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The Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted on Mac[Fixed]

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Nov 16, 2023 • Filed to: Solve Mac Problems • Proven solutions

There are many issues that people may encounter while installing the macOS update. One of the common problems is that the recovery server could not be contacted. When trying to install macOS High Sierra, Mojave, or Catalina, there is an error message popping up: The recovery server could not be contacted.

If your macOS update is also stopped by this error, you will find this post helpful. From this post, you will learn why the recovery server could not be contacted and how to fix it.

The Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted

What Does It Mean When the Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted?

When installing a macOS update with a macOS installer, your Mac needs to reach the Apple server. When it says "the recovery server could not be contacted", it means that your Mac failed to build a connection with the Apple server.

There are multiple culprits behind this issue.

  • Your Mac is disconnected from the network. A stable network connection is required for your Mac to successfully contact the Apple server.
  • The date and time on your Mac are not properly synced with the Apple recovery server.
  • The Apple server is overloaded with too many users trying to installing the new update at the same time. Whenever there is a macOS update recently released, the Apple server usually experiences a busy time.

How to Fix the Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted?

Solution 1: Check Network Connection on Mac

Firstly, you need to check if your Mac is connected to a proper internet connection. If your Mac is on a wired internet connection, you can re-plug the Ethernet cable to check.

If your Mac is using a Wi-Fi, you can access the Wi-Fi option from the top right corner of your screen to check it is connected to a stable Wi-Fi network.

The faster the internet, the quicker you can access the Apple recovery server.

Check Wi-Fi Settings

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

If your Mac's date and times are not synced to the Apple recovery server. You can update these settings by utilizing these steps;

  1. First of all, close the error. This will open the macOS Utilities window.
  2. Next, you are required to choose the option "Utilities" on the top menu bar.
  3. You will see the option "Terminal", double click on it.
  4. Then type the following command line: "ntpdate -u time.apple.com" and press enter.
  5. The above step might take some time. Once the process is completed, you can try reinstalling the macOS update again. Hopefully, your problem will be solved.

Run Terminal Command to Fix Recovery Server Error

Also if the "ntpdate -u time.apple.com" command-line failed to fix the recovery server could not be contacted on your Mac, you can try the following command.

Change Time to Fix Recovery Server Error

Solution 3: Update from the App Store

If you failed to update the macOS and received the “The recovery server could not be contacted” error message, and didn't try installing from the App Store yet, you can try this way to update your macOS system.

  1. If you’ve downloaded the installer folder, you need to delete it first.
  2. After removing the installer, install the latest macOS from the App Store.

Solution 4: Install the Full Version of Mojave/Catalina Installer

Some users found that when they try to install a macOS update with the update installer from App Store, it just showed the error message "the recovery server could not be contacted". However, after downloading a full version of the macOS installer, the installer can run without any error. Here is how you can get a full version of the macOS Catalina update.

  1. Run Terminal.
  2. For example, to download the full version of the macOS Catalina 10.15.3 Installer Application, enter the command line as below:
    softwareupdate --fetch-full-installer --full-installer-version 10.15.3
  3. The installer will be downloaded in the Application folder.
  4. Run the installer to install the macOS without the recovery server error.

Download Full Version of macOS Installer

Solution 5: Use Terminal Command

Another way to solve "the recovery server could not be contacted" issue while updating macOS is to use the terminal command. Follow this:

  1. Launch Utilities, then, open Terminal.
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:
    softwareupdate -l
  3. Then, enter the following command:
    softwareupdate --install 'label'

Replace label with the specific macOS version you want to install, such as, softwareupdate --install 'macOS Sonoma'.

Solution 6: Create a USB Bootable Installer

Updating the macOS system with a bootable USB drive is also an effective method to fix the recovery server could not be contacted error. You only need to download the latest macOS version file to the USB drive first, then create a bootable USB installer. After that, connect the USB to your Mac and install the newest macOS system.

Solution 7: Erase Your Disk and Reinstall macOS

In case you have utilized all the above methods and have not received any good results. Only then, you can erase your hard disk and reinstall macOS. You can enter the recovery mode to erase the hard disk. After that, reinstalling macOS can solve your problem. Follow the steps properly erase your hard disk and reinstall macOS;

  1. Firstly, you need to restart your Mac.
  2. When the Mac is starting, you need to press and hold Command + R keys to enter the recovery mode.
  3. In the Recovery mode, click Disk Utility and erase the Macintosh HD volume. This will delete all your data on your Mac so make sure you have backed up your important data.
  4. After erasing your disk, you can reinstall macOS. This time, you won't see the recovery server could not be contacted error.

Reinstall macOS

If you have important data missing after the macOS update, you can get it back by using Recoverit Data Recovery software. The program is designed to recover photos, documents, videos, emails, etc. from the Mac computer after the data are deleted mistakenly or lost because of macOS reinstallation, factory reset, or virus.

Lost data can be recovered in 3 simple steps by Recoverit: select the drive of lost data, scan the drive, recover the files.

Download the free trial version of Recoverit Data Recovery to scan and find your needed files.

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How to Use Recoverit to Perform Disk Data Recovery?

As one of the most powerful data recovery software, Recoverit can help you get the lost data back within a few clicks. Follow the steps below:

Step 1. Download and Install

First, you need to download and install Wondershare Recoverit on your Mac. Then, launch the program.

download recoverit

Step 2. Start File Scanning

Select the drive where you lost the files and click Scan to start scanning. Wait for it to complete.

file scanning

Step 3. Preview and Download

You can double-click the file to preview the result when the process completes. If you have no problem, click Recover to download the file locally. Then, the files will be restored successfully.

preview and download

Video Tutorial on How to Recover Deleted Files on Mac Even Emptied Trash?

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Conclusion

Many users complained about the recovery server could not be contacted error. Every error is solvable, only if you apply proper solutions. And to tackle the incidents that may happen in the macOS update, you need to back up your data before implementing any of the steps. In case your data is lost, you can recover it using Recoverit Data Recovery.

Recoverit author

David Darlington

staff Editor

Home > Resources > Solve Mac Problems > The Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted on Mac[Fixed]