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My device is a late 2013 Macbook Pro and just a week ago I had been running macOS Big Sur.

I wanted to pass on my device to someone else so I followed the steps in the below links to make sure all of my data was erased and the device is set back to factory settings:

The device is now running OS X 10.9.5 as expected. However, when I download macOS Big Sur from the App Store and try to install it, a message appears saying I cannot continue (see below image). The message says:

Installation of macOS could not continue

Installation requires downloading important content.
The content can't be downloaded at this time.
Try again later.

I have tried and checked the following:

  • Checked Apple System Status and everything is fine.
  • Restarted the device via Safe Mode and issue still presents itself.
  • Restarted the device and used both CMD+R and CMD+ALT+R modes to install but same issue returns.
  • Erased and formatted the HD to AFPS, reinstalled OS X, same issue. Since then, I've reformatted via the recommended option (Mac OS Extended (Journaled)).
  • I have a good strong connection via Wi-Fi.

Though some of the above may work for others, it hasn't worked for me. I've probably tried erasing my HD and reinstalling OS X about 6 times now.

I don't know where I may have gone wrong, I made sure I followed each step specifically and carefully. I've been able to install macOS Big Sur just a week ago, and now, after following Apple's official guide to essentially 'factory reset' my device, it is not installing.

error message

...


Update

  • As suggested in comments and responses, I upgraded from Mavericks to Catalina (through El Capitan then High Sierra then Mojave).
  • Now in Catalina, it gives a new error message of "Update not found" when trying to update to macOS Big Sur, and shows that it is currently running the latest macOS (see below screenshots).
  • I have tried to update via Internet Recovery mode, but that returns the original error message of "Installation of macOS could not continue".

enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • 2
    You very likely need to jump via El Capitan first - see apple.stackexchange.com/q/309399/85275 I'm surprised, though, that Internet Recovery didn't automatically use the most recent OS (see further down that answer for alternative recovery key commands) – Tetsujin Nov 21 '20 at 14:26
  • Seeing as though I was on Mavericks, I followed the steps, as you suggested, and installed El Capitan. I was not then able install any other macOS except High Sierra. So I installed High Sierra, then Mojave, then Catalina. Now, on Catalina, once I try to update to Big Sur, it says an update is not found and that it is on the latest macOS. I tried through internet recovery and it returns the original error message of "Installation of macOS could not continue" – user9078015 Nov 26 '20 at 13:34
  • ach, then I'm out of ideas, sorry. – Tetsujin Nov 28 '20 at 11:07
  • thanks for your help – user9078015 Dec 1 '20 at 13:44
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The short answer, is do not install Big Sur on 2013 / 2014 MacBook Pro if you can wait. Stick with Catalina if you can and need it to be stable and supported.

Thank you for this post - I found myself in this exact situation, following the same "Apple recommended" procedure to perform a factory reset after already updating to Big Sur. I was left with a useless (likely needing repair) machine until I found this post and followed the steps to reinstall OSX and then upgrade to Catalina.

Second, I found this post here: https://mrmacintosh.com/big-sur-11-0-1-20b50-released-to-block-install-for-2013-14-13-mbpros/

I believe that we had previously upgraded to Big Sur 11.0.1 20b29, released November 12th. However, Apple released an "updated" version, 20b50, on November 19th that removed the late 2013 and mid 2014 Macbook Pros from the compatible list, due to issues that left some users with blank screens.

I imagine that once Apple fixes these blank screen issues, we'll be able to upgrade again.

Also see, "Release History" in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacOS_Big_Sur

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  • Thank you for this. It seems to fit the puzzle perfectly. I also phoned Apple customer service (spoke to their Senior team who had then forwarded my issue to the engineering team), and everything they had said aligns with this answer. They also recommended that I wait for the next version of Big Sur that is released - which should address this issue that many are facing. – user9078015 Dec 1 '20 at 13:47
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I had the same error "Installation of macOS could not continue" while trying to install macOS 11 "Big Sur".

I had to install Catalina first (see the "Download macOS" section of this support article for instructions) and then the upgrade to Big Sur worked fine.

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  • I followed steps as suggested to reinstall macOS Catalina but I had to go through El Capitan > High Sierra > Mojave and then to Catalina. Once at Catalina, I was not able to upgrade to Big Sur and gives a different error message of "Update not found". I tried an installing via Internet Recovery but that tends to show the original error message of "Installation of macOS could not continue" – user9078015 Nov 26 '20 at 13:35
  • Hi Tommy - is your Mac in the list that got dropped or not an exact match for 2013/2014 13” MacBook Pro? – bmike Nov 29 '20 at 19:17
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As noted above your MacBook is blocked in the build 20B50. If you feel like living on the edge, you can however download 20B29.

One way to download the previous build, is by using macadmin-scripts from munki on GitHub and choosing the Developer Seed. This still lists 20B29 for download. I've successfully installed Big Sur using this method on my 2013. MacBook Pro Retina. But no guarantees, there are reports of bricked MacBooks so proceed at your own risk.

$ sudo ./installinstallmacos.py --seed DeveloperSeed

For me it is option 3. This can change as available builds can differ.

 #      ProductID    Version    Build   Post Date  Title
 1      001-15219    10.15.5  19F2200  2020-06-15  macOS Catalina
 2      001-68446    10.15.7    19H15  2020-11-11  macOS Catalina
 3      001-79699     11.0.1    20B29  2020-11-14  macOS Big Sur
 4      001-04366    10.15.4  19E2269  2020-05-04  macOS Catalina
 5      061-86291    10.15.3  19D2064  2020-03-23  macOS Catalina
 6      041-91758    10.13.6    17G66  2019-10-19  macOS High Sierra
 7      041-88800    10.14.4  18E2034  2019-10-23  macOS Mojave
 8      061-26589    10.14.6   18G103  2019-10-14  macOS Mojave
 9      001-51042    10.15.7     19H2  2020-09-24  macOS Catalina
10      001-36735    10.15.6  19G2006  2020-08-06  macOS Catalina
11      001-83532     11.0.1    20B50  2020-11-19  macOS Big Sur
12      001-57224    10.15.7     19H4  2020-10-27  macOS Catalina
13      041-90855    10.13.5   17F66a  2019-10-23  Install macOS High Sierra Beta
14      061-26578    10.14.5  18F2059  2019-10-14  macOS Mojave
15      001-83606       11.1 20C5048l  2020-11-20  macOS Big Sur Beta
16      001-36801    10.15.6  19G2021  2020-08-12  macOS Catalina
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  • Thank you for this. The latest release of Big Sur from Apple has now been published and pushed to my device. It is now running Big Sur. – user9078015 Jan 9 at 20:18

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