Title: Bugs in macOS Threaten Apple Silicon Mac Users’ Hardware Recovery, Asahi Linux Project Discovers
Word Count: 374
Asahi Linux, a project dedicated to porting Linux to Apple Silicon Macs, has recently unearthed critical bugs in Apple’s macOS that may lead to significant difficulties for users attempting to recover their hardware. The bugs specifically target MacBook Pro models featuring ProMotion displays, affecting both the 14 and 16-inch versions and are related to how recent versions of macOS handle refresh rates.
When these bugs are combined, they have the potential to cause a machine to consistently boot to a black screen, leaving users with no choice but to seek a resolution through a Device Firmware Update (DFU) recovery. Initially, the Asahi team suspected that these bugs were connected to having an Asahi Linux installation on a Mac and then upgrading to macOS Sonoma. However, it has been determined that the issue is unrelated to the project.
Alarmingly, all users who have upgraded to Sonoma in the standard manner now possess an out-of-date or malfunctioning System RecoveryOS. This vulnerability places owners of MacBook Pro 14″ and 16″ models at an increased risk of being left with an unbootable system.
While users’ data remains unharmed, it is important to note that only specific versions of macOS are affected. These include Sonoma 14.0+ and Ventura 13.6+. The first bug is caused by macOS Sonoma utilizing the previously installed version as the System Recovery, resulting in complications when older RecoveryOS encounters newer firmware. The second bug arises if a display’s refresh rate is configured to anything other than ProMotion, effectively preventing the system from booting into older macOS installations or Asahi Linux.
To address these vulnerabilities, the Asahi Linux installer has been updated to detect the issue and will refuse to install on the affected machines with a refresh rate other than ProMotion mode. The team at Asahi Linux has expressed bewilderment over how Apple released an operating system update that can render machines unbootable simply due to a non-default display refresh rate. This suggests a potential major oversight in Apple’s quality assurance process.
Asahi Linux continues to vigilantly investigate these bugs to determine the exact causes and potential solutions, with the hope of finding resolutions or workarounds that can safeguard Apple Silicon Mac users from the risks associated with these issues.
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