Mac recovery

i had to do a full recovery recently of my sons MacBook and in doing so, i was greeted with rather mysterious message from Apple:

the app store download could not start because it has already been downloaded too many times

what? after searching (i’m no longer googling) for a while i couldn’t find anything that made sense. after carefully reviewing internet recovery options i finally found a small, but important difference:

  • Command + R - reinstall the latest macOS that was installed on your Mac
  • Option + Command + R - upgrade to the latest macOS that is compatible with your Mac
  • Shift + Option + Command + R - reinstall the macOS that came with your Mac

it seems while i was doing option #3 (as always in the past), i was trying to download old MacOS version. somehow, while still available, it was returning this totally unrelevant and unhelpful message (and downloading this exact macOS version from functioning Mac works perfectly well if that would be your immediate ‘helpful solution’). executing recovery with option #1 was the right choice - and indeed did work.