how to fix computer account creation failed error in m1 mac

How to Fix ‘Computer Account Creation Failed’ Error in M1 Mac

Apple’s recently launched Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro with the Apple M1 chips are being very well received. The new Apple Silicon offers incredible performance per watt, and the laptops are ranking better than Intel Macs on benchmarks as well real world tests. However, a lot of M1 Mac users are reporting problems as well, including an error that can pop up when you’re setting up your M1 Mac. So, if you are facing the ‘computer account creation failed’ error, don’t worry, here’s the solution.

Fix ‘Computer Account Creation Failed’ Issue in Apple M1 Mac

First, a little background on what this error is, actually. A lot of users (myself included) have faced this issue. So, when you first set up your new M1 Mac you have to create a user account. In a lot of cases, this user account creation doesn’t work. Your Mac will remain stuck on the screen for a long time and then pop up the following error screen.

computer account creation failed error screen

Now, in most cases, this error shows up after you reset and reformat your M1 Mac. What’s worse is that if you restart your Mac after this error, it will show your user account (the one that it said failed), and then the password you created won’t work. It’s really quite irritating and annoying.

So, when I managed to finally fix this issue on my laptop, I decided it was worth sharing the entire process for anyone else facing the error on their devices as well.

‘Computer Account Creation Failed’ Error Solution

The entire solution for this error requires a couple of steps. I’m outlining the steps below.

Note: Currently, the only way to solve this issue is with another, working, Mac. If you don’t have another Mac, you can borrow one from a friend or a colleague. Otherwise, contact Apple support and they should be able to help you out.

  • Setting up Apple Configurator on the second Mac and connecting the two Macs.
  • Put Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air in DFU Mode
  • Restoring and reinstalling recoveryOS and macOS on your M1 Mac.

1. Setting up Apple Configurator and Connecting Both Macs

  • On the secondary Mac, download the Apple Configurator 2 app (Free) from the App Store, and launch it.
  • Shutdown your M1 Mac computer.
  • Use a USB-C cable to connect the second Mac to the M1 Mac device.
  • If you’re trying to fix an M1 Mac Mini, connect the USB-C cable to the left-most USB-C port on the back of the Mac Mini as shown below.
prepare mac mini for dfu restore
Image: Apple
  • If you’re fixing an M1 MacBook Air or M1 MacBook Pro, connect the USB-C cable to the left-most USB-C port on the left-side of the MacBook as shown below.
prepare macbook for dfu restore
Image: Apple

2. Put Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air in DFU Mode

Mac Mini

  • Connect your Mac Mini to a monitor and disconnect the Mac Mini from power for at least 10 seconds.
  • Press and hold the power button without connecting the Mac Mini’s power cable to the outlet.
  • While still holding the power button, connect the Mac Mini to the power outlet.
  • Release the power button. The status light on your Mac Mini should be amber in colour.

MacBook Air or MacBook Pro

  • Press the power button on your MacBook
  • While holding the power button, press the following keys at the same time for 10 seconds
    • right Shift key
    • left Option key
    • left Control key
  • After 10 seconds, release the three keys, but keep holding the power button until you see the following screen in Apple Configurator on your second Mac.

3. Restore and Reinstall recoveryOS and macOS

Now comes the part that’s easy to follow along but time consuming to complete. Here’s what you have to do:

  • In Apple Configurator, right click and click on ‘Restore’. Click ‘Restore’ again in the confirmation pop-up.

fix computer account creation failed error m1 mac

  • You will now see Apple Configurator downloading system, and then installing it on your M1 Mac. During this time, if your M1 Mac shows the Apple logo, it’s completely normal. This can appear and disappear randomly throughout the process.

Fix Computer Account Creation Failed Error in M1 Mac

  • Once the process is complete, you should see the macOS Setup Assistant on your M1 Mac.

Now, when you continue the set up on your M1 Mac, the user account screen should work as usual and let you create your user on the Mac.

Fix Account Creation Issues on M1 Mac Computers

While it is unfortunate that the new M1-powered Macs can run into weird issues like this one, the good news is that at least there’s a fix. Hopefully, Apple will resolve these problems soon, but until that happens there’s no other option for users short of performing a DFU restore on their Mac computers.

So, did this article help you fix your M1 Mac or are you planning on taking it to the Apple store? Let us know in the comments. Also, check out our article on factory resetting Mac and creating a macOS Big Sur ISO file. They will come in handy if you want to solve macOS problems by re-installing macOS.

30 Comments

  1. I fixed this by on a new Mac Mini by:
    1) wipe HD
    2) restore Big Sur
    3) DO NOT connect to WIFI
    4) DO NOT enter an Apple ID

    At that point, I got past the problem, then enter the apple ID on the Mac

    1. These are just my thoughts, not directed to anyone specifically. Only to a corporation hungry for more.

      That wais too much work for the consumers coming from an “elite computer company” that is supposed to have this kindergarten issues sorted out prior to advertising a super-good new iMac with a super-chip so ultra-extraordinary called M1.

      WHAT A HUMONGOUS FIASCO THIS CAME OUT TO BE!

      I bet Apple, will not dare to post or print a report of how many iMacs are taken back to the store monthly prior to the 14 days return deadline!!!!!

      Got mine TODAY @ 4PM EST somewhere in GA. Spent +/- 1 he 40 mins. With Apple Care+, but couldn’t resolve the issue, Now after messing around on my ow, got it to work but cannot create an account??…
      It is 2:00 AM. Simply put, that’s an exponentially pure excrement produced by Apple!!!! DONE.

  2. First attempt fail. Received a dialog box: The System cannot be restored on this device. Failed to restore device recovery mode, libusbrestore error:5 [com.apple.MobileDevice.MonileRestore – 0x5 (5)]

    Second try from Step 1, appears to have worked. It restored to the original Big Sur 11.4

    Now I am back at square one in testing the Monterey beta. I did not enroll the device in my MDM this time as it seemed to have issues the first test of the beta.

  3. This is not good. DFU mode resolution is NOT a viable solution for classrooms. I have 60+ M1 Mac Minis coming and if they do not fix this before the next time we have to “reimage”, there will be a whole lotta tedious work to be done. I ran into this issue while testing the Monterey beta, though it was the beta but it appears to be a overall macOS issue with M1 devices.

  4. Thanks a lot. Its July 5, 2021 and Apple still haven’t resolved this issue OMG! Thanks I found this article as Im about to sell my macbook air M1. It gave me some headache though lol. Great job on this article. #salute

  5. Thanks for the info… saved me a lot of time… even in apple website this solution was not found.

  6. this is a frustrating mess, I don’t have an alternative Mac to to connect. I have spent hours with the Apple support on the phone… erasing and reinstalling the OS with the same result. They did not suggest using Terminal to reset the password. There seems to be enough of this problem, i am surprised that Apple doesnt know how to resolve now at the end of May 2021.

  7. Megaron, did that nd it still didn’t work. How disappointing. Now must travel several miles to an Apple store.?. Was so excited to own my first laptop and it not be a hand-me-down

  8. Does this recovery method work with an older mac as the “secondary mac”?
    I am thinking about using my older 2013 macbook pro 13″, but then I need a USB-C / USB-A connector, right? Can anyoine verify this would work?

  9. after resetpassword and hitting enter a new window opens promoting me to put in a new password (plus deactivate my Mac). This doesn’t work at all as credentials couldn’t get verified. Or do you mean erasing the disk without trying to configure new password in the new window? Thanks so much

    1. There’s an option in the menu to Erase the Mac, I think this is what megacron is referring to. Ignore the reset password window, in other words.

  10. If you go into terminal from the recovery options. Type resetpassword and hit enter. Then do erase disk. Then go back reformat drive. Then install Big Sur, it will work.

    1. Megacron did you mean to resetpassword, then cancel the wizard, ‘-‘ from disk utility on the volume group and then erase disk on the one bit that’s left?

    2. Hi Megacron, did you mean resetpassword, exit from the wizard , open disk utility, delete volume group, erase disk on whatever’s left

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