Thursday, Feb 11, 2021, 13:54 Mac: Software

Big Sur Bug: Full Storage & Potential Data Loss

macOS Big Sur is pleasing to the eye, with changes in design and several entirely new features. However, 3 months after the release of macOS 11 there are still some issues that haven't been fixed, or for which there are currently only "partial fixes". The operating system still has difficulties with external monitors, for example. Now, an even bigger bug has popped up, relevant to every user who hasn't yet made the jump to Big Sur. Those affected will need to take a careful look at the remaining storage space on their drive before upgrading.

Caution Recommended With Insufficient Storage Space
Not all Mac users upgrade to a new OS immediately after its release. Many prefer to wait until the first reviews for the OS have arrived or they stick with the previous version for the first few weeks and months after the new release. Users using macOS Catalina or older should proceed with caution when upgrading their system software. According to Mr. Macintosh, the installation program for macOS 11 doesn't perform a reliable test to determine whether or not there's enough drive space on the computer to successfully perform the installation, with potentially dire consequences such as data loss or installation failure.

The Danger of Data Loss
The installation of macOS Big Sur requires 35GBs of drive space and an additional 13GBs for the program itself that performs the installation. Should the Mac not have sufficient space, the program won't be able to recognize this and will proceed with the installation, resulting in the following error message:




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The problem affects all Macs that can be upgraded to Big Sur and causes data corruption. This phenomenon is especially problematic for Macs with a T2 chip and activated FileVault 2 encryption. These users are unable to safe boot their Mac in Recovery Mode by entering in their password after a failed installation. Even the correct password won't be accepted and it's not possible to change the password. The only remedy is to delete all data and reinstall macOS. According to Mr. Macintosh, Apple didn't fix this problem in the first beta of macOS 11.3 and it's not caused by an update to an existing version of macOS Big Sur.

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