Apple details fix for 12" MacBook Setup Assistant issues

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited April 2015
Apple on Tuesday published a support document to its website detailing workarounds for apparent system stalls some new 12-inch MacBook owners are experiencing during the setup process.




According to Apple, users setting up their new 12-inch MacBook with Retina display are being met with a spinning wheel, known colloquially as the dreaded "spinning beach ball of death," in Mac's Setup Assistant. In certain cases, the system stalls for up to 30 minutes before moving forward, Apple's support documents says.

It appears the issue traces back to user account provisioning on Apple's end, and perhaps iCloud. As noted by Apple, affected users can avoid the delay by moving through Setup Assistant without first connecting to the Internet. Registering user credentials offline of course means no data is sent to Apple's servers for verification or initialization, which seemingly bypasses the issue's root cause.

Once the offline setup process is complete, owners can restart their MacBook, join a local Wi-Fi network or connect via Ethernet, then finish iCloud registration from System Settings or via guided prompts.

Apple points out that users seeing the spinning wheel can restart their system during setup and try again. Exiting the process prematurely could potentially create a partial user account on Apple's end, denoted by a pop-up saying, "This user account already exists." In such cases, Apple recommends completing the setup process with a temporary user name, logging out, deleting the test account and logging back in under the desired account.

Apple's Support document was spotted by iMore earlier today.

It is not clear how widespread the MacBook setup issue is, though AppleInsider experienced a hang that forced a restart when setting up our MacBook review unit. Apple's Support Communities forums also show no substantial threads pertaining to the issue.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to note an issue AppleInsider saw while setting up a new MacBook for testing.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 721member
    I had this on my 13" rMBP. Restarted and a partially created user existed, so I created another with a temporary name and then erased the former with the temporary one. Kinda weird, I hadn't chosen to allow my iCloud password to unlock the Mac.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Quote:

    Kinda weird, I hadn't chosen to allow my iCloud password to unlock the Mac.



     

    This is not related strictly to the narrow case of using an Apple ID as your username/password for logging into the Mac (although the Apple article seems to indicate the wrong problem too by swinging too far the other way and suggesting it is a general networking issue). This applies more accurately (or so I believe, after several experiences and tests on my own) to any Apple ID configuration done inside the initial Setup Assistant welcome screens. -- If you skipped that iCloud login option, but still set up your iCloud / Apple ID for iTunes, Mac App Store & Mail/Chat/etc., you might run into the problem anyway. However, simply connecting to WiFi has not triggered it in my experiences, if I just avoided / bypassed all of the Apple ID questions entirely.

     

    It has been happening to me for at least a couple of years on the few MacBook Pro's and Mac mini's (and at least one iMac) that I set up for work... And all I would do would be to enable the Apple ID for iTunes / App Store usage. Even doing that much communication with Apple's servers during setup would (at least sometimes) cause a new machine to lock up and NEVER complete the rest of the setup process. (And I mean that I gave it whole days of waiting a couple of times, just to test if it would ever time out.)

     

    This failed process (when it happens) leaves the uid (usually 501) and username unavailable after a forced restart -- because the initial creation of the user (and often the home directory) will already have been done before restarting the Setup Assistant (after the forced reboot), despite the account either not being activated or the password not being set as desired or merely because of the "first time" flag not being cleared on the machine.

     

    Due to Setup Assistant's unreliable behavior with finishing when including the iTunes / App Store / iCloud set up process, I have simply started saying "No" when asked to set up ANY of the iCloud / iTunes services during initial Mac config over the last year or two... because I can't trust it to "just work," and hate going though the pain of account name changes / uid swaps / whatever necessary to get my chosen admin user name working properly. -- I typically use a standard username for administration across all the Macs I set up at work (no Open Dir anymore, just local accounts with same name/pw), and triggering or even risking this bug quite simply makes it much too hard to set that environment up properly. So, I avoid even the possibility of doing that by skipping those Apple ID / iCloud steps until after first login.

     

    Furthermore, as stated briefly above, I can say that I have not actually had any problem when simply connecting to WiFi during set up. (Although, admittedly, I have not tried it on the new 12" MacBooks yet. So in theory it could be that it has newly expanded its impact now for some reason, though I doubt it.) I have only seen it happen so far, as I said, when activating Apple ID information for iCloud or the iTunes & App Store logins during Setup Assistant.

  • Reply 3 of 16
    xixoxixo Posts: 417member
    jamescat wrote: »
    This is not related strictly to the narrow case of using an Apple ID as your username/password for logging into the Mac (although the Apple article seems to indicate the wrong problem too by swinging too far the other way and suggesting it is a general networking issue). This applies more accurately (or so I believe, after several experiences and tests on my own) to any Apple ID configuration done inside the initial Setup Assistant welcome screens. -- If you skipped that iCloud login option, but still set up your iCloud / Apple ID for iTunes, Mac App Store & Mail/Chat/etc., you might run into the problem anyway. However, simply connecting to WiFi has not triggered it in my experiences, if I just avoided / bypassed all of the Apple ID questions entirely.

    It has been happening to me for at least a couple of years on the few MacBook Pro's and Mac mini's (and at least one iMac) that I set up for work... And all I would do would be to enable the Apple ID for iTunes / App Store usage. Even doing that much communication with Apple's servers during setup would (at least sometimes) cause a new machine to lock up and NEVER complete the rest of the setup process. (And I mean that I gave it whole days of waiting a couple of times, just to test if it would ever time out.)

    This failed process (when it happens) leaves the uid (usually 501) and username unavailable after a forced restart -- because the initial creation of the user (and often the home directory) will already have been done before restarting the Setup Assistant (after the forced reboot), despite the account either not being activated or the password not being set as desired or merely because of the "first time" flag not being cleared on the machine.

    Due to Setup Assistant's unreliable behavior with finishing when including the iTunes / App Store / iCloud set up process, I have simply started saying "No" when asked to set up ANY of the iCloud / iTunes services during initial Mac config over the last year or two... because I can't trust it to "just work," and hate going though the pain of account name changes / uid swaps / whatever necessary to get my chosen admin user name working properly. -- I typically use a standard username for administration across all the Macs I set up at work (no Open Dir anymore, just local accounts with same name/pw), and triggering or even risking this bug quite simply makes it much too hard to set that environment up properly. So, I avoid even the possibility of doing that by skipping those Apple ID / iCloud steps until after first login.

    Furthermore, as stated briefly above, I can say that I have not actually had any problem when simply connecting to WiFi during set up. (Although, admittedly, I have not tried it on the new 12" MacBooks yet. So in theory it could be that it has newly expanded its impact now for some reason, though I doubt it.) I have only seen it happen so far, as I said, when activating Apple ID information for iCloud or the iTunes & App Store logins during Setup Assistant.

    Ironic, in that my 10.10.3 had gotten sluggish (having upgraded point by point; seen this before) so I did a fresh 10.10.3 install and didn't pay close attention that the OS was trying to con me into using an Apple ID for logging in, instead of a local user & password.

    This is also what windows 8.1 tries to do (conning you into to signing in with a Microsoft ID instead of locally stored user ID)

    Anyway, decided I didn't want to give my Apple ID for the install, too bad. No amount of <- Back would let me set my initials as my user name - it had already linked them to my Apple ID and started (but not finished) creating user 501.

    A quit and restart didn't matter - those initials were already in use, too bad.

    An erase and reinstall did the trick.

    Install Little Snitch on your Mac, you'll be amazed how many times your shiny friend is sharing God-knows-what with Apple's megamind.

    (& Adobe & Google & Microsoft &&&)
  • Reply 4 of 16
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,198member
    I never sign up to iCloud on setup. I can access that stuff later. Apple seem to be doing two amateur programming errors here: a network call that never times out ( you have to go out of your way) and one which seems to lock the main thread.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    hucomhucom Posts: 13member

    Does anyone still test products @ Apple before the throw them to the market?? I truly believe that half of the execs would have been fired by now if Steve Jobs was still around. Very disappointing.

     

    I have been using Macs all my life. It allowed to focus on being productive. Lately I'm spending most of my energy being pissed at Apple because stuff doesn't "just work" anymore (at all). I don't now how much longer I will stay with OS X...

  • Reply 6 of 16
    thedbathedba Posts: 470member
    hucom wrote: »
    Does anyone still test products @ Apple before the throw them to the market?? I truly believe that half of the execs would have been fired by now if Steve Jobs was still around. Very disappointing.

    I have been using Macs all my life. It allowed to focus on being productive. Lately I'm spending most of my energy being pissed at Apple because stuff doesn't "just work" anymore (at all). I don't now how much longer I will stay with OS X...
    Oh please stop with all this B.S. about if SJ was still around. You don't know what he would of done and in fact, you don't know what goes on at Apple HQ now that TC is there. He may be flipping all the tables in sight.
    Fact is, these systems are getting more and more complicated with each passing year. Can Apple improve? The answer is yes, but don't act as if this kind of stuff never happened under SJ. Remember Mobile Me?
  • Reply 7 of 16
    frykefryke Posts: 217member
    At our premium reseller in Switzerland, we've seen this happen for several MBP and MBA models in recent months. It seems to be a problem with Yosemite rather than the new MacBooks.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    twa440twa440 Posts: 30member
    thedba I have to agree with hucom. I've been using Apple computers since 1994 and I think the current state of Apple desktop software is a mess. Yosemite makes my eyes hurt just looking at it and its still full of bugs. And don't get me started about Photos.
    If you want proof go to Apples own support community pages and read some of the comments there.
    They made fun of Microsoft for making software the same across all devices, and now they're making a lot of things in OSX work like IOS. If I want to use an iPad I'll buy one thank you.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 706member
    This issue occurred with my Retina iMac right out of the box in October.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Yes, that happened to me when I was setting the MacBook up.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    kpomkpom Posts: 615member
    The Macworld writers had lots of issues setting up their new MacBook. I had some issues with Migration Assistant the second time around (long story, a Boot Camp installation corrupted the GUID partition table and I had to restart), but I don't think I encountered the issue above.
  • Reply 12 of 16
    xixoxixo Posts: 417member
    thedba wrote: »
    Oh please stop with all this B.S. about if SJ was still around. You don't know what he would of done and in fact, you don't know what goes on at Apple HQ now that TC is there. He may be flipping all the tables in sight.
    Fact is, these systems are getting more and more complicated with each passing year. Can Apple improve? The answer is yes, but don't act as if this kind of stuff never happened under SJ. Remember Mobile Me?

    The original poster had a valid point; I'm not sure why the invocation of Steve Jobs' name provokes so much ire on AI forums.

    OS X software quality assurance was much better when Steve Jobs was running the show.

    There were fewer bugs and things got fixed.

    MobileMe was fixed in a month and some folks got fired.

    The bug in lion that reopened all my apps at startup whether I wanted it to it not was never fixed until 10.8 shipped.

    Ever since 10.7, OS X has shipped with and retained serious operational errors.

    I've had to reposition my 3 monitors at every startup since 10.7. The developer says that apple hasn't provided access to the API to allow them to permanently fix the problem.

    Some of us were using macs long before everyone at Starbucks had them.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    This happened with my 12" MacBook. I actually did a hard shut down after the aforementioned pause (big mistake) resulting in some issues with my home folder (which a name of my choosing registered before the shut down).

    That has been fixed and everything's great. I still definitely recommend the 12" MacBook after having used it for a solid week at least...
  • Reply 14 of 16
    thedbathedba Posts: 470member
    xixo wrote: »
    The original poster had a valid point; I'm not sure why the invocation of Steve Jobs' name provokes so much ire on AI forums.

    OS X software quality assurance was much better when Steve Jobs was running the show.

    There were fewer bugs and things got fixed.

    MobileMe was fixed in a month and some folks got fired.

    The bug in lion that reopened all my apps at startup whether I wanted it to it not was never fixed until 10.8 shipped.

    Ever since 10.7, OS X has shipped with and retained serious operational errors.

    I've had to reposition my 3 monitors at every startup since 10.7. The developer says that apple hasn't provided access to the API to allow them to permanently fix the problem.

    Some of us were using macs long before everyone at Starbucks had them.
    Fact is, mistakes did happen under SJ's tenure. MobileMe was one of the most flagrant. However many of us had to go through different kind of growing pains when Snow Leopard was released and then Lion.
    As far as people getting fired for mistakes, don't forget that Scott Forstall was canned for the Maps fiasco. That happened under Tim Cook. However none of this means that each time a number of users have an issue with something that someone at Cupertino will be loosing his job.
    Like I said, many of these systems today are far more complicated than anything from the 1990's and early 2000's. Far more interactivity, connected to many more online services, far more syncing between various systems going on all the time. And yes, some of those problems may affect us more than others.
    However from my experience, let me tell you that my iMac from 2008 is now on Yosemite and is far more stable than it's ever been. And for some here thinking of going back to Windows, my experience is totally different.
    At work, I curse at least a dozen times daily when my Dell laptop, which is more recent than my iMac at home, occasionally freezes when I'm editing a Windows document. The whole damn system. The programs that are usually open are Outlook, Putty, Word, UltraEdit and Chrome. Nothing extravagant. This alone keeps me on Apple's ecosystem. Your experience may vary.
    I'm just saying, let SJ rest in peace, and let's not pretend to know what he would've done under similar circumstances or even know what is happening right now under TC.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    hucomhucom Posts: 13member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TWA440 View Post



    thedba I have to agree with hucom. I've been using Apple computers since 1994 and I think the current state of Apple desktop software is a mess. Yosemite makes my eyes hurt just looking at it and its still full of bugs. And don't get me started about Photos.

    If you want proof go to Apples own support community pages and read some of the comments there.

    They made fun of Microsoft for making software the same across all devices, and now they're making a lot of things in OSX work like IOS. If I want to use an iPad I'll buy one thank you.



    Thank you! 

     

    PS: you can also check out the reviews of Apple's software in the App store. Catastrophic. No wonder they never speak of customer satisfaction with OS X at their keynotes, only iOS (!) Now my question is: why are they not terribly worried about this? They must be out of their minds.

  • Reply 16 of 16
    hucomhucom Posts: 13member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheDBA View Post



    I'm just saying, let SJ rest in peace, and let's not pretend to know what he would've done under similar circumstances or even know what is happening right now under TC.

    Fair enough. 

     

    However, systems becoming more complex is not an excuse! THEY are making them more complex. It's a choice! If you can't handle it, don't freaking do it. Apple was so good at saying "no". At building dead simple, but reliable software. Let's hope they find back to that.

     

    Overall I do get the strong feeling that Apple is becoming "too big to fail" - with a negative effect on quality of "niche" products, such as OS X

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