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Big Sur from Catalina completely failed mid-cycle bricking my Mac

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The update to Big Sur from Catalina completely failed mid-cycle and bricked my MacBook Pro that originally had Sierra on it.

I tried to get into recovery OS but couldn't even unlock the FileVault using my Apple ID correctly because of corruption.

I used find my iPhone to wipe the MacBook entirely and that triggered internet recovery mode which showed the drive had been split into three partitions. I couldn't delete them until I rebooted and triggered the Big Sur internet recovery OS by holding Option, Command, and R keys.

Then, Disk Utilities First Aid worked and let me Restore the drive, but every time I try to update via the internet it just fails.

I don't own another Mac and used TransMac to make a bootable macOS Sierra install drive. However, it is not recognized when I boot the system when I hold the Option key.

About to throw the laptop into a trash can out of frustration for what was supposed to be a good update. Issue stemmed from when macOS decided to download Big Sur & Catalina supplementary update.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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I have the exact same problem, mine is a mid 2014 MacBook Pro.

It is not possible to enter recovery mode the startup chime, does not play.

I have tried resetting SMC but no luck

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The Big Sur update seems to have bricked my mid-2014 13” MacBook Pro as well. Apple support tried resetting PRAM etc and then asked me to take it for in-person service. All I get is the backlight when I turn it on, the caps lock key doesn’t even light up.

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@josha57 - You'll need to call or visit an Apple Store to have them fix the corrupted firmware.

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I went to an apple authorized repair shop today (there are no Apple Store in Denmark). They could not restore the firmware as the computer is more than 5 years old, the firmware restore tool considers it “vintage”

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Apple did have a major issue with their servers the other day. See if you can get it working now: It looks like it’s safe to upgrade to macOS Big Sur now

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I have a Macbook Pro Mid-year 2014 that had the same issue.

I contacted local Genius for repair, they could not get anything but a blank black screen and advised I needed a new logic board at $500 my cost. I took it back home.

I then contacted the BBB SanJose office and opened a complaint online. Apple corporate denied any liability stating out of warranty and considered matter closed.

I finally located great information on Apple’s community forum here:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/252...

I contacted Apple support by phone and spoke to Senior support and stated Apple engineering has confirmed the issue and to search for MacBook Pro, Big Sur installation, I/O board, and corruption. The rep had me go through the usual SMC and PRAM, took a video of Macbook unable to start and uploaded the file to Apple. The rep gave me her direct email and we will continue to resolve once they have reviewed all the information.

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@carlharada - I can report the issue is a programing issue within Big Sur's installer updating the HDMI chipset firmware. Once attempts it writes to it the installer won't finish. To correct this you need to disconnect the I/O board cable and re-run the OS installer. For some reason after the OS install is competed you can then reconnect the I/O board.

Apple is aware of the issue, it appears they want to play dumb! As we have told them how to fix this physically. I can understand they would prefer to do this via software (OS installer) which hopefully they address in the maintenance release soon. They should still get the information out to their geniuses & repair depots.

So as you are in no mans-land with a useless Mac you'll need to either fix the issue your self or find someone with the needed skills to do it for you. Here's the guide MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Mid 2014 I/O Board Replacement Follow it to Step 6 then jump down to Step 17 & 18. Repeat the task on the other side fully removing the cable. Reconnect the battery and restart the install process. Once done disconnect the battery again and reconnect the I/O cable and battery you should be set at this point.

Good Luck!

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@danj "To correct this you need to disconnect the I/O board cable and re-run the OS installer. For some reason after the OS install is competed you can then reconnect the I/O board."

-> Question is there a way, to make the old board functioning again? I bought a new board, in the meantime and use it.. but in terms of reducing e-waste. I would prefer to repair the old board.

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@taitom - Put it back in and visit an Apple Store for them to fix. I have no solution, they may.

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Use this method:

https://elitemacx86.com/threads/internet...

On real Macs there is no need to place an EFI folder into the USB drive and can be ignored.

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Moin, Sobald ich auf den Download link vom Etcher klicke kommt nur 404 not found, auch nach Anmeldung.

Greetings, as soon as I klick on the Download link it says 404 not found, even after Registration on this site.

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After finding it on google, I got the error,"the write process ended unexpectedly"

Question What after that actually? I mean, what I have to put on that Stick to get it to work.

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@taitom - Here's the needed guide: OpenCore and macOS 11: Big Sur

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@danj Ah Thank you very much appreciated. ^^

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@josha57 & @shilmer - Contact Apple directly as the system is on the supported listing!

You're not alone!

Sadly, you'll need to find your way to a real Apple Store as the Authorized reseller often won't talk on software issues (OS or otherwise) no money in it!

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I managed to revive it by taking out the IO board.

MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Late 2013 I/O Board Replacement

As I could read others had succes with that operation, are now on Lan until new IO board arrives, but a very happy man!!

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@shilmer - That doesn't make sense! Where did you read that made a difference? I can't see how the I/O board would effect things.

After installing Big Sur see if putting your original part back as the only thing I can think of is the lack of the AirPort board or Audio DAC chip allowed the installer to continue. Now with the installer firmware process finished it could just work again.

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Well you might be right, but I did not want to push my luck and ordered a new IO board.

What could have happened is that a chip on the IO board has received an update and bricked the IO board, I guess.

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@shilmer - No firmware updates possible on the I/O board or AirPort board its self.

More likely the Audio DAC chip or AirPort board returned a bad (not the expected) response from the installer so it didn't know what to do.

In the case of the 13" MacBook Air it would only be the Audio DAC on the back side (Cirrrus chip) which you can see here MacBook Air 13" (Mid 2013-2017) I/O Board

In the case of the 13" or 15" MacBook Pro's it would be only the AirPort board which is held on the I/O board which you can see here MacBook Pro 13" Retina (Late 2013-Mid 2014) Right I/O Board or MacBook Pro 15" Retina (Late 2013-Mid 2014) Right I/O Board

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Same here, disconnecting the IO board let me restart the Big Sur update from Recovery Mode (using an ethernet adapter). I've since used recovery mode to revert back to Catalina and then Mojave. It's working okay minus the wifi, etc., but if I reconnect the IO board and power on, I just get a black screen again. I've ordered a replacement IO board on eBay, which hopefully will get my ports and wifi working again.

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In my case, disconnecting the cables to the IO board did the trick. I was able to restart the Big Sur installation from Recovery Mode (using an ethernet adapter), but Big Sur ran VERY slow on my machine, so I’ve since reverted back to Catalina then Mojave. If I power off, reconnect the IO board, and power back on, I’m frozen at the black screen again, however. So I’ve left it disconnected and ordered a used one on eBay—hopefully that gets wifi and those ports working again!

This seems like a very strange solution, but I’m glad I have a (mostly) working computer again. When I called Apple previously they were not helpful at all, and wanted me to get it fixed at my own cost, even though this is clearly an issue of the Big Sur update bricking quite a number of older MacBook Pros. Disappointed in Apple, as they were unwilling to do anything about it, and this has taken a lot of hours to diagnose and fix.

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@josha57 - If you can see if the Airport board is the root issue Vs the I/O board its self. I'm suspecting thats the real issue as the version of your Airport board is not being recognized by the installer and likewise the Airport driver is not working.

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@danj - I tried that. Left the I/O board connected but removed the Airport board. But I still had the same black screen problem. It only works when I disconnect the whole I/O board. And even now that I'm back on Mojave, if I connect the I/O board and power on, I get the black screen again.

It's strange, but my guess is that the Big Sur update seems to have permanently damaged the firmware in the I/O board.

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@josha57 - Well you got me scratching my head!

There just isn't any programable chips on the MacBook Pro I/O boards. The two major chips are:

> Parade PS8401 Jitter Cleaning 3.0Gbps HDMI Repeater

> Genesys Logic GL3219 QFN USB 3.1 Gen 1 Hub Controller IC Chip.

Neither are programable per the spec sheets. They likely carry an ID string which maybe the issue the updated system firmware doesn't recognize.

Not to rain on your parade here a replacement board won't likely be any different. That only leaves the I/O cable as being suspect. As they do have the tendency to fail.

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@danj "Not to rain on your parade here a replacement board won't likely be any different. That only leaves the I/O cable as being suspect. As they do have the tendency to fail."

-> I have tried it with a new board and the old board when I connect the new board it works, when I connect the old board it blackscreen. my cables are the old ones none of them have a break in it.

I suspect it is the HDMI connector or maybe the SD chip.

I have before managed to boot with this card at least once, by reconnecting it durin clean install of big sur and everything worked even wifi, but the hdmi was buggy, I have to click "Detect Display" and then the apple boot screen appeared I got shocked but within 3 seconds it worked. I had a picture. As soon as I decided to restart my MBPr it has the blackscreen again and the trick by reconnecting the I/O board after the chime doesnt worked anymore, only by clean install. Strangely. Thats what I have found out. so far.

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@taitom - Sounds like in your case the issue was the boards already weak and gave out at the same time. The HDMI & USB hub are not programable so I can't see how Big Sur would effect tings.

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Well, I have the same with my MBPr 2014 Mid 13” I got an USB clean install, to boot disconnect the I/O board and others say you have to order a new one. HDMI Chip should be the problem I dunno (Source https://www.heise.de/forum/heise-online/... )

During the boot process, I reconnected this I/O Board and during the Clean Install with USB Stick of Big Sur during the restart of the install, the MBPr restarts without a black screen. ( I/O board reconnected)

In Big Sur itself, it detected everything fine, WiFi MAC Address was also zero’d (the MAC Address is a string of “0’s“), after a second clean install, everything works (Haven’t tried HDMI), but as soon as you shutdown or restart, it won’t restart anymore, the Black Screen failure persists.

Can someone suggest a good SPI Programmer to flash the Boot ROM (EFI)? And has someone the BootRom?

I guess this problem is the Boot ROM sadly you can’t downgrade it. Nor find a Firmware/BootRom so you could flash your MBPr with and SPI Programmer on it.

UPDATE:

(In short replacement I/O board I went for the late 2013 13” I/O board, I have mid 2014 13”, so it works as well. )

I ordered a replacement I/O board from ebay for my mid 2014 13” I ordered a late 2013 I/O board yesterday. Today it arrived. It works, and I even went a bit crazy by reinstalling Big Sur and taking the risc of bricking this new I/O card again. I Created a USB Installer Clean Install wiped everything and now it runs and still functioning. No Bricking so far.

(What I have bought https://www.ebay.de/itm/303741260478)

I tested the old board still black,

Before I forget does someone know a good SPI Programmer to flash the Bios chips of all MacBooks? Answer to this would be much apprechiated! ^-^

—In between my try and error methods / in the mean time “Postage”

Before the new one I tried, 5 reinstalls, during it, I tried to reconnect the old “broken“ I/O board, (Precise, I disconnected then startet optionskey to get into the boot menu, then reconnected the I/O board.) During the whole Installation nothing went bad, the last reboot I had to disconnect and reconnect this board like before but I went for the system, I even got Big Sur working and was able to login and such, the strange thing is USB worked, HDMI worked but kinda buggy, Wifi Worked, and SD Card functionality, like everythings fine. BUT big but I decided to restart again, I was thinking I would have fixed it …nope After a manually restart still black screen…

I thought an older MacOS could “reinstall/reflash” the old BootRom, So I installed El Capitan and black screen. no success. SPI Programmer I dont have one, but I will buy one.

”try just disconnecting the battery (which requires some disassembly), then hold down the power button for 5 secs to completely discharge, then re-assemble and restart. ”

-Tried it didn’t worked

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Summary: if your I/O board of a Late 2013/ mid 2014 13” MacBook Pro has been fried by the Big Sur installer it might be coinciding with you having an SD Card or other peripherals connected to the right side of your MBP.

If the I/O board has been permanently damaged (try on your own risk) to disconnect the I/O board (see step 18) of the iFixit guide. Try to finish your re-installation or installation of the OS reconnect the I/O board if black screen continues even after all the tips like NVRAM/ SMC reset etc.

Buy yourself a replacement I/O board use the iFixit guide to replace your I/O board if you are confident or ask an authorized Apple repair shop to do it for you then reboot (NVRAM, SMC reset) and if you are lucky like me you have fixed the black screen issue permanently.

For me the total cost in EUR incl. tools, thermal paste & i/o card did not accumulate to 25 EUR as I could do the replacement myself using iFixit guide.

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I like to have my MacBook Pro mid 2014 upgraded to Big Sur which is at the moment on catalina. It is because I want to have the newest System with security updates. I wish to have the installation with no risk. If I disconnect the IO Board before the installation, I think, then installing Big Sur is without a risk. The Board can’t be destroyed by a firmware update. Has someone done this already?

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At the moment, Apple seems to have removed mid-2014 MacBook Pros from the Big Sur supported devices, presumably because of this bricking issue. So you may be unable to upgrade even if you decide to do so.

Regardless, because of all the bugs in Big Sur, I would strongly recommend waiting at least a couple months for the bugs to be ironed out. At present I suspect Catalina is more secure than Big Sur because many of the bugs in Catalina have been fixed. Also, I found Big Sur to run very slow on my mid-2014 MacBook once I finally got it working. I'm back on Catalina now.

I'm not sure whether disconnecting the I/O board will make installation safe or not, as it really depends on whether the update is damaging the I/O board or the motherboard firmware, making the I/O board incompatible.

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@josha57 - Where did you see this? The current listing macOS Big Sur is compatible with these computers still lists it.

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@danj

I don't remember where I read it; it was something about the next update to Big Sur which was sent to developers appearing to not support 2013/2014 MBP models. But from personal experience, as of recently, Big Sur is currently not available as an update on my mid-2014 MBP (though I certainly wouldn't give it another try anytime soon even if it was, after what it did to my machine).

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@josha57 - Yep, I don't blame you not trying again ;-}

I fired off a note to big Tim the other day as well as spoke to an Apple person I know to also forward the warning. So maybe that made it though quickly.

I think I may have figured out what happened! I did a bit more digging into the HDMI chipotle does offer a programing interface which I suspect was accessed by error by the installer.

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So I installed Big Sur on my MacBook Pro mid 2014 13“ with disconnected io board. It wasn’t a problem. After the installation connected the io Board and everything’s fine.

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Apple has a solution for this, if you have an older computer, more then 2 years old, then you must be someone who is using it so much on daily basis that you are willing to buy a new one.

So if your a power user and needs it that bad Apples idea is you will pay for a new one and make sure you share your files with the cloud next time so the transition is smoother for both you , apple an the ever abusive government out to screw the public for a living.

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Drew will be eternally grateful.
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