New macOS update is wrecking MacBooks: What to do now

MacBook Air 2020
(Image credit: Future)

While Microsoft botches one Windows 10 update after the next, Apple has quietly gone about its business launching new versions of macOS. That is, up until the last few weeks. The latest macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update is causing serious problems for some MacBook owners. 

Apple released macOS Catalina 10.15.4 last week, adding support for iCloud Drive Folder Sharing, Apple Music time-synced lyrics, and more. After installing the update, several users complained about a range of problems, so Apple deployed a supplemental update a few days ago to fix those issues. 

The latest update was designed to improve the “stability, reliability, and security of your Mac" and fix a specific FaceTime bug, unresponsive USB-C ports, and 4K and 5K monitor support for the MacBook Air

It doesn't, however, solve system crashes occurring during large file transfers. Even more concerning,  the supplemental update has led to another string of failures, according to TechRadar. MacBook owners are complaining online about a range of complications, from the patch failing to install to system crashes. 

On Apple Insider's forum, one member said the update wrecked their desktop PC, "Yeah, this one borked my 2012 iMac. Had to reinstall from recovery. Proceed with caution."

Another user couldn't get the update to install completely (although that might not be a bad thing in the end). 

"I am facing issues downloading and installing this update. It shows up on both my machines - a 2013 iMac 27" and a 2018 13" touchbar MBPro; and when I try to download and install, it "downloads" the entire thing, but the progress bar get stuck at 100% and then never proceeds further," the Apple Insider forum member wrote. "No more downloading, no more progressing to verifying or installing. Both machines. Same problem." 

Apple's own forum is filled with complaints about how the supplemental update is ruining MacBooks. One report says the 2018 13-inch MacBook was bricked while another claims the new 16-inch MacBook Pro was ruined by the update.

"The 8 April 2020 Supplemental Update for Catalina 10.15.4 brought the system down for a few hours. Since the screen only showed a white apple on the screen for the whole time I shut it down and restarted it. I got a thick white circle with a thick white line through it in the middle of the screen, the same size as the apple usually is. Repeated shut downs did nothing," an Apple forum member wrote.

macOS update issues: What to do

It's important to note that these testimonials account for a small portion of the Mac owners who downloaded the supplemental update, which suggests there are no widespread problems.

Therefore, you probably won't run into the same headaches. But if you want to be extra safe, hold off on downloading the lastest macOS update until Apple addresses it in a future patch -- one that hopefully won't contain its own set of problems.

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.