Wi-Fi not working in recovery mode

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When a MacBook enters recovery mode, or the boot menu, it cannot rely on drivers from the Operating System and instead must initialize a PXE (Pre-Boot Execution Environment) driver which resides in the EFIROM; because of this, a MacBook can only initialize a model specific driver for the wireless card that is specifically designed to be in THAT MacBook, this is because the EFIROM has limited space, and PXE drivers impact the time any recovery systems would take to load.

Here is a real world example; the Wi-Fi card in an A1502 will fit nicely into an A1398 and work in MacOS, however, when recovery mode is booted, i.e., Internet Recovery, no wireless networks will be discovered you'll more than likely encounter the following error codes:-

  • 1005F
  • 1005U

If any of this read looks familiar, you should check your Wi-Fi card is compatible with the MacBook it's installed in, else you'll have no access to networks in the boot menu, internet recovery or diagnostics as the EFIROM contains no driver to initialize the Wi-Fi hardware.