Resolve The Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted Issue Easily

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By Jack

The recovery server could not be contacted – is this error popping up on your screen while you install the new macOS update.

It is one of those issues that people face when trying to install macOS Big Sur. It is quite annoying when the recovery server could not be contacted.

During installing or updating macOS, users can encounter this annoying error. There could be a few reasons why this error pops up. However, it is quite difficult to point out a definite reason.

While looking for the recovery disk, your Mac tries to access data from the Apple server. If it could not find the correct data, you may face this issue.

Now, this issue could be due to an unresponsive or bad internet connection. Or, it could be some misconfiguration of the significant services or files.

So, if the macOS update process could not complete by this issue, this post can be of help.

Here, find different reasons why the recovery server could not be contacted. Plus, how you can fix this annoying issue on your Mac.

Part 1: Reasons Why the Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted

When you install a macOS update using the macOS installer, the system is required to reach the server of Apple. When the recovery server could not be contacted, your system failed to make a connection to the Apple Server.

Now, there could be various reasons why you come across this issue. Some of them include:

  • Your system is not connected to the network. To contact the server of Apple successfully, your Mac needs a stable network connection.
  • When your Mac’s date and time are not synced properly with the recovery server of Apple.
  • When many users overload the Apple server for installing the new macOS update at the same time, you face this issue. Or when Apple recently releases a new macOS update, the server usually faces a busy period.

Now, you know why the recovery server could not be contacted. So, it is time that you should know how to fix this frustrating issue on your Mac. Find some effective fixes to eliminate this issue below!

PS: let’s learn more about how to reinstall iTunes and how to fix the Mac keeps crashing issue with ease.

Part 2: Fix the Issue by Checking Your Network Connection

In the first place, you should examine whether your system is connected to a stable internet connection or not. If your system is using a wired network connection, then try re-plugging the Ethernet cable to check the problem.

When your Mac is working on Wi-Fi, access your Wi-Fi options from the screen’s right corner. This is to check whether your Mac is connected to a reliable Wi-Fi network. When your internet is faster, the Mac can access Apple’s recovery server quicker.

Fix the Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted by Checking Network Connection

Part 3: Try Syncing the Date & Time of your Mac to Apple’s Recovery Server

When the date and time of your Mac are not in sync with the recovery server of Apple, the recovery server cannot be contacted. Once you have synced, the date and time of your system will be updated automatically.

To update such settings on your Mac, follow the instructions given below:

Steps to fix ‘the recovery server could not be contacted’ issue:

If you have not synced your system to the Apple server, go through the following instructions.

Step 1: Exit the error

Firstly, you need to exit the error. Once closed, the ‘Utilities‘ window of macOS will pop up.

Step 2: Select ‘Utilities’

After that, select the ‘Utilities‘ option from the menu.

Step 3: Double-tap on ‘Terminal’

From there, you need to double-tap on the ‘Terminal‘ option.

Fix the Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted by Syncing the Date & Time of your Mac

Step 4: Type the command

Now, you need to type the “ntpdate -u” command. Once done, hit the Enter tab.

Step 5: Reinstall the macOS update

The above process will take a while to finish. Once done, you need to reinstall the macOS update once again. Hopefully, you will not come across that annoying issue this time.

If the command “ntpdate -u” fails to resolve the problem, try the following one.

  • Firstly, open ‘Terminal.’
  • Next, enter “date” and press Enter. You will be able to see your Mac’s date now.
  • If the system’s date and time are incorrect, enter your current time along with the “date mmddhhssyy” command. For instance, if the time is 9:00 AM and the date is July 20, 2020, you need to enter – “date 0720090020” (i.e., July 20, 09:00 AM, 2020).
  • Once entered, exit ‘Terminal‘ and tap on ‘Reinstall macOS” to run the Big Sur installer once again.

Hopefully, the recovery server could not be contacted issue will be resolved by now.

Part 4: Fix the Problem by Installing the Complete Version of Big Sur Installer

Many people found that on installing the macOS update through the update installer from Apple Store, the error pops up.

Now, this error message reads, “the recovery server could not be contacted.” However, when you download the complete version of the Big Sur installer, it smoothly runs without errors.  

Steps to resolve the recovery server could not be contacted issue:

Go through the instructions below to get a complete version of the macOS Big Sur update.

Step 1: Open Terminal

Firstly, you need to open the Terminal.

Step 2: Download the complete version

To download the complete version of the macOS 11 Installer Application, copy the following command:

softwareupdate –fetch-full-installer –full-installer-version 10.15.3” 

Step 3: Wait for a while

After a while, the macOS 11 installer will be successfully downloaded in the App folder.

Step 4: Install the operating system

Now, run the macOS installer for installing the macOS without the recovery server could not be contacted error.

Part 5: Resolve the Issue by Erasing the Disk and Reinstalling macOS

So, if you have tried all the above-mentioned methods and still the recovery server could not be contacted, try this one. Here, you need to erase the hard disk and try reinstalling macOS. To erase the disk, users can enter the Recovery Mode.

Once done, reinstalling macOS 11 could fix the issue. Now, follow some simple steps listed below for erasing the hard disk and reinstalling macOS Big Sur.

Steps to fix the recovery server could not be contacted:

Step 1: Restart your system

Firstly, users have to restart their Mac systems.

Step 2: Enter the Recovery Mode

When the system restarts, users have to press the ‘CDM‘ and ‘R‘ keys and hold them to enter this mode.

Step 3: Tap on ‘Disk Utility’

From there, tap on ‘Disk Utility‘ and eliminate the Macintosh HD volume. Now, this is going to erase all the data on your system. Thus, it is recommended to back up all of your important data on the Mac.

Step 4: Reinstall macOS Big Sur

Once you have erased the disk, try reinstalling macOS Big Sur. Now, you will not encounter the issue of the recovery server that could not be contacted.

Fix the Recovery Server Could Not Be Contacted by Reinstall macOS

In case your important data goes missing after updating to macOS 11, retrieve it through the Recoverit Data Recovery tool. This tool is designed especially for recovering documents, photos, emails, videos, and more. It lets you recover data from your Mac after you delete it mistakenly or lose it during the macOS 11 reinstallation.

Not just that, but this tool enables you to recover lost files due to virus attacks or factory reset. So, if you have lost data, recover it back in three simple steps using Recoverit.

Firstly, choose the lost data drive. Secondly, scan that drive, and lastly, recover your lost files hassle-free. Now, download its free version for scanning and looking for your desired files.


Most users reported that the recovery server could not be contacted issue while updating to macOS Big Sur. Every problem is resolvable only when you apply the correct solutions. This issue occurs mainly due to a weak, unstable internet connection.

Also, it could happen due to some issue with the server connection. So, ensure that you use a good internet connection while updating the macOS.

Now, try all the methods listed above to resolve the recovery server could not be contacted issue. Hopefully, something will work for you. To tackle the issues that could happen in the macOS 11 update, back up the data before trying these fixes.

However, if you lost your precious data while installing the macOS update, recover it through Recoverit Data Recovery. Now, try its free trial and check whether this tool will work for you or not!