Fix a Frozen Mac During an Update? Here’s the Solution

 10 Nov, 2021

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Although macOS is an extremely robust operating system, some issues can arise when updating the system. These issues should resolve themselves quickly. However, macOS can sometimes lock your Mac halfway through an update. Don’t panic if your Mac experiences problems downloading or installing the latest version. This article outlines several ways to fix your Mac’s frozen state and get it running again.

Preliminary Warnings

You should backup all of your important data before you perform any system-level updates. This will ensure that you have a backup in case you run into problems during an update.

Don’t panic if your Mac has frozen. Your data is likely to remain intact. Keep your data safe!

Don’t upgrade macOS if you have no free space on your hard drive. I recommend at least 30GB.
Let’s now look at the solutions that will fix your Mac.

1: Disable FileVault

FileVault is a security tool that helps prevent unauthorised access to your Mac’s startup drive. It can sometimes cause problems with macOS updates. FileVault may try to apply encryption to the updated OS.

It may be helpful to disable FileVault when you update macOS.

1. In the menu bar of your Mac, select the Apple logo.

2. Navigate to “System preferences… -> Security and Privacy -> FileVault.

3. Now you can choose “Turn off FileVault ….”

You should now be able update macOS without problems. You can activate FileVault again after an update has been completed if you wish to enjoy full-disk encryption.

2: Boot into Safe Mode

MacOS may be unable to update after a mid-update. This could be due to a third-party program or a corrupted component. Safe Mode allows you to restart your Mac with only the essential components. You can remove any obstacles that may be preventing you from updating macOS.

Turn off your Mac and reboot to Safe Mode. The Shift key can be used to boot your Mac.

After a few seconds, macOS will boot into Safe Mode. You can then perform the macOS upgrade as usual.

3: Check the Apple System Status Page

Apple’s servers may be the reason you are having trouble downloading the macOS installer. Apple receives a lot of requests to update macOS every time they release a new version. Apple’s servers can be put under severe pressure by this.

The official System Status page allows you to check the status of Apple services. Scroll down to the “macOS Software Update” section if you are having trouble updating macOS. If the icon is green, it means that Apple’s servers are working fine.

If the icon turns red or yellow, you have found the root cause of the problem. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do until Apple’s servers return to normal.

4: Wait It Out

MacOS updates can take time, especially if you have a slower Internet connection. The progress bar may not have moved in recent times, but that doesn’t mean it won’t move again. Some macOS users reported that their updates took up to ten hours.

By pressing Command + L, you can check if macOS is still updating. Otherwise, an estimated installation time should be displayed.

It is not as painful as it sounds. We recommend that you leave your Mac unattended for at least a couple of hours, after making sure it is connected with a power source. This will allow you to make sure that it is properly frozen. This is a great opportunity to get a cup of coffee, do some work, or run errands. You’ll probably return to your Mac a few hours later and find that macOS has been updated successfully.

5 – Refresh the Update

If macOS is frozen, you might see positive results after a refresh:

1. For approximately 30 seconds, hold down the power button on your Mac.

2. After macOS has shut down, hold the power button. Now, the update should resume.

3. To check if macOS is still installed, press Command + L. The estimated installation time should be displayed on your Mac.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time for more severe measures.

6: Reset Your NVRAM

The Non-Volatile Random-Access Memory of your Mac (NVRAM), is a small amount that stores settings that macOS must quickly access. This memory includes screen resolution, speaker volume, and kernel panic information.

If your macOS is not updating, you can try wiping the kernel panic information.

1. As normal, turn off your computer. Give your computer a moment to check that the fans and hard drives have stopped spinning.

2. You’ll need these keys shortly, so locate the Command + Option + + P + R keys.

3. After you hear the startup sound, power up your Mac by pressing and holding the Command + Option + + P + R keys.

4. Keep holding the keys down until the startup chimes for the second time.

5. Give the keys.

You should now be able to install your update without any problems.

7: Boot into Recovery Mode

If the update is still not complete, you can try downloading a new copy of macOS. You will need to enter macOS’s Recovery mode.

1. As normal, turn off your Mac

2. Start your Mac and power it up. Now press and hold the Command +R keys immediately. Now your Mac will enter Recovery Mode.

3. After you have entered Recovery Mode, click on the Wi-Fi symbol at the upper-right corner to connect to a reliable, fast network.

4. Select “Reinstall macOS” in the popup.

Follow the instructions on screen to download and install macOS.

Frequently Asked Question


1: What happens if I receive an error message when downloading certain updates?

The good news is that your Mac has not frozen during an update if you receive the above message. The same solutions we have listed for the above error also apply. However, you can check that your Mac’s date and time are correct.

You can do this by pressing CMD + Space. Search for “Date and Time“, then click the “Set date & time automatically” button. Then, try downloading the update again.

2: Is there a better way to install Mac updates

Imagine that you are having problems installing macOS updates on your Mac or Apple servers. It’s a good idea to keep a USB bootable installer on hand in such cases. This will allow you to install the latest Mac OS version and any updates through your Mac.

3: “Will my data be lost if my macOS upgrade has frozen?”

Mac usually has fail-safe. This means that if an update freezes in mid-update, and you need to reboot your computer, it will automatically go back to the previous macOS version you have installed. You can continue hard-powering your computer and the updates will not stop. Your data should remain intact.

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