macOS does not start and presents a black screen: due to a bug

Asahi Linux is an open source project that aims to port the operating system Linux on SoC-based devices Apple Silicon. The Asahi Linux team focuses on the development of drivers and software (the first driver compatible with the Apple GPU was recently released) to allow the penguin operating system to work even on the most recent Macs. The main difficulty, obviously, derives from the fact that Apple does not release the source of its software, therefore the development of Asahi Linux must necessarily develop along a heavy reverse engineering. Now, Asahi Linux programmers discover a serious bug in macOS Sonoma and macOS Ventura 13.6: macOS won’t start and presents a black screen when booting.

macOS does not start: it depends on a bug present in the Sonoma and Ventura versions

Hector Martin, one of the leaders of the Asahi Linux project, reported the existence of a problem in macOS Sonoma 14.0 and macOS Ventura 13.6 which can lead to the display of a black screen when starting the machine. This puts users at a dead end with the only solution being to use the DFU recovery mode of macOS. Martin is keen to point out that the problem can affect both users who have installed Asahi Linux and those who have not installed it.

The situation occurs with certain settings when they are installed, one “next to the other”, multiple versions of macOS (for example, Sonoma and a previous release). In particular, Asahi Linux behaves as if it were macOS 12.3/12.4/13.5, depending on the model and time of installation.

Although it mainly concerns the dual boot configurations of macOS, Martin observes that the situation described – with the anomalous presentation of a black screen – occurs even when macOS 13.6 is the only operating system installed.

What causes the black screen at startup on Mac systems to depend on?

macOS Sonoma updates use the previously installed version as the tool for system recovery. This can cause incompatibility issues with older versions of system recovery and newer firmware.

In the 14″ and 16″ models, once the firmware is updated to macOS Sonoma and the display is configured to use a refresh rate different than the one used by ProMotion, the system will not be able to correctly boot previous installations of macOS and Asahi Linux.

ProMotion refresh rate setting

Martin suggests waiting before installing the latest versions of macOS so as to give Apple technicians time to correct the problem. Additionally, he suggests checking the display settings on Sonoma 14.0 and Ventura 13.6 (and later) systems to make sure the refresh rate is set to ProMotion. You can also start the installation procedure of Asahi Linux in order to check the status of the system recovery.


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