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MacBook Air A1465 broken after Catalina update  

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Morning all, long, LONG term listener to the macgeek gab podcast here! Haven’t logge in for ages and couldn’t find my old details so set up a new account.  Anyway, my sons MacBook Air had an update to Catalina last night. This morning I checked it and it would not turn on. Now I’ve had this before, I tried a PRAM reset, all the usual stuff. In the end I had to take the back off, disconnect the battery, reconnect and voila, the system starts.

so, I did the same again as usual today, but this time, it can’t see the hard drive once it boots ( flashing question mark folder icon). I did an internet recovery, went into disk utility and no hard drive showing ( it’s a 128gb SSD).

So, power down, disconnect battery, remove SSD, use compressed air to clean contacts and connector, re seat, power up, still no hard drive.

the machine is about 5 years old, is it kaput? I am annoyed that it was fine yesterday and can not understand how a software update can kill the hardware!

Any ideas guys? Pulling my hair out! I have a full backup but I would prefer to save the machine if possible! Thanks!

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13 Answers
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Perhaps your SSD has died. They do tend to fail with no prior notice.  When my SSDs have died, they just drop offline and never respond again. 

this article explains how to replace the SSD. perhaps it is worth giving it a shot?

 

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook-air/macbook-air-faq/macbook-air-mid-2012-how-to-replace-upgrade-ssd-storage.html

 

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I have a 2017 12” MacBook with the same problem, and have been reading about others with the same problem.

I had a genius appointment today and they wanted 580 to place the logic board, it must be a massive coincidence that people’s drives have failed at the same time at the update!

Apple booted my Mac and did a full diagnostic check and everything apart from the ssd is 100% ok, I’m really disappointed that they will not acknowledge this update has killed people’s Mac’s. 

Mine has never even crashed once, it looks like a brand new laptop as it has had little use sine I got an iPad mini to use day to day.  If it had a hard life then yes maybe the SSD would be an issue, but the simple fact is that the update killed it or how it’s addressed as nothing shows at all.

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Hey thanks for your reply. This is now really bothering me. As it happens I have another MacBook Air and my next step is to swap the hard drive out and see if that makes any difference. I’ll do it tonight and see what happens and report back.

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Have you tried an SMC reset?

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I took mine to apple and they tried everything, but I have also tried a PRAM and smc reset and the ssd is not there. 

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So, the plot thickens.  I have 2 of the exact same MacBook Airs (Early 2014) I bought for my kids, they had them for Christmas 2014.  Worked great on Mojave, no crashes, hang ups or anything.  One I left on Mojave and the other my son updated to Catalina, following the standard update method via the App Store.

Last night I swapped the SSDs round to find nothing wrong with the affected SSD, it booted straight up.  After lots of digging around online I can confirm that the update has bricked the computer!  After update to Catalina the EFI is corrupted (on purpose??)  There are many people with the same problem and it is outrageous that Apple have not made any official statement on this.  In the Apple community forums there are multiple threads with this problem, note that no 2019 models have been reported... conspiracy theorists put your tin foil thinking caps on...

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250728927

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250728927

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250745000

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250719221

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250728927

And on Stack Exchange:

https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/371941/blinking-question-mark-folder-after-updating-from-mojave-to-catalina

https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/368304/catalina-beta-7-bricked-my-macbook-pro

And here it is on 9 to 5 Mac:

Limited reports of Catalina installation bricking some Macs via EFI firmware

And it's not just older machines, 2017 MacBook Pros have been affected among others.  Imagine spending £2k on a laptop and once its out of warranty Apple want £1k to fix it after THEIR MISTAKE!

For the sake of providing all the facts, here is a link to my exact model:

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac_g5_1.8_20.html

Don't get me wrong, I've been using Apple kit since the mid 90s and on the whole it's been great, but when you get a problem like this you really expect better!

Anyway, I'm not here just to bitch & moan, I have found 3 solutions:

1. Book a Genius Bar appointment, listen to them wrongly diagnose it and charge you upwards of 50% of the original cost of the machine to replace the logic board.

2. Book a Genius Bar appointment & start a fight with Apple that you will undoubtedly lose, suffering many hours of lost time wrangling to get your machine repaired for free outside of warranty.

3. Go here (for the record, I AM NOT AFFILIATED to this site, I just found it in a thread on Apple communities), this company manufacture an EFI flashing tool that will revert your EFI to what it was prior to Catalina screwing it up (this is a link to the exact tool for my machine, if you decide to buy this please put your own model number in here, there is a drop down field on the page to select your model.  Note, you'll need the model number and EMC version:

EFI Card Instant (Solderless EFI Chip) for MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini and Mac Pro

This solder less EFI chip just plugs into your logic board (after detaching mains & battery power) & reflashes your EFI.

Now, I am always skeptical of anything like this.  It costs £50 to us Limeys, but I also noticed this company sells EFI flashers for EFI passworded computers, so, for example, my MacBook Pro is EFI locked & if stolen, someone could use one of these tools to unlock it right? So what do I do, suck it up, eat the £50 and buy that?  Or can @DaveHamilton or @JohnFBraun help out here on the podcast? (I tweeted them today, maybe they will see this).

Well, hopefully this thread will help someone, if you search on google or duckduckgo this thread comes up about 5th or so in the search results, so maybe more people will chime in & we can get solutions as a community.

Thanks to all for contributing! Have a good (and less frustrating) day!

See ya, Steve.

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Call AppleCare and report the issue. They need to know that there may be a bug with their update. Be sure to report the issue.

AppleCare may be receiving calls on this issue and if applicable, being instructed to capture devices from customers for analysis. If course I don't know if the severity of the issue would warrant samples of affected machines, perhaps it is not required but this is not important. 

Issues of this severity are uncommon if not downright rare. It's important that you call AppleCare and report this for your sake.

Call them and let us know how it goes.

This post was modified 3 days ago by Alex Santos

I respect, appreciate you frustration, I would feel the same. way. With respect to any AppleCare advisor with whom you speak, the one you spoke to or any other advisor or Genius Bar advisor for that matter will not have knowledge on why your machine is exhibiting its issue. That being said, I think anyone would agree that there is a very high probability that the update could have caused the issue you are reporting because of the actions taken and the results of that action. Namely a software update, the action, and the resulting affect, a machine that is now behaving very unexpectedly.

Personally, I am probably unable to help resolve the issue. For one, there are strong allegations on 3rd party websites that correspond to your experience which by virtue reinforce the suspicion that the update must have caused the behavior your Mac is exhibiting.

Now we could ignore those 3rd party site reports unless of course they offer work arounds but otherwise they are merely claims of 'me too' that don't offer resolutions. What they do offer is a sense of a wide spread issue. Although we can't validate the claims on those 3rd party sites it is only sensible to acknowledge that reports on those sites are not people making things up.

The goal we should be aiming for is a resolution. The only party that is empowered to resolve the issue is Apple, especially if the resulting behavior of your Mac is indeed a result of applying the update. As I am not in a position of knowledge to tell you that there is no doubt that the update caused the issue there is strong evidence — your own observations and those of people who are asserting the same experience.

Considering the frustration you are facing and your goal ultimate goal of resolving this issue it is important for you to work with Apple. As much as it is desirable to have Apple admit that their update caused this issue it should not be your goal to chase this. Instead try to convince Apple that the substance of your concern is the machine's current state, that you have strong reason to believe that the update caused the issue because of the immediate results of the update and most importantly, that you communicate clearly to Apple that because of the immediate change in your machine after the update that it would be justified in your opinion for Apple to make an out of warranty repair exception.

I want to reiterate that I do understand how you feel. Again, I really would feel the same way. Your primary concern, as it would be mine, is to return the machine back to normal operation. To be successful you will need to convince the person on the other end of line that Apple should make an out of warranty exception for a repair because there is strong evidence that the update caused the machine to immediately change after an Apple issued update.

If the person that you speak to is unable to satisfy your expectations I urge you to insist you speak to a customer relations (non-technical) advisor, they must transfer you. If the technical advisors are unable to offer a technical resolution nor a repair then a customer relations advisor should be made aware of the technical issue and what your expectations and why.

I recommend you speak to them from the perspective of sensibility and simply outline what is wrong with your machine, how it happened, what you perceive the problem to be and precisely what your expectations are and how or why you can justify the expectation. If you present a reasonable argument for your expectation Apple will have to consider your expectations.

I am sorry for my long note but I would like to help to the best of my ability.

—Alex

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Just to update this thread, I’ve had a lengthy to and fro with Apple Support via public tweets and DM and in almost every message I ask them to acknowledge that their update bricked the Mac but they just respond with different answers! I might as well have asked my dog! It’s just a slick AI account I think, honestly words fail me with this shower of s**t!

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Yep I was chatting to support and went for a Genius appointment, all I got was a quote for £580 to sort the issue that the update caused. Pretty rubbish really 🙁

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Cases like this are not easy because it is presented from the perspective that an update caused the trouble.

What update was applied (version number if possible? (Sorry I don't run Catalina)

What immediately happened after the update — what was the machine behavior - just a black screen? Is there any activity that you can hear or see coming from the machine regardless of its current behavior?

What attempts were made after observing the 'brick' state to resolve the issue?

If one or both of you can offer further information on what you might have tried, or something you might have read … anything that you think is worth noting should be offered. I will try to help if something more can be presented.

—Alex

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try

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OK, for me I tried a restore, but because the ssd is no longer seen that's not possible.

Apple tech tried USB disks with utils and nothing was able to be seen apart from the 2gb recovery partition.

My laptop was 100% working before the update was applied, as I might have said it has never once crashed, and there was no signs ever of the SSD failing or starting to fail.

I tried to reset the PRAM and SMC and still no sign of the SSD.

I am pretty sure that if the EFI BIOS chip was replaced by Apple my machine would be 100% OK and work as it did before the update.

I might be only one customer but I will rethink my future Apple purchases, yes people like me have put Apple where they are now, yes the products are great but why not help us when people clearly have issues with the update.

Iphone 3GS, 4, 5S ,6 ,7 ,X
Ipad pro, Ipad, Mini4, Mini5
Macbook2017
Imac

Thats a lot of products that I have had, I now feel let down as Apple refuse to admit that there is a problem.

@jamminjp

I recommend you call AppleCare, introduce the issue and ask if under the circumstances the machine could be considered for an out of warranty repair. If the technical advisor can not help you, ask for customer relations (they are non-technical) so they can only consider any repair under different circumstances. I wish you luck and I am guessing the video did not help.

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I have one more comment, if Apple is going to be difficult and not see it your way, give Louis Rossmann a call, that's his video I posted by the way. He has an online presence, contact him or his shop and find out if he can repair your machine, you will save a ton of money and your data will be preserved (aka don't pay Apple - they don't deserve your money for a machine that you already paid a premium on. If he is too far (NYC), he might know others around the country who will be in a position to repair your machine. He is VERY good at repair and knows his stuff.

 

This post was modified 16 hours ago by Alex Santos
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