Sometimes a MacBook Pro update can take a long time. And they can get stuck at a variety of different stages. One of them is the Installing Update stage. If your MacBook Pro is stuck installing the update, you may see the update window, which says Installing Update near the top and above the progress bar, you may see something like Downloading and Installing Update. Also, the progress bar may not seem to move, sometimes for hours.
In this article, we’ll give you tips for dealing with this issue so you can get your MacBook Pro updated and get back to using your computer.
Why MacBook Pro is Stuck Installing Update
There might be several underlying factors causing your MacBook Pro to get stuck while installing update. The most common culprits typically include:
- A slow or faulty internet connection
- Problems with Apple’s servers
- Running out of internal storage on your MacBook Pro
- Running low on battery on your MacBook Pro
Best Fixes to Try if Your MacBook Pro Gets Stuck Installing Update
1. Make Sure the MacBook Pro is Actually Stuck Installing Update
Some macOS updates can take several minutes or more to install, so you want to make sure the updates are truly stuck before moving on. Trying to fix a problem that doesn’t really exist might just create a problem.
It’s worth mentioning that the most likely cause of your MacBook Pro being stuck installing the latest macOS update:
It is just taking a long time.
Yep, these things can take hours, especially for the big updates known as upgrades. Upgrades happen when you update to a new version of macOS, such as macOS 14 Sonoma, macOS 13 Ventura, macOS 12 Monterey, macOS 11 Big Sur, etc. Regular updates would look like updating from macOS Ventura 13.4 to Ventura 13.5, for example.
So, you might ask: How long should I wait? Well, how long it takes to update your MacBook Pro depends on:
- The size of the update.
- The hardware in your computer.
- Your internet speed.
- How many other people are trying to download the same update.
The whole process can take anywhere from minutes to hours. If it hasn’t been several hours yet, waiting might be the best course of action. Try leaving your Mac overnight to see if the macOS update is complete in the morning.
The time remaining on the update progress bar is sometimes inaccurate and will adjust after the computer recalibrates. You can try pressing Command–L to get more detailed information about the installation. Meanwhile, other issues, like slow internet, could simply be due to weather or temporary ISP problems that will also resolve themselves over time.
We understand that leaving your MacBook overnight for the updates to be installed might not be possible for everyone and if it does not suit you as well, go ahead with the methods below.
2. Don’t Restart Your Mac
It really isn’t advisable to reboot your MacBook Pro in the middle of an installation. It may make things worse – or possibly, much worse. This can depend on where you are in the installation process, but once it has started installing, I wouldn’t risk rebooting. It may leave you needing to use a recovery mode (Intel MacBook Pro) or to revive/restore (Apple silicon), which could certainly take at least as long. Worst case, you could lose data.
3. Check Your Internet and Network Settings
Since you’re downloading your update over the internet, you should probably check to see if you’ve encountered any network problems.
The first thing you should do if you suspect an internet problem is to restart your router. If you use an Ethernet cable, you might also want to make sure it’s properly plugged in. And if you use private Wi-Fi, consider increasing your bandwidth by disconnecting idle devices on the network.
If you can connect using an Ethernet cable, then you should pick that over Wi-Fi. This is because Ethernet is faster than Wi-Fi and guarantees fewer downloading problems.
You can also boost your internet speed by using a public DNS server. Follow these steps to add a new DNS server:
- Click the Apple icon and choose System Settings.
- Select Wi-Fi on the left sidebar.
- Click Details next to the connected Wi-Fi network.
- Select DNS from the left side.
- Click the plus button ( ).
- Type the IP address or domain name of the DNS server you want to use. For example, you can use Google’s public DNS server, which is 22.214.171.124 or 126.96.36.199. As an alternative, you can also use OpenDNS’s public servers (188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206) or Cloudflare’s server (220.127.116.11).
- Finally, click OK.
Lastly, you might want to check if an antivirus or VPN program is restricting your internet connection. Apps like those tend to have security features that may block downloads and updates. Temporarily disable it and retry the update to see if it improves.
4. Connect Your Charger and Free Up Space
There are certain requirements your MacBook Pro must meet for an update to complete. Sudden loss of power can cause data corruption. Therefore, your Mac might freeze an update until your computer is plugged in if the battery gets too low.
Updates can also be big, taking up considerable space on your drive. You might have run out of space on your Mac, causing it to stop updating. Free up space on your Mac by clearing out old files and media, using a cleaning app, or using more iCloud storage.
- On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click General in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)
- Click Storage on the right.
View the recommendations and decide how to optimize storage on your Mac.
5. Check if Apple’s Servers Are down
If the update problem isn’t caused by your internet connection or computer, then it’s most likely an issue with Apple’s servers. Your Mac needs to communicate with Apple’s servers for your macOS update to download. However, various factors may cause the Apple servers to be unavailable
One of the most common factors is traffic. Servers can get clogged, just like real-life highways, with too many people trying to access them at once. When Apple releases new software, there may be hundreds of thousands of people trying to download it at the same time as you. In other rare cases, the servers may simply be down.
You can check Apple’s system status website to see if the macOS Software Update systems are available. If there’s a green circle, it’s fine–but if not, then it’s unavailable right now.
6. Contact Apple Support
Let’s say you waited an entire day, and the macOS update is still stuck. At this point, you can contact Apple Support to get help. The support specialists can walk you through some troubleshooting steps and then recommend a course of action.
Tips before you update again
Before the next update, there are some steps you can take to prepare your MacBook Pro for the next big update. Some tips before the next update:
- The most important thing you can do before updating, especially before a major update, is back up your MacBook Pro. You can use Time Machine, iCloud or other backup software. Backing up to a physical drive is usually the most thorough and the easiest for recovering all of your data and settings. Although it is rare to have a serious problem while updating, if you do, it could be devastating.
- You might also avoid trying to download a major update as soon as it is released. There have been times when Apple’s servers have been really bogged down with so many people trying to download the updates that the download itself could take several hours or even fail.
- If your internet speeds are a problem, you might try connecting your MacBook Pro with an ethernet cable or at least moving your MacBook Pro closer to your router before you update.
- Check that your MacBook Pro has enough free space to download and install the update. For example, for an upgrade to macOS Ventura, it was recommended that you have around 30 GB of free space on your MacBook Pro.
macOS Updates Can Take a While
When you do get the macOS update installed, remember to be patient. Updates can take a while—even with fast internet. They need to get installed and booted up before you can use them, so don’t be in too much of a hurry, or you might slow down the process even more.