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macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models

MacinMan

macrumors 6502
Jan 27, 2011
336
119
Daytona Beach, FL
As I said elsewhere, this is an update that has been virtually forced on people by Apple. I'm thinking there should be grounds for a decent class-action suit here. I would think that you are entitled to a free repair or a free replacement of an equivalent machine.
It would only be forced if people's Macs are updating without their consent, and then bricking. From what I've read here and one discussion on Apple communities, and I'm including myself in this statement. It seems like all people affected have willingly accepted the update. The other question I would ask based on a response I got earlier in this thread is: Can we completely blame apple here? It sounds like like many people who now have disfunctional computers had external devices connected during the install. While My computers function fine, I'm also including myself in having a few devices connected as well. I'm asking because most ,if not all of the time Apple recommends against doing an install with external things connected beyond the basic input output devices. So to me it sounds like it's a combination of bugs with user error, or at least user choice to go against apple's recommendations.

To be transparent here though, I had devices connected to my iMac during the upgrade, however not to my MBP.

I'm not trying to be hard on people here, because we all do it, I'm just stating the facts that I have gathered from watching this situation unfold until this point.
 
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piotr_sc

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2020
17
6
I had nothing plugged in and died anyway. It seems that the best solution when updating is to have the computer serviced, let them perform the update for a fee and if the computer fails, they will be responsible for it, etc. I will replace the I / O board, I hope that the computer will be fully functional again. But there is a lesson for the future that there is no point in updating too early and then crying, there are probably thousands of people who have been left without help and the only incentive is to buy a new computer. On the other hand, which laptop works for 7 years on Windows without any problems.
 
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MacinMan

macrumors 6502
Jan 27, 2011
336
119
Daytona Beach, FL
I had nothing plugged in and died anyway. It seems that the best solution when updating is to have the computer serviced, let them perform the update for a fee and if the computer fails, they will be responsible for it, etc. I will replace the I / O board, I hope that the computer will be fully functional again. But there is a lesson for the future that there is no point in updating too early and then crying, there are probably thousands of people who have been left without help and the only incentive is to buy a new computer.
That was one of my points, You, and others didn't have anything plugged in, and it still failed, so that's on Apple. If someone had things plugged in and it failed, it could still be on Apple, but it could also be on them because of having the devices plugged in. Like I said, not trying to be hard on people, really just wondering what percentage is on Apple, and what is on the User. Then again, my biggest problem with my MBP is deciding who to pay to replace the battery. I really wish Apple hadn't gone the way they did with the batteries. I always did the batteries myself, but now that it's cemented in, I really don't want to touch it because I have no experience working on current macs.
 
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piotr_sc

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2020
17
6
I opened this Macbook for the first time after 7 years, if someone asked me a week ago if I would open a Macbook, I would say never. I've already watched a few videos about replacing this I / O board and as I can see there is more work than just disconnecting the I / O board. I still hope that someone will come up with an idea how to upload this lower firmware to the I / O board.
 
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mendhemJro

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2020
2
3
Hi, I'm new here and finally I found this forum.. thanks to Big Sur which bricked my mid 2014 mbp.
During the big sur update process bricking my mac, my transcend jetdrive was plugged in.

I had chat the apple representative via its website.. he asked me to do NVRAM, Safe mode, recovery and nothing was worked. Finally, he asked me to bring my mac to apple authorised service provider in which the nearest is in Singapore (I live in Indonesia btw). Since I need my mac ASAP and I found precious info from here, I gamble, I bought the I/O board from local shop which priced at 2jt ($150!!!-last stock-this board is pretty rare here. It's not easy during this pandemic to check the local shop 1 by 1 which I did. I have no time to order from ebay/alibaba.. it could be weeks/months to be arrived here).

I disconnected the broken I/O board, it was on, and I re-installed Catalina. After the new I/O had plugged in, no more black blank screen. It works fine in Catalina just like before I updated to Big Sur. Now, it is said "Your Mac is up to date -- macOS Catalina 10.15.7". Also, the boot chime has changed. Thank you apple for the precious $150 new boot chime and risking my life during this pandemic to buy the I/O board.

photo_2020-11-21 22.31.43.jpeg photo_2020-11-21 22.31.45.jpeg Screen Shot 2020-11-21 at 22.07.55.png
 
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piotr_sc

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2020
17
6
Hi, I'm new here and finally I found this forum.. thanks to Big Sur which bricked my mid 2014 mbp.
During the big sur update process bricking my mac, my transcend jetdrive was plugged in.

I had chat the apple representative via its website.. he asked me to do NVRAM, Safe mode, recovery and nothing was worked. Finally, he asked me to bring my mac to apple authorised service provider in which the nearest is in Singapore (I live in Indonesia btw). Since I need my mac ASAP and I found precious info from here, I gamble, I bought the I/O board from local shop which priced at 2jt ($150!!!-last stock-this board is pretty rare here. It's not easy during this pandemic to check the local shop 1 by 1 which I did. I have no time to order from ebay/alibaba.. it could be weeks/months to be arrived here).

I disconnected the broken I/O board, it was on, and I re-installed Catalina. After the new I/O had plugged in, no more black blank screen. It works fine in Catalina just like before I updated to Big Sur. Now, it is said "Your Mac is up to date -- macOS Catalina 10.15.7". Also, the boot chime has changed. Thank you apple for the precious $150 new boot chime and risking my life during this pandemic to buy the I/O board.

View attachment 1675764 View attachment 1675765 View attachment 1675766
Super your MBP is working again, say uninstalling the I / O board used from some movie on YT? Do you have to remove the entire motherboard and disassemble the fan? Can it be cleverly removed without disassembling everything? I'm waiting for my ebay I / O ;-))
 
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mendhemJro

macrumors newbie
Nov 21, 2020
2
3
Super your MBP is working again, say uninstalling the I / O board used from some movie on YT? Do you have to remove the entire motherboard and disassemble the fan? Can it be cleverly removed without disassembling everything? I'm waiting for my ebay I / O ;-))
I'm sorry I couldn't help. The local shop technician helped me to plug it in..
 
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DaveKy

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2020
7
5
Ky
Screen Shot 2020-11-21 at 10.37.11 AM.png

Screen Shot 2020-11-21 at 10.36.40 AM.png


I don't know if any of this may be helpful to those trying to decide whether or not to upgrade or to those trying to determine just what is going on, but thought I'd post it to give more info.
My upgrade was scary to say the least, with two black screens lasting a few minutes each but it survived and has been running fine after a couple of days. Maybe I just got lucky or maybe my configuration had something to do with it.
 
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arslandar

macrumors newbie
Nov 16, 2020
8
4
Same issue here. Black screen at boot after Big Sur upgrade....nothing worked...took it to apple store in Dubai who acknowledged the issue with big sur but still charged me for replacing the i/o board.....had no choice but to get it repaired but feel extremely frustrated
 

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DaveKy

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2020
7
5
Ky
I wonder what it depends on, I had a brick.


View attachment 1675826 View attachment 1675832
I hate it that so many people are having problems with this and some have ended up with bricks instead of a usable machine. My reason for posting this info was to help those more technically inclined to determine if there is a correlation in machine configurations that survived the upgrade vs those that did not. Knowing that it provides nothing for those with bricks, I'm hopeful that it may help those that haven't attempted the upgrade and those that are looking for a common cause of the problem. That said, the only difference I see in our macs is the processor.
 
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Smalltalk

macrumors regular
Nov 12, 2020
152
128
I just saw a note from a user with a MBP 13 Late 2013 commenting on a German forum saying that the SW update
now tells him that the 10.15.7 is up-to-date for him; which would confirm your point.

Confirmed, see
I guess we are at the point that when Apple releases a new OS we have to buy a new MacBook Pro.
 
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DaveFromCampbelltown

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2020
162
476
I just saw a note from a user with a MBP 13 Late 2013 commenting on a German forum saying that the SW update
now tells him that the 10.15.7 is up-to-date for him; which would confirm your point.

Confirmed, see

This confirms my point. Apple knows that the update will damage some machines. They should accept the responsibility of repair/replace at their own expense.
 
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thiskiwicanfly

macrumors member
Oct 14, 2015
61
14
NZ
It would only be forced if people's Macs are updating without their consent, and then bricking.
I'm hoping you're not suggesting that it's the users' fault if their Macs are bricked simply because they "choose" to click on the Update button by consent!?! I think you'll be hard pressed to find anyone that knowingly believes performing a software update risks bricking their machine... otherwise who in their right mind would do it!?!
 
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CmdrLaForge

macrumors 601
Feb 26, 2003
4,454
2,592
around the world
Just got my mid-2014 MBP back from Apple. Unable to be fixed. Got told to either find a vintage store or to buy a new macbook.

Very annoyed considering it was working perfectly fine prior to the recommended general release Big Sur update.
I think I would see a lawyer to discuss what could be done.
 
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CmdrLaForge

macrumors 601
Feb 26, 2003
4,454
2,592
around the world
That was one of my points, You, and others didn't have anything plugged in, and it still failed, so that's on Apple. If someone had things plugged in and it failed, it could still be on Apple, but it could also be on them because of having the devices plugged in. Like I said, not trying to be hard on people, really just wondering what percentage is on Apple, and what is on the User. Then again, my biggest problem with my MBP is deciding who to pay to replace the battery. I really wish Apple hadn't gone the way they did with the batteries. I always did the batteries myself, but now that it's cemented in, I really don't want to touch it because I have no experience working on current macs.
in case connected items brick the machine the installer needs to stop and ask the user to unplug

this is entirely on Apple
 
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DaveFromCampbelltown

macrumors regular
Jun 24, 2020
162
476
in case connected items brick the machine the installer needs to stop and ask the user to unplug

this is entirely on Apple

Precisely. Apple already knows how to do this, when you run Boot Camp Assistant it stops and asks you to unplug any devices, including (non-Apple) keyboards, from your computer.
 
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MacinMan

macrumors 6502
Jan 27, 2011
336
119
Daytona Beach, FL
I'm hoping you're not suggesting that it's the users' fault if their Macs are bricked simply because they "choose" to click on the Update button by consent!?! I think you'll be hard pressed to find anyone that knowingly believes performing a software update risks bricking their machine... otherwise who in their right mind would do it!?!
No what I was implying was because Apple recommends doing an upgrade / install making sure nothing is connected to the mac puts responsibility on the user as well as Apple. The user of course has the choice to disregard Apple's recommendations, and let's face it we all do it at times. I can only speak for myself here though when saying "I as the user am willing to accept things going wrong" if I were to not follow Apple's guidelines. Meaning if the software is bugged, then of course it's Apple's responsibility to fix it. However, if my choice caused the problem, then I can't expect Apple do do anything about it, when they've given me the guidelines to follow, and I chose not to follow them.

The more feedback I get from reading more posts that come out, it sounds like it's both sides to me. Both Apple's software, and both user error. The comment below has the right solution for a good middle ground. The installer should stop and require the user to unplug anything that could potentially cause problems. I think Microsoft does this with windows, or they have in the past when there have been known problems.
 
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tommiy

macrumors 6502
Dec 11, 2015
292
99
There is a difference in advertising that your performing a MACOS upgrade and a Machine Firmware/BIOS upgrade. The advertised user consent is to upgrade the OS, nothing in the request saying that it wants to upgrade your machine's firmware (OS+BIOS). If you were a normal user of PCs you would assume that there is no way that you could brick your machine by performing an OS upgrade. Unfortunately, Apple bundled their machine firmware upgrades into the OS upgrades a while ago meaning that there is a possibility of bricking the machine.

So I would think that unless Apple informed you that the change is going to upgrade the firmware there is no way a user would understand the risk.
 
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chucker23n1

macrumors 601
Dec 7, 2014
4,877
6,018
No what I was implying was because Apple recommends doing an upgrade / install making sure nothing is connected to the mac puts responsibility on the user as well as Apple.
It's this kind of dangerous mindset that leads to people being afraid to, say, try out new software: stuff could break, and worse, they could be blamed for it.

This is one of the reasons App Stores are popular: don't like an app? The worst that could happen is you remove it again. All related stuff will be removed; it won't leave behind weird modifications to your system that slow it down or make it unstable. It'll even prompt you to unsubscribe if you're paying a recurring fee.

Now, a system upgrade is harder to sandbox than an app installation, but Apple must apply that same mindset to them as much as they can, and there are several ways in which they need to try harder.

If the answer is, "well, the user needs to be careful and do stuff like unplug external devices"? (I don't think it is.) Then Apple needs to clearly communicate that. Instead, they're barely communicating anything at all. The update mostly just shows a progress bar, sometimes with an estimate and sometimes without. For long periods of time, it's hard to tell if anything is still happening, and I imagine some of these firmware failures come from people assuming they need to force-shutdown, reboot, and try again.

Don't blame the user unless they did something colossally stupid, which in this case they didn't. (Unless installing Big Sur is stupid. Which, OK, maybe.)
 
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ooans

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2011
267
80
I have a late 2013 15" MBP and haven't had the courage yet to install. I guess I'll wait for 11.0.2

Edit: usually I install on day 1, but luckily this time I was too busy to update.
 
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DaveKy

macrumors newbie
Nov 19, 2020
7
5
Ky
I have a late 2013 15" MBP and haven't had the courage yet to install. I guess I'll wait for 11.0.2

Edit: usually I install on day 1, but luckily this time I was too busy to update.
I sat on that same fence for a few days, reading about the black screens and IO boards...then I thought well with Christmas coming soon if it bricked I would have a good excuse to replace it.;)
Remembering what I'd read here, I removed everything except the power cord and crossed my fingers. Then I had to fight the urge to interfere during the two times it went black and appeared to be in a coma, but it came back around and has been working since.
I may have just been extremely lucky or maybe Santa didn't want me to have a new MacBook this year.
 
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treaders

macrumors newbie
Jul 30, 2010
2
1
I just spoke an Apple senior advisor for the third time. This was after two Genius Bar visits and two Apple Support online chats. Apple's legal department has refused any compensation. The ~AU$1200 repair quotation is still applicable.

I am stunned.

I paid a premium price for Apple's product to avoid issues and to ensure reliability.

I am not disputing the fact that my MacBook Pro is approaching six years old. However, the MacBook was functioning prior to accepting Apple's System Preference > Software Upgrade notification, ensuring my MacBook satisfied the age requirement to upgrade to MacOS Big Sur and backing up my data. I am not aware of operating system upgrades destroying hardware before this issue.

So very disappointed in Apple. After encountering AirPods battery life issues earlier this year plus Apple Watch Bluetooth disconnection issues it's possibly too much for me.
 
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MacinMan

macrumors 6502
Jan 27, 2011
336
119
Daytona Beach, FL
I think there should be an option available to users as there is with any other PC. If there is a firmware upgrade required, in this case EFI, or SMC. There should be separate installers offered. That way Users can choose to apply the bios / firmware upgrades first. I think doing this would help people understand what's going on and the steps being performed would be separated between the OS upgrade and the firmware upgrade. That way if the firmware upgrade fails, then people can't blame the OS upgrade. In fact, Apple has done that before, provide separate EFI and firmware updates independent of the operating system updates.

Maybe with the Apple Silicone macs, the integrated process will be made easier over Intel based Macs.
 
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