How to Fix the ‘Untrusted_Cert_Title’ Error When Reinstalling macOS

Mac
Error on MacOS

Sometimes the only way to fix a Mac error is to re-install the operating system. You can do this by booting into Recovery Mode and re-installing the macOS version that came with your Mac.

But what if you encounter the untrusted_cert_title error? This issue usually pops up when users attempt to reinstall macOS, causing installation failure. Without fixing the root cause of the problem, you won’t be able to continue with the macOS installation.

This is a common error in macOS, and there is no specific operating version that this issue is associated with. It can happen with older macOS or even Mojave and Catalina. So far, there has been no reports about this error happening on Big Sur devices.

If you’re wondering what causes the ‘untrusted_cert_title’ error and how you can fix it so you can proceed with the installation, then read on to find out.

Why am I Getting the ‘Untrusted_Cert_Title’ Error in Mac?

If you’re getting the ‘untrusted_cert_title’ error when reinstalling macOS, you need to check whether your Mac’s date and time settings are correct. This issue occurs when the Mac’s system clock is not set correctly, leading to a chicken-and-egg problem: without macOS installed, there’s no direct way to set the clock correctly, which would allow you to install macOS.

To make a secure connection, most encryption algorithms would require an accurate and updated clock. This is because the encryption system wants to check whether the digital certificate that proves the integrity of a piece of software has not yet expired. If the date and time embedded in the certificate is set before the issuance date or after the expiration date, the encryption system will not accept it and the macOS installation spits out an error.

To correct the date and time settings on your Mac, you need to know your current date and time in order to format it for the command needed. You need the exact day of the month, the numeric equivalent of the month (1 to 12), the current time in hours and minutes using a 24-hour format, and the last two digits of the year.

In the U.S and other country in which the day of the month generally appears after the month, such as December 25, 2020, the format follows this sequence:

  • Day of month (1 to 31)
  • Month (1 to 12)
  • Hour (0 to 23)
  • Minutes (0 to 59)
  • Year (20, as in 2020)

For single digits, a zero (0) is added before the number so that they are always two digits long. For instance, 8:30 PM on December 25, 2020 would be formatted as 1225203020.

In regions where the day of the month comes first, you switch the day of month and month of the year. In this case, the above example would read 2512203020.

How to Check Your Mac’s Time and Date

If you still have access to your old macOS, you can easily check for the system time and settings by clicking the Apple menu > System Preferences > Date & Time. Make sure to optimize your Mac using a Mac cleaner to make sure your system is running smoothly.

But if you don’t have access to your macOS because it has been corrupted or you want to format the drive, then you can only use Terminal to get this information.

To check the date:

  1. Press Command + R to boot into Recovery Mode.
  2. Click on Utilities from the top menu.
  3. Select Terminal.
  4. In the Terminal window, type in the following command, then hit Enter: date

This command will display the date to which the macOS system has currently been set to. It might be reset to the manufacturing date for some arbitrary reason, so you need to set it to the right date before proceeding with the macOS installation.

How to Correct the System Date and Time on macOS

If the date displayed when you run the date check on Terminal is incorrect or outdated, then there are several ways you can do to correct it.

Method 1: Clock Settings via System Preferences

If you noticed that the date and time are wrong when using your Mac, then you can easily change it via System Preferences. To do this:

  1. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences.
  2. Select Date & Time.
  3. Click on the lock icon then enter your administrator password to make changes.
  4. Click Date & Time and set it manually.
  5. Uncheck Set date and time automatically and set the current date on the calendar.

Method 2: Using a Command Via Terminal

As mentioned earlier, the untrusted_cert_title error usually appears when Mac users are reinstalling macOS, which means they don’t have access to the System Preferences. If this is the case, you can try the steps below to fix your Mac’s date and time settings:

  1. Start up your Mac while holding down the Command + R buttons. This would allow your computer to boot into macOS Recovery.
  2. When you see the screen with a number of choices, ignore them and click Utilities from the top menu.
  3. Choose Terminal from the dropdown.
  4. Enter the command below followed by the date sequence discussed in the example above: date 1225203020
  5. Press Enter or Return.
  6. When the command is executed, you will see a line of output that reads something like: Fri Dec 25 20:30:00 PST 2020. This means that the command has been entered correctly.
  7. Click Terminal > Quit.
  8. Go back to the main Recovery window.
  9. Click Reinstall macOS and follow the on-screen prompts.

Another way to do this is to let macOS automatically set the time and date for your machine. The steps are the same as the one above, except the command is different. In the Terminal window, enter the following command instead:

ntpdate -u time.apple.com

This lets Apple automatically set the date for your macOS. To verify if the date has been updated, run the date command again in the Terminal.

Summary

This error is a common issue encountered by Mac users. Fortunately, the cause is defined and the solutions are quite easy to execute. Whenever you use your Mac, make it a habit to check your system’s time and date settings to make sure you’re ready for anything.

1 thought on “How to Fix the ‘Untrusted_Cert_Title’ Error When Reinstalling macOS
  1. Sean
    Sean
    March 20, 2021, 7:13 AM

    Thank you that helped me a lot. You saved my daughter’s Macbook!

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