Mac Update Taking Forever – How to Fix

While updating your Mac, you might find that the status bar below the apple logo sometimes gets stuck on a specific percentage or doesn’t move altogether. Even though macOS is a competent and robust system, these hiccups can occur from time to time, and the fixes are usually straightforward.

You can fix the issue of the Mac update taking forever by trying to update the system in Safe Mode. Shut down your Mac by clicking on the apple icon on the top-left corner of the screen. Now, press the start button to start the system and hold down the Shift key to enter safe mode. From here, you can now update your Mac.

If you are still facing such issues, don’t fret, this article details a couple of ways you can fix this.

Mac Update Taking Forever- How to Fix

1. Using Safe Mode

Safe mode is a diagnostic environment designed for Mac systems to handle troubleshooting inquiries. Safe mode allows you to perform several checks on your system while preventing certain specific applications from running.

This is helpful as it will enable you to isolate specific issues and figure out what is wrong with the system. 

Your mac performs several checks when it is put into safe mode, some of which include:

  • Verifying the startup disk, looking for inconsistencies or problems, and fixing the found directory issues. 
  • Loading only the kernel extensions required. 
  • Prevents any startup applications from opening and disables third-party fonts. 
  • Deletes any installed fonts, kernels, and system cache files

If you do not see any progress in the update status, you can boot your Mac into safe mode and install the update.

Mac Update Taking Forever
mac update taking forever to download
  • Press and hold down the power button on your Mac to shut it down. 
  • Now click the power button again to boot it while holding down the Shift key. You will see the Apple logo displayed on the screen if done correctly. 

If you need to exit Safe Mode, simply shut down or restart your system without pressing any keys during the startup time. Mac will then return to its normal mode. You might notice that your Mac is taking some time exiting out of Safe Mode. This is expected, so just be patient and don’t interrupt the process. 

You can check if you’re in safe mode by clicking on the apple logo at the top. Then select “system information” from the list. Now, click on the Software tab from the sidebar, and ” safe ” should be written beside the Boot menu option.

Once you’ve verified that you have booted into Safe Mode, proceed with installing the update as you normally would.

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2. Go to the Apple Systems Status Page

Arguably, this should be the first thing you should do if you see that your update progress isn’t going anywhere. Head over to the official Apple Systems Status page to check the updated server’s status.

This could save you a lot of hassle. Sometimes the problem might be that the update servers are experiencing some sort of downtime issue. 

why is my mac taking so long to update
apple mac update taking forever

If the bubble is green, then the update servers are functioning just fine. However, if you see a red or yellow bubble, their servers are down. In this case, you will have to wait it out till the server issues are fixed. 

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3. Wait for A Little Longer

It might sound hard, but if the above fixes don’t seem to work out for you, try and leave your Mac on the update for a couple of hours, or leave it to update during the night and check for completion status the next morning.

Sometimes, due to some unforeseen issues, the update might not completely be frozen but just progress at a very slow pace, so sitting and waiting it out is your best bet. 

You can also use the Command-L shortcut to show the estimated wait time for the installation to be completed. This also helps you verify that the update is progressing. Even if the shortcut doesn’t work, just let your Mac sit for a couple of hours. 

Some reports have shown that systems have been on the update cycle for more than ten hours and then returned to normal. So, it’s best to leave it overnight and check on it the next morning. 

4. Resetting The Update

If the update is frozen at a certain percentage, you can try resetting the update, which should hopefully fix this issue.

  • To do this, press and hold the power button.
  • Wait for about thirty seconds until your Mac shuts down and completely powers off. 
  • Now, press the power button once more, and the system update should resume from where it was left off. 

Use the Command-L shortcut again to check the update’s progress and see if this fixed the issue. 

5. Resetting The NVRAM

NVRAM is a small amount of your Mac’s memory reserved for quickly accessing certain specific settings. This also possesses kernel panic information, which is exactly what we will use to try to fix the problem.

  • Press and hold down the power button on your Mac till it completely powers down.
  • Ensure that the hard disks, fans, and lights are switched off before pressing the power button again to power it back on. 
  • As soon as you hear the startup sound, press the Command + Option + P + R keys.
mac update taking forever 2022
mac update taking hours
  • Hold the keys until you hear the startup sound play again, and then release them. 

Once you hear that second startup sound, you have successfully reset the NVRAM on your Mac. Your update should now progress normally. Use the Command-L shortcut to check the progress of the update. 


The methods we have mentioned in this article should fix the issue of the mac update taking forever to process. If none of the fixes above work for you, you might need to get your Mac checked out at a certified Apple service center, as it might be due to a larger issue under the hood.

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