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Archived - About firmware updates for Intel-based Macs

Learn how to locate, download, and apply a firmware update to an Intel-based Mac computer.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Note: If you're updating a Mac notebook, make sure you plug in your AC power adapter. The Firmware Updater application will not run unless you connect the computer to AC power.

  1. Locate the appropriate update for your Mac at Apple Downloads or by choosing Software Update from the Apple () menu.
  2. Download the update by clicking Download. A disk image will download to your desktop or your Downloads folder.
  3. Double-click on the disk image to mount it if it doesn't mount automatically.
  4. In the mounted disk image, you'll find a file ending with "...FirmwareUpdate.pkg. Double-click the file to start the firmware update process.
  5. Read the onscreen instructions and click Shut Down to proceed with the update. Your computer will shut down but the update will not be installed until after the next step.
  6. Hold down the power button until the power indicator light flashes, then release it. You will hear a long tone and then see a gray screen with an Apple logo. There is a progress bar under the logo. Installation takes a few minutes.

    Important: Don't unplug, shutdown, or restart your computer while the update is taking place. Interrupting a firmware update can render your computer unusable. If this happens, take your machine to an Apple store or authorized service provider or perform the recovery yourself using another Macintosh computer to download the Firmware Restoration CD disk image from http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/. This software allows you to create a CD which you can use to restore your machine to working order.

  7. After your firmware has been updated, your computer will restart.
  8. After you log in, a dialog box will appear indicating the firmware update has been successful. Click OK.

If there's an installation issue

If the updater wasn't successful, try installing again by opening the Firmware Updater application in the Utilities folder. Start over from Step 4 above.

In the unlikely case that your computer displays a black screen after starting up, you can restore your computer's firmware back to factory condition. Follow the directions to restore your firmware.

Important: An Intel-based Mac's hard disk must be formatted with the GUID partition scheme to apply a firmware update. Intel-based Macs are shipped this way from the factory. If you've reformatted your hard drive, you should check which scheme your hard disk is currently using before applying a firmware update.

Note: If you're applying a firmware update using a version ofOS X earlier than version 10.5, you can't apply firmware updates on a computer that starts up from a software RAID  volume. If you're starting up from a software RAID volume, you must start up from a storage device other than a software RAID volume to apply the update.

Some USB and FireWire devices may prevent firmware updates from installing correctly. If you're having trouble installing an update try disconnecting non-essential devices and use only an Apple keyboard, mouse, and display.

Additional Information

Find out which version of firmware you have

If you're updating an Xserve, see About EFI firmware updates for Xserve for more information.

Last Modified: Sep 15, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Sep 15, 2014
  • Article: HT1557
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