Errors with MacOS Big Sur Downloading; Update Not Found, Installation Failed, Forbidden, etc

Nov 12, 2020 - 40 Comments

Big Sur installation failed error

Many Mac users are currently unable to download macOS Big Sur. This could be due to overwhelmed servers, or a number of other issues. If you’re experiencing problems trying to download macOS Big Sur, whether it’s an error message, a failed download, or an incredibly slow download, you’re not alone.

We’ll go over a few common error messages that may be seen when attempting to download macOS Big Sur, with possible remedies as well when available.

“Update not found – the requested version of macOS is not available”

update not found error
If you venture into Software Update and see an “Update not found : the requested version of macOS is not available” error message.

You can typically resolve this issue by following a link to download from the Mac App Store and then starting the download via the Software Update control panel afterwards.

“forbidden – An error occurred while installing the selected updates.”

forbidden error

Once macOS Big Sur is available within Software Update, some users may attempt to download the update and be confronted with an error message stating “forbidden – An error occurred while installing the selected updates.”

It’s unclear what specifically is causing this error, but for some users removing the beta profile from macOS seems to fix the issue. For others, rebooting their Mac seems to resolve the error. And for others still, it seems that there is no immediate resolution, which could indicate an issue on the side of Apple servers, and simply waiting a while before attempting to download again may fix the problem.

If you encounter the “forbidden – An error occurred while installing the selected updates.” error message on a Mac running macOS Mojave and/or with a T2 security chip, you may need to install any available security updates and BridgeOS updates before being able to download macOS Big Sur.

“Installation failed” – an error occurred while installing the selected updates.”

installation failed error
Some users are seeing “Installation failed” – an error occurred while installing the selected updates.” when trying to download macOS Big Sur.

This is likely related to Apple servers being swamped, so give it time and try again later.

The Apple System status page indeed indicates there are currently issues with the macOS update servers for some users, for example.

“The package %@ is missing or invalid” Error Message

Some users have encountered an error message stating “The package %@ is missing or invalid” when attempting to download or upgrade to macOS Big Sur.

This problem can sometimes be resolved by installing any available system software updates on the Mac first.

Also, sometimes changing the wi-fi network (or turning off wi-fi if you’re on ethernet), and then deleting and re-downloading the macOS Big Sur installer can sometimes resolve the error.

“Download Failed: An error occurred while downloading the selected updates”

If you see an “Download Failed: An error occurred while downloading the selected updates” message, sometimes you simply need to wait a bit and try again.

If you’re using a VPN, try disconnecting from the VPN and downloading the update without one.

Finally, try quitting all apps, then rebooting the Mac into Safe Mode (reboot and hold down the SHIFT key), and trying to download and install the macOS Big Sur update again from Safe Mode.

MacOS Big Sur downloads extremely slow

This is likely due to Apple servers being overwhelmed. Give it plenty of time, or simply cancel the download and wait until a later time when Apple has more server capacity available to accommodate the demand.

If you encounter any particular issues with downloading or installing macOS Big Sur, and whether you found resolutions or not, share them in the comments below.


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


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  1. akshey says:

    I receive this error while downloading 11.6.1 Mac
    OS Bigsur .What does it mean
    2021-11-02 12:46:39-05 softwareupdated[556]: SUOSUMobileSoftwareUpdateController: Download finished: Error Domain=SUMacControllerError Code=7705 “[SUMacControllerErrorDownloadUpdateBrainFailed=7705] Failed to perform update brain download operation

    please help me with this

  2. Ken says:

    I’ve tried three times without the download completing. The last time it left me the me the message that “Package%@” is missing. I do not have an alternative network through which I can download. Can anyone suggest an alternative tactic?

  3. Kathryne Feng says:

    I’m getting the error message, “No users available for authorization. An error occurred while reading device owners. Ensure that some user is allowed to administer this computer.” This is a brand new MacBook Air. Am trying to do a factory reset because when installing Microsoft Office, I accidentally clicked on a scam site which had me download a remote access program. I want a factory reset in case the scammers downloaded some malware on my new laptop. Having a heck of a time reinstalling macOS Big Sur. Any helpful tips are appreciated.

    • Paul says:

      You might not be logged in as an admin user account, you can check that in System Prefs > Users & Groups

      As for any potential Malware, the Malwarebytes application is free at a basic level and should be able to scan the Mac and remove anything sketchy installed that shouldn’t be there.

      To reinstall macOS, Reboot the Mac holding down Command+R to get into Recovery Mode, then choose to “Reinstall MacOS”. Backup all your important data first! You can also use Internet Recovery to reinstall macOS if the system is particularly messed up, which will attempt to reinstall whatever version of Mac system software shipped on the computer, but because it’s all over the internet it can take a long time to complete.

      Hopefully one of these tips works, let us know what works for you!

  4. None says:

    Why don’t you try Linux?

  5. joe dzurinda says:

    Why bother with another buggy OS update. The computer notified me 11/15/20 of the update and I replied to install it. I know it ran for 2 hrs until I went to sleep.

    Next morning I found it sitting on the error. Enough is enough, I closed everything that was open and will not waste 1 more min of my time on updates.

    There are bugs in Catalina that aren’t fixed and I bet they have been carried over to Big Sur. I’m referring to the activity monitor that can only show 1 column.

    I’m done with Apple, going back to Windows.

  6. Steve Sutton says:

    OS Big Sur has downloaded on my 2017 iMac but attempts to reload my faithful Epson Stylus sx430W printer have failed. Just says an error has occurred. Is this likely a software issue? Have always received automatic updates for previous OS editions.
    Epson support indicates no software available??
    Any advice appreciated.

    • Suraj says:

      Hi buddy! I am also facing the same problem with my Mac Pro as after updating to Big Sur my Epson L130 printer disappeared. I have been trying to find the solution to the problem but today is the third day no solution as yet. I have contacted Apple and they are yet to provide me with a workable solution. Till then just wait it out bud!

  7. Richard says:

    I had no ptoblems with download and install.
    I use an external drive on my iMac 5k to run 32 bit applications in Mojave.
    Whilst I can see the 32 bit drive in the startup drive app in Big Sur settings I cannot see Big Sur when access startup disk in Mojave.
    I have to power off the computer then use the option key to select Big Sur on startup.

  8. Rudi says:

    I could download Big Sur, prepared a USB install stick to make a clean install. Installation failed half way with the message, to load the install file again. Since my MacBook is the only Big Sur certified one, I had to do a new install from Timemachine using Catalina. I deleted the downloaded Big Sur installer from /Applications (also from waste basket) and tried to download it again. But every time the installer pops up again (mounting a /Volumes/Shared Data) and tries to install on top of Catalina. Sigh!

    Remade the stick again from the installer, tried to install again as described and it failed again half way with same message (i.e. 15 min before finished)! Now I’m back on Catalina on the macbook.

    And Apple? Weekend?

    • deLaura says:

      What was the exact error message you encountered during installation of Big Sur?

      Usually a clean install requires you to erase the Mac target disk, something you wouldn’t want to do without a full data backup of course, or even onto a separate drive.

      There were known issues with trying to dual boot Big Sur with other macOS releases during the beta, you’d hope those were fixed but who knows.

      • Rudi says:

        Thanks deLaura, yes I know how to make a clean install as I always do clean install with major releases. I don’t remember the exact error msg but it was like “Installation failed, load a new installer file”.

        And now the fun thing here: I used this same usb stick and patched it with the micropatcher for unsupported Macs and it installed my late 2013 iMac without any problem. I’m testing with an external ssd but so far everything is working fine.

        I now also have installed Big Sur on my supported MacBook. I started to install directly on Catalina this time. I already had a install file in the Applications folder. In the preferences before download it says 16.1.02 at the end and the new one is 16.1.03 which was downloaded again, even though I had one in the Application folder. Anyway, I have both machines running.

  9. Christopher says:

    I had it fail with the mentioned error on the day of release. However, I left it 24 hours, it downloaded and installed without any issues the following day. Please note the install is approximately we 12gb and it takes up to an hour to install with a few reboots too.

  10. MJ says:

    In my new mac pro, Big Sur download fails with “This version of macOS is not supported at this time. Please contact local (?) support for futher assistance.” WTF???

    • Paul says:

      That’s a very strange error, does it show up in Software Update or in App Store? If you can share a screenshot (to Imgur or otherwise) would be helpful.

  11. Henry says:

    Maybe all you folks who have been failing to load it should consider yourself lucky, given the revelations about Big Sur contained here:

    • Hoodonkey says:

      Bypassing VPN is a genuinely shocking breach of security. Does Apple not realize that many people must be discrete in their work and personal lives? Think about journalists, diplomats, infosec, security staff, people working in high security fields, people traveling/working in hostile countries, etc… having system nonsense bypass VPN and not being able to be blocked is absolutely crazy. What is Apple doing to the Mac? And why?

      Also, with all their claims about valuing security and privacy, it’s a good time to remember that iCloud backups are not actually encrypted.

      Makes you wonder if it’s just all marketing.

      People have a right to privacy. And my computer should be mine to control, especially at the prices Apple charges!

      • jrcw says:

        New reports claim that some late 2013 and mid 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro owners are unable to use their machines after upgrading to macOS Big Sur. During the upgrade to macOS Big Sur, these machines reportedly get stuck and remain permanently on a black screen. Typical Mac restart solutions, such as using Internet Recovery, or booting up in Safe Mode, do not work or are simply unavailable.

    • Jrcw says:

      I have forward this article to Object Development since they have released Little Snitch v5 for Big Sur. I’m waiting on their response.

  12. Brian says:

    Taking forever to restart following download of be sur today

  13. Danielle says:

    Apologies, the topic here is Big Sur, but I had a similar issue with iOS14.2 for my iPad Pro. Tried downloading the update 3 times, 3 failed attempts, errors occur while Preparing the update. Update installed successfully on the iPhone 11pro. Anyone having similar problems? I guess I will have to wait for iOS 14.3 :( and try again

  14. Jacqueline Turner says:

    Mine failed several times and then apparently succeeded. However my computer is still running Catalina

  15. Faxanadu says:

    Once again Apple has failed to anticipate demand for downloads. I have been a Apple products user for many years but their Progressive Technocrat Philosophy has become oppressive.

  16. Austin says:

    UK: 13:51
    MacOS Big Sur Update not found. The requested version of macOS is not available.

    MacBook Pro

    My MacBook Air at 08:02 updated as expected.

  17. Sandy M says:

    Have experienced similar (same) problem with Catalina update, after seemingly endless download And install I got the ‘failure’ message on my MacBook Air!

  18. Kusasi says:

    Long hours wait to download for 12.18 GB BUT when already reach 12.18 it just stop no respond even after wait several more hours. Totally wasting time! This is bad!

  19. Julian Duncan says:

    downloaded Big Sur, no probs … but now I cannot connect my MacBook Air to my Apple TV, no screen mirroring and just a big pain to go through a basic set up every time ….

  20. Alex says:

    Just to let you know, my iMac is stuck with Catalina but the App Store is showing application updates that I can’t download because Big Sur is the required OS.

    Too much things, too much apps, OSes, evey year, and this is what happen.

    Apple is trading off quality for quantity.

  21. Big Sure says:

    I couldn’t download it all day, I got two out of the three error messages that are shown above. I waited until this evening and the Big Sur download went fine, so I think Apple resolved their server stuff.

    I made sure I had installed prior updates available on the Mac.

    Then I quit out of System Preferences, relaunched it, and back to Software Update and clicked the Upgrade button and it started downloading fine.

    Upgrading to macOS Big Sur from macOS Mojave 10.14.6, wish me luck! LOL!!! I hope I don’t regret this one, I avoided Catalina because that was a mess!

  22. David says:

    Two Macs and both will not download Big Sur. It goes through the entire download process and then at the end fails. This is 12 hours after the first reports of Big Sur update failures so pretty poor of apple and supporting the intel based macs like they said they would.

  23. Joe Hom says:

    Finally got it to download and start installing. Fan on my MacBook Air 2020 was whirring like crazy and then the whole MBA just stopped. After cooiling down for ten minutes it started back up and continued the installation. After about 15 min the fan is back at it again…

  24. Rick A says:

    I got my first attempt foiled by the “forbidden” window. Next, I accessed Software Update via the drop down box under the Apple logo (top left). From there the Big Sur download started.
    After about 15 min., it says “1.42GB of 12.18 GB – about 4 hours remaining.”
    So, we wait!

  25. geoff says:

    Yes getting the installation failed to two different systems. I’ve gone through half the download multiple times… always ending in “Installation Failed”. The download always starts over and never tries to uses the previous download. Too bad I’m not getting reimbursed for the wasted bandwidth.

    Now the installation fails is almost immediately on both systems.

    Will Apple make a statement? There marketing message that everything just works is simply not working.

  26. Jeff says:

    Well if you’re on Release Candidate 2 there’s no rush, the build is the same.

    Public Release
    macOS 11.0.1 20B28

    Release Candidate 2
    macOS 11.0.1 20B28

    (I was one of the few that got a copy early)

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