Instructions: If the macOS update aborts with errors

Sometimes it can happen that the macOS update aborts with errors. There are several reasons for this, but there are also as many solutions. In this guide you will find instructions so that you can solve the various problems quickly and easily. That's how it currently works Update of the Apple Mac to macOS 11.1.

If the macOS update aborts with errors, this can have various causes. Solutions for update problems on the Apple Mac can be found in this guide. (Photo: Teresa)

If the macOS update aborts with errors, this can have various causes. Solutions for update problems on the Apple Mac can be found in this guide. (Photo: Teresa)

Is there enough space on the hard drive?

This point can be quickly reached via Mac menu (apple icon top left) -> About this Mac -> "Hard disks" tab check off. In order for a macOS update to be installed, there should be at least 15 GB of free space on the hard drive. This is because current Mac operating systems such as macOS 11 Big Sur alone require around 12 GB. 

If the Mac does not want to install a system update, this may be due to insufficient free space on the hard drive. This is not the case in this example;)

If the Mac does not want to install a system update, this may be due to insufficient free space on the hard drive. This is not the case in this example;)

If there is not enough space on the Macintosh HD, there are several ways to solve this problem. For example, you can delete unnecessary or duplicate files / folders. You can also uninstall apps that are no longer used. If you don't want to delete anything, open large files and folders an external hard drive. In an emergency, the iPhone backup could be temporarily deleted in order to free up hard drive space for a short time.

Is the date and time correct on the Apple Mac?

If the macOS update aborts with an error message, this may be due to an incorrect time or date. If the system time on your Mac does not match the actual time, then this error can be fixed quickly. The instructions for this are not that long:

  1. Opens the system settings via the  menu
  2. Click on "Date & Time"
  3. To edit some settings you first have to open the lock at the bottom left (enter password)
  4. If you are connected to the Internet, select "Set date and time automatically"
  5. You can select the time zone that suits you in the tab of the same name
Setting the date and time on the Mac is actually very easy - via the system settings and automatically via server query.

Setting the date and time on the Mac is actually very easy - via the system settings and automatically via server query.

Another option: set the date and time via the macOS terminal

If there is a problem changing the necessary data, or if you generally prefer to use the terminal to adjust system settings, then the following steps work through. These ensure an adjustment via the command line of the system:

  1. Opens the Terminal from / Applications / Utilities /, from the Launchpad or via the Spotlight search
  2. Enter the following to adjust the date and time with the Apple server:
    sudo ntpdate -u time.apple.com
  3. If there is no connection, enter "date" and then enter the data manually in the format MMDTHHMMYY (month, day, hour, minutes, year) - for January 6, 2021, at 10:45 am that would be:
    dates 0107104521

Do I have sufficient user rights for the update installation?

The Mac operating system is only updated to the latest version if you have the necessary rights with the account used. The update will therefore not be possible with a temporary guest account. It can also happen that you need the password for your user account in order to be able to carry out the macOS update without errors.

Since you are currently sitting at your Mac and want to run the update, this should rarely be a problem. If the password or the associated usage rights still cause an error, you can proceed as follows:

  1. Starts the Apple computer by pressing cmd + R when restarting in Recovery mode
  2. Select the terminal from the programs available there (menu bar)
  3. Enter the command resetpassword and confirm with the Enter key
  4. If necessary, the hard disk / system and user account must now be selected
  5. If a new password has been set, it will be saved and the Mac will restart

If this has solved your installation problem, please leave a comment.

New download or manual start

If there is free space and usage rights, but the macOS update still aborts with an error message, there are other solutions. One of them is the renewed download of the update installer or the manual start of the same. If the update download is 100% complete, but the update does not start automatically, then proceed as follows:

  1. Open the folder / Applications or the folder / Library / Updates in the Finder
  2. The update should be in one of the folders
  3. Double click on it to run the installer and update the system

If there is no installer in the folders, not even as an incomplete download, then you will probably have to download it again. To do this, deletes possible remnants of downloaded updates, including canceled downloads, in the folders shown. Then you do the following:

  1. Opens the Mac App Store
  2. Check "Updates" or "Purchased Items" for the latest update
  3. Download it again 

macOS update error: partition cannot be adjusted

Do you use different hard drive partitions for different operating systems on the Apple Mac, for example APFS Volume für die parallel use of Catalina and Big Sur, then this can also result in an error. If the macOS update aborts with the error that a partition or a volume cannot be adjusted, then click into the hard disk utility and use the "First Aid" option:

  1. Open the folder / Applications / Utilities in the Finder
  2. Start the "hard disk utility" from there
  3. Select the partition / volume in the storage media list (left)
  4. Select "First Aid" in the toolbar or by right-clicking
  5. After scanning the hard drive area, have it repaired

After these steps, the installation of the macOS update should work. At least if the fault lay in the allocation of the hard disk space. Do you want to dissolve an APFS volume to avoid problems or because you no longer need the second operating system, then you can read here what needs to be considered beforehand. 

For older macOS versions: Use the combo update

The solutions shown should definitely work if the macOS update under Big Sur aborts with errors. They should also work with older OS versions up to 10.15 Catalina. However, you can also use another trick with the X versions up to Catalina: the so-called combo update. 

Because where Big Sur only gets the updates from the App Store or from the software update area of ​​the system settings, there is a third way for older macOS versions: the Apple support website. An example would be the macOS Catalina 10.15.7 Combo Update that you with this link finds. Good luck installing updates and fixing bugs!

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