macOS Sonoma Has a Boot Failure Problem

This mainly affects MacBook Pro models with the ProMotion display.

The Asahi Linux team has identified two bugs that may lead to boot failures in macOS Sonoma and macOS Ventura (version 13.6 only). All models of Mac may experience upgrade-related boot failures, though these problems mainly impact MacBook Pro models with the ProMotion display. Affected users will not lose data but must perform DFU recovery from another Mac.


Apple Is Aware of the Problem

The Asahi Linux team has received confirmation that Apple is working on a fix for boot failures in macOS Sonoma and macOS Ventura 13.6. (Once the fix is out, Asahi Linux will block any installations on macOS versions affected by these bugs. Please note that the bugs affect all Mac users, not just Asahi Linux users.)

Machines that upgrade to macOS Sonoma or macOS Ventura 13.6 use the previously installed OS for System Recovery. But the Asahi Linux team discovered that older versions of recoveryOS aren’t fully compatible with Apple’s latest firmware. If a bug, update process, or boot process forces macOS Sonoma into recoveryOS, the recovery environment may fail to boot and leave you with a black screen. (macOS Ventura 13.6 uses the same firmware as macOS Ventura, which is why it’s also affected.)

All Macs are vulnerable to the recoveryOS bug. That said, MacBook Pro models with the ProMotion display suffer from an additional problem—if you do not use the default ProMotion refresh rate setting in macOS Sonoma or Ventura 13.6, you will lose the ability to boot into previous macOS installs. Because System Recovery uses your previously-installed OS version, interaction with System Recovery while booting or updating will lead to boot failure.

The ProMotion display bug poses an additional threat to Asahi Linux users. If you meet the above criteria for the ProMotion display bug and attempt to boot Asahi Linux, you’ll be met with boot failure. This is due to the fact that Asahi Linux behaves like older versions of macOS.

Until these problems are resolved by Apple, you may want to avoid the macOS Sonoma or macOS Ventura 13.6 updates. Those who have already updated must wait for a fix. If you own a MacBook Pro with a ProMotion display, please ensure that you’re using the default refresh rate setting. Those who encounter boot failure should attempt to boot into recoveryOS before performing a DFU recovery from another Mac. The latest Asahi Linux installer includes a recoveryOS diagnostic tool—you can exit the Asahi installation process after using this tool, if you’d like.

We’ve reached out to Apple for additional information. We’ll update this article with any response that Apple is willing to provide.

Source: Asahi Linux


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