macOS Monterey is bricking Intel Macs — what you need to know

macOS Monterey
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple released macOS Monterey last week, but users are already reporting issues. Specifically, this new version of macOS is bricking older Macs including Intel-based models purchased as recently as 2020.

As reported by MacRumors, ten different Apple Community Support threads have sprung up highlighting the problem. Users on social media platforms like Twitter have also voiced their grievances. Though still not corroborated, it appears that Macs running on Intel chips are the ones being affected. Thus far, no one using M1-powered Macs has reported such a problem.

The reported issue sounds simple: mid-update, the Macs shut down and fail to turn back on as Twitter user @Taltos reports:

Twitter user Freddy Mini says Monterey bricked his 2020 16-inch MacBook Pro, the Intel-based predecessor to the MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch). Another user (who seemingly misspelled 2018 as 2108) hit this issue on the four-port 13-inch MacBook Pro.

“Same thing happened to my 2017 iMac,” writes Reddit user u/pravinba9495 who goes on to say "Said it needed to restart. Never restarted. Waited a couple hours and tried to power cycle it. Reset pram ect. [sic] Nothing seems to be working it's just dead. Took a couple tries to get it installed on my 2015 Mac Air. That seems to be running but I'm at a loss as to what to do with the imac [sic]. I unplugged it and headed to work. Hoping to find some solutions tonight to get this resolved in the am.”

Apple, in a support document, offers a possible solution to the problem: “In very rare circumstances, such as a power failure during a macOS update or upgrade, a Mac may become unresponsive and so the firmware must be revived or restored. Full details can be found here, but know that the "restore" process erases all the data on your Mac.

For those keeping track, last year’s macOS Big Sur update also reportedly bricked older Mac models. What’s happening with macOS Monterey doesn’t appear to be as widespread, but enough users are reporting issues that it’s a genuine cause for concern.

Apple will undoubtedly push out updates and patches to macOS Monterey, as it does with all OSes, in the coming weeks and months. At least one, hopefully, will address this issue. As things stand, you may want to hold off updating if you have an Intel-based Mac.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.