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macOS Monterey Update Blamed for Bricking Older Macs

macOS Monterey
(Image credit: Apple)

When a new major operating system update is released, you’d expect to gain new features, improved performance and the usual array of bug fixes. Instead, according to Mac Rumors, some unlucky Mac owners upgrading to the newly launched macOS Monterey wound up with bricked machines.

Apple released macOS Monterey as the successor to macOS Big Sur one week ago, and it comes preinstalled on the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros. But for some upgrading older Macs, the upgrade process has been fraught with heartache. Freddy Mini took to Twitter to explain that his 16-inch MacBook Pro (2020) died while installing macOS Monterey. The 18-month-old laptop no longer boots and is now an expensive paperweight.

Another MacBook Pro (2019) owner, Daniel Lin, says that his device is bricked again (after the same thing happened with last year’s Big Sur update). “Ports continue to stop working, not allowing charging, which bricks this,” Lin remarked. “Can’t reset SMC because there’s no power going in. What else could help me determine I bought a lemon?”

And it’s not just reports flooding Twitter regarding macOS Monterey wreaking havoc on Macs; Mac Rumors also points out that nearly a dozen threads popped up on the official Apple Support Communities that additional machines are no longer functional. 

Mpotts94 explained in an Apple Support thread that is currently four pages long, “I also updated my MacBook Pro to Monterey and it is just black when trying to boot up. I know that it’s on for 2 reasons. 1. It can get extremely hot and 2 the mousepad clicks. I took it to Apple Genius Bar and they state it is due to my logic board. I’ve never had any issues until I updated and they say that I will owe $500 to fix it.” 

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for the incessant bricking. Users report that iMac, MacBook Pro, and even Mac mini devices are susceptible to the ongoing problem. At this time, Apple has not made an official statement on these issues with macOS Monterey, so if you own a Mac and haven’t already upgraded, perhaps waiting would be prudent. But, on the other hand, you’re not exactly missing out on a lot by delaying the update while any potential bugs are squashed.

With that said, macOS Monterey is currently sitting at version 12.01, while version 12.1 is in beta. Hopefully, this update will solve any lingering bricking issues, but we’ll need to wait for Apple’s confirmation before getting too optimistic about those prospects.

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • gg83
    OS updates have caused many bricked devices. I owned a couple ipods back in 2008. Each time I'd update the OS the device would stop working. Then they try to say it's because I dropped it. Planned obsolescence, that's how Apple works. Other companies do it too so it's not just Apple.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    Why would you design an OS to brick a piece of hardware upon upgrading said hardware? Like, seriously...

    For all the fun we make about Windows and its bugs, I've never ever read about it bricking hardware of a PC. Linux can be dangerous if installed incorrectly*, but kind of the same as well as I've never read about a failed Linux install has bricked a PC.

    Is this Apple's way to subtly tell its minions to upgrade their stuff? lol

    Regards.
    Reply
  • ajpaolello
    Yuka said:
    Why would you design an OS to brick a piece of hardware upon upgrading said hardware? Like, seriously...

    For all the fun we make about Windows and its bugs, I've never ever read about it bricking hardware of a PC. Linux can be dangerous if installed correctly, but kind of the same as well as I've never read about a failed Linux install has bricked a PC.

    Is this Apple's way to subtly tell its minions to upgrade their stuff? lol

    Regards.

    You haven't heard of them because they don't make for interesting news
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    ajpaolello said:
    You haven't heard of them because they don't make for interesting news
    Linux? Maybe. Windows? No way. If there was an update that bricked PCs, it would be news everywhere, for sure. There's always articles and news for BSOD's after updates, so imagine if they actually bricked something, lol.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • frogr
    Apple now has a fix
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/guide/apple-configurator-2/apdebea5be51/mac
    according to :
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/253295779?page=4&irgwc=1&aosid=p239&cid=aos-us-aff-ir&irchannel=13631&irpid=221109&clickid=WFu2pxzN3xyITW-yft3PIVBiUkG0By3522qQ0k0&ircid=7613#:~:text=Solution%3A,the%20Monterey%20install.
    Reply
  • kal326
    frogr said:
    Apple now has a fix
    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/guide/apple-configurator-2/apdebea5be51/mac
    according to :
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/253295779?page=4&irgwc=1&aosid=p239&cid=aos-us-aff-ir&irchannel=13631&irpid=221109&clickid=WFu2pxzN3xyITW-yft3PIVBiUkG0By3522qQ0k0&ircid=7613#:~:text=Solution:,the Monterey install.
    Not terribly surprising there would be an issue with the T2 chip in this process. The upgrade from Big Sur to Monterey allowed for a new quick wipe erase option in System Preferences. This allowed for a ready for resale, donation, etc with out wiping and reloading the whole OS on T2 chip machines. I saw this new option with a 2020 13” MBP. It did upgrade to Monterey just fine though.

    I wonder if people got impatient and force rebooted during the upgrade or something like that. Or it just ran into some issue with that migration process.
    Reply
  • kal326
    Yuka said:
    Linux? Maybe. Windows? No way. If there was an update that bricked PCs, it would be news everywhere, for sure. There's always articles and news for BSOD's after updates, so imagine if they actually bricked something, lol.

    Regards.
    Plenty of Surface/SurfaceBook boot loops and inoperable after firmware/Windows updates out there. This also wasn’t just a straight OS upgrade. Monterey also added a quick restore option on T2 Macs that wasn’t there before. Could be related to that and firmware changes around it.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201065
    Step 1 changes for T2 Chip Macs on Monterey.
    Reply