4 Solutions To Update Your Mac Operating System

why can't i update my mac

Downloading and installing the updated macOS version on any Mac device is simple and quick. In most cases, your respective Mac device shows you an available new update via a pop-up in the notification center. According to the settings of each Apple user, the new version of macOS gets automatically downloaded and installed. Still, in other cases, it requires the permission of the user to go ahead with the installation.

However, sometimes even if you allow the device to undergo the installation and update process, things don’t go as smoothly as expected.

This blog will look into different issues and fixes regarding why your Apple device is stuck or why can’t I update my mac during the software update process and if any error message appears during the installation and update process.

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solutions When the Mac is stuck during the update process and why can’t I update my mac:

  1. Solutions for macOS Monterey not being able to download
  2. Other solutions for macOS download problems
  3. Solutions for stalled macOS update
  4. What to do when your Mac freezes during installation

1. Solutions for macOS Monterey not being able to download

There was a pertinent issue with macOS Monterey around October 25, 2021. When macOS Big Sur was released in November 2020, many Apple users were experiencing difficulties and troublesome errors while downloading and installing the iOS update. Hence, users guessed that this update problem of a similar type might be related to the arrival of Monterey.

The latest macOS Monterey was released on May 16, 2022. There were a bunch of issues that were encountered by Apple users in the year 2020, so it’s quite possible that the same problems, in a different way, will be faced by the users again with the arrival of Monterey.

This article has a detailed guide about what to do if you can’t download macOS Monterey smoothly, along with the fixes for macOS Monterey when it doesn’t install and what else you need to do if your Mac device freezes in the middle of the update procedure.

One of the biggest issues with the macOS Monterey can be that it is bricking some Intel Macs with the T2 or T1 processor (used for touch ID and to manage the SMC.)

If you have ever been prompted with the warning stating “The macOS installation couldn’t be completed” or a dialogue box showing the message “An error occurred while installing the selected updates” or after the download of Monterey, you are confronted with a dialogue box stating the message “There is not enough free space on the selected volume to upgrade the OS”,

Do not worry because this article will guide you through all the obstacles and its solutions so that despite all these inconveniences, you know your exact next step.

  1. Issues with Monterey
  2. Memory management problem
  3. Bricked Macs
  4. Problems with Big Sur
  5. Solutions for macOS Monterey not being able to download
1. Issues with Monterey

Unfortunately, lately, such cases have been observed where, when Apple releases a new version of the macOS, some Mac users face various issues while performing the update. These issues are more commonly observed by old Mac users than newly released Mac users.

It is possible that all these error messages and issues can be addressed in macOS 12.5 or later. The latest preview of 12.5 macOS was on May 31, 2022.

location of the options in software update window

Despite waiting for the latest macOS to release, it is advised to look below at the different useful solutions many Mac users are using to tackle such problems.

2. Memory management problem

Many Mac users have reported that a memory management bug is causing some Macs to run out of free memory. Such users might see the warning as “Your system has run out of application memory “.

In that case, the bug seems to be affecting the new and old Macs rather than just being limited to Apple silicon or Intel machines. When these errors are shown, the device asks you to force quit applications which means the device asks you to uninstall a few applications from the device by the force quit method to make space for the new macOS update.

If you encounter a bug of this kind, it is advised to force quit a few applications or reboot your Mac.

3. Bricked Macs

While installing the Monterey, many Macs are being bricked.

More precisely, the other older Intel-based models with T2 chip and T1 chip (which drives the System Management Controller (SMC) and Touch ID sensor in some Intel Macs) are affected the most.

This problem seems to interfere with the procedure when the firmware update occurs. One suggested solution to this problem is to restore the Macs from there, but that is not something easy to do.

The procedure for T2 Macs, as mentioned in the Apple document, needs a second Intel Mac from which the user needs to transfer the damaged computers via the Apple configurator 2 app with the new firmware for the T2 processor.

But if you have a T1, the process is far more complicated and tougher. In that case, you need to visit the Apple customer care store and consult the issue with them.

4. Problems with Big Sur

Around the year 2020, when the Big Sur was launched, many Mac users were prompted by an error where they had to experience an issue where the installer would fail to check how much space was available before downloading and installing the operating system update.

Hence, the installation could not proceed further, and all the storage available on the Mac would be occupied, making the Mac unusable.

Apple issued and registered an update to Big Sur that stated this particular complication on February 15, 2021. If a similar problem takes place in Monterey, it is very much likely that we will be notified of an update soon after its launch.

Along with Big Sur, there were various other reports of messages like “macOS could not be installed on your computer”, “Gateway timed out”, “Bad Gateway”, or even “The network connection was lost”.

Big Sur users were also prompted with a message, “The update package has been deleted since being downloaded from the Apple software update Server”“.

All the solutions to such problems will be addressed later in this blog.

5. Solutions for macOS Monterey not being able to download

There are various reasons why the macOS installation or download process is not working smoothly and is being interrupted. There are also a few possible reasons why the download might take more time than expected. This blog will address all the problems and their best fixes as you scroll down.

Issue: MacOS update won’t download

If you cannot download the macOS update, it might be because you don’t have sufficient free space on your Mac. Possibly if there isn’t sufficient space available on your device, this website recommends you not to install the update if you have less than 20 GB of space free on your Mac. 

Despite having less than 20 GB of space, if you try installing the macOS update, your Mac may struggle with the installation process, and your device might freeze. With the Big Sur being more than 12 GB and Monterey being estimated to be just as large as that, they’ll need all the space you have or even more.

Even 20 GB of space is insufficient when installing macOS Big Sur. Generally, it is advised to have the space of 35GB available when planning to get the installation and update process done. So on calculating, it will be more than 45GB of space that you need before you start with the process.

  1. Make space
  2. Use safe mode
  3. Download from Mac App Store
  4. Download the software from the Apple website
1. Make space

This website advises making more space on your Mac before downloading the macOS update. For example, you might try deleting old emails and text messages or find your old Time Machine backup files from your Mac and delete them.

One of the greatest ways to free up space is to delete images from the text messages received on your Mac. You can do this by clicking on the screen’s Apple menu logo at the top. Then go to “About this Mac” and click “Manage”. Then tap on “Messages “and delete as many images and videos as possible. You can also try deleting and clearing all the caches and other things on your Mac from the Files.

location of the about this mac option
2. Use safe mode

Another possible way to help you get the macOS update downloaded and installed is to use the safe mode.

1. Long press the power button and hold down the shift key to allow your Mac to start in the safe mode

2. Wait for a minute while the Apple logo appears on the screen. Once the login window appears on the screen, let go of the Shift Key.

3. You may go to the App Store and update all your applications while in safe mode.

4. Then, perform the reboot.

3. Download from Mac App Store

If you are on macOS Catalina or the later versions, you may download the new software via the software update option on the device, but you can download it via the Mac App Store.

location of the app store in the home screen

While attempting to download Catalina from the Mac App Store, you might be prompted with a message showing, “The update was not found “or” The requested version of macOS is not available”.

This can be a temporary glitch but downloading the updated software in this way is very helpful.

4. Download the software from the Apple website

If you are facing problems downloading a point update (not a completely new version) via the software update option on your device or the Mac App Store, then you can use Apple’s website instead. You can find all the latest macOS updates there on the Apple website. To find any specific software update on the site, you can search for it on the search bar.

Issue: The Download taking too long 

Suppose a new version of the Mac operating system has been released, and you’re attempting to download it to run the update. In that case, you are facing potential problems due to many people accessing the apple server simultaneously. As a result, downloading the software might take a lot of time. And even if you end up downloading the software update, the installation process might not go as smoothly as expected, and your device may freeze while it tries to verify your details with Apple.

In 2020 the download of Big Sur took a whole day. This was the typical sign that many people were attempting to access the server that day. You can try checking for issues with the server at Apple’s end by visiting the Apple status server webpage.

While the complication with Big Sur was taking place on November 12, 2020, Apple displayed a message on its website confirming that there was a problem from their side. The message was, “Users may not be able to download macOS software updates on Mac computers”.

1. Turn on Content Caching

Something that you could try doing is, adjusting the content caching. You can try turning on the content caching when the download and installation process takes too long.

The steps to turn on the content caching are given below:

1. Guide yourself to the “system preferences” of your device

location of the system preference app

2. Click on “sharing “and turn on “content caching. “

3. Restart your Mac, and you are good to go

Turning on the content caching option reduces the bandwidth usage and speeds up the entire process of installation on your device by storing software updates on the computer.

To ensure that the cache size is unlimited, you can click on “options” and then click on the option beside cache, which shows “all content”. With these changes, your download and installation process would take not more than two hours rather than 12 hours which was initially anticipated.

2. Speed up the download process and installation process

Necessarily the problem might always not be on the Apple server’s end. Perhaps, the issue can be from your end as well. 

Try checking your Wi-Fi Internet connection or contacting your internet service provider. It is suggested to move closer or stay in closer vicinity to your Wi-Fi router. 

Sometimes you might find the download or installation process quicker with a wired connection than with a Wi-Fi connection. If you have an ethernet cable connection and the necessary adapter and your Mac only has a USB seaport, plug it in directly into the hub. You will notice that your download will be much faster over a wired connection.

3. Issue: macOS won’t install errors

Even if you downloaded Monterey, Big Sur, or any other macOS update, you might find that it wouldn’t install later.

This error was faced by many people when they were attempting to download Big Sur on November 12. They were prompted with an error message stating, “Installation failed: Error occurred while installing the update”.

  1. Error: Upgrade runs out of storage space and fails

Sometimes, the macOS Big Sur installer wouldn’t check if sufficient space was available before performing the installation process. As a result, many Mac users found that their Macs could not complete the installation process even before they ran out of space.

It is possible that the same or similar problems may show up while installing The macOS update.

In 2020 the best fix to this problem was to do a clean install of Big Sur. Hence, that might be the advice for the coming years as well.

  1. Error: Installation failed while installing the update

One of the most troublesome problems with Big Sur was that the installer would identify that there wasn’t enough space available.

  • Since the macOS Big Sur installation required more than 48.5 GB of free space, that is 35.5 GB plus another 13 GB for the installer itself. Hence lack of space was a very common problem among those users with 128 GB Macs.
  • With the Big Sir update, if you were prompted with an error message which showed “Installation failed. Error occurred while installing the update”, you should know that you were not alone. Many reports from Mac users were facing the same challenges while downloading the Big Sur.
  • One of the biggest clues which showed that something was going wrong was when it looked like the download of macOS Big Sur was finally completed, with the entire 12.2 GB download, but the process bar was stuck with some distance to go.
  • After a long time of the bar not proceeding, the users were shown the message “Installation failed. An error occurred while installing the update”.
  • One of the strangest things was that even though it indicated that the whole Big Sur file had been downloaded, the file was nowhere to be seen on the files of the Mac device.
  • Then if you try to download it again, you’ll be prompted with another message, and this time it will show something like, “The file can not be downloaded anymore”.
  • When you keep searching for the Big Sur file on your device, it will show that it is stored there, but again, if you search for it, you won’t find it in the files of the device.
  1. Error: There is not enough free space on the selected volume to upgrade the OS

It turns out that Big Sur is a 12.2 GB download file. Despite that, you still need about 34GB of free space. Since Apple has lately stopped selling Macs with 128 GB SDS, many people have faced this issue.

You can try deleting files from the “other storage” on your Mac. Also, a “Clean install of Big Sur” could be another solution to get enough space for the installation.

Shortly, suppose you are confronted with this error. In that case, you can try deleting cached files, junk, and other redundant data and then blitzing the videos and images associated with the chat conversations or messages. By doing so, you can manage and clear space of near about 10 GB.

  1. Fix: The update package has been deleted in error.

A new error has been discovered every year with a new version of macOS installation. Many users came across this error while attempting to download Catalina around 2019. The error message stated: “The update package has been deleted since being downloaded from the Apple software update server”.

  • It was assumed that this error indicated that Apple had withdrawn the software, but on further investigation, it appeared that the issue was related to the users’ network connection.
  • Later it was found that this error was confronted by many Apple users on their network, causing too much competition for bandwidth.
  • The only solution to this error is to move your Mac device closer to your Wi-Fi router, stop streaming radio, and turn off other devices.
  • If you have an ethernet cable handy, you can use that as well.

2. Other solutions for macOS download problems

  1. Cancel the download or stop the update
  2. Check if your Mac is healthy.

1. Cancel the download or stop the update

  • You may go ahead and cancel the download process or stop the update process midway. But the method depends on the various versions of macOS you have installed.
  • In macOS Mojave, Apple changed the route users follow to download a macOS software update. They are now accessed from “system preferences”, from which you need to click on “software update”, previously downloaded via the Mac App Store.
  • If you wish to stop the download midway, you can click on the cross button that appears anywhere on the screen, which indicates canceling the update process. Generally, the cross button appears beside the download status bar, which shows the download progress.
  • Pre -Mojave, you might be able to fix the stuck update by guiding yourself to the Mac App Store. Then look for the software you are currently downloading, and then, on pressing Option /Alt, an option to cancel the download process will appear on the screen.
  • After canceling the download process, you can hopefully start the process again without any problem.

2. Check if your Mac is healthy.

One must always run a series of checks and scans before allowing the device to perform any operating system update.

3. Solutions for stalled macOS update

Generally, suppose any problem arises while performing a software installation. In that case, the entire process gets stuck on the updating screen, and the Apple logo appears on the screen with a status bar showing progress as the software keeps loading. Many people call it a “spinning beach ball” on the screen.

Alternatively, you may spot a white, grey, or black screen. In most cases, the screen of your Mac computer turns black, and you cannot determine if your Mac computer is even turned on. In this case, many users try force rebooting the Mac computer, but they aren’t sure if the installation process is still running in the background. 

Hence if they force a computer reboot, the installation process might be interrupted, and the entire process will cause the potential loss of data. Hence, it is recommended that users must back up their Mac computers before they agree to install new software.

Sometimes users may even be prompted with a message that shows “macOS could not be installed on your computer”, with the restart option. If the user clicks on the restart, the same thing will happen.macOS’s only solution in this scenario would be starting the entire process of installation in safe mode and downloading the installer again.

In many cases, your Mac computer appears to have frozen during installation. In such cases, what should you do? All the possible issues with its fixes are listed below:

  1. Check if your Mac has frozen
  2. Wait
  3. Look at the log to see if your Mac is still installing macOS.

1. Check if your Mac has frozen.

Before concluding that your Mac has frozen during installation, you must be aware of a few pointers.

  • Sometimes updating the software on a Mac takes a long period, and during this process, you might be confronted with a frozen update, but if you let it be and leave it for a few hours, the process could eventually get to the end done.
  • Sometimes many people prefer updating their Mac overnight. It is worth leaving your computer overnight to finish the task it has started. 
  • Sometimes updates can take as much as 16 hours or even more, especially on those days when Apple releases a new version of its Mac operating system because the server becomes very crowded.
  • The progress bar displayed on the screen shows the installation progress update. It is the best way to guess how long the process might take. The update bar shows “Time remaining”, and it keeps changing abruptly; for example, it might be showing 1 hour right now, but then the time might change to 2 hours, but again after some time, it might show 20 minutes. Despite the random jump in time, the work will be done. 
  • Why does the time change randomly from 45 minutes to 1 hour to 20 minutes? This happens because the device comes across various files while installing. 
  • Each file has its unique properties, which take different periods. Sometimes, things might get slowed down because one file might take up an unexpected time. That’s when the progress bar changes the time randomly.
location of the options in the software update window

Sometimes the update bar might not progress for hours. For example, it might show 30 minutes for the next 2 hours. But that doesn’t mean that your update has stuck or the screen has frozen. Sometimes, the work is being done behind the scenes, and the device is busy trying to install the software.

2. Wait

If you find out that the installation has been stalled after the entire process, it is advised to wait for a few more hours. Clicking different options or restarting the computer in this situation might make things worse. Hence it is advised to wait and observe before doing anything.

3. Look at the log to see if your Mac is still installing macOS

Press command + L. Doing so brings up additional options and more information on the screen about the estimated remaining time for the installation. Doing so will also give you clarity and a better indication of the types of files installed.

4. What to do when your Mac freezes during installation

After checking, if you are positive that your Mac device isn’t responding and isn’t working on the update, then you should go through the following steps:

  1. Go to system preferences and then software update.
  2. Try installing the combo update.
  3. Check the Log Screen to see if files are even being installed.
  4. Running Disc Utility once you have updated.
  5. Reset the NVRAM
  6. Use recovery mode to reinstall macOS.
  7. Install the OS from an external drive

1. Go to system preferences and then software update.

The heading says it all about what you need to do. But if you have an older version of macOS:

  • Guide yourself to the Mac App Store and click on updates
location of the app store
  • Then, you’ll find the pending update or installation process. Your Mac can carry out the process from where it was left off by clicking on it.
  • Shut down, wait for a few seconds, and restart your Mac. 
  • (Press and hold the power button of your device to shut down, and following the same method, start your Mac again.)

2. Try installing the combo update.

  • As previously mentioned in this blog, Apple hosts the software on its website. So you can go to the Apple website and download the software update from there if you face any problems with the usual process.
  • There are many good advantages to downloading your software from Apple’s website. On downloading the software from Apple’s website, the software version will only include the essential files needed to update your Mac.
  • If you guide yourself to the Apple support website, you will find a combo updater message which includes all the necessary files required to update the macOS. This Apple website version of the update will replace all the system files and ensure that the update is safely completed.

3. Check the Log Screen to see if files are even being installed

  • When the software update is going on, and the update bar appears on the screen, press Command + L to check the Log screen.
  • In the Log screen, you will notice the files that are being installed. If the Log screen shows no files and nothing is happening, then you can try installing the combo update, which is mentioned right above this point.

4. Running Disk Utility once you have updated.

When you finally get the software up and running, it is advised that you run a disk utility check to correct any issues that might have caused the problem in the first place.

5. Reset the NVRAM

  • If safe mode doesn’t work as a solution, you can try restarting the Mac and long-press the command option/ ALT, P, and R.
  • This will reset the NVRAM. Now, wait until the computer restarts and see if it starts the update process.

6. Use recovery mode to reinstall macOS.

  • As a final option, you can try restarting your Mac in recovery mode, holding the command button + R button for a long time.
  • Doing so, several options will appear on the screen. You can recover your Mac from your last time machine backup or perform a disk repair. But, it is advised to choose the “install new OS “option.
  • When your macOS is installed, your Mac will replace all the other Apple system files, which might be problematic and contribute to these errors.

This specific update would not include the latest version of the software. Hence it is asked to check the software update section and apply for the latest macOS update.

7. Install the OS from an external drive

If you still face issues with the software update installation process, you can try installing the OS from an external drive.

Wrapping Up

Updating your MacOS is crucial because your device can get Apple’s newest features and security patches. Your Mac will be less likely to get stuck or frozen due to bugs or crashes, boosting your computer’s overall performance.

Sometimes many people prefer updating their Mac overnight. It is worth leaving your computer overnight to finish the task it has started. Sometimes updates can take as much as 16 hours or even more, especially on those days when Apple releases a new version of its Mac operating system because the server becomes very crowded.

Always ensure that before you update your Mac, you should back up your files in case your computer crashes.


Why is my Mac not Updating?

There are serious issues or reasons your Mac computer is not performing its software update. 
But you need not worry because this website has listed all the possible issues and potential solutions. Scroll up and go through all the issues and solutions to solve your Mac’s software update problems accordingly.

My Mac was updating all fine, but suddenly the screen froze, and the system stopped responding. What should I do?

Guide yourself to the Mac App Store, click on System Preferences, Software Update, and check on the pending update.

How to know if the installation is even taking place?

When the update is going on, and the update progress bar is visible on the screen, long-press on Command + L, and you can check the log screen and go through all the installed files.

While updating, it is showing a No Storage error. What should I do?

Try deleting some applications or files to free up space. Also, delete shared and received photos, videos, and media on the chat conversations or messages.