Wait with updating to macOS Big Sur — It destroyed my Mac

Updating from macOS Catalina to Big Sur on my 2019 MacBook Pro has been the worst decision of 2020.

Maybe, you should wait a few weeks. At least make sure to read the checklist at the end!

To start from the beginning, the fully specced up Mac Book Pro I bought in September 2020 never had any problems. It didn’t take me long to decide to upgrade the device to the newest firmware. Apple basically engages you to do so to avoid security issues. So I decided to be a good consumer.

Thursday evening of the past week seemed like the perfect time to go ahead. The next day would be off so the Mac could run over night and should be done in the morning. I thought. Let’s say it like that, right now my mac is in repair. All data is lost and the logic board has to be replaced.

What happened during the update to Big Sur

  1. The download went fine (it took a while tho).
  2. Upon installation, a technical error occurred. At this time the mac would constantly reboot if not used in recovery mode (CMD + R upon booting).
  3. The update had corrupted the admin and hard drive password (it hasn’t been changed during the last ten years). Recovery mode was only accessible using Forgot my password and my Apple ID.
  4. The main drive could not be mounted or unlocked. The system does not accept the admin password (even tho correct).
  5. resetpassworddid not work. The waned screen appeared, authenticated my Apple ID but prompted that the Account would not be eligible to reset the password.
  6. Using Utilities > Teminal to unlock or mount the disk did not work either

diskutil apfs list

  • validated that Macintosh HD Data was not mounted (disk2s1)

diskutil apfs unlockVolume disk2s1

  • did not work with admin password

rm "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/var/db/.applesetupdone

  • did not created new user

7. Booting from a hard drive with macOS Big Sur did not work.

8. Using similar procedures in target disk mode did not work either.

9. Handing in the MacBook into an ASP (authorised service partner) resulted in them seeing the Logic board die. So far, it seems like the T2 security chip was busted by Big Sur.

Current status of the Mac

I’m at the end of my capabilities and lost one week as well as 3000$ worth of data. The worst is that the pictures and videos of my puppy (intended for a bigger project) are gone.

The apple customer support was friendly and helpful but useless.

I had to fight for 5 days to accept my claim for the repair under the Danish Consumer Law.

The ASP seems good for general issues but helpless in specifics.

If there is one thing I would like you to take from this article.

Do not update without a backup on an external hard drive and be prepared to deliver it to an ASP for repair issues.

This may not be happening to many users but if it does, it’s an annoyance you will never forget! In this regard, make sure to read the following checklist.

Update checklist

1. Create an external backup of your data.

2. Turn off file vault security.

3. Maybe even remove the password lock.

4. Be sure that your mac is in warranty otherwise you are sitting there with the costs (In my case 1200$ for the logic board).

If you can’t check everything on the list. Wait.

People will update regardless, Apple will get feedback and hopefully fix the occurring issues.

And one thing for sure. Customer support is only truly helpful if you are the most persistent person you can be.

YouTube content creator, nomad, and part-time philosopher www.tilldaling.com/linktree and @bullverine on Instagram.

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