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Mac OS Big Sur

MacOS Big Sur update major issues – Bricked MacBooks, Broken Mails, and more

Apple and software updates is a saga that we have seen through years with Apple setting standards for other companies to provide long-term software support for its devices. The macOS Big Sur update is compatible with Macbooks that date back to even 2013, but with an increasing number of devices to update, even Apple can’t get things perfect. Just within a few hours of the macOS Big Sur update rollout, users started complaining about bricked Macbooks, instability, battery issues (check MacOS Big Sur Battery service issue), lack of functionality, and more with the new update. Here are 7 major issues with the new macOS Big Sur update.

Bricked older MacBook Pro models

The macOS Big Sur update is bricking the 2013 and 2014 models of the 13-inch Macbook Pro as reported by users. The update fails to install on these models and results in a permanent black screen. Regular recovery attempts like a normal restart, Internet Recovery, or booting to Safe Mode do not function at all or are either unavailable after the failed install.

This is a widespread issue reported by users all over the globe, and Apple has not commented on this yet. The frustration of these Macbook Pro users is at its peak while waiting for an answer from Apple. Reports also suggest that this issue has been escalated by Apple Engineers, but there is no official statement yet.

Unstable Connectivity with Apple Watch

The Apple ecosystem works best with Apple’s own products with its seamless sync across all devices. The new update however brings in issues where Apple Watch Series 6 is no longer being detected by your Macs. Users complained that after updating their Macs, their system was not recognizing Apple Watch Series 6 and even Series 5 which meant they could not easily authenticate users while logging into their Mac. This problem arises due to an issue in the way your Mac communicates with your Apple Watch and other devices, but the feature is broken as of now.

Broken Mail Functionality

The Big Sur update has almost completely broken the Mail app with clusters of problems as reported by users. The major one being the automatic timeout of IMAP resulting in failed authentication. This simply meant that users could not send or receive emails on their Mac due to failed logins. The search option is again not functioning with the paperclip icon for attachments gone missing while composing emails.

The Mail app also ramps up the CPU utilization to 100% for some reason resulting in an unstable system. Some users also complained about the automatic deletion of trash emails without their consent. The Mail app looks to have been broken with the Big Sur update.

Malcuntioned Men Bar and Interface

The Menu bar comes with a solid black color, even after switching to a light theme after the update. Users also reported that all windows in the interface are no longer transparent, and are colored in either black or grey. A restart would not fix this problem either. Users in Apple Forums suggested that the ‘Reduce Transparency’ option in the Accessibility System Preferences menu may have been switched on by accident by Apple with the Big Sur update, which on disabled fixes this problem.

Smart Keys not working for Login

Users who have smart keys like the YubiKey nano 5 and use it as a 2-factor authentication for login complained that this feature is now broken. Smart keys have been working seamlessly for everyone with the macOS Catalina update, but the Big Sur update has messed up here too. When users try to force override to get root privileges, the PIN dialogue box hangs completely after entering the PIN.

Smart keys however are working with the terminal. This tells us that it’s only the GUI where smart keys are not functioning as they are supposed to. Users trying to get their keys working have not yet figured out a fix for this, with Apple looking at them with their hands folded.

Screensavers not working

A user reported on Apple forums that Classic Screen Savers are not working with the Big Sur update. Neither Apple’s collection, nor custom photographs can be set as a screen saver. Another complaint was regarding the selection of images in the screensaver’s menu would load only the first set of images and not other sets.


The Big Sur update is creating login issues for users with auto-timeout of 20 seconds, and looping into the same login-prompt again. Users have also reported about Facetime and Messages and not working, or faced a very slow response time with the new update. The keyboard shortcut to quick-delete messages, Option-Command-K, is also broken.

All of the above-mentioned issues are just a glimpse of problems that users have faced with the new macOS Big Sur update. There can be several small other issues that you may face, which we have not mentioned here. Apple usually is very responsive in fixing bugs for their updates, but the issues with the Big Sur update look too many at a time for the company to fix them quickly. If Apple provides any update for these issues, we will surely let you know and update this article with time.

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