How-to Guides

macOS: How to Fix “The Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted” Error

Mac users often get the “The recovery server could not be contacted” error when trying to update their systems. We have prepared an easy troubleshooting guide to help you fix the issue and get your Mac fully operational in no time. Work your way through our list of working solutions and let us know which one helped you. 

What Causes the “Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted” Error

The “The recovery server could not be contacted” error is related to incorrect time and date settings. It could pop up when your device is not set to the current date or synced with the Apple Server when installing macOS.

Your Mac could run into this error if Apple’s server is overloaded with too many users who are trying to install a new update at the same time. As macOS is designed to automatically sync the current date and time, the “The recovery server could not be contacted” error could also indicate network connection issues.

How to Fix the “Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted” Error

Solution 1: Check your Network Connection

It is essential that you have a working network connection to sync your device and update your software.

  • If you are using a wired network connection, make sure that the Ethernet cable is securely connected to both your Mac and the router. Unplug and re-plug the cable, listening for the “click” sound.
  • If you are using a Wi-Fi connection, click the Wi-Fi icon at the right corner of your screen to check if your Mac is connected to a stable Wi-Fi network.

Solution 2: Sync your Mac Date and Time settings to Apple Recovery Server

  1. Go to the Desktop, click Go, and select Utilities from the drop-down menu.
  2. In the next window, double-click on Terminal.
  3. In the Terminal, type “ntpdate -u time.apple.com” without quotes and press Enter on your keyboard.
  4. Wait for macOS to update your time and date settings. This operation could take a few minutes.

If the command fails to sync your Mac’s date and time settings, try the following commands:

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. In Terminal, type “date” without quotes and press Enter.
  3. Mac will display the current date and time. If the displayed date and time are wrong, enter the correct values manually:
    1. In Terminal, type “date mmddhhssyy” without quotes and press Enter. (For example, if today is March 15, 2021, 10:00 am, enter “date 0315100021” (March 15, 10.00 am, 2021)
  4. Quit Terminal and check if the “The recovery server could not be contacted” error is fixed.

Solution 3: Reinstall macOS

If nothing helps, you can reinstall your OS to remove any bugs that are obstructing your computer’s normal operations.

However, before you proceed, make sure that your data is backed up because the installation will erase your hard drive.

You can find detailed instructions on how to reset and reinstall macOS here.

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