This macOS update is bricking some Macs

macOS 12 Monterey review
(Image credit: Future)

This week, Apple released macOS Monterey 12.3 which, among other things, introduces the long awaited Universal Control feature. However, if you haven’t already rushed to update, you may want to hold off if you have a MacBook that’s ever been repaired by Apple.

Multiple reports across Reddit and Apple’s own support pages point to MacBook Pros that have become unusable after installing the update. Each report has one major thing in common: all the MacBooks involved no longer have their original logic boards after servicing from Apple.

The other details are similar: after installing the Monterey 12.3 update, the Macs encounter errors, unbreakable restart loops and, in some cases, a seemingly bricked Mac. 

“You try to upgrade, the upgrade will fail but recovery to handle it correctly, you'll reboot still on 12.2.1 but with a report a problem dialogue informing you of an iBoot Panic,” writes lgladdy on the Apple support forums. “You'll try to upgrade again. This time, the iBoot FW will corrupt. You'll see the Apple icon flash on boot 5-6 times before seeing the exclamation mark symbol telling you recovery is needed.”

Apple has yet to acknowledge the problem, but for those currently trapped without a working computer, there is a possible solution — albeit one that requires a little bit of tech knowhow and, more troublingly, a second Mac. 

“The only way to get things running again is to manually download the 12.2.1 IPSW and use Apple Configurator 2, with the Mac in DFU mode, to load the revive image,” explains lgladdy. “This will update the firmware of iBoot, and the recovery image to a working build. The Mac will then restore 12.2.1's OS, keeping your data upon finishing.”

Hopefully, Apple is aware of this issue and working on a fix, because you would imagine most people’s response to a bricked Mac would be a visit to the Apple Store. For now, our advice would be to steer clear from the update if you’ve had your MacBook repaired, or if you bought a refurbished model. Better safe than sorry.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.