Apple Just Fixed This Studio Display Software Glitch

On Friday, April 8th, 2022, some users began to report issues with their new Apple Studio Display monitors. Dozens chimed in on the community discussion, explaining that for some unknown reason they weren't able to upgrade their Studio Display iOS 15.4 firmware.

Some of them tried rebooting in Safe Mode, power cycling, and even the old tried-and-true unplugging and plugging it back in again — to no effect. A few contacted support over the phone with no luck, or even scheduled an appointment with Apple's Genius Bar, just so they could update their monitor. It's not the sort of thing you'd want to have to deal with after spending $1,600 (or more) on a brand new 5K Retina display, really.

Fortunately, according to Twitter user Mr. Macintosh and confirmed by MacRumors, as of Sunday evening (April 10th, 2022), the firmware update has begun working as intended. So if you still need to update your Studio Display, now is the time.

So what happened?

The short explanation for all of this is that Apple's own standard practices for firmware updates got in its own way. The Studio Display is, in a loose sense, a really big piece of iPhone 11 hardware. And as such, its firmware access is limited to what Apple makes available for the iPhone 11.

MacWorld theorizes that, after releasing iOS 15.4.1 (which is not currently available for the iPhone 11) on March 30th, 2022, it ceased signing for the now-obsolete version 15.4. In other words, Apple stopped verifying the older version of the firmware, which caused attempts to download it to fail because the hardware could no longer confirm that it was valid, thus the Studio Display refused to install it.

On the plus side, fixing the problem was relatively simple: Apple just had to sign iOS 15.4 again to signal to everyone's Studio Displays that it was a legitimate download once more. Though it does raise questions over how an oversight like this could happen — with a brand new piece of Apple hardware, no less — and what could be done to keep it from happening again in the future. But at least now we know that if there are problems with firmware installation, we might only have to wait a few days for it to sort itself out.