Keeping your MacBook up to date is essential if you want to benefit from the latest features and security enhancements. Unfortunately, sometimes the update process can fail with various error messages. “An error occurred while preparing to update the softwareOne of the most common Mac update errors. Let’s see how you can fix the problem and update your device.
Fix: An error occurred while preparing for software update on Mac
Try again later or check the full installer
Apple’s servers can be overloaded due to a large number of users trying to update their Macs at the same time. As you already know, slow downloads can corrupt the update installer. One way to fix this is to simply try again later.
You can also access your Applications folder, find and select the Install macOS [Insert Update Version].app and check if you have the full installer. For example, if you are trying to install Big Sur, search for Install macOS Big Sur.app.
If the installer is available, restart your Mac in Safe Mode and launch the installer. Check if you can install the update. If the problem persists during Secure Boot, remove the update installer, empty the Trash folder, and try again.
Free up space
This error message can also indicate that your Mac does not have enough space to save the update files. Delete all the files and applications you no longer need or back up your data to an external hard drive.
- Shut down your Mac and hold down Option before switching the appliance on again.
- Within seconds, the Boot Manager should display two options: Select Mac HD and Connect to your Wifi.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and log back in to the home screen.
- Delete or back up your data and check if you can update your Mac.
Many users reported that their devices displayed a prohibition symbol after restarting their machines in an attempt to correct the error. This indicates that the update files were corrupted or could not install properly. In other words, the startup disk contains an operating system that your Mac cannot use.
- Press the power button until your Mac turns off.
- Then switch on the device and immediately press the Command (⌘) and R keys. This will initiate macOS recovery.
- To select Disk Utility and let the tool repair your startup disk.
- If Disk Utility doesn’t find any errors, go back to macOS recovery and reinstall your operating system.
If you cannot reinstall the operating system or if the problem persists after doing so, clean your drive. After erasing all data from the computer, install the latest version of macOS and restore your data from Time Machine.
Use an external drive
- Get your hands on an external drive (ideally an SSD).
- Turn on your computer, then hold the Shift, Option, Command, and R keys to boot from macOS recovery.
- Enter your WiFi password when prompted. Then connect your external hard drive to your Mac.
- Move towards Disk Utility and select Show all devices.
- Select your external drive and press the button Wipe off option. Then select your drive name, APFS format, and GUID scheme before clicking the Clear button again.
- Go to Utilities and click Reinstall macOS. Accept the terms and conditions and select your external drive as the boot device. You will download the operating system to the external drive.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and wait for the process to complete.
- Then run Searcher, select Macintosh HD Data, select your user account and access your Documents folders.
- Access your files and copy them to another external storage device such as a USB drive.
- Then free up at least 30 GB of space on your Mac. Remember to empty the Trash folder.
- Restart your Mac and hold the Shift, Options, Command, and R keys again.
- Reinstall macOS on your Macintosh hard drive. The storage space issue should be resolved now. You should be able to install the latest version of the operating system on your machine. At this point, you no longer need your external hard drive.
Use this solution if the system rejects your password when you try to use Disk Utility.
- Take a Thunderbold cable and connect the problematic Mac to a desktop computer.
- Download OSX 10.14 Mojave to your desktop. You can use DiskDrill to turn your flash drive into a bootable installation disc for Mojave.
- You can use an external hard drive if you don’t have a flash drive.
- Hold it Option and restart your desktop computer. Install Mojave on your flash drive.
- Then use the flash drive to boot your device.
- Move towards Disk Utility, put your laptop in target disk mode, mount Macintosh HD data and check if your password now works.
- Delete as much data as possible. Ideally, make sure you have at least 40 or 50 GB of free space.
- Restart your Mac and see if you can complete the update installation process.
If your Mac reports that an error occurred while preparing for the software update, it may indicate that you do not have enough free space to install the update. Free some space and try again. Make sure you have at least 40 GB of free space. If the problem persists, reinstall macOS.
Have you successfully corrected this error? Which method worked for you? If you used other solutions to resolve this issue, list the steps in the comments below.