Catalina killed my 2013 MacBook Pro

DiCaprioAngel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2013
390
120
New York
So, to make a long story short - I’ve had my 2013 15” MBP since January of 2014, I believe. It worked wonders, did what I needed it to and lasted me a long time. I only had to repair it once back in 2015 as the logicboard died. Anyway, fast forward to when Catalina was released - my laptop updated as usual. No problems after the initial update. Then a few days later, I get home from work, and as usual, go on my laptop. Five minutes in, I get that dreaded beach ball. Then it would freeze, I wouldn’t be able to do anything, and the laptop shuts off, reboots, and repeat. Five minutes in - beachball, freezes, reboots. Nonstop. I tried everything, resetting the PRAM and the SMC, no luck. I even left it alone thinking it may fix itself, and still. Nothing. My last resort was to factory reset. Now, for some reason, there was no option to factory reset in the settings, so I googled how to do it and they mentioned something about clearing the disk in safe mode. Did that, but this is where I think the problem is - now there’s apparently no software on my laptop as whenever I try to turn it on, it goes to a folder with a question mark over it. This is where I’m stumped and I don’t know what to do or if it’s even possible to fix it. I know it’s my fault for trying to do it on my own, I probably just should have taken it to the Apple store, but I was at a loss at what to do! No matter what I did, my laptop would continuously freeze and reboot. Nothing helped it.

My question is - is there any way that I can get this fixed? Any tips and tricks on what I can do to get it to work again or is my laptop done for good? It’s no big deal if it is or not, it is a 7 year old laptop and has lasted me much longer than any Windows computer I’ve ever owned. I’m using an iPad Pro as a replacement and it’s working well for me at the moment. My only desire to have this laptop working again is so I can use it as a tool to transfer files/music to my iPad and to back up when needed. Again, if it’s not possible, it’s not a big deal I just thought I’d ask because it’s been sitting in my drawer for the past few months and I want to have hope that I can fix it. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

honestone33

macrumors 65816
The first obvious question is, do you have a backup to an external device that you made right before you updated to Catalina?

Secondly, what Mac OS were you using before you updated?

Third, prior to updating, did you take the proper steps in getting the machine ready? Disk Cleanup? Made sure all your third party apps are compatible with Catalina? And again, take a backup before upgrading?

Additionally, how are you making posts here? Using another Mac?
 

DiCaprioAngel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2013
390
120
New York
The only backup I have are of my files which I would continuously back up so I wouldn’t lose anything in case something like this happens. But as for software wise, no. I have no backup in that regard.

I was on Mojave prior to Catalina. All the other OS updates worked fine, didn’t really have to do anything in regards to backing up or anything like that. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced an issue with an update. The only apps I used are Word, Discord, Steam (which was the only one that I noticed wasn’t compatible with Catalina, at least at the time of it being released) and Safari. Occasionally, I would use Origin to play Sims 4.

I cleared out my entire disk in safe mode as instructed when I googled how to factory reset a MacBook Pro. Somewhere in there, I messed up and possibly erased something I shouldn’t have. I just don’t know if there’s anyway for me to get anything back on this laptop for it to work again.

I do appreciate your help!
 

honestone33

macrumors 65816
If you have always done just updates of one Mac OS to the next, over time, that can cause issues, Myself, for every move I make to the next Mac OS, I always 1) do disk cleanup, maintenance, and repairs (rarely ever need any) by using Onyx and Tech Tool Pro, 2) make a SuperDuper! backup of the final, "clean" prior Mac OS system, and 3) do a clean, fresh installation of the new Mac OS (after, of course, insuring it is bug free, and also after insuring that all the third party apps I use are compatible with the new OS). I've never had any subsequent issues with the newer version of the Mac OS.

I did exactly that for both of my Macs when I recently "moved" from Mojave to V10.15.3 of Catalina, and they both work flawlessly.

Do you have a friend who has a working Mac (assuming you are not using another Mac)? If so, there is a possibility that the two machines could be connected, and your friend's Mac could be used to try and "fix" yours. However, without a full backup of everything on your machine (including apps, settings, etc.), it could be a challenge to get your machine back in working order.

From your description of what happened, I suspect 2 possibilities: either there is a software problem, or else your internal drive is failing? Having another Mac connected and letting it diagnose the issue would almost certainly answer that.
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
548
204
US
My last resort was to factory reset. Now, for some reason, there was no option to factory reset in the settings, so I googled how to do it and they mentioned something about clearing the disk in safe mode.
There is no equivalent to Factory reset on macOS computers as compared to iOS iPhones and iPads. If you wiped the disk and reinstalled system macOS (which is what I guess you did), there will be only system and system applications (Safari, iTunes, Notes, etc.) but no additional software you may have had from elsewhere. And unless you have source of this software (installation media, web site installer, or App Store), you cannot get that software back. This is not IOS walled garden.

Now, it is possible to reistall macOS "in place" without loosing apps and data, which can be useful. But I guess that is not what you did.

Wiping up the disk without making first clone copy to external drive is, well, less than ideal. If you would have made a copy of the drive first (using Carbon Copy cloner or Disk duper), you could wipe the disk, install clean macOS system, verify it works correctly, and then migrate your apps and data from the backup back on the drive. Without backup, well, there is not much you can do.

Considering current state and prior actions, the best suggestion is - make appointment at App store, they should be able to help as much as possible (for free). Take any backups you have and patience, it will take time...

We could go through number of suggestions here, but some can get bit technical and need tools, equipment, and experience to follow them.
 
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Ruggy

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2017
409
237
Have you tried recovery mode? You don’t say so.

There is a very small partition on the desk, which contains the ability to recover and reinstall the operating system even if you have wiped the disk.
Once you are in recovery mode you should be able to get onto the Internet and reinstall the operating system-although it will probably be the operating system that came with the machine, and then you have to reinstall successive OS after that.

Here is a link to the support page for recovery mode mode:


If your machine worked for several days after you installed Catalina, then there is no evidence that it was Catalina that killed it it may just have been a coincidence.

You may even have a hardware problem which has caused it you have no idea at the moment
 
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mick2

macrumors regular
Oct 5, 2017
179
179
UK
Sounds like OP has simply erased their drive and hasn't reinstalled MacOS again.

OP, follow the steps in the link in @Ruggy's post above to reinstall the operating system on your machine.

This won't reinstall your personal files and any apps you installed, but at least you'll have a working machine again. After that, you can reinstall any apps you need and copy over your files from the backup you mentioned you made.

In future, make backups of your machine as people above are preaching. Your machine has an app called Time Machine built into it for this; google it and start using it as it will save you all this hassle in the future.
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,326
3,975
It's time to buy a new MacBook Pro without doubt. You are living in the dark ages with a 2013 model. Also 2013 MacBook Pros will not receive any future macOS updates so Catalina is your last one.
 
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DiCaprioAngel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2013
390
120
New York
I booted in recovery mode and when I go to reinstall MacOS it shows Catalina. At first it let me choose the disk I wanted to install it to then a few minutes in there was an error and now when I try again I get to the part where it asks me to choose a disk but the space is blank so now I cant proceed any further. I guess I'm stuck
- - Post merged: - -

Everytime I try it says cant download the additional components to install OS X
 
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DiCaprioAngel

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 12, 2013
390
120
New York
I do appreciate all your help though. I guess it was just time for the laptop to kick the bucket. Like I said, I expected it to happen. It did last me a long time, though so I can at least say the money spent was worth it. It'll just be a long time before I can afford another laptop again so for now I'll stick with my ipad Pro
 

culb0743

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2013
101
17
When you erased the disk, did you reformat it? You may have formatted it with the old HFS + or ExFAT, both of which are incompatible with macOS Catalina. Go back into recovery mode, access Disk Utility from the Menu Bar under "Utilities" and reformat the drive to APFS as Catalina will reject all other formatting. Once the drive has been formatted for APFS, boot back into Recovery Mode and try to install Catalina again.
 

dsemf

macrumors 6502
Jul 26, 2014
368
80
Also, make sure that you are erasing the whole disk. Verify that View is set to Show All Devices and that you select the top level device.

DS
 

honestone33

macrumors 65816
Wiping up the disk without making first clone copy to external drive is, well, less than ideal. If you would have made a copy of the drive first (using Carbon Copy cloner or Disk duper), you could wipe the disk, install clean macOS system, verify it works correctly, and then migrate your apps and data from the backup back on the drive. Without backup, well, there is not much you can do.
Yes, excellent suggestion! I do exactly that every week with SuperDuper! (SD) and both of my Macs. And the beauty of SD (or Carbon Copy Cloner, another excellent choice) is that it makes a bootable backup/clone. It's almost like having another machine.

Myself, I actually do 2 more tasks before taking the backups: run Onyx, and then run Tech Tool Pro. Using them gets my system as "clean" as possible (of course I am always doing some disk cleanup every day I use my machine).

We could go through number of suggestions here, but some can get bit technical and need tools, equipment, and experience to follow them.
Yeah, without needed tools, it could be challenging. Best to take the machine in.
- - Post merged: - -

When you erased the disk, did you reformat it? You may have formatted it with the old HFS + or ExFAT, both of which are incompatible with macOS Catalina. Go back into recovery mode, access Disk Utility from the Menu Bar under "Utilities" and reformat the drive to APFS as Catalina will reject all other formatting. Once the drive has been formatted for APFS, boot back into Recovery Mode and try to install Catalina again.
I believe that when one does a fresh, clean installation of Catalina, it will first format the drive as APFS (unless it is already formatted that way). But as suggested by culb0743, it is best to be safe then sorry, and use Disk Utility to Erase the disk, then format it as APFS.
 

Ruggy

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2017
409
237
I booted in recovery mode and when I go to reinstall MacOS it shows Catalina. At first it let me choose the disk I wanted to install it to then a few minutes in there was an error and now when I try again I get to the part where it asks me to choose a disk but the space is blank so now I cant proceed any further. I guess I'm stuck
- - Post merged: - -

Everytime I try it says cant download the additional components to install OS X
Hi
As Mick2 says it sounds like the partition isn’t formatted or the disk is damaged. I imagine therefore it was corrupted in the installation or the disk has problems so you could try running the hardware diagnostics found in the same menu and see what it finds. Advanced mode works best. Then maybe you have to reformat ( because the blank space means you haven’t got a partition to install too)
I think there’s hope yet so good luck
 

honestone33

macrumors 65816
OK, a couple of things:

1. If you were able to boot to the (hidden) Recovery partition, one of the choices you had was to use Disk Utility. You could then try and repair the disk.

2. Since the op was previously using Mojave, I believe Mojave (like Catalina) requires APFS formatting.

3. As others have mentioned, without a backup, even if you are successful in doing a fresh, clean installation of Catalina, all your third-party applications are gone, along with your settings.

4. Finally, again without a backup, even if you purchase a new machine, you still will have issues setting it up with 1) your settings, and 2) third party applications. By the way, depending on where you purchase the new Mac, it might not have Catalina installed. When I purchased my late 2018 Mac Mini on February 1st from Best Buy, it came with Mojave installed. But, given that I already had a very recent SuperDuper! backup of my prior Catalina-based late 2012 Mac Mini, I was easily able to setup the 2018 Mini without a hitch.
 

McTinker

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2020
12
6
I booted in recovery mode and when I go to reinstall MacOS it shows Catalina. At first it let me choose the disk I wanted to install it to then a few minutes in there was an error and now when I try again I get to the part where it asks me to choose a disk but the space is blank so now I cant proceed any further. I guess I'm stuck
- - Post merged: - -

Everytime I try it says cant download the additional components to install OS X
Two suggestions; If it suggest to install Catalina, probably the disk is probably not that empty, because this comes from the recovery partion. In Recovery Mode (booting while pressing Command and R), and then opening Disk Utility, be sure that on the View option (up right) you choose "show all devices". Then erase the disk, and do the reinstall.
Second suggestion; boot while pressing command and Option and Shift and R, so you start the Internet Recovery Mode. Then you'll probably have the option to install the original version Mountain Lion. From there, you can upgrade to High Sierra and Mojave, and restore from your backups.
 

honestone33

macrumors 65816
Two suggestions; If it suggest to install Catalina, probably the disk is probably not that empty, because this comes from the recovery partion. In Recovery Mode (booting while pressing Command and R), and then opening Disk Utility, be sure that on the View option (up right) you choose "show all devices". Then erase the disk, and do the reinstall.
Actually, the op should first let Disk Utility to try and repair the disk.

Second suggestion; boot while pressing command and Option and Shift and R, so you start the Internet Recovery Mode. Then you'll probably have the option to install the original version Mountain Lion. From there, you can upgrade to High Sierra and Mojave, and restore from your backups.
The op does not have any kind of "full" backup, just some files and folders related to apps. That's certainly not good enough for any kind of full restore.
 

Tony_YYZ

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2015
140
74
It's time to buy a new MacBook Pro without doubt. You are living in the dark ages with a 2013 model. Also 2013 MacBook Pros will not receive any future macOS updates so Catalina is your last one.
Lol what? I'm using a Late 2013 MacBook Pro and it is performing like a champ with Catalina. Especially for what OP's use case is, it will be more than enough. I did a clean install recently of Catalina and I couldn't be happier with it at this point.

It will still receive security updates for some time even if the next major version of MacOS drops support for this model.
 

firelighter487

macrumors regular
Apr 30, 2014
199
25
The Netherlands
I do appreciate all your help though. I guess it was just time for the laptop to kick the bucket. Like I said, I expected it to happen. It did last me a long time, though so I can at least say the money spent was worth it. It'll just be a long time before I can afford another laptop again so for now I'll stick with my ipad Pro
it's not time for that laptop to go at all. i'm using an older one which is still working just fine.

i have an iMac from 1998 that still works, like, 7 to 8 years isn't the time for a machine to just die.

It's time to buy a new MacBook Pro without doubt. You are living in the dark ages with a 2013 model. Also 2013 MacBook Pros will not receive any future macOS updates so Catalina is your last one.
Bull ****. i'm using a 2012 which is still performing great, even on Catalina.

Also where are you getting the information from that the 2013's will be dropped? even the 13" Mid-2012 is listed as supported in MacTracker, not even Vintage yet.
 
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honestone33

macrumors 65816
it's not time for that laptop to go at all. i'm using an older one which is still working just fine.
Yeah, I'm with you about using an "older" machine. I used my late 2012 Mac Mini for more than 6 1/2 years, and it was still going strong when I recently sold it (ran real well with Catalina). In fact, like you, I most certainly could have easily used it for at least another 4 to 5 years. But given that I suspect the next Mac OS will not be able to be used on it, that is why I sold it (got a pretty good amount for it), and purchased a late 2018 Mac Mini.

Similarly, for the prior MacBook Air I had, I used it for over 7 years, and it was still running smoothly when I sold it (again, got a good price for it).

Also where are you getting the information from that the 2013's will be dropped? even the 13" Mid-2012 is listed as supported in MacTracker, not even Vintage yet.
Here is a link that shows all the Mac models that can run Catalina:


I would suspect (just like the late 2012 Mac Mini I previously had) that the 2012 MacBook Pro will not be supported with the next Mac OS, but the 2013 model should. But that's only a guess on my part.
 

firelighter487

macrumors regular
Apr 30, 2014
199
25
The Netherlands
Yeah, I'm with you about using an "older" machine. I used my late 2012 Mac Mini for more than 6 1/2 years, and it was still going strong when I recently sold it (ran real well with Catalina). In fact, like you, I most certainly could have easily used it for at least another 4 to 5 years. But given that I suspect the next Mac OS will not be able to be used on it, that is why I sold it (got a pretty good amount for it), and purchased a late 2018 Mac Mini.

Similarly, for the prior MacBook Air I had, I used it for over 7 years, and it was still running smoothly when I sold it (again, got a good price for it).
i'm still gonna use it for a while even if Apple drops it. it's not like it'll immediately stop working. Catalina will still recieve security patches for a while after that so like...

also it's simply not worth it to me to sell this computer now. i don't have money for a newer model even if i sold this one, and on top of that it's the most reliable computer i've ever owned and i simply love using it. even if the macOS experience becomes insecure on it i'll just install Linux and use it as a tinkering laptop because at that point i expect to be able to afford a supported MacBook Pro.

I would suspect (just like the late 2012 Mac Mini I previously had) that the 2012 MacBook Pro will not be supported with the next Mac OS, but the 2013 model should. But that's only a guess on my part.
i doubt it considering the 13" 2012 MBP i have was sold until 2016, like there are so many of them out there. on top of that it's still listed as supported on mactracker rather than vintage, more than likely because it was sold for so long.
 

honestone33

macrumors 65816
i'm still gonna use it for a while even if Apple drops it. it's not like it'll immediately stop working. Catalina will still recieve security patches for a while after that so like...
Understand. With myself, given that I mostly use third party applications, I want to insure that I always have the latest versions for each of them, especially from a security stand point. Hence, that is one reason why I always want to keep up with the latest version of the Mac OS.

But yeah, I suspect I could have continued to use the late 2012 Mac Mini for at least a few more years, applying the Security updates for Catalina. But for the third party apps I use, that might be a different story.

also it's simply not worth it to me to sell this computer now. i don't have money for a newer model even if i sold this one, and on top of that it's the most reliable computer i've ever owned and i simply love using it. even if the macOS experience becomes insecure on it i'll just install Linux and use it as a tinkering laptop because at that point i expect to be able to afford a supported MacBook Pro.
Yeah, it's always difficult to try and sell a piece of equipment. I actually was surprised how fast the late 2012 Mac Mini I had sold (and also the interest in it: had 3 offers right around the same time). It was (and still is) a reliable model, but as I mentioned above, I insist on running the latest version of the Mac OS. Also, besides being able to sell it, two other financially-related "events" happened at the time I purchased the new one, so the actual amount for the new one was much less than its retail price, ie, timing was perfect.

i doubt it considering the 13" 2012 MBP i have was sold until 2016, like there are so many of them out there. on top of that it's still listed as supported on mactracker rather than vintage, more than likely because it was sold for so long.
For my late 2012 Mac Mini, it was earlier than that, October 2014:


So, most likely my timing was good (and also considering what I got for the machine when I sold it).
 

firelighter487

macrumors regular
Apr 30, 2014
199
25
The Netherlands
Understand. With myself, given that I mostly use third party applications, I want to insure that I always have the latest versions for each of them, especially from a security stand point. Hence, that is one reason why I always want to keep up with the latest version of the Mac OS.

But yeah, I suspect I could have continued to use the late 2012 Mac Mini for at least a few more years, applying the Security updates for Catalina. But for the third party apps I use, that might be a different story.
i haven't seen any third party apps that immediately stop working with the previous OS... i mean there are plenty of 2011 Mac's still out there on High Sierra, i had one of those and well after Mojave came out it was perfectly usable and supported pretty much everything still. the only things that will stop working sooner are Apple's first party apps like Pages, which as of the time of writing this requires 10.14. however if you use a third party text editor it's totally fine still. i probably could have used that 2011 Mac for at least 3 more years after support was dropped. however i got rid of it because it developed some faults. a friend of mine is still using that thing with Linux installed i believe.

what this comes down to is how much of an effort are you willing to put into using an older device. if you switch to web apps for some things like the web app for pages etc, it's still very usable years after support dropped. for example Chrome as of the time when writing this still supports Yosemite, so if most of what you do is done in a browser you'll be fine with say a 2008 MacBook Pro that supports El Capitan as it's maximum OS.
 

honestone33

macrumors 65816
I never said that any third party apps would immediately stop working with the previous OS. What I stated was that there could be some third party apps that do not upgrade any of their prior versions. One prime example of such an app is Onyx. I have rarely, if ever, seen any updates for that excellent product to any version prior to the current one. And I depend on Onyx.

As it is, I always want to keep up to that with the latest Mac OS, and with any third party apps I use. I also do tend to keep my machines for quite a while. But once I get an inkling that the machine will not support the next upcoming Mac OS, I begin to make plans to sell it, and get another newer Mac. That is exactly what I did very recently with my late 2012 Mac Mini. Plus, as I mentioned, I was able to sell it for a darn good amount (along with 2 other financial bonuses that occurred around the same time).

I did a similar thing when I sold my prior 13" MacBook Air, and I also sold it at a very good price.

I understand if folks choose to continue using their machines with an older version of the Mac OS, and even with some of those older versions no longer offering security updates. I just choose to approach this differently.
 
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