macOS Big Sur update bug is causing issues for Mac system administrators

Posted:
in General Discussion
A bug in Apple's macOS software update process is causing issues for Mac system administrators and mobile device management deployments.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


As noted by microMDM, the issue surfaced after the release of macOS Big Sur version 11.1. There were widespread reports of system administrators not being able to see the software update, or not being able to download and install it.

Apparently, the cause of the issue is the fact that macOS 11.0.1 and macOS 11.1 hosts are requesting that update servers send over macOS 11.0.1 instead of the next available software update. Because of that, the server rejects the request because a machine already has 11.0.1 installed.

This specific bug appears to be tied to MDM enrollment profiles. Both MicroMDM and other system administrators have corroborated this.

As such, removing the MDM profile should fix the issue. Of course, that's not always an option for certain MDM deployments.

Although it appears that a restart could mitigate the issue, there could still be problems with downloading the update since the "condition that made it fail to down the first time can be triggered again."

Fixing the situation is also made worse by the fact that Apple has stopped providing standalone installers for macOS software updates with Big Sur. Because of that, there's no option to manually update to the new version of Big Sur. Updates must come from Apple's servers.

Other problems include the fact that Apple Silicon kills the option for third party processes to script a software update command.

At this point, Apple is undoubtedly aware of the issue here. Because of that, it's likely that a fix for the problem will arrive in macOS 11.2.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,156member
    More and more and more restrictions. Specifically being for ASi too is pretty stupid as scripts etc need customisation for different architectures, while Apple has kept banging on about simplicity and cross-architecture compatibility for apps. Though Apple seems to be of the mind if you are doing more than using apps from the App Store you're not included in their increasingly narrow definition of what a Mac user should be so they don't care. Not sure I believe Apple's insistence that MacOS isn't going to end up as locked down as iOS either. One OS is less maintenance and that's more $$$ for the beancounter that is Cook.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 2 of 7
    Someone is learning the hard way that you don't go turning off a feature until you're sure the replacement actually works.
    razorpitmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 7
    Apple need to take a look at the whole Big Sur update process, so far every update on my MacBook Air has stalled during the download and required a restart to complete the download before the install can take place.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    elijahg said:
    Not sure I believe Apple's insistence that MacOS isn't going to end up as locked down as iOS either. One OS is less maintenance and that's more $$$ for the beancounter that is Cook.
    Apple has more than iOS and macOS to maintain. They also have iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Your claim of one OS is faulty. There are five.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,156member
    fahlman said:
    elijahg said:
    Not sure I believe Apple's insistence that MacOS isn't going to end up as locked down as iOS either. One OS is less maintenance and that's more $$$ for the beancounter that is Cook.
    Apple has more than iOS and macOS to maintain. They also have iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Your claim of one OS is faulty. There are five.
    iOS, tvOS, watchOS and iPad OS are essentially the same OS with a different UI. macOS is (for now) a relatively distant relation. Plenty of things are shared, but Darwin on macOS is not the same as it is on iOS/tvOS/watchOS/iPadOS.
    aegean
  • Reply 6 of 7
    jidojido Posts: 109member
    The standalone installer can be downloaded from the Mac App Store right?

    And why is software update scripting no longer working, is that a Big Sur change?
  • Reply 7 of 7
    aegeanaegean Posts: 154member
    elijahg said:
    fahlman said:
    elijahg said:
    Not sure I believe Apple's insistence that MacOS isn't going to end up as locked down as iOS either. One OS is less maintenance and that's more $$$ for the beancounter that is Cook.
    Apple has more than iOS and macOS to maintain. They also have iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. Your claim of one OS is faulty. There are five.
    iOS, tvOS, watchOS and iPad OS are essentially the same OS with a different UI. macOS is (for now) a relatively distant relation. Plenty of things are shared, but Darwin on macOS is not the same as it is on iOS/tvOS/watchOS/iPadOS.
    Agree. Mac OS has certainly lost the pitch since...well, some times after Mavericks I guess. Just can't stop thinking about Aperture. I miss it so much. 
    edited December 2020 elijahg
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