Make a smooth transition to Apple silicon

Take Control of
Your M-Series Mac

Glenn Fleishman

This book teaches you everything you need to know about hardware and related software changes in Apple’s new M1-series Apple silicon Macs to make a transition from an Intel Mac, set up security with new options, create effective backups, and work with new options in recovery mode. Glenn Fleishman takes you through the details of how an M-series Mac handles startup, battery management, and running iOS, iPadOS, and Windows apps. Covers the 2020–21 Apple M1-series Macs: the Mac mini, MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models (featuring the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip).

All Take Control books are delivered in three ebook formats—PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle)—and can be read on nearly any device.


Apple’s new Macs based on the M1-series Apple silicon system-on-a-chip offer remarkable advances in performance, battery life, and memory utilization. With those improvements comes a host of changes in hardware, from how a Mac starts up to making backups of your computer to understanding fundamental aspects of system security. Take Control of Your M-Series Mac teaches you everything you need to know about these topics and much more.

You’ll learn not just how to make a bootable clone of your Mac on an external drive, but whether it’s necessary with Monterey or Big Sur and an M1-series Mac. Find out how to make a clean transition from an Intel Mac, while taking advantage of installing and running iOS and iPadOS apps natively within macOS. You’ll also learn the early method of running Windows on an M1 Mac, with notions of what’s to come.

If you’ve already bought an M1-series Mac and want to get more out of it, or you’re considering a purchase and trying to understand what you need to know, Take Control of Your M-Series Mac will fit your needs. NOTE: This book is intended for people who are already familiar with Macs. It is not a beginner’s guide, nor is it a complete user manual. Its focus is on what’s different about M-series Macs compared to Intel-based Macs.

For anyone seriously considering getting an M1 Mac, and everyone who has one already (including me), this is the essential guide and reference. If you don’t buy it, you’ll regret it.
Howard Oakley, The Eclectic Light Company

Future plans: This book will be updated as Apple releases updated features for existing M1 Macs and new Macs based on its M-series processors.

Here’s what you will learn from this book:

  • Get to know the M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max processors, and what’s so different about them
  • Understand the limits of emulation
  • Control how apps for Intel Macs and universal Intel/M-series apps launch on an M-series Mac
  • Learn the complexities of backing up an M-series Mac
  • Decide whether you need a bootable duplicate of your startup volume
  • Maximize battery life and longevity
  • Work with recoveryOS, a substantially different process with an M-series Mac
  • Walk through a new process of reviving or restoring low-level firmware on a non-responsive Mac
  • Manage system security when you need to work with kernel extensions
  • Install and run iOS and iPadOS apps
  • Learn the current limits of using Windows in macOS on an M1-series system
Glenn Fleishman

About Glenn Fleishman

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, Fast Company, and Increment. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. He spent 2019 and 2020 building 100 tiny type museums full of real printing artifacts. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

What's New in Version 1.2.1

This version includes fixes for a few typos. It also includes the following changes:

  • Monterey support for multiple systems on a drive: With the release of Monterey, I was able to confirm a reported feature: that you could install multiple copies of macOS on an external volume. This is now explained in “Can You Roll Back to an Earlier macOS?”.
  • FileVault encryption on external boot drives: I was unable to get this to work in Big Sur and others had the same problem. Either in Monterey or an interim release of Big Sur, Apple fixed whatever problem we were having. You can now enable FileVault encryption on external drives for security. See “Encrypt External Drives” and “Protect a Drive with FileVault.”
  • Monterey virtualization: While it doesn’t affect many readers, Big Sur couldn’t run as a self-contained virtual machine inside of Parallels or other software. Apple added the necessary elements to Monterey to allow it. This is now mentioned in “What Is Emulation?”
  • SuperDuper! compatibility: SuperDuper!, a macOS drive-cloning app, released its version 3.5 update on October 25—moments after we released version 1.2 of this book. That update was the first production release with macOS 11 Big Sur and M1 support, and also added macOS 12 Monterey compatibility.
  • Boot integrity: An important insight about macOS Big Sur and later is that your Mac won’t start up or, with an M-series chip, continue to operate if anything changes from the installed copy of macOS. I added an explanation of this in “Boot for Proof of Integrity.”

What Was New in Version 1.2

This update brings this book into harmony with macOS 12 Monterey, released on October 25, 2021. Monterey brought relatively few changes to how M-series Macs operate and offer recovery options. This version also refreshes the book throughout with details from Apple’s October 18, 2021 announcement of new M1 Pro and M1 Max processors and MacBook Pro models built around them. In particular, learn more about the processor package and external display options in “Processor, GPU, and Neural Engine” and “Display Limits.”

Other changes in this version include:

  • Fast charging and MagSafe 3: Apple brought back the much-loved MagSafe magnetically coupled charging connection to laptops with the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, along with “fast charging,” a way to…well, charge one of these laptops really fast. I wrote up advice on charging related to buying a Mac in “Charging Speed on Laptops,” and all about MagSafe 3 and fast charging in a new section, “Get To Know Fast Charging and MagSafe 3.”
  • Magic Keyboard with Touch ID: Apple made the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID (in regular and extended versions) generally available without the purchase of an iMac in mid-2021. I’ve updated the book throughout to reflect that M1 owners may have an integral Touch ID sensor or are using a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID.
  • More display options: DisplayLink technology licensed to hardware makers allows adding more displays to M-series Macs via USB 3 and USB 4 than Apple’s limits. I’ve updated “Display Limits” to include an explanation.
  • Low Power Mode: Monterey adds Low Power Mode, an option that first appeared in iOS/iPadOS, to conserve battery usage by reducing background activity and screen brightness. See “Examine Your Charging in macOS.”
  • Windows 10 preview shifts to 11: Microsoft released Windows 10 for ARM processors since the last edition of this book. To create a Windows virtual machine on an M1 Mac, you now must switch to the Windows 11 preview. This is updated throughout and particularly in “Install and Use Windows.’
  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 1.2.1
    • What Was New in Version 1.2
  • Introduction
  • M-Series Quick Start
  • Learn M-Series Details
    • How Apple Silicon Works
    • How Security Is Baked In
  • Migrate from an Intel Mac
    • Pick the Right New Hardware
    • Run Old and New Code
  • Back Up Your M-Series Mac
    • Learn About Drive Structure in macOS
    • Make a Backup
    • Restore Fully from a Backup
  • Work with Extended Battery Life
    • How Batteries Charge and Cycle
    • Get To Know Fast Charging and MagSafe 3
    • Examine Your Charging in macOS
    • Use a Third-Party Battery Utility
  • Understand recoveryOS
    • Restart in recoveryOS
    • Reinstall with the Personalization Error
    • Revive or Restore a Startup Volume
  • Manage System Security
    • Protect a Drive with FileVault
    • Control macOS’s System Integrity
    • Modify Startup Security with a Utility
  • Launch iOS and iPadOS Apps on Your Mac
    • Find and Install Mobile Apps
    • Use Mobile Apps
  • Install and Use Windows
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print

Glenn Fleishman talks M-series Macs (and much more) on The Talk Show

Posted by Joe Kissell on April 30, 2021

Glenn joined host John Gruber on The Talk Show to talk about, among many other things, Apple’s latest hardware.

Glenn Fleishman discusses M-series Macs, securing your Mac, Apple ID and more

Posted by Joe Kissell on April 23, 2021

Glenn Fleishman joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices in a massive, three-part series to discuss updates to several of his books, including Take Control of Your M-Series Mac, Take Control of Securing Your Mac, Take Control of Your Apple ID, and Take Control of Home Security Cameras. The three episodes are:

You can also watch them right here:


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