Apple's macOS Monterey upgrades some people's laptops to doorstops

Reports of bricked computers suggest it may be worth waiting for better-behaving code


Updated Apple's latest desktop operating system, macOS Monterey, has downgraded some users' machines to the equivalent of a brick, according to multiple complaints posted to social media.

Major operating system updates often cause problems for some indeterminate subset of users, which is why many technically inclined types recommend waiting for a revision or two before gambling that all will work well under a new OS version.

Apple, in theory, should experience fewer technical snafus with macOS and iOS due to its control over hardware – the Windows hardware ecosystem is far more diverse, and so more potential problems might be expected. Nonetheless, the iBiz's conscious coupling of hardware and software manages to go awry often enough.

The Register asked Apple whether the company is experiencing more or fewer technical complaints in the move from Big Sur (macOS 11.6) to Monterey (macOS 12). But we've not heard back from Apple, leaving us wondering whether its corporate comms folk might also be having technical troubles.

In 2019, some were disparaging macOS Catalina as "a trash fire." That year, according to a small survey conducted by veteran Apple reporter Jason Snell, Cupertino's software quality scored a D+ in the US school grading scheme; in 2020, survey respondents gave Apple a grade of B-.

To judge by numerous Apple support discussion threads and posts to social media forums, more than a few people are having problems.

There's "MacBook won‘t turn on after Monterey install," which the original poster said was resolved with a trip to an Apple Store to have the T2 security chip "revived." Apple's recent Intel-based Macs included the T2 security chip; its Apple Silicon-based models have similar functions baked in.

Another complaint, "Mid 2015 MacBook Pro would not upgrade to Monterey," indicates that the machine was fixed via SSD removal surgery. And another, "Monterey update kernel panic," is just a sad tale that remains a cliffhanger.

Freddy Mini, co-founder of TrustedOut, warned via Twitter that macOS Monterey had bricked his 2020 MacBook Pro, requiring him to visit an Apple Store and pay $99 to set things right.

John Dinsmore, assistant professor at Trinity College Dublin recounted a similar tale of woe.

"Just downloaded the #Monterey update to my 2019 @Apple #MacBookPro and it’s now completely dead," he said via Twitter. "Never experienced this before and hoping @AppleSupport can fix tomorrow. Be careful with the new update folks!"

He too had to seek solace at an Apple Store.

Beta testers encountered machine-stopping problems back in July when macOS Monterey was still being finalized, which is to be expected – it's beta testing. But the OS update's computing-killing skills haven't entirely been removed, judging by recent posts to a Reddit thread that describe disabling behavior.

Beyond posts along the lines of "Unable to log in after Monterey update," there are the other usual assortment of things not working the way they did before – like display problems. And of course there are reports of Apple software behaving badly.

Apple is evidently testing macOS 12.1, which may or may not address the current crop of bedeviling bugs.

For many users – presumably most – things seem to have gone reasonably well. So you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" ®

Updated to add on November 5

In response to this hoo-ha, Apple said in a statement:

We have identified and fixed an issue with the firmware on the Apple T2 security chip that prevented a very small number of users from booting up their Mac after updating macOS. The updated firmware is now included with the existing macOS updates. Any users impacted by this issue can contact Apple Support for assistance.

So essentially, to prevent any further bricking, Apple has updated the upgrades and patches it issues, and if you're still stuck, you'll have to ask them for help.


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