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madrich

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 19, 2012
522
82
World Class City of Chicago
a full moon bricked my mac. the dog bricked my mac. catalina ate my homework. a brick bricked my mac. etc...
FYI: It is not closed on the Apple Support Community. It seems that Apple Engineers are investigating the situation. I had a similar/same situation happen to me when I upgraded my early 2008 MBP from Snow Leopard to Mavericks.
 
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fisherking

macrumors G3
Jul 16, 2010
8,016
2,679
ny somewhere
FYI: It is not closed on the Apple Support Community. It seems that Apple Engineers are investigating the situation. I had a similar situation happen to me when I upgraded my early 2008 MBP from Snow Leopard to Mavericks.

& i'm glad they are; apple rarely admits to anything. but still seems most macs are functioning under catalina, and people blame the new OS for issues particular to them, and not the OS in general.

still, hope this gets sorted out ?
 
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tommiy

macrumors 6502
Dec 11, 2015
316
103
Yes just confirmation that Catalina bios upgrade does in fact kill some MACs. Mine was one of these but lucky I was under warranty. Between this and the poor quality of the changes and the continual issues of minor release breaking functionality i'm seriously considering alternative in the next year. I just feel that value of the premium price has eroded to not be a purchasing consideration and there is some much better hardware now on the market at much less price. Decisions, decisions.....
 
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bluckbuddy

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2020
3
1
I am the owner of a 13-inch, 2016, 4 TBT 3 MacBook Pro.

On last April, the 24th, 2020 I ran the CatalinaOS update requested by my Mojave system.
While going through the installation process, the machine fan started making a loud noise; after a while the machine turned off and never got back on again.

I added a video in which you can hear the fan noise I am talking about.

I was bamboozled by the fact that a MacOS update lead to my computer not giving any sign of life, so I started looking if other users had experienced the same issue, which unfortunately did. Most of the times they were reporting that the only solution they faced was completely replacing the logic board, which is very expensive, and will most likely make one think about getting a brand new machine off of it.

I immediately contacted Apple Support describing my issue, in the hope they were aware about this problem, but after the usual procedures they kept on repeating this was a very unlucky fact that broke my machine, and it was impossible to be caused by Apple's software update on Apple's machine.

I made a raging post on discussion.apple.com, but it was promptly removed after a few hours by the moderators: I am reporting this because the fact that they saw it is also a proof of Apple's ability of acknowledging the problem I was talking in that post.

I started following the topic, so you will find a list of related links at the bottom.

One important question I have is how to make Apple actually aware about this problem?
Aware, in this context, means taking an active part on the issue, for example issuing an official notice in order to prevent users run into this problem again.

I am trying to very constructively make this issue bubble up to a reasonable solution, so I really encourage anyone who knows what exact behaviour (of the customer, or of the company) may have caused this to report actively on this. Moreover, having to replace my logic board on the same machine, I don't know if I could encounter this problem again until I will know what caused it.

As a software developer myself, I'm really distrustful about the resolution of "bad luck" suggested by the Apple Care and service center. Like in all the other related issues I've tracked, the solution proposed to me was again the replacement of the logic board (749.01 €). Since I'm definitely not the only one experiencing the issue I'm totally rejecting the idea of believing some unexpected unpredictable event destroyed our machines. Something can happen once, so maybe that's bad luck, more than once, on various websites, that starts being a pattern.

I am really motivated in drilling this down and discovering what kind of bad-luck-pattern is going on underneath this problem, so - in a very proactive way - I'll list all the possible solutions that I came up with, in the hope someone will be able to confirm, deny or integrate them.

1) The problem was caused by some unwilling user behaviour. [bad (user behaviour) luck]
From what I understand, this is what Apple is trying to tell us: we caused it, we some unintentional behaviour. This practice must be common between al the users that experienced this problem.

An example of this (totally out of my head): The users were running very intensive workloads on their computers and this damaged the hardware components (before they ran the Catalina upgrade), then somehow the OS upgrade exposed it.

My personal opinion on that: believing this is extremely hard, since my machine were perfectly working minutes before I ran the upgrade. But again, Apple should give their exact opinion on this (what behaviour caused it, that I don't have to replicate again, as a user).

2) The problem was caused by Apple's engineers. [bad (engineering) luck]
In this case, some error occured while engineering either the some MacBook hardwares and/or softwares. In this case I feel Apple should investing what caused it and come out with a resolution about it: being it having all the devices repaired, gotten back, or even just doing nothing but at least giving a very clear explanation to this issue.

An example of this (totally out of my head): Some piece of software in these particulars MacBooks is causing the installation process to interrupt, or the machine overheat, or the T2 firmware chipset is messing around, whatever it is must have caused it, and this is the resolution we propose.

My personal opinion on that: I think this is what happened. The T2 chip may be part of this, but not only that. Not having Apple officially speaking about this made me suspicious though.

3) The problem was willingly caused by Apple. [bad (bad) luck]
Apple's not new to getting their device obsolete. If that's the case, I'd understand why the company is keeping their silence upon that, but it would sound like a very aggressive behaviour not only to replace your machine, but also to prevent you from selling your old one.

An example of this (totally out of my head): The company new about some compatibility issues on some machines, but didn't fix them to make their owners replace their machine, also due to the high cost of having them repaired.

My personal opinion on that: It's very hard to stand this, and I think only a very opinionated authority on the matter could claim such a thing. That is why I reported my archive regarding this issue (including this post) to the AGCM, the Italian authority that guarantees on commercial behaviours. That's literally their job, and they'll know how to handle it.

4) The problem was caused by some misterious events. [(actual) bad luck]
In this case anything's possible. In fact, being Apple unable to explicitly describe what actually happen when their software was ran on their machine, every solution is automatically incontrovertibly true, being it strange, weird, of folkloristic.

An example of this (totally out of my head): Some green-dessed elf changed the state of my machine after I ran the Catalina OS update and threw it in a limbo with no return.

My personal opinion on that: I think this isn't possible. Change my mind.



I tried to explain the fact and my point of view as clearly as possible, in the most constructive way.
I really hope someone, either from Apple or not can reach us with the answers to questions in particular:

  • What events and entities may lead to this issue?
  • How can the answer to question number 1 be notified to all Mac users so that they can avoid getting into the problem?
  • Can users replace their logic board and be certain they will not face this same issue? Why?


If that helps, I am willing to have my machine tested by anyone who may have a solution to verify against it.


Thanks for you help.


RELATE:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250718937
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251153011
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250841272
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250942692
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251260574
https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...date-bricked-my-13-inch-macbook-2018.2230133/

https://www.reddit.com/r/OSXBeta/comments/g3rd5e https://www.reddit.com/r/MacOS/comments/dy2k66 https://www.reddit.com/r/mac/comments/dfeei2 https://www.reddit.com/r/macbook/comments/ei81dq
https://www.reddit.com/r/MacOS/comments/dzb8bl
https://www.reddit.com/r/MacOS/comments/dhfqkp https://www.reddit.com/r/applehelp/comments/deyqb5 https://www.reddit.com/r/bprogramming/comments/dmry3i
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250716026
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250745000
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250715174
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250719221
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250719221?answerId=251420857022#251420857022
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250728927

https://www.cultofmac.com/661068/some-unlucky-macs-are-being-bricked-by-catalina/
 
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Taz Mangus

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2011
5,435
1,590
@bluckbuddy I am sorry to hear that the Catalina update has rendered your 2016 13” MacBookPro unusable. You might want to take a look at post #6 made by @madrich and follow the link that was posted. In there you will see that you can take your computer to a third party repair and have them reprogram the EFI chip. It will be a a lot cheaper than replacing the motherboard and get your computer usable again. If it were me that is what I would do.
 
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bluckbuddy

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2020
3
1
Hello @Taz Mangus , and thanks for your kind reply! :)
Yes, I've seen a few guides online, including what gently suggested by @madrich, so yes, I'll be looking for some third party repair to see if they're willing to un-solder the EFI chip, I just hope I can find someone actually willing to do such a thing 🧐

What I'm curious about is also this: I've been said software can't affect hardware. But if an upgrade modifies my EFI configuration, being the thing literally soldered to the logic board, isn't this affecting the hardware?

Thank you!
 
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Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
677
268
US
Semantics... Upgrade cannot kill hardware - but can compromise firmware running on that hardware.
EFI is basically BIOS and bad bios upgrade has been killing my computers since 90's and will do so forever. There is reason my hackintosh desktop has motherboard with dual bios which boots in backup bios if the main one is corrupted - and it already happened...
Apple should accept responsibility for EFI upgrades going wrong and reprogram those at low cost. The trouble is, that this is difficult to prove from consumer side and current computers, with EFI, T1 and T2 chips etc are getting harder and harder to fix. And EFI corruption is pretty rare, actually. If you think about how many upgrades to Macs are done literally daily, EFI corruption is rare (and yes, it sucks to be the one who had it happened to you!).
If you look on current "repair" (if you can call it that way) options on MBPs it is: replace logic board, display, battery (glued together with keyboard/touchpad!) and may be there are few small boards (wifi, BT, USB-C). That is all options there are. These are really not repairs; its like if your car broke and only repair options would be new engine, new transmission, or new chassis with the rest of the stuff. Oh yes, may be we can replace your radio separately...
I assume (hope) Apple refurbishes those boards later in dedicated shops.
 
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Taz Mangus

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2011
5,435
1,590
Hello @Taz Mangus , and thanks for your kind reply! :)
Yes, I've seen a few guides online, including what gently suggested by @madrich, so yes, I'll be looking for some third party repair to see if they're willing to un-solder the EFI chip, I just hope I can find someone actually willing to do such a thing 🧐

What I'm curious about is also this: I've been said software can't affect hardware. But if an upgrade modifies my EFI configuration, being the thing literally soldered to the logic board, isn't this affecting the hardware?

Thank you!

I looked back through that link and this seemed like it might be a good option for you.
I receive the solderless chip from macunlocks today, I manage to plug it onto the board and my boot like a charm. This is a chip that you plug onto a service port on the logic board.

 
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bluckbuddy

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2020
3
1
ahah wow guys, you should be the actual Apple Care :apple: ! This is one of the best and proactive forums I've seen so far!

So, going with order, @Honza1 thank you for the extensive reply, I really think that explains the general issue with details! 👏

And thank you @Taz Mangus, that "solderless" solution looks even too easy to be real 🤩 I'm trying to debate with the Service Centre at the moment, but I will definitely consider this as a solution to try, since it's not that expensive afterall!

I'll come here for an update after the thing's resolved! Thank you again!
 
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Taz Mangus

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2011
5,435
1,590
ahah wow guys, you should be the actual Apple Care :apple: ! This is one of the best and proactive forums I've seen so far!

So, going with order, @Honza1 thank you for the extensive reply, I really think that explains the general issue with details! 👏

And thank you @Taz Mangus, that "solderless" solution looks even too easy to be real 🤩 I'm trying to debate with the Service Centre at the moment, but I will definitely consider this as a solution to try, since it's not that expensive afterall!

I'll come here for an update after the thing's resolved! Thank you again!

There maybe another solution for you to consider that does not require replacing the EFI chip. There is a EFI programmer that you plug into the service port on the logic board to access the EFI and reprogram it. Maybe ask a third party service center if they can do this. I would think this could be the least expensive and the cleanest option.
 
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serr

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2010
188
23
Can anyone confirm that the 10.15.6 install is safe and the firmware bug first appears in 10.15.7?
Do I understand correctly that once a 10.15.7 install or update has been run that the buggy firmware in now written to the EFI chip? Or is it possible to reverse on a machine that hasn't crashed yet?


Thanks!
 
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Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
677
268
US
This is not EFI bug. This is corruption while writing EFI during reprogramming. EFI code is perfectly fine, Apple would have a lot of problems if EFI code was corrupted on many machines. It can happen with any version of EFI and macOS upgrade. It is more like rare random error which happens at inappropriate time. It is rare and the fixes are explained above. Now, it is possible that upgrade to 10.15.6 does not have EFI upgrade in it (do not know) in which case it could not corrupt EFI. But this would require more info. May be you can google it or may be wikipedia or some other source exists with EFI version numbers related to different macOS upgrades/updates. But I am not aware of any such source.
 
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serr

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2010
188
23
Has there been an "all clear" update fix for any of this?
Is there a 10.15.8 coming? Or will there be another one of those stealthy 'new build number but same version number' releases?
What about OS XI? Is the 11.1.2 release allegedly fixed?

I currently have 10.15.7, 11.1.0, & 11.1.1 flagged as "brick bug" versions that are not to be touched.
I've heard one claim of the last 10.14 build including this bug.

Or is it time to just call 10.13.6 the very last MacOS and move on? This seems most reasonable unfortunately. (And now we have new issues with either a firmware bug or logic board design flaw or both affecting USB-C having machines.)
 
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tommiy

macrumors 6502
Dec 11, 2015
316
103
As @Honza1 explained this is an issue with the installer and something occurring with the installation. Its obvious that the issue started with Catalina and persists still into Bigsur as you have noted. There is no 'fix' as such to this other than hope that it does not strike you. I lost my MBP on the very first catalina release and then let it run 10.15.1 because thats what was on it when the logic board was replaced. I only updated it to 10.15.7 last weekend because i had spare time and was not using it as a daily driver ie. if it got killed then no great loss again. Due to all the issues in Catalina my daily driver became a windows Dell XPS13. For my update I used the combo installer and it all went well. However, there is no way I'm updating to BigSur until the thing after Bigsur comes out. No rush as there is nothing in there that i need.
 
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serr

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2010
188
23
I've seen a number of machines that entered the bug scenario well after the initial installation of MacOS (10.15.7 - 11.1.1). Sure, it's a bug in MacOS and not the EFI code. Not meaning to argue that. But it's not just the OS installer or installer scripts.

Anyway...

Yeah, I'm going to need to see a solid "THIS was found, THIS was fixed, and now moving forward, MacOS x.x.x is free of the brick bug." (Obviously we're not going to see that communication from Apple! I'll trust that message when I see it reported a dozen times on this forum. :))
 
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tommiy

macrumors 6502
Dec 11, 2015
316
103
I doubt that you will ever see that from Apple. Enjoy staying on the OS that your on at present. Thats exactly what I did for Catalina 10.15.1. Or you can go the same path that I ended up doing which was to move away from Apple for business or critical use demands. Recently its safer to avoid the risk of updating a MAC than the hassle of some how managing to return one that is not working.
 
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serr

macrumors regular
Mar 8, 2010
188
23
I doubt that you will ever see that from Apple. Enjoy staying on the OS that your on at present. Thats exactly what I did for Catalina 10.15.1. Or you can go the same path that I ended up doing which was to move away from Apple for business or critical use demands. Recently its safer to avoid the risk of updating a MAC than the hassle of some how managing to return one that is not working.
One of my partitions is a 10.15.6 system. Heh. I was close to updating it with the .7 when the brick bug reports started coming in! Dodged! I also keep a 10.13.6 system and the trusty old 10.6.8 system. I've been booted into 10.13.6 for day to day since just because. (Because there are random reports of this hitting in earlier versions including 10.14.) I'm an audio guy. I'm absolutely looking to Linux moving forward! There's no question there! All the pro apps are writing Linux versions now. Reaper DAW and video stuff like DaVinci.

If 10.15.6 ends up being the last usable MacOS, then there it is. Seems reasonable to check back here and see if Apple actually moves past this and comes back for a moment at least. OSX is still the OS that just works for a lot of pro apps while Linux is newer ground for some of this. (At least the audio stuff I use.)

I'll feel a lot more comfortable when I get the chip programmer running on my new raspberry pi and get code sets for these EFI chips!
 
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tommiy

macrumors 6502
Dec 11, 2015
316
103
The bricking started with the very first release of Catalina. Nothing particular with .7 itself other than the whole of Catalina. Almost every release brings with it firmware updates that I saw. I went from 10.15.1 to .7 via the combo update and had no problems. This is after 10.15 killed my top end MBP that was only 14 months old. And regards to programming the efi for MACs take alot of time investigating that each is specific to the device from what I have seen and its not like just flashing a PC chip. If you get the uniqueness incorrect then things do not work properly. Good Luck.
 
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