MacBook updating got stuck? Here’s how to fix it

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • If your MacBook is stuck while updating, this can cause you a lot of worries, but we have the perfect guide for you.
  • To resolve this issue, you will need to free up additional space on your hard drive, and also disconnect any external drives. For more details scroll down.
  • To always be a click away from more useful guides, don't hesitate to bookmark our Mac Hub.
  • If you want to check out some more detailed fixes, visit our Mac Fix page.
Macbook got stuck while updating

Keeping your macOS up to date is important, but many users reported that their MacBook is stuck while updating. This can be a problem, and prevent you from accessing your files, but there’s a way to fix it.

What to do if MacBook is stuck while updating?

1. Free up additional space

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If your MacBook is stuck updating, it’s possible that there’s not enough space on your drive. To fix this problem, you need to remove some files or applications that you don’t need and try to install the update again.

To remove the files, you can try installing macOS on an external drive and deleting files from there, booting from a Linux flash drive or by using Safe Mode.


2. Disconnect external drives

disconnect devices macbook stuck at estimating time remaining

Several users reported this issue while using an external drive with their MacBook. If your MacBook is struck while updating, be sure to remove all external drives and then try the update process again.


3. Access the Safe Mode

If your MacBook is stuck while updating, you can try accessing Safe Mode and check if that helps. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Restart your MacBook.
  2. While the device boots press and hold the Shift button.
  3. Log in with your credentials to access the Safe Mode.

Now try to install the update from Safe Mode.


4. Just wait it out

Some users reported that their MacBook is stuck with Estimating time remaining message. In most cases, you just have to leave your MacBook and wait for the update to finish.

This can take a while, sometimes more than 5 hours, so you might want to leave your MacBook running overnight to finish the update.

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5. Make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network

Several users reported that they fixed the problem with Estimating time remaining message simply by connecting to a stable Wi-Fi connection. The update requires a constant Wi-Fi connection to install, so if you’re having any problems with Wi-Fi, be sure to fix them in order to complete the installation.


6. Install the update manually

download update manually macbook is stuck updating

If MacBook is stuck on downloading new updates, perhaps you can fix the problem by manually downloading and installing the update. To do that, simply visit Apple’s website and download the update from the download section.

Once the update is downloaded, mount the file and install the update.


7. Use the Terminal

Sometimes you might have corrupted files on your system and that can cause your MacBook to get stuck while updating. To fix that, you need to remove those files by doing the following:

  1. Start Terminal.
  2. Run the following commands:
    • sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist RecommendedUpdates
    • sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist DidRegisterLocalUpdates

After doing that, check if the problem is still there.

In today’s guide we discussed some simple solutions that you can try if MacBook is stuck updating. If these solutions didn’t work, you might have to go to the Recovery Mode and reinstall macOS from there.

FAQ: Learn more about updates on MacBook

  • Why can’t I update my Macbook?

The most common reason for not being able to update your MacBook is a faulty internet connection or a VPN service that’s interfering in the process.

  • Why is my Mac update taking so long?

Some updates on your Mac could take a long time because of the size of the update files. They are most commonly firmware updates or large security packages.

  • How do I update my Mac when it says no updates available?

If your Mac is saying that there are no updates available, then that is most likely the case.

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