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How to Enable System (Kernel) Extensions on M1/M1 Pro/M1 Max Mac?

Updated on Wednesday, May 11, 2022

iBoysoft author Anna Yuan

Written by

Anna Yuan
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee

How to Enable System Extensions or Kernel Extension on Apple Silicon M1 Mac?

Summary: Here's a detailed tutorial on how to enable System Extension on your M1 Mac from the macOS Recovery environment. That helps fix the "System Extensions Blocked/Updated" error when installing the software on an Apple Silicon Mac.

enable System extension on M1 Mac

Want to fix the "System Extensions Blocked/Updated" error on your Apple Silicon M1 Mac when installing a third-party program or extension? When you are trying to fix the blocked system extensions error, another error window pops up saying "To enable system extensions, you need to modify your security settings in the recovery environment".

Confused? This article provides a detailed tutorial on how to enable System Extensions on your M1 Mac computer successfully. The tricks apply to all apple Silicon Mac devices including MacBook Pro 2021 with an M1 Pro or M1 Max chip.

If you have any questions about allowing the system extensions, this article also has answers to help you out.

Table of Contents:

 Note: If you lost the data from a hard drive, external hard drive, sd card, etc., a professional data recovery software: iBoysoft Data Recovery is highly recommended.

How to Enable System Extensions on M1 Mac

Watch our video to enable system extension on M1 Mac:

 enable System Extension on M1 Mac 

Tutorial to enable system extensions on M1 Mac:

1. Check the processor in About This Mac to see if you have an Apple Silicon chip on your Mac such as M1, M1 Pro, or M1 Max. 

2. After installing iBoysoft NTFS for Mac or any other programs requiring macOS kernel extensions, click Open Security Preferences when you see a System Extension Blocked pop-up.

 Allow system extensions for iBoysoft NTFS for Mac

3. Click the Lock to make changes in Security & Privacy (Gatekeeper) and enter the requested admin password. 

4. Click Enable System Extensions. If the option is Allow in Security & Privacy, please jump to step 12. 

5. Shut down your Mac and press the Touch ID button and then quickly hold it downs until it says "Loading up startup options". 

6. Click Options and then click Continue to boot the M1 Mac to macOS Recovery Mode

7. Select Startup Security Utility from the Utilities menu. 

8. When you see the startup disk, click it and click on Security Policy... 

9. In Startup Security Utility, choose Reduced Security and check the option: Allow user management of kernel extensions from identified developers.

Allow user management of kernel extensions on Mac

Q: Is it safe to play around with Mac's default security settings and enable system extensions?

A: If the software you are installing requires reduced security for installing kernel extensions, it is safe. That's because only Apple identified and trusted developers can ask you to allow system extensions. Their software will never compromise the overall security.

10. Click OK, enter the correct admin password, wait until the security level change completes and restart the Mac.

11. Open Apple logo > System Preferences > Security & Privacy and under the General tab, click the yellow Lock to verify administration. 

12. Click Allow in the context window. 

enable system extensions on M1 Mac from Recovery Mode 

13. Restart your Mac to make the change take effect and then finish installation if needed.

FAQs about enabling System Extensions on M1 Mac

A

No, you do not need to go back to high security after you have changed to Reduced Security for enabling system extensions. Otherwise, your newly installed software won't run properly with system extensions blocked.

A

If you uninstall the software that requires system extensions on M1 Mac, it is suggested that you switch to the default Full Security to better protect your computer. You should boot your Mac in Recovery Mode again and then select Startup Security Utility > Security Policy > Full Security > OK. Then restart the Mac.

A

Even though you already have an admin account, this may still happen. You just need to create a temporary new admin account to bypass the issue. Follow the steps below:

Start your Mac normally to the desktop.
Go to Apple logo > System Preferences > Users & Groups.
Unlock the yellow lock at the right bottom with your admin password.
Click + to add a new admin account and click Create User to confirm.
Shut down the Mac, boot the Mac into Recovery Mode and then reduce security with the newly created admin account.
Delete the new admin account after your Mac restarts.

A

You are using an older Intel Mac instead of an M1 Mac. You do not need to change the security policy in Recovery Mode to allow system extensions. Just open Apple logo from the desktop > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Allow.

A

Many users have trouble enabling system extensions on M1 Mac running macOS Big Sur 11.0 or macOS 11.1, so it is highly recommended that your Apple Silicon Mac should be running macOS 11.2 or later.

A

You enter the Fallback Recovery OS on an M1 Mac instead of regular macOS Recovery because you press down the Touch ID button twice quickly before pressing it down.

To enter the regular Mac Recovery Mode to change the security settings, you need to shut down the Mac, turn it on by pressing the Touch ID button once and press down the Touch ID button until startup options show up.

A

One reason could be the software is not compatible with the M1 Mac yet, and you should wait until the software updates.

The other most possible reason could be you have installed too many drivers like printer drivers on your computer. As a result, the about-to-install extensions can't be installed successfully. To remove unnecessary drivers:

Click Go at the menu bar on the desktop > Go to folder.
Type in /Library/Extensions/ and press Return.
If you see 15+ files with .kext file extension, you have too many drivers on your computer. Right-click those you don't need and move them to the Trash.
Change the security level and see if the Allow or Details button appears.