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I have a 16" base-model MacBook Pro which has been rock steady since I purchased it about a month ago. Since mistakenly installing macOS 10.15.4, I have been getting kernel panics at least 3 times per day even without transferring large amounts of data. Sometimes just browsing causes a kernel panic. Not good, Tim Apple, not good at all.
 


I have a 16" base-model MacBook Pro which has been rock steady since I purchased it about a month ago. Since mistakenly installing macOS 10.15.4, I have been getting kernel panics at least 3 times per day even without transferring large amounts of data. Sometimes just browsing causes a kernel panic. Not good, Tim Apple, not good at all.
For what it's worth, my 2019 27" iMac has been rock steady since the 10.15.4 update. Your issue could be that particular Mac model, or something in the system that isn't playing nice.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here are some details on today's release of a macOS 10.15.4 "Supplemental Update" with fixes for FaceTime incompatibilities and other bugs, but it's not clear whether the huge crashing bugs have been fixed yet or not. An update to Apple's T2 security/storage system's BridgeOS was included.
Mr. Macintosh said:
Home Blog Links Slack Contact How-To Articles macOSSystemStatus Catalina 10.15.4 Supplemental Update (19E287) Released!
In a surprise today, Apple released a new Supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.4. This update weighs in at 1.01gb and is available now for all 10.15.4 Catalina users. This update looks to fix 4 different issues. Apple also updated BridgeOS and re released a new installer.app, combo update and delta update.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch


Re macOS 10.15.4 Supplemental Update:

Two Mac Minis: late 2012 and 2018

The 2012 Mini update took about 15 minutes. The only somewhat strange thing was the Catalina install screen (large white square with the Catalina desktop in a circular cutout) appeared early in the process. I thought I'd seen it on the macOS 10.15.4 update, but it was gone by the time I reached the Mini. At any rate, it was replaced by the usual Apple logo and progress bar.

The 2018 Mini update took 40 minutes plus – multiple black screens (restarts?) interspersed with progress bars that never seemed to get past 3 minutes remaining. I almost shut down the Mini but decided to walk away. (Past experience taught me that forced shutdowns only led to failed update installs.) It did eventually complete.

I've got to conclude that the T2 chip makes updating a major pain. Apple really needs to work on this. (No comment on an update to an update in less than a week.)

#applequality
 


Apple's drive to eliminate kernel extensions (KEXT's) in macOS Catalina might be related to some of the severe bugs we're seeing.
I got the "legacy system extensions" message after updating to macOS 10.15.4 this morning. It affected (only?) two pieces of software. One was a rarely used item from 2014. The other is an important Cisco VPN utility. Presumably, Cisco will be updating that soon.
 


For what it's worth, my 2019 27" iMac has been rock steady since the 10.15.4 update. Your issue could be that particular Mac model, or something in the system that isn't playing nice.
I had not a single kernel panic before 10.15.4 - then a plethora of them since updating.

However, I did the update to 10.15.4 Supplemental Update a few hours ago and have yet to see a kernel panic although I've been using the 16" MacBook Pro steadily for those past few hours. We'll see.
 




Apple's drive to eliminate kernel extensions (KEXT's) in macOS Catalina might be related to some of the severe bugs we're seeing.
If by "severe bugs" you mean the kernel panics since updating to 10.15.4 reported by RBock and others, I doubt kexts have anything to do them. The panics are more likely to be due to bugs in the update. Especially if the 10.15.4 Supplemental Update reduces the panics. Time will tell.

Eliminating kernel extensions was announced nearly a year ago, at WWDC 2019. In my opinion it's simply another part of Apple's long term strategy to reduce the ability of users to control their Mac.
 


Apple has apparently updated its macOS Catalina 10.15.4 downloads, in addition to posting its "Supplemental Update".
So I wonder if the inevitable supplement to the Supplemental Update will appear for all Catalina users...

This is another example where Apple could be much more clear about what's going on when they are in Damage Control mode. Perhaps what's needed is enforcing a better naming convention with dates and incremental numbers, which they sometimes do but not always.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
If by "severe bugs" you mean the kernel panics since updating to 10.15.4 reported by RBock and others, I doubt kexts have anything to do them. The panics are more likely to be due to bugs in the update.
To be clear, I was referring to apparent Apple kext changes in the 10.15.4 update, not implying that any of this is the fault of Apple's customers (and their kernel extensions).

However, I have no idea where the bug is in Apple's macOS 10.15.4 update or the invisible firmware and BridgeOS updates bundled in there. It may have to do with kext libraries or kext firmware or kext processing in BridgeOS, or it may be bugs in entirely different Apple code – I have no answers, just questions.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've just posted this on the MacInTouch home page, but it appears that Apple's latest Catalina/firmware/BridgeOS updates can completely disable ("brick") your Mac!
MacRumors said:
WARNING macOS Catalina 10.15.4 Supplemental Update BRICKED my 13 inch Macbook 2018!
I attempted to install the update but about halfway through my computer shutdown and it bricked my 2018 13 inch MacBook. No power, no fans coming on and off or anything when pressing and holding the power button. It was plugged and fully charged while updating. Anyone else having this problem? Also attempted to do a SMC reset to no avail still won't turn on. I am sending it in for repair. I would hold off updating unless you want to risk losing your computer for a week.

#applequality #bricking
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
For what it's worth, here are some notes from Howard Oakley about the contents of the 10.15.4 Supplemental Update:
Eclectic Light Co. said:
What changed in the 10.15.4 Supplemental Update?
The macOS 10.15.4 Supplemental Update released on 8 April 2020 isn’t a small update by any means, at a minimum of 1 GB. Much of that is taken up by the same set of EFI firmware updates which have already been delivered in the recent 10.15.4 update, so what else is there in this unscheduled update?
 







Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've just posted this on the MacInTouch home page, but it appears that Apple's latest Catalina/firmware/BridgeOS updates can completely disable ("brick") your Mac!
Note this recovery procedure, which may help at the cost of destroying all data on your internal drive...
Apple said:
Revive or restore Mac firmware in Apple Configurator 2
If any of the following occurs, you must restore both the T2 chip firmware and erase the internal flash storage:
  • You can’t start the Mac from the startup volume or the recoveryOS
  • Internet recoveryOS was unsuccessful
  • Reviving the firmware was unsuccessful
WARNING: Back up your data before you restore the firmware on your Mac. When you restore the firmware on a Mac that contains an Apple T2 Security Chip, you are restoring the firmware on the T2 chip and on any volumes on your internal SSD storage. When this process is complete, any data on any SSD volumes is unrecoverable.

#applequality #bricking #firmware
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More from Howard Oakley on the unusual Apple "supplemental" update this past week:
Eclectic Light Co. said:
Last Week on My Mac: Surprise Supplemental Update
... Apple had pulled out all the stops and built a Supplemental Update for Catalina because of problems connecting FaceTime with devices running older versions of iOS.

Weigh each word in that sentence. Here was Apple moving heaven and earth to ensure that Mac users could still enjoy FaceTime connections with iPhones and iPads still not running the current release of iOS/iPadOS. It was a problem which few of us, who had already updated our sleek modern devices to iOS 13.4.1, had even noticed. But with so many Mac and iOS users around the world now relying on FaceTime to keep in touch with friends, colleagues and relatives, Apple made this fix as important as the most dangerous of security vulnerabilities.
 


I just noticed this morning that a progress bar has been added to the Finder during device syncing. It's at the bottom of the Finder window to the left of the Sync button, and seems to display everything iTunes used to during sync.
 




New MacBook Pro 2019 16-inch, 2.3 Ghz 8-core i9, 16Gig RAM -- updated yesterday and it crashed overnight and/or at wake-from-sleep. Not sure which.
I can report successful installation of macOS 10.15.4 on a similar MacBook Pro with migration of just user accounts two days ago. So far, any problems discovered have been 'cockpit errors' and a couple of corrupted plists – all this involving a most ingenious user.

Yesterday I upgraded in place a 2018 Mac Mini to Catalina 10.15.4 from Mojave. No problems in the upgrade – essentially guaranteed, since I made three Carbon Copy Cloner backups to three separate drives. All applications except Apple's media apps continue to work as expected with no data loss. Now, however, I am faced with trying to figure out how Apple has moved around my media files. So far, it is not apparent that there is any reasonable method for using Books to manage Audiobooks, because my collection exceeds any free space on my boot drive – 500 GB, chosen before it was apparent how Apple was planning to remove my choice of storage location. I now recommend a minimum boot drive size of 1 TB.

A problem still remains from previous macOS on T2-equipped machines – external drives must be disconnected and then reconnected to enable the SMART kext to enable reading SMART data via USB or FireWire connections. Other that that and based on Catalina beta testing, my clients' self-updates, and the two recent installs, I can easily recommend Catalina installation or upgrade following redundant backups and with a clear understanding of the consequences of using Apple media applications.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
No problems in the upgrade – essentially guaranteed, since I made three Carbon Copy Cloner backups to three separate drives.
Of course, backups can't resuscitate a Mac that's "bricked" by a bad update, and if that's your only Mac, and you're unable to use your computer for weeks, that's not going to be a whole lot of fun....
Eclectic Light Co. said:
What to do when a T2 Mac suffers a problem updating its firmware
If there’s one thing you don’t want to happen with any Mac with a T2 chip it’s a problem with a firmware update. If you only have the one Mac, contact Apple Support, as the supported methods require a second Mac (which doesn’t need its own T2 chip) and the current release of Apple Configurator 2.

... Apple draws a distinction between reviving and restoring the firmware. This is very important: if you can revive rather than restore, no data will be erased on that Mac. If you must restore the firmware, that restores firmware on volumes on internal SSD storage, which destroys all existing data on your internal SSD.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
OWC's Rocket Yard blog analyzes the severe crashing bug infecting Apple's macOS Catalina 10.15.4 software and offers a low-level workaround (which requires disabing SIP protections).
Other World Computing said:
Why Is My Mac Hanging When Copying Files After Upgrading to macOS Catalina 10.15.4?
A few days after the macOS 10.15 update was released, we began to hear of “Finder hangs” from DITs (Digital Imaging Technician) on movie sets. They were having their Macs stall when transferring hundreds of gigabytes of video from their 4K and 8K camera cards to their OWC ThunderBlades and ThunderBays. Anytime we hear about this type of problem, we immediately start looking for a cause.

A day later, we were able to reproduce the problem 100% of the time by copying 300 GB of large (10 GB) files from one SoftRAID RAID volume to another. Using a kernel debugger, we determined that the hang was not caused by an error in the SoftRAID driver. We then were able to reproduce the hang on an AppleRAID volume, using the AJA System Test Lite test application.

Once we proved the hang was not a problem with the SoftRAID driver, we alerted Apple engineers to the issue and collected further information to help them with their investigation. I can’t say when Apple will release the fix for this problem, but in the past, when they have been alerted to a hang or kernel panic, they had it resolved in the next update to macOS.

#applequality
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Another bad bug in macOS Catalina 10.15.4 crashes the computer on waking from sleep:
Mr. Macintosh said:
10.15.4 Update = Wake from Sleep Kernel Panic in 16" MBPro (2019)
Did you Install the 10.15.4 Update on your 16 Inch MacBook Pro 2019, only to get a Kernel Panic after you Wake it from Sleep? You are not alone.

Are you keeping track? Does this situation sound familiar to you? If so you have a great memory! I tracked a very similar issue that was caused by the 2019-004 Mojave and High Sierra Security update back in July of 2019.

#applequality
 


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