Thursday, Dec 16, 2021, 13:49 Mac: Software

macOS 12.1 Issue & Workaround: Some ARM Mac Users Unable To See New Update

Most Apple users like how Cupertino tends to release its updates. Whereas some other companies release updates for various devices at different times, Apple tends to update all of its products under one OS at the same time. So, if an M1 Mac gets an OS update, so do M1 Pro or Max devices, and compatible Intel Macs. At times, this can lead to a slight server overload – as multiple users attempt to download the same update, however, users never have to wait weeks or months before gaining access to the most recent operating system. However, the situation's a bit different when it comes to the recent macOS 12.1. Three days following the operating system's official release and it's still not available for all users to download.

Primarily Apple Silicon Macs Affected
Some affected users have shared their experiences with the unusual phenomenon on Reddit and 9to5Mac. Those affected remain on the previous macOS 12.01 version of Monterey and the 12.1 update is not visible in the system update portion of the device's System Preferences. What's rather surprising is that the issue is affecting mostly Apple's newer M1 Macs, regardless of whether the aforementioned carry a standard M1, M1 Pro, or M1 Max. Oddly enough, a quick detour to the App Store where updates are also sometimes available for download doesn't help either. Although the update can be seen there, when users try to download it, the download is mysteriously interrupted.

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Possible Workarounds
Currently, some users who simply can't wait to download the new update have initiated recovery mode and reinstalled macOS Monterey entirely. This has been shown to work for many users, however, we advise anyone interested in attempting the aforementioned to backup their device first. Another promising method is the following, by 9to5Mac user Jonlon:

  • Go to "System Preferences" > "Software Update". Check whether the update is available and leave the window open.
  • Pull up the "Activity Monitor" app and click on "View" > "All Processes".
  • Enter "com.apple.MobileSoftwareUpdate.UpdateBrainService" in the search field and then end the process.
  • macOS 12.1 should now be available to download.
  • If this still doesn't work, the previous steps one more time.


Those who find the aforementioned workarounds to laborious will simply have to wait. Apple will likely fix the issue soon enough.

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