Apple's macOS Big Sur update: 'It's bricking our older MacBook Pro laptops,' say owners

MacBook Pro owners might want to delay installing Big Sur for a few weeks to give Apple a chance to investigate.

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Multiple owners of older 2013 to 2014 MacBook Pro laptops have reported that installing Apple's macOS Big Sur update has broken their computers. 

Apple released MacOS 11 Big Sur last week alongside the first Apple Silicon Arm System on a Chip (SoC), the M1, which features in the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. 

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The new Macs can run iOS apps, while the Rosetta 2 emulator helps software built for Intel chips run on Apple Silicon Macs. Microsoft warned last week that Office apps will take about 20 seconds to launch on the first attempt because of Apple Silicon

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However, installing Big Sur has caused serious problems for some MacBook Pro owners who opted to proceed with the update as soon as Apple released it.

"I saw that there was an update to Big Sur today so clicked 'Update'," wrote an owner of a 15-inch display MacBook Pro on Apple's user forum

"It all downloaded fine and I clicked all the items to go ahead. It said it'd be a while so I stepped away from the computer. When I returned, the screen was black – no status bar, no nothing, but I could tell the LED was on. Nothing would wake it up, so I eventually held the power button to force a shutdown."

After that the MacBook wouldn't boot. The user tried key reset combinations including SMC, PRAM, holding shift, option keys, and recovery mode.  

"Tried all many, many times," the user wrote. "I've done everything I know to do. It was working just fine before the update, and now I'm kicking myself. Can't even do a restore from my backup." 

MacBook Pro owners with 2013 and 2014 models have reported similar problems on the MacRumors forum and on Reddit

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Some owners with these models have reported no problems from installing Big Sur, but it is unfortunate for those affected given the COVID-19 pandemic. Those laptops are likely to be essential tools for work and entertainment at a time when people are being discouraged from going out in public.

The severity of the issues suggests that MacBook Pro owners might be well advised to hold off installing the Big Sur update for a few weeks until Apple investigates the issue.   

ZDNet has contacted Apple about the Big Sur problems and will update the story if it receives an answer. 

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