How to RELIABILY update macOS?

jtara

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2009
1,826
432
One the things I have really liked about MacOS (in the past!) is (was) the reliability of OS updates vs. Windows. Until recently (maybe Sierra) I've always felt more certain about the update process.

No more. I really do not know WHAT they were thinking!

As background, I have a late 2012 Mac Mini i7 (Unicorn model...). So, it is a DESKTOP setup. I disable all power saving settings, other than disk. (FWIW I replaced the original flash drive from the Fusion drive with an OCZ Vector 180. The original hard drive is currently unused, but is formatted and available for use. Maybe Time Machine or some other backup in the future. So, I do enable the disk power saving to avoid having the hard drive spin unnecessarily.)

I now dread updates, because the screen is shut off after a few minutes during update. WHY ON EARTH? WHY shut off the screen during update? That would be the LAST scenario where I would think it desirable to shut off the screen!

There is precious little feedback anyway. Yes, there is a minutes remaining update, but only during part of the process, but it is not fine-grained enough to give me an indication that something is actually happening. There is a spinner for a small initial part of the update.

I've discovered that I can USUALLY turn the screen back on by pressing the power button for just the right length of time. It is scary to have to do this! Hold it down longer, and you reboot.

Then... I've found lately that I almost ALWAYS have to actually reboot before the system will come back up. There is a point where the "restore the screen" maneuver no longer works. So I hold my breath and hold the button down long enough to reboot.

I've been lucky... the last two updates (10.13, 10.13.1) were successful. When I rebooted I got the usual "you shut your system down because of a problem", but otherwise the update seems to have been a success.

The stupidity of using a single button for both power and "wake" certainly doesn't help!

Hey, I like Apple's minimal design, generally. But updates are no time for minimalism! Unfortunately, this goes across the board with Apple products. They ALL give precious little indication of what is going on during an update. As if "you don't need to know that", or "you wouldn't understand". (I'm a software developer, though. I probably WOULD understand...)
------
Are there any options that can be used during update to prevent the screen from shutting off?

Are there any options that can be used during update to provide more feedback? (Like the boot option I can never remember that gives detailed progress?)

Is there an install log that can be viewed post-mortem to see what happened?

Is it normal to have to take a guess when the update is done, and do a manual reboot?

It SEEMS that the update process is fairly resilient to arbitrary reboots during update. But I'd love to know for sure instead of guessing at it. Are there points during the update where this might prove fatal?
 
  • Like
Reactions: colodane

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,849
716
Auckland
I think your anxiety over the screen going dark is causing you to sometimes reboot and interrupt the update process. Last twice you were lucky.

Have you ruled out the screen going dark because of <its> settings?
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2009
1,826
432
I think your anxiety over the screen going dark is causing you to sometimes reboot and interrupt the update process.
Duh! ;)

Have you ruled out the screen going dark because of <its> settings?
Yes.

Verified by the many nights I have fallen asleep with the lights on!
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2013
416
137
US
I agree, feedback during install is dreadful...
This will not really help, but as warning for others - my experience has been that recently (last ~3 generations of OSX) reliability of major version upgrade is about 80%. I have upgraded ~5 Macs (MBPs or Minis) with each version and major upgrades routinely failed (~10 - 20%). I have usually encrypted disks and that seemed to be issue, etc.
I ended up wiping the disk or at least reinstalling from Internet recovery. Therefore, multiple CCC and TM backups before each upgrade are MUST. Not simple TM disk - recovery from there is really slow. Fresh Carbon Copy backup (CCC) before upgrade and TM disk just in case are needed. Then it's "what bad can happen"? It just takes little bit more time to do fresh wipe/reinstall and Migrate assistant. At least that part of process is painless (as oppose to Windows).
My recent experience with Windows upgrades has been (on less devices/versions) has been surprisingly good, actually. Win7 - Win 10 went always well for me... May be not when I wanted (!!!) but generally without issues.
So things change...