Apple’s macOS Big Sur update forces auto-install on compatible Mac PCs: Here’s how to avoid system freeze and potential data loss

Apple Inc macOS Big Sur Update
Apple macOS Big Sur Update installation can cause problems? Pic credit: Robin Wolff/Pixabay

Apple Mac PCs running macOS Sierra or later should ensure they have ample space for the macOS Big Sur update. In the absence of the required space, Mac computers could face system freeze and potential data loss.

Installing the latest update for the macOS on a Mac PC is usually a painless procedure. However, the macOS Big Sur update could be an exception, especially for those who have limited disk space.

The latest macOS update starts installation without any warning of low disk space, claims report:

Apple’s macOS Big Sur officially arrived in November 2020. However, Apple Inc. has released several updates to address bugs and improve the operating system.

Installing the macOS Big Sur update requires 35.5 GB of free space. While this is an estimate of the bare minimum disk space, there are a few other conditions to smoothly install the latest macOS update.

The 35.5 GB disk space requirement is valid only for Mac PCs that are on macOS Sierra or later. Moreover, the actual macOS Big Sur update’s installer requires 13 GB of additional storage space.

This means Mac PC owners who wish to install the latest macOS Big Sur update need at least 48.5 GB or about 50 GB of empty disk space. Needless to mention this is a rather big chunk of storage space.

What’s concerning is the fact that the macOS Big Sur update doesn’t check if your Mac has free space or not, and begins installing regardless. In case the system does not have the required empty space, the Mac can become unresponsive.

Incidentally, any Mac PC that’s compatible with the macOS Big Sur update is vulnerable to the problem. The report indicates that the issue persists in both macOS Big Sur 11.2 and 11.3 beta versions.

How to avoid system freeze and potential data loss while updating Mac PCs to macOS Big Sur?

The report mentions that system freeze can potentially lead to data loss. However, Mac PC users who have another computer with macOS running can recover their data.

It is important to note that users who turned on FileVault will have an exceptionally hard time recovering their data even if they have a spare Mac PC running macOS.

The only way to prevent system freeze and potential data loss while the Mac PC installs the macOS Big Sur update is to keep at least 50 GB of space empty on the primary SSD or HDD.

It is apparent that Apple hasn’t officially acknowledged the issue. However, it is quite likely that the iPhone maker will include a fix in the final release of macOS Big Sur 11.3. A simple check to ensure the primary storage medium has enough empty space should prevent problems for Mac PC owners.

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