Apple breaks Mac Ethernet port with security update, issues fix

Posted:
in macOS edited February 2016
In response to customer complaints regarding a recent kernel extension update that rendered the Ethernet port on iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac mini computers inoperable, Apple on Sunday issued a fix in revised software and step-by-step installation guide.




As noted in a support document published today, certain Mac users were hit by Ethernet connectivity issues after the company sent out a quiet software update containing a flawed "Incompatible Kernel Extension Configuration Data" version. AppleInsider readers affected by the bug note the update went out on Friday.

Apple addressed the issue in a subsequent update that will automatically download and install via Wi-Fi. First, users can check the version number of their Mac's Incompatible Kernel Extension Configuration Data software, accessible in System Information under Software. If the most recent installed version is 3.28.1, and the Mac is able to connect to Wi-Fi, open the Terminal app and type in sudo softwareupdate --background to force an update to version 3.28.1. Quit Terminal and restart the machine.

For those unable to connect to a wireless network (likely the same people who noticed their Ethernet was non-functional) the company offers instructions on how to restore the latest kernel extension version manually.

First, start the affected Mac in OS X Recovery mode, select Disk Utility from OS X Utilities and select the main drive from list of internal drives. Launch Terminal and enter the following command to delete the current kernel extension file: rm -rf "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/System/Library/Extensions/AppleKextExcludeList.kext". Note that a Mac's drive name might be different depending on personal configuration. Quit Terminal and restart the machine.

An Ethernet connection should be functional at this time, but users are urged to download the latest Incompatible Kernel Extension Configuration Data version 3.28.2 software by opening Terminal and entering in sudo softwareupdate --background. Quit Terminal and restart once more to finalize the install procedure.

Alternatively, Mac owners who don't have critical data saved on their hard drive can solve the problem by reinstalling OS X via Recovery Mode.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    The solution is, on average, as horrific in its complexity as the carelessness of the update requiring it. 

    repressthisbdkennedy1002argonautjackansi
  • Reply 2 of 33
    The article states: "If the most recent installed version is 3.28.1, and the Mac is able to connect to Wi-Fi, open the Terminal app and type in sudo softwareupdate --background to force an update to version 3.28.1.”

    Shouldn’t this say “to force an update to version 3.28.2”?

  • Reply 3 of 33
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,984member
    Wait, Apple can push out updates that install without my approving them?
  • Reply 4 of 33
    The solution is, on average, as horrific in its complexity as the carelessness of the update requiring it. 

    Yeah, normal users shouldn't be introduced to terminal. 
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,509member
    The level of fail here is so high I couldn't find a meme offensive enough to express it. 

    Poor show, Apple. 
    jonljohn.bbdkennedy1002jackansi
  • Reply 6 of 33
    I spent several frustrating hours tearing my hair out over this and resorted to WiFi. (This problem even broke the ethernet port in my Windows 7 bootcamp so I think there might have been more to it than just software.) I then waited on hold with Apple tech support and had several lengthy trouble shooting sessions with them. I finally had to make an appointment at the Genius Bar. Inexplicably, everything started working last night so I had to call in again this morning and wait on hold before cancelling the appointment. At no point during this process did any of the technicians I spoke to seem to be aware that this might be the problem. I'm guessing they're not going to reach out and offer to make me whole after wasting so much of my time. Poor show indeed, Apple. VERY poor show.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 7 of 33
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,508member
    Rayz2016 said:
    The level of fail here is so high I couldn't find a meme offensive enough to express it. 

    edited February 2016 jonl
  • Reply 8 of 33
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,713member
    mac_128 said:
    Wait, Apple can push out updates that install without my approving them?
    System Preferences -> App Store...  Uncheck "Install system data files and security updates".
    jfc1138argonaut
  • Reply 9 of 33
    I left Microsoft 16 years ago because I didn't have to put up with stuff like this with Apple.

    "Alternatively, Mac owners who don't have critical data saved on their hard drive can solve the problem by reinstalling OS X via Recovery Mode."

    Tell that to my mother.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 10 of 33
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,078member
    I expect better from Apple.. by leaps and bounds actually.  This is a pretty crappy thing to do.  This is crap that Microsoft or Android would do, but not from Apple.

    Shameful... I'm actually quite at a loss over this.  It does seem that the quality of OS X has in fact been going downhill lately.  Perhaps there are people in their software-engineering department that should not be there?  Overworked people perhaps?

    Either way, I expect - no, demand - better from Apple.
    argonautquadra 610jasenj1drewys808
  • Reply 11 of 33
    I've got pending employment-related stuff (between work at the moment) online that before I was aware of this, I had in mind to not reboot the computer just to ensure there'd be no unexpected issues that'd cause problems: the paperwork is online, and there have been weird enough issues as it is for reasons I'm not entirely sure of.  On top of that, a previous problem was reported on the most recent small point update of OSX that reportedly affected those with my machine, so I'm not on the latest small point release.  System uptime on this boot is currently 81.5 days.

    Seems Apple needs more diligent QA people.
    jackansi
  • Reply 12 of 33
    I just happened on this article, and the reference to the Apple Document (which must be read in full since it has critical information in it the article doesn't have). I turns out I had no problems, I don't think. I did have to reboot my wifi router on Friday because I couldn't get a connection. If I did, I can image I would lose days trying to discover why. Following the instructions in the Apple Document referenced, I found that 3.28.2 was the latest release, 3.28.1 had never been installed, but the previous installed version was 3.26.0. How vulnerable we all are to having all our devices bricked and probably most everything we rely on -- even without thinking.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,108member
    mazda 3s said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    The level of fail here is so high I couldn't find a meme offensive enough to express it. 
    (Offensive Image)
    I think this one-ups your image. I'm only going to post a link to the page…



  • Reply 14 of 33
    I was lucky and wasn't affected. This is really bad QA. Sure everyone can make a mistake and put out buggy software but the QA team are supposed to be covering your back and catching this before it goes live. Someone needs to go down there and knock a few heads together.
  • Reply 15 of 33
    But but but Eddy and Craig say software quality is actually better than it was in years past. This is just a public perception problem - the public perceives it needs Ethernet.
    jackansi
  • Reply 16 of 33
    Any solution that requires the user to enter "rm -r..." (remove files from a folder and -- recursively -- any sub-folders) is scary.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    "This is crap that Microsoft or Android would do, ." I would be curious: how many Android devices - from such reputable manufacturers as LG and HTC that is - have you actually owned? I would say none. Suffice to say that there is a reason why Google crushed Microsoft in mobile despite Microsoft having been in the market a lot longer ( launched Windows CE in 1996), Microsoft having a big ecosystem advantage via desktop, enterprise and even XBox, and Windows mobile devices being cheaper than competing Android ones. The only thing that kept Google from claiming a total victory over Microsoft was their refusal to introduce a desktop version of Android, preferring instead to continue to fail with ChromeOS. "but not from Apple ... Either way, I expect - no, demand - better from Apple" Funny how stuff like this has taken a life of its own during the Apple/Google fan wars. Those of us who have been using Apple products for decades have a more factual view of things. Suffice to say, even an Italian sports car that costs 15 times as much as a reliable Honda (or Ford if you prefer the American sector) needs repair and servicing every now and then. Thus, certainly a $499 Mac Mini - which only costs $50 more than a similarly equipped Dell Inspiron or HP Pavilion - is going to have minor and easily resolvable problems such as this. Apple has always had issues like this and will continue to have them in the future just like every other tech company. The positives of Apple has not been any alleged perfection on their part. Instead, Apple has generally been better at avoiding major hardware and software problems that products difficult to use and/or ultimately fail entirely. We are talking about the difference between an update that knocks out ethernet and a device where the ethernet card never probably worked in the first place because of bad design or shoddy components. The closest thing that Apple has had to that in recent memory was a graphics card issue on some MacBooks, and even that was the fault of the supplier of the graphics card, and not with Apple's design or manufacturing. Even Bendgate, a legitimate design issue due to Apple not having experience making bigger phones, was easily avoidable by purchasing cases (and by avoiding certain trendy fashion choices). "Perhaps there are people in their software-engineering department that should not be there? Overworked people perhaps?" If so, they have been there for a long time. Or have we forgotten about how iOS 5 updates bricked devices? http://www.alphr.com/news/370498/apple-users-suffer-ios-5-update-problems Or how it took 3 updates to get iOS4 right because of battery, slow performance and mobile connectivity issues? Again, Apple's merely better - at meeting the expectations that they set for their organization and products - but not perfect.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    I will admit this is scary for those who need Ethernet.  I have been running 7 (including family macs) macs on wireless for years.  Wireless is good enough for 99% of the population.  With that said it is pretty NON APPLE for this type of thing to happen.  Yikes!
  • Reply 19 of 33
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,913member
    Andy Ihnatko posed an excellent question on MacBreak Weekly some months ago. Ever since the death of co-founder Steve Jobs glitches like this bring the termites out of the woodpile to complain that quality has gone down. This is patently untrue of course but Ihnatko asks the question, “What would it take for you to abandon the platform?” The griping and complaining comes from all points whether it’s about hardware, software, new features, removed features, altered features, you name it. But what would make you abandon the platform?

    Let’s here it from the complaining crowd, the “Steve is dead” crowd, the Apple is going down crowd, the ones who incessantly complain about anything Apple does or releases these days. And before the trolls chime in, we know who you are and we know you don’t own any Apple equipment or software.
    edited February 2016 pscooter63
  • Reply 20 of 33
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,700member
    john.b said:
    mac_128 said:
    Wait, Apple can push out updates that install without my approving them?
    System Preferences -> App Store...  Uncheck "Install system data files and security updates".
    I guess that's better then no choice at all with Windows with the normal version. It's this type of thing that can happen which is why so many people don't like this at all. I see both sides of this. I think maybe there should be a compromise. Say release the updates for Manual Updates for people, and then make it a Auto update 2 weeks later. That way if there's any issues from those that install a new update, it won't be sent and forced install for everyone. Everyone still gets all the updates, but you have a buffer to work with in case of any issues.
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