Some MacBook and desktops running macOS refused to boot. Surprisingly, the problem has been traced back to a faulty update that was sent by Google to the Chrome web-browser for macOS. The search giant and maker of rival Android operating system has acknowledged that a recent Chrome update may have caused problems to the reboot process of some macOS machines.

Google has also offered a resolution to fix the ‘Unable to Boot macOS’ issue, which essentially involves rolling back the Google Chrome update. However, macOS users who face the boot issue will need to type a few but rather lengthy commands in the Terminal Command Window.

Faulty Google Chrome Update Behind Certain macOS Computers Failing To Boot:

Google has been citing several instances of security compromises, exploits and vulnerabilities in the operating system designed for iPhones and MacBook computers. However, in a rather strange twist of events, a few macOS machines were unable to boot due to a recently released software update to Google Chrome. Google has acknowledged the issue, and quickly issued a temporary solution, which requires macOS users to enter the Recovery Mode of their Mac computers and enter a string of commands in the Terminal Command Window.

Update: AVID has stated that the root cause for the reboot issue is unrelated to its creative tools. Google has since confirmed that a Chrome update “may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines” and has provided instructions for affected users.

— (@MacRumors) September 25, 2019

The problem was first spotted and gained publicity after Mac Pro computers running older macOS versions, and installed with Avid’s Media Composer software, reportedly refused to reboot. Several film and TV editors across Los Angeles faced the weird, frustrating, and concerning issue. Owing to the recent revelations and claims made by Google about the potential vulnerabilities in operating systems developed and maintained by Apple Inc., it was widely believed that a focused group of hackers had deployed a sophisticated virus that targeted macOS machines. However, Google issued a statement via its Chrome Help page revealing a possible culprit behind the issue. The support page briefly mentions the issue:

“We recently discovered that a Chrome update may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines with System Integrity Protection (SIP) disabled, including machines that do not support SIP. We’ve paused the release while we finalize a new update that addresses the problem.

If you have not taken steps to disable System Integrity Protection and your computer is on OS X 10.9 or later, this issue cannot affect you. ”

Google Chrome updater spikes entire MacOS install, if users turn off a protection feature for the OS.

— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) September 25, 2019

The description of the boot problem clearly mentions that the bug doesn’t affect machines with SIP turned on, and those that are running OS X 10.9 or later. In other words, users who have kept their macOS machines updated, and haven’t messed with critical settings that are designed to safeguard the core file system of the operating system on MacBook and Mac Computers, shouldn’t be affected by the Google Chrome Update bug.

How To Address macOS Machines Failing To Boot Issue:

Those macOS machines that refuse to boot, need to have certain commands entered in the Terminal Command Window. Google recommends affected users to boot into the Recovery Mode. Once inside the mode, affected macOS users should open the Terminal application which can be accessed from the ‘Utilities’ menu. Once the Terminal Command Window is open, enter the following commands, without changing anything:

chroot /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD   # “Macintosh HD” is the default

rm -rf /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle

mv var var_back  # var may not exist, but this is fine

ln -sh private/var var

chflags -h restricted /var

chflags -h hidden /var

xattr -sw “” /var


After entering the commands, reboot the macOS machines. These steps should “remove the affected version of Google Software Update, then restore the damaged portion of the file system,” notes Google. What’s even more important is that macOS machine users must not disable SIP as it is specifically designed to safeguard MacBook and Mac Pro computers from faulty updates.