Apple is force updating computers to Sonoma

I used to be running MacOS Monterey/12.7.2 with Automatic Updates turned off. I was finishing up some stuff and switched users back to my primary user when the system started acting weird. After I was able to log in again I rebooted. The reboot took a really long time and when the system came back up I was running Sonoma 14.2.1. Just wanted to put this out here and warn my fellow Mac users here that this is happening. I’ve seen some discussions on the Apple support forums (but haven’t have time to follow up) but apparently it’s been slowly rolling out for a week or so now. My first priority is to figure out what now doesn’t work under the new OS. I’m not a happy camper.

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This is news (I wasn’t doubting you, I just wanted to see what reporting has been done): Some Macs Auto-Updating to macOS Sonoma Without User Permission and Botchware: Apple Forcibly Upgrading Macs to macOS Sonoma without User Permission or Input + How to Defeat Upgrades

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Little-known fact: Among experts this maneuver goes by the name of Sneaky Redmond Steamroller.


Thanks for the links. I was running late for an appointment (and I needed my laptop for the appointment) so I didn’t have time for more than a quick check to see if I was the only one experiencing the issue.

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You’re not alone, there’s something weird going on right now, and probably not intended by Apple. (See also: Avoiding unintended upgrades to macOS – The Eclectic Light Company) As much as I advocate for timely updates (security reasons and stuff), that’s not always possible, because Apple loves to burn bridges. That’s why they usually don’t force macOS updates.

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I normally run one release back - I just hadn’t updated to Ventura last fall because of, well, life. I no longer need to be on the bleeding edge, which lets me keep what’s left of my hair.

I’ve looked into reverting back to Monterey, but I don’t want to spend the time on this - too many other things I’d rather do. On my next hardware refresh I’ll look into moving the Users folders to a separate partition to make recovery from this kind of issue easier. Hopefully this will be the only forced upgrade - I can live with once every forty years.

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I know I’m late to the party (newbie) but: Is anyone on here who’s been force-upgraded still using a 2015 Retina-build MacBook? I am (and they will have to pry it out of my cold, dead, clenched fingers). I ask because I’ve always understood that Monterey (which I’ve got, v.12.7.4) is the last OS that Apple will let us Neanderthals have. I wondered out loud to the guy in the computer shop whether the powers on high were trying to coerce us into buying their newer models by engineered obsolescence, and he just gave me a cynical smile (he’s toiled many a year in the Appleverse).

My Automatic Updates are disabled too, and so far I haven’t been offered an upgrade option in my System Preferences, which makes me think that my current OS is the end of the line for this machine. But I’m wondering if any other Retina owners have progressed beyond Monterey, voluntarily or otherwise?

For me, the cut-off was macOS 11, on an old 2016 era MacBook Air (the tiny one). Who knows what determines where the cut-off happens, but what you describe is what it will look like. There won’t be any a message about not being able to upgrade, it will just go on telling you that what you have is the latest.

So if this bug did impact you, it would be a pretty nasty one as it would likely brick the computer and you’d have to restore it from your Time Machine volume using recovery mode, or with some other full disk recovery backup tool. And if you don’t have one of those, yesterday is always the best day to start, for many reasons other than this.

That said, in all of these articles it isn’t super clear to me whether Apple really “forced” the upgrade, or whether it was more a case of really bad user interface. It seems the main issue is that the “tell me more” button really means “just do it right now and don’t give me the option to cancel” button.

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You can look up the compatible devices on Apple’s Sonoma page or in Wikipedia. And there is a nice little free app called Mactracker—which happens to run even on dusty Monterey—that holds all information about Apple devices and software.

Some people definitely will have installed and used an OS their machine officially does not support, they will probably use the OpenCore Legacy Patcher. This might work for your Mac too. But you must be very aware of what you are doing. There is a reason why devices are not supported anymore. At best, they work but without some newly introduced features or they just get a bit sluggy. But crashes, data loss, or some specific software not working might also be the case.

While Apple supports its mobile devices for quite a long time in comparision to other vendors, on the Mac side it does not look that good.

It’s up to the user—and the content of their bank account—how to handle that. When your Mac does not have any connection to the internet, you can use it until either of you dies. As long as an OS gets security updates you’re on the safe(r) side when going online. When they are stopped using an up-to-date browser—which for the most part would not be Safari—might do the trick too.

But at some point the latest version of a software you use does not work with that old OS because it is built on new features, APIs or whatever, that are introduced with a newer OS. Then you will have to decide which way to go.

As to “engineered obsolescence”: Technology does move on and since 2015 it has quite a bit. The jump to Apple Silicon (M-chips) has been a big one. Once you decide to get an M-Mac, maybe not the latest model, maybe a refurbished one, you’ll be amazed what they have achieved.


In my case, it really was a “forced” upgrade. There was a desktop notification the day before it happened, which I dismissed without clicking in it. The upgrade started as I was logging out of a non-admin account, getting ready to shut the computer down.

My Mac is a 2018 MacBook Pro. Our other Mac is a 2017 iMac Retina still running Big Sur, which was not impacted by this issue. Getting the iMac more current is on my todo list (and has been for a while - hopefully after taxes are finished I can upgrade it, but that’s what I said last year too…).

I seem to recall, but haven’t gone back to check, than at least one of the comments in one of the articles linked to above (or that I found when researching the issue originally) talked about having systems that did not support Sonoma being bricked by the “forced” upgrade.