MacOS 10.13.4 Update Failed to Complete? Mac Won’t Boot? Troubleshooting Update Failures

Apr 26, 2018 - 48 Comments

Troubleshooting macOS failed software update

Some Mac users have reported installation failures when trying to install MacOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update, usually seeing an error about the installation not being able to complete. Sometimes the installer freezes after many hours of being stuck, or sometimes the update seems to install but the Mac refuses to boot as usual afterwards.


If you have encountered an error or a failure when trying to update macOS 10.13.4 system software, you may be able to easily correct the problem by running through the troubleshooting steps detailed below. We’re going to focus on two main approaches; running the update again (if it’s a general failure upon attempting to install from the App Store) or by trying to install macOS 10.13.4 with the macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 Combo Update package instead of through the Mac App Store, or simply choosing to reinstall macOS system software.

Before beginning any of these troubleshooting steps you should have a complete backup made of the Mac. Ideally you’d have made a backup before installing the system software update to begin with, which then allows you to roll back to that prior backup in the event neither of the following approaches work to resolve the problem.

If the Mac boots as usual, try the Combo Update

If installation fails but the Mac is still usable as normal, try running the 10.13.4 Combo Update:

The Combo Update can be installed directly atop a prior macOS 10.13.x version.

Using combo updates to install Mac OS updates is pretty straight forward process, similar to running any other application installer. The Mac will reboot when updating has completed.

If the Mac won’t boot as usual, try reinstalling Mac OS through Recovery Mode

If the Mac will not boot, you may need to reinstall Mac OS through Recovery Mode:

  • Reboot the Mac and hold down Command + R keys to boot into Recovery Mode
  • Choose “Reinstall macOS” from the macOS Utilities screen

Reinstalling macOS will just install a new copy of system software, it should not change any user files, applications, or data aside from system software. Nonetheless it’s critical to have a backup of your data available just in case something goes haywire.

Reinstalling Mac OS X through Recovery Mode is a tried and true troubleshooting approach for situations where the system software will not function as intended or won’t boot at all.

If all else fails, you can try restoring the Mac with a backup made from Time Machine to a date prior to installing 10.13.4, assuming you made one anyway (one of the many reasons regular backups are so important!).

Installation failures and software update failures should drive home the importance of always backing up a computer, particularly before installing any system software update, security update, or other software.

After macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 successfully installs, you can get a Security Update 2018-001 for macOS 10.13.4 as well, but don’t forget to backup before beginning that process either.

Did these tricks work to resolve your problems installing macOS 10.13.4? Let us know in the comments below if these approaches worked for you, or if you found another solution.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

48 Comments

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  1. T.J. says:

    Tried all of the above on brand new iMac Pro with Apple tech support, nothing worked. Waiting for 10.13.5 in hopes it resolves the issue.

    • Martin says:

      I have the same problem after automatic update to OS 10.13.4 my screen went black and into a loop of restarting chimes then showing the Apple logo for about 1 minute and then 10 mins nothing and again restarting – looping for the whole day.

      I try all (Reset parameter RAM) Option-Command-P-R
      – nothing
      I try Safe Mode – nothing
      I try Recovery mode Command-R – nothing
      Just black screen and the loop …

  2. LilB says:

    The upgrade has totally bricked my system.
    Working with Apple since yesterday — no luck.
    System is totally useless since adding this update
    Nothing has worked.

  3. Josh says:

    Is there an underlying problem with the newer hardware? Every time the is a new update I see there’s all these issues, but on my 2010 MBP I have no issues… ever!

  4. FarmerBob says:

    I found and have heard that 10.13.x, especially .4 is so buggy, that as recommended, I have reverted to Sierra that is far faster and less buggy.

    • Ken Hanson says:

      Did not work on my 2009 OS …planned obsolescence ..?
      I plan to get a new iMac …but now I wonder

      • Otter says:

        From my own circle of colleagues, High Sierra seems to either work just fine, or have a lot of trouble. Why is it unpredictable? I don’t know why that is, because some of them have the same computers (mostly MacBook Pro) in the same corporate environment.

        Let’s hope 10.14 is a whole lot better! In the meantime, I use 10.12.6 and it is great, very stable, but it does like to use resources.

  5. Ann Cassar says:

    I had a different experience with 10.13.4 system update – it messed up my settings for the trackpad (I don’t use a mouse) and the most difficult to fix was Drag & Drop. Eventually found the setting for that in System Preferences, then Accessibility; ticked the appropriate box and I was again able to use drag and drop. Took an hour to find that box to tick.

  6. David Etherington says:

    Had this problem last week on a mid-2012 MBP. Reinstalling from recovery mode eventually fixed it. Took a lot of groping around to figure it out, though.

  7. Otter says:

    I personally use macOS Sierra 10.12.6 and it works great. No problems, other than it being a RAM hog, but “macOS” has been resource heavy for a few years now.

  8. FarmerBob says:

    Always update with a downloaded Apple “Combo” installer.

  9. Pete says:

    Bricked my MacBook 13. Have spent all day yesterday trying to fix this issue. No luck. Lucky I have things backed up but it means hours of work setting things up again the way I like it. Frigging Apple their software quality has sure gone down lately. I am so pissed!

  10. Steve Henry says:

    I wonder how these people (who launch Apple software on unsuspecting customers) would react if they came out to their rental car in the morning and found that the former clutch pedal was now the gas pedal , the brake was the clutch and the clutch was brake pedal. The shift pattern was reversed and the turn indicator was up for left turn

  11. Doug Manley says:

    My MacBook refuses to load this update, no matter what I do… I left Microsoft years ago because of crappy software updates… Now Apples software updates are far worse than Microsoft’s…

    For all the billions Apple has it is time for them to start putting quality back into their products or I’m leaving… They are investing in cars, movies and every other stupid thing… They have lost total focus of who they are!!!

  12. John Williams says:

    I have had issues similar to those described with my Mac Mini every since i loaded OSX 13.X.X and i noted that it failed complete the installation update because my Mini failed to go through the restart correctly, so i manually switched the Mini Off then back On again and it successfully resumed the installation and completed the upgrade. But on the last upgrade i found that it was failing on the “final” boot, ( as the upgrade appears to take multi restarts) and this was due to some strange interaction with the USB devices on my system so i removed all USB cables and sure enough it continued the boot and all seems fine…. Not sure if this something unique to my system or not.

  13. Carvel Baus says:

    The initial update worked for me, then when I went to boot the machine the next morning (today) the computer kept trying to complete and Installation but couldn’t – kernel panics among other things.

    I had to reinstall OS from the Recovery menu. That took about an hour but appears to have worked. Posting this from that computer.

  14. Lee says:

    10.13 is a dog, has been since it was released. Maybe on a brand new computer its fine, but anything a bit older, rubbish. 10.12.6 on my 2011 Mac mini and its running fine

  15. I too see the same thing on my mid-2012 15″. FWIW, I have a SSD and presently at 10.13.3 I tried:

    Downloading macOSUpd10.13.4.dmg while booted and the systems rebooted installed for about 16mins then upon log in I was still at 10.13.3.

    This reminds me of Linux GRUB2 issues of it not booting the correct kernel.. that’s likely that OS X not writing the MBR…

    • Michael Scott Howard says:

      Tried the Combo, it too failed, systems booted old kernel 10.13.3 LOL! this very basic Apple, your MBR is not booting the correct kernel… This should take a Grad Student 1 day to fix…

      • Michael Scott Howard says:

        sw_vers
        ProductName: Mac OS X
        ProductVersion: 10.13.3
        BuildVersion: 17D47

        • Michael Scott Howard says:

          pkgutil –pkgs|grep 10.13
          com.apple.pkg.OSX_10_13_IncompatibleAppList.16U1088
          com.apple.pkg.OSXSDK10.13
          com.apple.pkg.update.os.10.13.1AutoPatch.17B48
          com.apple.pkg.update.os.10.13.1Supplemental.17B1003
          com.apple.pkg.update.os.10.13.2Patch.17C88
          com.apple.pkg.update.os.10.13.2SupplementalPatch.17C205
          com.apple.pkg.update.os.10.13.3.17D47

          As shown, FAIL!

          • Michael Scott Howard says:

            So that proves that after all the installs.. all the reboots, the dmg for 10.13.4 is M.I.A. from the disk…. LOL! APPLE Take some of your BILLIONS and fix this! Steve has to belooking down and well, I’d say a bit pissed!

  16. James Ludtke says:

    Does any senior officer at Apple, high enough to do anything about this, ever read this column?

    Does Apple not recognise what these problems do to their reputation?
    How can I, and others like me who like Apple to succeed, contact senior officers at Apple?

    We need to start a mail-in campaign to wake up senior officers at Apple. How can we do this?

    • s says:

      Various problems with High Sierra, including the issues reported with 10.13.4 installation, are all over the Apple Support boards, so one would imagine the company is aware of it.

  17. Paul says:

    I have found that resetting the PRAM worked for me and then the update installed.

    Steps for resetting the PRAM;

    1. Shut down your machine. Yes, all the way down, not sleep or logging out.

    2. Press the power button and then press command-option-p-r. …

    3. Hold those keys down until your Mac reboots again and you here the startup chime.

    4. Let go of the keys and let your Mac reboot normally.

  18. DG says:

    There’s a much simpler fix if your computer gets the missing resource error after installing.
    Boot the computer up while holding the option key.
    Select your hard drive from the options.
    The computer should boot up normally from there. After that, just run the update again.

    Note: if you don’t run the update again, you’ll have to hold the option key everytime you start the computer.

  19. Carl S. says:

    I’m running 10.13.4 on a 27″ iMac with SSD, and 2018-001 will not complete the installation. However, now my Mac will not shut off completely. After shutting down or attempting to restart, the screen goes dark except for the mouse pointer. The only way I can shut it off completely is to hold the power switch down for several seconds. Once shut down, it boots up and operates normally.

    I tried First Aid, and defragging, but neither helped. I also reinstalled MacOS via MacOS Utilities, but no help either! Will there be a 2018-002?

  20. Carl S. says:

    I’m running 10.13.4 on a 27″ iMac with SSD, and 2018-001 will not complete the installation. However, now my Mac will not shut off completely. After shutting down or attempting to restart, the screen goes dark except for the mouse pointer. The only way I can shut it off completely is to hold the power switch down for several seconds. Once shut down, it boots up and operates normally.

    I tried First Aid, and defragging, but neither helped. I also reinstalled MacOS via MacOS Utilities, but no help either! Will there be a 2018-002?

  21. James ludtke says:

    If they know about it then:

    1. They really do not understand the gravity of the problem.
    2. they don’t care.
    3. they are incapable of fixing the problem.

    Is it 1, 2 or 3?
    Both speak ill of Apple

    FWIW.
    I suspect they rewrote major portion of the system with SWIFT. They know they painted themselves into corner, with no easy way to get out of.
    1. They can’t admit it, until they fixed it.
    2. They cant go back to the last Objective C version of OSX dropping 2 years o so of improvements.
    3. Fixing it means going back to the last Objective C, and update that system with all the change made since then.
    4. They can’t admit the bladder they made with SWIFT, until the finished rewriting the OSX.

    This explanation is the only one that I can think of, which is consistent with:
    1. they know of the problem.
    2. They know it is a serious problem.
    3. They working furiously on a fix.
    4. They are rewriting OSX back into Objective C.
    5. The final fix will take a long time coming.
    6. In the meantime they patch SWIFT API’s as fast as they can, which is not very fast.
    7. They cant tell anyone about it.

  22. Carl S. says:

    Just discovered that the so-called Apple Combo Update link above apparently does NOT include 2018-001, because it was published in March! Am I wrong?

    • Michael Scott Howard says:

      Generally speaking one patching in order of release (I’m a yea olde UNIX guy). I attempted that and as a last resort tried the Combo bundle…. System was booted, the dmg installed, rebooted, progress screen as about 16mins, the system rebooted, and well still at 10.13.3 as shown above… Clearly, Apple knows this issue, that is happening on new and old hardware…

  23. Tom says:

    Hi, my MBPr 13″ Mid 2014 took about 15 minutes to complete the update, with no problems.

  24. Carlos G. says:

    Hi,
    By coincidence or not, after the Update (which took a long time), the “Contacts” all gone and, in connection with the iCloud, also from there. Is it possible? …
    iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010)
    2,93 GHz Intel Core i7
    12 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

  25. jane says:

    Gutted. A panel just popped up saying “are you sure you want to shut down your computer” then it just shut down. will not re-start or boot. no start up sound nothing. MacBook pro is less than a year old, been perfect. any help appreciated. earlier today asked me if i wanted to install updates, i said try tonight. but MacBook wasn’t plugged in when it went off.

    • Dion says:

      Plug it in and charge the battery, then turn the Mac back on. If the MacBook wasn’t plugged in and it is now off, the battery is probably too low to power up.

      If your Mac is less than a year old, it is covered by the Apple Warranty which means you can call Apple and get them to help fix your problem.

  26. Dan E says:

    I tried 3 times to install 10.13.4. I did not pay too much attention. I thought I saw something about firmware, like there was an incompatibility. I saw on other sites to do run first aid. My first aid run found a font file but with annotation I did not understand. The font file is ヒラギノ角ゴシック W5.ttc
    Not sure what this is?

    ヒラギノ角ゴシック W5.ttc_ATS_6948_-109419915

    Checking the fsroot tree.
    error: drec_key object (oid 0x20066bbed): invalid hash (21c0cf, expected 21a556) of name (ヒラギノ角ゴシック W5.ttc_ATS_6948_-109419915)
    fsroot tree is invalid.
    The volume /dev/rdisk1s1 could not be verified completely.
    File system check exit code is 0.
    Restoring the original state found as mounted.
    Operation successful.

    Could this be interferring with the update?

    • Paul says:

      Try using the Combo Update to install the macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update.

      It’s unlikely a font file would be preventing a system update, but if you’re concerned about that you could always move the font file out of the system folder and install the update, then put it back afterwards. Don’t delete it though, you might need it.

  27. Jason says:

    I have encountered an error or a failure when trying to update macOS 10.13.4 system software, the installer freezes after many hours of being stuck. The Mac won’t boot. Tried to reinstall Mac OS through Recovery Mode but without any success. The recovery tools said the installed OS was newer than that one the tools suggested (10.7). The hard disk was checked without any problem.

    I tried to call the local support center but they said they can not help as my mac was bought long time ago.

    Just want to say, before the update, the mac runs perfectly. and now I was upset that the recent update bricked my iMac.

    • JO says:

      Try reinstalling from Internet Recovery mode instead:

      Command + Option + R on boot

      Otherwise try restoring from the backup you made before installing macOS 10.13.4 update. Restoring from your prior backup is probably best.

  28. Flat Earth says:

    I once joked that now the OSes being free and not paid, means that if it’s messed up you couldn’t complain abou it… but why? Since this works at Linux, you got quality for free. Think about it. It’s just numbers now in Apple there’s no flame burning there anymore. Think of a once “family company” now something different doesn’t matter… and i go deeper, as long as there’s fanboys, buying whatever stuff with eyes closed just to go with the flow…..

  29. Dannfpr says:

    I had no issues with 10.13.4 initially. However, about two weeks ago my Canon Pixma MG3222 was no longer recognized by my system preferences. Instead, I had an Epson 240 and another label printer option via Bonjour. I downloaded the Canon driver three or four times, bought a new USB cable, talked endlessly with a Canon/Mac support person to no avail. I can actually see an image of the Canon Pixma with the kindest of messages, “It’s in use.” Well, it is not in use by me and I see no idea it has any intention of getting started on my page until it is good and ready. Whether 10.13.4 through Bonjour refuses to recognize compatible printer drivers is news to me, but more importantly, neither Apple or Canon had an answer.

    • John says:

      Just want to report that with my high sierra updates, bonjour and my printer have crapped out.
      I have updated my router firmware, but still can’t IP print on my Brother printer via IP
      Can only print by USB connection.

  30. Media says:

    I’m sorry to report that not only did the update completely brick my 2007 iMac. It killed my new 2017 iMac Pro. Apple Support was a joke, since I knew more about Apple products than those fastfood employees did…
    I paid a LOT of money for the iMac Pro and I feel taken. So much so, that I think I’m going to try a Win10 box. I just built a gaming one for my son and realized how much money I could have saved going that route. I’ve been a loyal Apple user from the Apple ][ – but enough is enough. Apple only cares about the iPhone now and as another reply stated wasting billions on stoooopid ventures like cars. Time to vote with my dollars. Shame.

  31. Cypress says:

    Mid 2010 Mac Pro 5,1

    I had an issue trying to install 10.13.4 and 10.13.5 where after restart, it would just be a dead monitor. No signal to monitor.

    Tried multiple things. Safe boot, software restore, etc.

    Realized it might be something about the new graphics card I installed awhile back. Sapphire HD7950 mac edition. After some research on EFI and firmware, came across an installation guide for the card stating to make sure to slide a switch on the device over to the right for use on Macs. Did that, and install worked fine. Back up and running.

  32. J says:

    I tried installing 10.13.5 form the App Store while using 10.13.3 on my 15-inch, 2017 MacBook Pro. It gave me the message “MacOS could not be installed on your computer
    The installer resources were not found. Quit the installer to restart your computer and try again.” I clicked on the “Restart” button and restarts and goes back to the same screen. Eventually, I gave up and restarted in recovery mode and reinstalled 10.13.3 via Time Machine. Everything seems to work except I am disconnected from Dropbox and my Adobe Creative Cloud account.

    Should I just keep using 10.13.3 and not update or try the Combo Update?

  33. Jacob says:

    I had all of the similar problems that everyone else previously mentioned while trying to update my 2012 MacBook Pro. Spent a while researching and was able to fix mine by rebooting in recovery mode and running first aid on the hard drive I was attempting to install on. I also removed all usb drives the time it worked nfs if it had an impact. Saved me money and I had nothing backed up so was pretty worried. Am not super techy I just used the Mac in college and to record songs. Hope this helps somebody else stressing out.

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