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I have installed macOS Catalina Beta 7 on my MacBook Pro Late 2013. After installing, my Mac prompted me to Restart. While installing the update I noticed that the Apple Logo with the progress bar disappeared. Shortly after, the screen went black and the Macbook froze. I tried a hard reset, but it keeps booting to the "question mark" folder. I tried several boot up methods, clearing NVRAM, starting in safe mode etc, but the Mac simply ignores my keyboard inputs while starting up. My guess is that the Firmware / EFI got corrupt because I can't use any of the key combinations. I can only boot to the question mark folder.

Does anyone have any recommendations or ideas? Thanks in advance and sorry for my bad English :) !

  • Welcome to Ask Different :) Your MacBook is unable to locate the startup disk. Cleaning NVRAM or restarting in safe mode won't help. – Nimesh Neema Sep 5 at 17:56
  • My MacBook Pro also won't accept holding ALT to view all possible boot-options. I just ignores any keyboard input. – xxausstar Sep 5 at 18:05
  • Your english is good! :) – 146438 Sep 5 at 18:06
  • The same thing happened with me when updating to Catalina on my Macbook Air – abel Oct 12 at 18:37
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I had the same experience with my MacBookAir. Turns out Catalina killed the firmware and the only solution according to the Genius Bar is to replace the motherboard. That is around 500 Bucks in my case.

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    The same thing happened to me. How can a software update result in a dead motherboard? – abel Oct 12 at 18:29
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Boot to Internet Recovery and erase / install is the best path when any update happens. In the vast, vast majority of cases you will be fine and only Macs with T2 chip would need an assist to re-flash the EFI. Yours is amenable to target mode boot and all the normal ways to reinstall the OS when it’s not bootable from the internal drive.

  1. Reset the SMC one time - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295
  2. Internet Recovery would work for newer Macs - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314 - your mac needs you to bring a bootable USB or drive to it or to connect in Target Disk Mode to another mac to image it / run the installer against your storage.
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    Thank you, but the problem is that my Macbook doesn't accept any key combinations at startup. Even with an external keyboard. It just ignores any input and boots straight to the folder with the question mark. – xxausstar Sep 5 at 18:02
  • CMD+R, CMD+ALT+P+R, holding ALT,... nothing works – xxausstar Sep 5 at 18:03
  • Have you reset the SMC one time? If so, it’s not the OS that’s broken. @xxausstar – bmike Sep 5 at 18:19
  • Thank you for your help. I have tried resetting the SMC but the problem still persists. I have the feeling that I need a new logicboard :( – xxausstar Sep 6 at 10:12
  • Agreed @xxausstar all signs point to hardware repair next – bmike Sep 6 at 10:21
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There are few possible scenarios.

1) Seems like your bios is updated to not accept any previously supported boot methods. (Less likely).

2) The new boot loader is not allowing your “outdated” system for Catalina. (Thanks to Apple). If you were able to install previous beta versions of Catalina, this is also very less likely.

3)Your Boot partition is simply messed up during a restart or something.

My suggestion is to make a USB installer of the supported OS. You’d need a separate working system for that involving a free utility called DosDude.

Hopefully, you’d be able to install the previous supported stable OS (10.14.6) without formatting the HDD.

UPDATE:

There is one hack (I'm not sure about MBP) but I experienced few years (some 20 years ago) on an unbranded desktop is to take out the battery (2032 battery cell which is found on motherboard) and place it again after few seconds. This is how we used to reset the motherboard.

===========

1) Take out your HDD out of your MBP and connect it with as an external drive with some working computer. (TAKE THE BACKUP) and Format the HDD. Probably now, it won't have any issues with your computer.

2) If it still doesn't work, your BIOS firmware is corrupted. SMC firmware can be updated or downgraded. Follow these instructions.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202040

You can find relative downloads on this page

https://support.apple.com/downloads/macnotebooks

Good Luck!

  • The weird thing is that everything worked fine till I installes the Beta 7 Update. Beta 5 worked flawless on my MBP and even my Mac Pro never had such problems. Normally I would create a new bootable USB installer, wipe the entire drive and reinstall Mojave, but booting from USB is somehow impossible as I can‘t select other boot-options on my MBP – xxausstar Sep 6 at 10:16
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Many Macs are being bricked. Apple is deleting solutions on the support page. The actual issue is this.

Apple removed 32 bit software in Catilina but kept a 32 bit program for entitlement management on the machine. This causes an efi chip (bios) corruption.

The offending app is located here: /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/IMTranscoding.framework/XPCServices/IMTranscoderAgent.xpc/Contents/MacOS/IMTranscoderAgent

Solution(s)

For T2 Macs. (look up T2 if you need to) if you see black screen yet hear power and chime there is a possible fix that has worked.

If you can get into super user mode (command + S when booting) or Internet recovery mode then use terminal then you could do these commands:

    disenable root (enter password)

    /sbin/mount -uw /

    rm -rf /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/IMTranscoding.framework/XPCServices/IMTranscoderAgent.xpc/Contents/MacOS/IMTranscoderAgent    

    disenableroot disable
-2

I had to fix two similar-vintage machines last year after their owners (who were both employed as coders at the same company) installed the Mojave developer betas; one was a 2013 13in, the other a 2012 15in rMBP and whilst you could press the button and they'd chime and glow, everything else was dead-dead.

Turned out the SSD-sticks had died (from over-use, old age or just entropy, we don't know), causing a short across the PCIe bridge that basically made the main logicboard data-mute. Fit some new Apple-branded Sandisks and they were all happy again.

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