I’ve been on a bit of a wild goose chase at the courtesy of Apple support and a friend pointed me here saying he’d had better success here than with Apple support in the past.
So my initial dilemma was wanting to remove an old user on my wife’s 2018 MacBook Air which through some previously changed apple id email addresses, was unable to be removed from the Mac via System Preferences > Users and Groups, so Apple support indicated my only resolution was to erase the hard drive, restore from a backup, and not pull in that old user during restoration.
So I made a backup on Friday morning, wiped the drive via recovery, and restarted the machine only to find myself in OS limbo. I’ve tried installing via pretty much every permutation of startup options I found while scouring Apple support pages (local recovery, internet recovery over wifi, internet recover over ethernet, and external bootable media), but all of those have resulted in a “globe with an exclamation point” screen with a “support.apple.com/mac/startup -1008F” error message.
I’ve since talked with Apple support twice more and we’ve removed the device from my wife’s icloud account but have otherwise made no progress on the issue. They’ve submitted a ticket to “the engineers”, but I wanted to see if anyone here had any thoughts on other potential solutions I can try in the meantime.
the opt+cmd+r recovery boot still takes you to the same -1008F error page
Correct, as does cmd+r.
You can’t remove Activation lock from the OS directly because you can’t boot into any version of the OS, plus something about the iCloud email addresses prevented disabling the account locally anyway
Correct. The short version is that my wife initially used her university email as her id and has since updated that email to a personal email because she no longer has access to her university email. I believe that user was initially from an older Mac of hers, which may be why it’s still associated with that old apple id email address.
You’ve seen the laptop listed in the devices when logging into iCloud.com on the web, and removed it
Is there any chance an additional iCloud login is somehow involved?
Apple support has twice confirmed that the old email address my wife initially used as her apple id is no longer associated with an apple id, so I don’t believe that is a factor here.
The only other apple id I can see having any potential to be involved would be mine, but I’ve never used this MBA with my id, so the only involvement would be that we’re in the same icloud family.
Is there any chance a network problem is preventing loading Internet recovery?
I haven’t tried a recovery from another network, but I also don’t know of anything that would be at issue on my network.
In the interest of hopefully saving someone else some time in the future, I’ve now gotten feedback from my Apple support advisor’s ticket to the engineering team and I’m happy to report that I was finally able to get Big Sur reinstalled on the machine after resetting the NVRAM and forcing an internet recovery (cmd+option+r).
Not going to think too deeply on why my previous attempts didn’t work and instead appreciate that the machine is functioning with an OS again ¯_(ツ)_/¯