Make Sure MacOS Big Sur Isn’t Turning Your Old MacBook Into Bricks

Apologies to the crew before in Redmond, but I usually associate “disaster after upgrading to a new version of the operating system” with the giant version of Microsoft’s features for Windows 10. However, it is Apple’s turn to enjoy this week’s embarrassment: according to numerous reports , the upgrade to Macos Big Sur is supposedly bricked in late 2013 and early 2014-MacBook Pro.

But here’s where it gets weird. The problems aren’t limited to these MacBooks. As one Reddit user wrote:

“I’m in the middle of 2015, and it’s about the same. Locked on a black screen that has my login image / name, a black cursor with a blue outline (this is weird) and a blinking text line in the top left corner of the screen. It’s like I need to be logged in without being able to do so.

Secure Boot, Verbose, Single User, etc. Does nothing. In the end, I got the boot to restore, and now, at the request of Apple Support, I am reinstalling Catalina again. “

This user is very lucky to find a solution to their problem. I’ve seen many examples of those using a 2013-2014 MacBook who ended up with bricked systems that don’t seem to help, and Apple doesn’t have any good bug fix solutions at the moment. As one owner wrote :

“My Macbook Pro Retina in mid 2014 died after the Big Sur update. After pressing the power button, a black screen remains. Apple turns on behind the display, but something else happens in Nottingham.

I’ve already tried to reset PRAM or Booking in Safe / Recovery Mode but to no avail.

What can I do?”

And more :

“The problem is the same here. After spending an hour online with Apple, they blame it on my laptop’s “hardware problem”. They can’t do anything. They won’t give me discounts on a new computer, and since the shops are closed, I’m left alone. It is not even possible to get information on a computer. “

Take your time to install macOS Big Sur

Before we get into troubleshooting, let me be clear: don’t install macOS Big Sur on your old MacBook right now. If you just can’t wait, make sure you back up your entire system before doing this – and I sincerely hope you don’t install it on a system that needs to be used every day. Install it on your “fun” MacBook, not the one you need to work or communicate with the outside world.

And if you’ve found yourself locked out of your old MacBook after installing macOS Big Sur, contact Apple Support for help first. Although, to be honest, the problem is so new at this point that you can give it a little time until Apple provides an official fix, at which point you can fix the problem for free. Apple may even have a robust solution you can use at home to get your MacBook up and running again (unless it’s really dead in the water).

If the disaster has already happened and you really need to get into your locked laptop as soon as possible, you have several options. (None of these are straightforward.)

How to fix an old brick-covered MacBook from Big Sur

As always, you can try the standard ” reset NVRAM and PRAM ” methods to see if they do anything for you. Otherwise, you can try booting into macOS Recovery and reinstalling the operating system from scratch. However, I am assuming that you have already tried these steps and they did not help.

Pick up another Mac – borrow it from a friend if needed – and connect your old Mac to it using FireWire or Thunderbolt ports. Turn on the other Mac and boot to its desktop. Then boot your old Mac while holding T to start it into Target Disk Mode. If you’re lucky, the specified drive should appear on the borrowed Mac. Open Disk Utility, erase your old Mac’s disk, and shut it down. Shut down systems, turn on your old Mac again, and hold Option + Command + R or Shift + Option + Command + R to launch MacOS Online Restore . This should help. Otherwise, you can use normal recovery mode to revert to an earlier version of macOS. Keep trying if it doesn’t work the first time (or the first few times ).

If you have a new MacBook, you can also try reviving your Mac’s T2 security chip firmware. There is no guarantee it will work – and don’t erase it unless you want to lose all the data on your Mac’s drive, but it’s worth a try.

Otherwise, if you’re comfortable, unplugging the MacBook I / O board should get you working again – obviously losing a lot of your connections. To do this, you need to open your MacBook, which excludes everyone except the really desperate ones (who have pentalobe screwdrivers).

And it’s all. I have not seen any other fixes that reliably solve the problem, let alone other hopeless shots in the dark. My best advice is just don’t upgrade to macOS Big Sur. Or, if necessary, try upgrading to macOS Catalina first , see how it goes, take a full backup of your system if you’re not having any issues, then upgrade to macOS Big Sur.

Looking ahead, remember this: if your Mac is at the limit of compatibility with a new OS – or, frankly, even if it isn’t – it might be better to wait a week or so before upgrading, just in case Apple is looming disaster. Don’t be a guinea pig. You definitely won’t want to visit Apple Genius Bar, especially during a pandemic.


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