on Apple for not testing this system for the external boot issue. They are derelict in their responsibility to us as buyers of their technology.

Imagine buying a car and later finding out that the car can't run properly on a highway.
 

460works

macrumors newbie
May 13, 2016
15
16
I already own an Intel iMac. I purchased a Mac Mini M1 for two specific reasons one of which was to provide my 13-year-old with a new computer. The other issue was a backup system that I could easily switch to should my main iMac need repair.

I was booting from a high-speed external SSD instead of the internal Fusion Drive. I wanted to be able to immediately boot the M1 Mini from my external drive in case of failure of my iMac or having it not available for repair.

This does not work. I am now finding that a bootable external drive created on either the M1 (if you are successful) or the iMac are not bootable on the other.

I don't consider this to be a desirable feature. It has negated my original plan for the M1 Mini.

I got no warning from Apple, and I got plenty of misinformation from Apple tier 2 support people who told me many things about the M1 that have turned out to be entirely false.

I am beyond the 2-week return window.

I think Apple is derelict in their testing of the M1 and in their information giving for the new chip.
A bootable external drive (let us call it BXDM1), that you create while it is connected to the M1, should be able to boot the M1.

A bootable external drive (let us call it BXDiMac), that you create while it is connected to the iMac, should be able to boot the iMac.

Can BXDM1 be used to boot the iMac? Probably not, though someday, somebody may figure out how to make that happen.

Can BXDiMac be used to boot the M1? Probably not, though someday, somebody may figure out how to make that happen.

Tip: Create a 2nd user on the M1, for your "backup system" to which you can go, when your iMac is being repaired. This tip should work for you, when both computers are on the same local area network, and you are able to successfully transfer files between both Mac computers.

But, you may find that you have trouble transferring files between the two Mac computers, when using an external hard drive, because of differences in the file systems --- because of changes that Apple has made:

a) between Apple file systems (older, HFS Plus; newer APFS)

b) between CPU platforms (Intel v. M1)

Maybe you need to routinely keep your data up-to-date (via your local area network) on your "backup" user account aboard the M1.
 

pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
Maybe you bought the wrong machine for the purpose you had in mind.
Maybe I was given bad information? Why is it that so many of you have become apologists for Apple? Why is it my fault I bought a machine that won't serve my purpose when I was told that it would?

Perhaps you should ask yourself why you apologize for Apple and want to blame me.
 
Last edited:

thedocbwarren

macrumors 6502
Nov 10, 2017
430
378
San Francisco, CA
And there is the true fact. I rely on Apple support, especially tier 2 support to give me accurate information. Shame on Apple for not properly training their techs.

Shame on Apple for not testing this system for the external boot issue. They are derelict in their responsibility to us as buyers of their technology.

Imagine buying a car and later finding out that the car can't run properly on a highway.
Well, to be fair, Apple really prefers not to external boot these days. They do this for security reasons. It's likely they probably did test this (for security reasons) but assumed (hence the issue) you would boot from a bootable Arm copy of macOS not Intel. They would have assumed that would be known you can't do that. But again, an assumption that might not be clear to everyone.

Now training, who knows. The people you spoke to probably didn't know what to say. I guessing at this point.
 

Quackers

macrumors 68000
Sep 18, 2013
1,938
708
Manchester, UK
Maybe I was given bad information. Why is it that so many of you have become apologists for Apple? Why is it my fault I bought a machine that won't serve my purpose when I was told that it would?

Perhaps you should ask yourself why you apologize for Apple and want to blame me.
I apologise for nobody.
If you were given bad information that's unfortunate, but that does happen.
However, if you had looked in this very forum sub-section for the last few weeks you would have seen that your intended use case was not viable or at least not straightforward.
After all, it's your money you were spending and the onus is on you to select the right machine for your intended use.
 

pistonpilot

macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 22, 2019
137
110
Bangkok, Thailand
A bootable external drive (let us call it BXDM1), that you create while it is connected to the M1, should be able to boot the M1.

A bootable external drive (let us call it BXDiMac), that you create while it is connected to the iMac, should be able to boot the iMac.

Can BXDM1 be used to boot the iMac? Probably not, though someday, somebody may figure out how to make that happen.

Can BXDiMac be used to boot the M1? Probably not, though someday, somebody may figure out how to make that happen.

Tip: Create a 2nd user on the M1, for your "backup system" to which you can go, when your iMac is being repaired. This tip should work for you, when both computers are on the same local area network, and you are able to successfully transfer files between both Mac computers.

But, you may find that you have trouble transferring files between the two Mac computers, when using an external hard drive, because of differences in the file systems --- because of changes that Apple has made:

a) between Apple file systems (older, HFS Plus; newer APFS)

b) between CPU platforms (Intel v. M1)

Maybe you need to routinely keep your data up-to-date (via your local area network) on your "backup" user account aboard the M1.

There are two issues. The first, is getting an external drive created on the M1 Mac Mini to boot.

The second would be intel/Arm compatibility. Apple can solve this by creating a utility available on both Intel and Arm to make the device bootable by the system chosen. I can clone boot and run my Intel iMac from the external SSD.

If I want to boot the drive on the M1, I should be able to mount the drive and run a utility on the M1 to make it bootable.
 
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