Restoring a Bricked iMac Pro Requires a Second Mac and Configurator 2

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. VictorTango777, Dec 16, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017

    VictorTango777 macrumors 6502

    Oct 28, 2017
    Apple's own Configurator 2 document ( states:
    Since Apple's own document makes no mention of Secure Boot being enabled or disabled, it is reasonable for people to assume that a second Mac is required for all restores, not only when Secure Boot is enabled, and not only for firmware update issues, as it specifically mentions "macOS upgrade". If anyone disagrees with Apple's own official documentation, then please contact Apple and have them update it with your superior corrections.
  2. Allewsive macrumors member


    Apr 22, 2015
    Imagine if they allowed you to simply plug in an iOS11 device with the same iCloud account, and it authenticated a download of macOS to the iMac Pro. I know it’s not that easy, but if they engineered this from scratch then it seems reasonable.
  3. BlueGhost macrumors newbie

    Dec 30, 2015
    Doubt majority of home users need a high-end workstation like iMac Pro, unless they do extensive movie editing... One solution for those who do not need this much power is a standard iMac or one of the other models. This looks like a security feature for the movie studios, at least several of which were recently hacked and lost $$$$$ due to films being posted online before their release. As others have noted, could also be for product development or military uses.

    HP tried (unsuccessfully) to get corporations to entirely ditch "obsolete" BIOS in favor of an alternative firmware bootstrapping process years ago. Sun/Oracle SPARC, HP and IBM all ditched BIOS on their higher-end servers long ago, instead using Open Firmware/IEEE-1275 (depending on the OS/platform, some never had BIOS). There is much more flexibility in the alternatives to BIOS, which goes back to 1981 and the initial IBM pc, and at least 1975 to the earlier CP/M operating system.
  4. Anim macrumors 6502a


    Dec 16, 2011
    Macclesfield, UK
    Same with my car insurance. Never had a crash. Don't know why I bother with it :D Sarcasm aside, if you are a business working on a iMac Pro and it dies on you due to any number of reasons, you can not time-machine it back to life but need to find another Macintosh or book into a Genius bar. That is very inconvenient. Also, the security conscious would barf at letting another person or random mac connect to their machine just to fix a botched update so they would have to buy a backup mac just for this purpose, keep it updated and not let anyone use it (for security). I fail to see the logic.
  5. Glassed Silver macrumors 68020

    Glassed Silver

    Mar 10, 2007
    Kassel, Germany

    Time to leave ship for good I fear, this will trickle down to other Macs, because of course they (rightfully) make security a top priority feature on all of their devices, however I don't like this feature one bit.

    It'd be a shame, hardware and lack of QA in software aside I've always liked my stay in macOS and the software from third party developers.

    I don't want my computer to be an appliance though for whatever reason.

    As soon as every Mac sold will work like this I'm out.


    Glassed Silver:ios
  6. neuropsychguy macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    Why? That's a perfect situation for deployment because there will be other Macs around in the off chance there's an issue.
  7. qawes macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2010
    System Reqs for HS:

    • iMac – all models from late 2009, iMac 10,1 – 17,1
    • MacBook & MacBook Retina – all models from late 2009, MacBook 6,1 – 9,1
    • MacBook Pro – all models from 2010, MacBook Pro 7,1 – 11,5
    • MacBookAir – all models from 2010, MacBook Air 3,1 – 7,2
    • Mac Mini – all models from 2010, Mac Mini 4,1 – 7,1
    • Mac Pro – all models from 2010, Mac Pro 5,1 – 6,1

    I'm curious how you got to this conclusion.
  8. DualShock, Dec 17, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017

    DualShock macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008
    So it seems this hasn't really been cleared up then.

    There's typically 2 types of serious computer issues that would require a restore (other than a hardware failure):

    - a firmware flash gone bad (EFI in the case of a Mac and recent PC's)
    - an operating system issue preventing the system from fully starting up (such as continuous kernel panics)

    Apple's documentation doesn't seem to make this point clear; it only mentions "macOS upgrade". We all know that occasionally a macOS upgrade (or update) screws up some part of the OS, preventing it from booting properly, which is purely a software problem. We also know that some macOS updates contain EFI updates.

    Failed EFI updates (at least when Macs still had optical drives) could be recovered from by booting from a recovery disc burned with the EFI on it, which was downloaded from Apple.

    A bad macOS install is usually much easier to recover from, which will simply require a restore from backup (CCC/SuperDuper/Time Machine).

    However Apple doesn't say specifically which type requires the second Mac.

    - Some people say that *any* type of restore, *even* Time Machine, need a second Mac.
    - Others say that *only* failed firmware updates that result in an iMac Pro that won't even power up properly require a second Mac.

    Until we hear official clarification from Apple, it's pretty worthless to keep going back and forth about this. The fact that the iBridge screenshots in Apple's docs clearly shows "DFU" leads me to believe this is purely for firmware, similar to how iPhones can be restored.
  9. antonis macrumors 68020


    Jun 10, 2011
    Hm...isn’t that a problem that was solved a long time ago ? Why not having 2 firmwares, the current one that is being upgrading and the previous ?
  10. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    This is kind of embarrassing with PC MB manufacturers having Dual bios systems .

    This is very rare though.

    The only concern is that this could head down the path were Apple dictates the macOS installed on your machines.

    How long before macOS is dead and iOS heads over to macs....whatever those macs are in the future .
  11. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    I think the article is hugely exaggerating the problem. This is about an iMac that is "bricked", which means it doesn't start, and it can't be made to start. In almost all situations, you just reboot the Mac with the right keys pressed in a place with WiFi present, pick the network, download the installer, fix your hard drive if needed, restore from your backup or download the OS. It is very, very unusual for a Mac to get bricked.

    So Apple is now providing a way and instructions to unbrick a bricked Mac. This will be very rarely used. It's like a car company providing towing instructions in case your engine breaks down. Would you rather prefer if they don't?
    --- Post Merged, Dec 17, 2017 ---
    Again, this is not about locking up, it is about bricked computers. It is unlikely that this will ever happen. And it fixes something that is broken. Instead of bricked meaning bricked, you can get it unbricked.
  12. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    Does anyone know if the new iMac Pro can run Windows via Boot Camp? As long as this is possible, it means the bootloader isn't locked to MacOS.
  13. lostczech macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2009
    I was aiming for humor, not being that serious. Yes, in reality most people purchasing an iMac Pro probably has an older Mac laying around they could use for this purpose. Lighten up
  14. BlargKing macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2014
    NewBrunswick, Canada
    I like how if I somehow "bricked" Windows I can just re install it from a DVD/Flash drive in under an hour.

    Heck, even my motherboard has a feature so if you managed to brick the BIOS itself you can re-flash the whole BIOS off a flash drive. And the best part is, you don't need a specific computer to do it. You could even download the BIOS using a smartphone if you've got a USB OTG adapter.

    Now thats what I can well designed.
  15. Westside guy, Dec 17, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017

    Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    With any other recent Mac, as long as you can power it up you can use internet recovery (assuming your local recovery partition is also hosed... otherwise, you’d just use that).

    I had an OS X update render a computer unbootable, back in the early days of delta updates (obviously before recovery partitions or internet recovery existed). Several other computers updated fine, but one of our MacBooks didn’t. But it’s certainly a rare occurrence, at least if my experience is any guide.

    Incidentally, I don’t think “bricked” was the best term to use in this context. The steps spelled out in the article imply that the iMac Pro can power on, but not boot correctly - while at least a few responders seem to think we’re talking about a completely unresponsive computer which won’t even turn on.
  16. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    Exactly. Apple wants the Mac locked down like the iPhone. While I like the security of the iPhone I don't want a computer that is fully controlled by Apple.
  17. pianojoe macrumors 6502


    Jul 5, 2001
    N 49.50121 E008.54558
    Not a big deal. If you‘re so Apple-y that you buy this machine, chances are you have another current Mac around the house. Don't tell me you shell out for this machine, and your wife uses an Acer subnotebook running Windows 7.
  18. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Exactly - more data required.

    A foul-up during a firmware re-flash is a system-bricking "stand in the rain and shout 'Noooooo!!!' to the heavens" moment on most devices, often requiring special equipment or a second system (if only to download new firmware and prepare a firmware update stick) - and being able to install firmware from scratch without some sort of authentication is a major security hole. The dual-BIOS feature on some PC motherboards seems to be mainly aimed at overclockers et. al. who are constantly installing bleeding-edge firmware and risk developing neck problems from constantly yelling despair at the sky.

    Rendering the system non-bootable during a regular OS installation/update, however, is more easily done and shouldn't need any more than a firmware password to let you boot from a USB stick. If (say) deleting the boot partition can brick a Mac, then that's not good.
  19. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2009
    In the nicest possible way... This machine is aimed at mac using professionals. I doubt it would attract non apple users, most who will buy it will already be a user replacing older equipment or adding to current equipment.

    Therefore I would say most pro apple users have more than one device, most pros will have a desktop and portable solution to ensure they can be productive in any situation. I dont really see the problem. Just better security.

    Ive been using macs for 12-13 years and have always had both, usualy a smaller macbook pro and a desktop mac pro. So I can work on the road and on location then do some more serious work at the desk.

    Whether the imac pro is worth it is another question. You could buy a very high spec 13" macbook pro and i7 5K imac for the same cost... with money left over to promote your services. I would say its too expensive and has too much power for graphic designers, photographers and web developers. This will appeal to scientific computation, animators, 3D motion graphics and video guys... but then a non all in one will perform better anyway because of better air flow and less throttling so not really sure who this is aimed at...
  20. mrbobdobolina macrumors member


    Feb 28, 2016
    Okay, now I'm curious. Who here has bricked an iMac computer before? (Everyone besides Ateebn, who I see in the "similar threads" below had a crash during a restore.)
  21. buckwheet macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2014
    Yeah, exactly. I've been running Macs for 30+ years and only bricked one once—30+ years ago.
  22. n-evo macrumors 65816


    Aug 9, 2013
    You plan on buying an iMac Pro?
  23. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Oh hell no.
  24. qawes macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2010
    Don't joke about these things! Apple might be reading these forums and get fresh ideas :(

    On a more serious note, I get where you're coming from and I can actually see that being a possibility by the way things are going regarding their hardware.
  25. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2009
    I gotta love all the "just take it to an Apple Store" comments as if that is an easy thing for everyone to do. Even if there is a store available, time is money and people shouldn't have to drive their computer somewhere just for somthing like this. Both that and the idea that you should just have another Mac laying around with High Sierra on it is Apple expecting a little too much from customers.

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