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I've got an early 2011 MacBook Pro (8,1) and I am trying to install the newest EFI firmware upgrade, however it only supports 10.8.5 and 10.9.5.

Unfortunately I have no clue as to what the best course of action would be to get this installed. I really need this firmware upgrade, to get access to Apple's Internet Recovery system.

Any tips or pointers would be greatly appreciated.

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First check your current Firmware and SMC version About your Mac -> More -> System Report. Check the Boot ROM and the SMC version. It should look similar to this:

MacBook Pro 8,3 Hardware overview

The latest Boot ROM version for your MacBookPro8,1 (Early 2011) is MBP81.0047.B2A and the latest SMC version 1.69f4 (SMC 1.7).

If you get the same versions the latest EFI updates are already installed.


The most secure method is to swap the internal hard disk with a spare 2.5" drive and install Mountain Lion or Mavericks.

Then download Mac EFI Security Update 2015-001 and install it.

After a reboot the firmware will be updated. Shut down your Mac after the successful update and swap the drives again.

Recheck the Boot ROM version and the SMC version.

  • That's a great idea, I've just ordered a new SSD from Amazon, how can I install Mountain Lion or Mavericks onto that, given that my firmware does not support Apple Internet Recovery. This is a serious problem of chicken and egg. – Ryan Ward Feb 7 '16 at 0:41
  • @CayetanoGonçalves Since El Capitan is installed you can simply download an older system installer from the Apple App store provided they are in your purchase list and create an installer thumb drive. Otherwise you have to use other "sources" to get older system installers (e.g. friends) – klanomath Feb 7 '16 at 1:34
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WARNING: THIS COULD POTENTIALLY MAKE YOUR COMPUTER UNUSABLE IF THE FIRMWARE DOESN'T WORK PROPERLY. Please make sure you know what you're doing before continuing.

Manually Flashing The Firmware

  1. Download the firmware installer.
  2. Unpackage the package. Find the installer app.
  3. Locate the firmware within the app's contents. It'll have a name like "MB51_007D_03B_LOCKED.scap"
  4. Run this command sudo bless -mount / -firmware /Applications/Utilities/NAME_OF_FIRMWARE_INSTALLER.app/Contents/NAME_OF_FIRMWARE.scap

This should restart your computer and flash the firmware.

Change the Version of OS X Your Computer Thinks It Has

  1. If necessary, turn System Integrity Protection off.
    1. Reboot into Recovery Mode
    2. Open Terminal under the Utilities menu
    3. Type csrutil disable
  2. Navigate to and open /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist
  3. Change ProductUserVisibleVersion and ProductVersion to a valid version of OS X (such as 10.9.5)
  4. Optionally, reverse the steps above (csrutil enable for SIP back on)
  • 1
    Wonderful, do you know if there's a way I can at least get a decent idea as to whether or not the firmware is compatible with my OS? – Ryan Ward Feb 6 '16 at 23:41
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    @CayetanoGonçalves Sorry, I don't know. If there's a newer version of the same firmware, I would use that instead if possible. You can call Apple, but they may not know. Backup your data if you don't already, create an external boot you can fix things with if something goes wrong, and pray to the great Apple in the sky. – JMY1000 Feb 6 '16 at 23:46
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    Yeah unfortunately it appears that Apple currently is not releasing firmware updates for El Capitan, jerks! Well, I guess it is beta. I'll read these methods over and cross my fingers – Ryan Ward Feb 6 '16 at 23:48
  • @CayetanoGonçalves Best of luck! – JMY1000 Feb 6 '16 at 23:52
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    @JMY1000 I don't know why, but this time a could simply install El Capitan with an USB installer (the last time I tried, it refused and I did not perform any firmware update nor did any specific operation). I just don't understand why. May be because I entirely wiped the SSD before re-installing ? Well, I am happy now because I get back to El Capitan ! – lauhub Jan 19 '18 at 13:22
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I've just run into this while attempting to update the firmware on a 2012 Mac mini that's been running VMware ESXi since day 1. The two EFI security updates won't run on OS X 10.10 or newer, and they don't show in Software Update, neither via the App Store nor softwareupdate -l. And the mini's Firmware Update 1.8 will only run if the first update has been installed, causing the mini's Boot ROM Version to be MM61.0106.B08, as reported in System Information.

The fix is to download each update and mount the disk image as normal, then run the installer package in Terminal:

sudo installer -pkg /Volumes/EFI\ Update/Mac2015EFIUpdate.pkg -target /

This bypasses the version check in the GUI and installs the update files. Restart, and the firmware will be updated.

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last version of EFI and SMC update are here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201518

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