I'm upgraded an late-2011 MacBook Pro from Lion to El Capitan. The install itself seemed to go fine. It got to the step where it restarts after the install and now it just hangs on this screen.

enter image description here

I've tried restarted a few times and it keeps coming back to this. Tried booting in safe mode as well, with no luck.

I get the startup chime, then this. It's sat on this for a few hours at this point with no additional progress.

Machine specs:

  • 2.4 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • 500 GB Hard Drive, 8x DVD/CD SuperDrive
  • Have you tried holding down Option when booting?
    – brickery
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 0:43
  • Following on from @Brick I would try restarting holding down the Alt/Option key and see if you get a choice of drives. Commented May 21, 2016 at 1:59
  • Another good question is did you backup your data first ? It's usually a good idea to back up your data and do a clean install of any operating system when upgrading rather than just an in-situ upgrade itself. Commented May 21, 2016 at 2:00
  • What about holding down Command+R for OS X Recovery or Option+Command+R for Internet Recovery? And then what about resetting PRAM with Option+Command+P+R?
    – brickery
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


I had the same issue with a MacBook Pro 15'' 2011 (A1286) that I tried updating from Lion 10.7.5 to El Capitan 10.11 (Specs. 4 GB, 500 GB HDD).

The answer is: you must be very patient: the upgrade took me one full day (~ 11 hours!).

Even if the progress bar is not updated, the update is being done in the background.

After a first attempt that I interrupted because I thought that the update was frozen, I made a second Internet recovery of Lion. The previously downloaded installer of OS X El Capitan was kept in the Application folder after OS X Lion 10.7.5 was restored, so that I was not required to download it again. (The Internet recovery of Lion lasted about 4 hours).

As a comment to your picture, if you wait about half an hour, to one hour, the progress bar should move to ~20%.

The estimated times will then be completely wrong and you simply MUST WAIT and be very patient, without shutting down your computer. For instance, when under the progress bar, a remaining duration of 31 minutes is displayed, it can last about 9 hours using a wired connection! For me, things went a little quicker at the end (12 minutes meant 1 hours, 7 minutes meant half an hour).

Sometimes, the screen will show greyed / disabled, like if the computer was frozen in some manner and there might be some kind of screen flashing / flickering. Simply wait until the installation ends and the background image of El Capitan displays.

Hope this will help others.

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