macOS Big Sur Update Bricking Some Older MacBook Pro Models

A large number of late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are reporting that the macOS Big Sur update is bricking their machines. A MacRumors forum thread contains a significant number of users reporting the issue, and similar problems are being reported across Reddit and the Apple Support Communities, suggesting the problem is widespread.

macbookpro13large

Users are reporting that during the course of updating to macOS Big Sur, their machines are stuck displaying a black screen. Key reset combinations, including NVRAM, SMC, safe mode, and internet recovery, are all reportedly inaccessible after attempting to install the update, leaving no way to bypass the static black screen.

It appears that the overwhelming number of users experiencing problems are owners of the late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it is unclear exactly how many users of these models have been affected. It is also of note that these are the oldest models supported by macOS Big Sur.

One commenter on Reddit said that they were told by Apple support to book their MacBook Pro in for a repair. Another on an Apple Support thread said that the issue has been escalated to Apple's engineering team, so Apple should now be aware of the problem.

Until it is clear what may be causing the issue and Apple releases a fix, late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro may wish to hold off on installing macOS Big Sur.

Related Roundup: 13" MacBook Pro
Related Forums: MacBook Pro, macOS Big Sur

Top Rated Comments

ssmed Avatar
25 months ago

I got news for you buddy. The "Big Bucks" you paid for your 2013/2014 Macs has served it's purpose. You're not entitled to a free OS year after year, especially for these Macs that are near 7 & 8 years old. Years ago Apple charged $129 for an OS upgrade and people happily paid it, and Macs weren't any cheaper back then they are now.
Three points:

It's irrelevant how old the machine is - the question is whether the upgrade is fit for purpose? It would appear for some it is not. At a time when some will already be struggling due to COVID this will be a real blow.

Also Apple tell us (with nags and red dots) that we should all upgrade immediately!

Your post is rather unsympathetic, this is a heap of pain for those not entitled enough to buy the latest and greatest.
Score: 96 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Malus120 Avatar
25 months ago

Never update straight away as there are always bugs.

Interesting how Apple put out the Public Beta months ago and this is discovered just now? You mean nobody with a 2013/2014 MBP ever had a bricking issue all the time during the public beta? Hmmm. Sometimes I get the feeling that these issues are made up in order to crap on Apple when they release new products. Furthermore while I'm not saying bricking should happen I think it's a stretch trying to install the latest OS on near 7 and 8 year old computers and expect to have no issues.

Oh the joys of a yearly release cycle...

That's why you shouldn't update on day one.
All of you, and everyone else in this thread needs to stop pretending this is normal. It isn't. Some BUGS on release day are normal. BRICKING machines such that only Apple can restore them has, as far as I can remember, never happened before.

This is completely unacceptable, particularly during a pandemic when its not safe (or at the very least far from ideal) for many people to to go out and people are relying on these machines for their livelihood more than ever.

Unless it can be shown that it is a small number of machines and or related to a factor completely out of Apple's control (I really can't imagine what that would be), this level of **** up is new territory for Apple and deserves to be recognized as such.

Don't normalize this. It's not normal. Apple deserves every ounce of heat they'll get over this and then some.
Score: 78 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Caliber26 Avatar
25 months ago
I’m always about 10 months late to update the OS on my late 2013 MBP. It’s* finally paying off.



*my laziness
Score: 59 Votes (Like | Disagree)
randfee2 Avatar
25 months ago
Mid 2014 MacBook Pro 15.4" here.
I erased the SSD and did a clean install. The booting sequence looked weird and restarting the machine doesn't work and causes weird behaviour just like it was described here:

It also seems to take an age to display the Apple logo when it boots, and has a very strange boot sequence that involves showing the Big Sur background with a progress bar, then reverting back to a black screen with an Apple logo, followed by a really weird graphical distortion with tearing all across the screen and then finally the loaded desktop.
The OS sometimes (!) is not as responsive as Catalina was. Strange since it is a clean install. Safari often seems frozen and doesn't take clicks or other UI input anymore, having to refresh a website. Chrome shows normal behaviour.

Last but not least... HUGE privacy concerns are popping up!
Apparently trustd and other Apple services and apps will now BYPASS firewall tools like little snitch and even VPNs. This is outrageous and I can confirm it. I had updated to little snitch 5 and it no longer can block any OS services from calling home. However, these Apple servers are constantly connected as indicated by my network firewall. I've now blocked them outside the machine.
This was brought to my attention in this article:
https://9to5mac.com/2020/11/13/apple-server-outage-reveals-mac-privacy-concerns/

outrageous! This sound just like Microsoft's Windows 10 activity to me and should be boycotted by all of us users accordingly!!!

here's Obdev's response (little snitch dev company) regarding these privacy issues. They phrased it rather nicely. What it basically means, apple is whitelisting all their telemetry communication making it so that no 3rd party app or user can prevent let alone detect it. Network firewall rules must now prevent your Macs from telling Apple and others what Apps you run and when and where. Bypassing VPNs.... really... I'm losing it!
https://obdev.at/support/littlesnitch/245914647368270
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
felixuta Avatar
25 months ago

I got news for you buddy. The "Big Bucks" you paid for your 2013/2014 Macs has served it's purpose. You're not entitled to a free OS year after year, especially for these Macs that are near 7 & 8 years old. Years ago Apple charged $129 for an OS upgrade and people happily paid it, and Macs weren't any cheaper back then they are now.
How great that you are entitled to affirm this. Maybe some of us are students on a budget who don‘t have the finances to afford a new Mac every two years and a new iPhone every year, like some here who seem to be in a relationship with a computer company.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ginkobiloba Avatar
25 months ago

I got news for you buddy. The "Big Bucks" you paid for your 2013/2014 Macs has served it's purpose. You're not entitled to a free OS year after year, especially for these Macs that are near 7 & 8 years old. Years ago Apple charged $129 for an OS upgrade and people happily paid it, and Macs weren't any cheaper back then they are now.
I got news for you buddy : Apple says you're 100% nonsense , because it says on its website that the 2013/2014 are "entitled" to a free upgrade to Big Sur, and even harass you to upgrade to it as soon as possible.

Perhaps you should contact them and explain to them that they shouldn't "entitle" those Macs to upgrade ?
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...