While Big Sur’s biggest claim to fame is its support for Apple’s new ARM-based computers, a major macOS update is still a major macOS update. Finally released to the public just last week, it’s no surprise to learn that many Mac owners are jumping on board early. It’s also not surprising to hear those early adopters running into some issues. Most of those, however, can usually be fixed by resetting various components but one case, in particular, seems to be turning old MacBook Pros into unusable bricks according to a handful of owners.
To be clear, the reports seem to be limited to 13-inch MacBook Pro models from late 2013 to mid-2014. These happen to be the oldest models supported by macOS Big Sur but it’s currently unknown whether that has anything to do with the problem. In fact, a lot of things are still unknown or uncertain about this issue other than owners are left with a MacBook Pro they can’t use.
The one thing that’s common is that users are greeted by a black screen after they updated to Big Sur. Most of the time, such a situation calls for a magic sequence of keys to reset the MacBook Pro’s NVRAM or SMC. This time, however, none of those failsafe methods work.
Some owners have tried to take matters into their own hands and pry into the broken MacBooks to figure things out. Some have reported being able to recover their computers by unplugging the I/O board or removing the HDMI chip. None of these can be considered official fixes, of course, and few owners will have the skills to take those steps themselves.
More importantly, it would definitely be strange, though not totally unheard of, that an OS update would end up damaging a computer’s circuit board or component. Apple has made no official statement on this problem yet but has reportedly asked some owners to send in their MacBook Pros for an autopsy.