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Apple's 2016 revision to their laptop lineup targeted at professional users. Features a 15-inch, 2880-by-1800 Retina display, quad-core Intel Core i7, 256 GB / 512 GB /1 TB / 2TB storage options, 16 GB RAM, and a keyboard equipped with a Touch Bar. Released November 2016. Features Model A1707.

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Why am I getting "A critical update is required" message?

I encountered the error "A critical software update is required for your Mac, but an error was encountered while installing this update." It is often accompanied by a further note saying that "Your Mac can't be used until this update is installed." and the options to Shut Down and Try Again. Nevertheless, clicking either of the options will bring me back to the error, which leaves my Mac unusable. Some may eventually pass the window and log in after many attempts to Try Again, but the issue tends to persist and will recur after a restart. Unable to connect to wifi. Touchbar not working. USB ports not working. Audio system (mic and speakers) not working. Only able to boot up in SAFE mode.

When powering on your Mac, the Touch Bar, which runs independently from the macOS, will attempt to boot with its own OS. If it can't find the embedded OS called bridgeOS in the EFI volume, it triggers a repair, which will then take some files from two folders, including the /Library/Updates/PreflightContainers.

If a valid preflight doesn't exist, your Mac will require an internet connection, prompts the Setup Assistant, and asks you to install the critical software update, which is essentially the update for Touch Bar's embedded OS.

However, the repair may fail due to network issues, incompatibility between the hardware and OS, or hardware problems related to the Touch Bar, Logic Board, LCD, internal hard drive, or webcam cable.

Update (03/16/24)

First two photos show proper disconnect points

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After booting up and attempting to connect to wifi, this is what is displayed…

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Update (03/17/24)

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I'm not sure if this is informational, or if you're still experiencing this issue since it looks like you have done a lot of research already but I will fill in the blanks here. I actually have this on my list to contribute to Troubleshooting content here on iFixit. But it does not occur as often as it used to since this generally occurs exclusively on T1 based models (from 2016/17).

BridgeOS not only drives the Touchbar, BridgeOS is driven by the T1 chip and has hands in many of the hardware functions that T1 controls.

As such, any of the components caught up in BridgeOS can be at fault. Most commonly this issue is related to a faulty touchbar, but it can also be related to any number of components. The best way to troubleshoot honestly is just to open it up and disconnect the touchbar and try to boot that way.

For reference, since there isn't a touch bar replacement guide on iFixit, here's the location of those connectors for the Touch Bar. Be sure to Disconnect the battery first. This model usually boots without the battery connected just on power from the charger, but you can reconnect for your test if you like. Red is for the touch part, orange for display. Disconnect both for your test and see if you get a proper boot to your login screen.

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Alisha, any suggestions to help me figure out what exactly to disconnect?

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Hello Alisha and thank you for responding. Just so I understand you correctly, you were saying to open up the computer and physically disconnect, the Touch Bar?

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I want to make sure I’m not making it worse

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@seanallen23447 yes. that's exactly what I would suggest. Be sure to disconnect the battery first. And be aware the touch bar has 2 connectors, one for the touch bit and one for the actual display. I'll edit a picture for reference into my answer so you know which ones I mean.

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Okay. I will work on it now and let you know what happens. To be continued…..and thank you for this.

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Steps I have taken:

  1. Removed Logic Board
  2. Keep track of all screw placement
  3. Connected Logic board via one of the USB-C boards to USB-C hub and connected hub to HDMI cable, keyboard and mouse. HDMI cable runs from hub to monitor.
  4. Attempted to boot up only the board and now unable to get past Apple logo screen

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Well after much research, deliberation & mental torment attempting to figure out the root cause of this issue, I opted to replace the logic board and top case of my 2016 MacBook Pro A1707. It is working again! I assume the primary cause of this problem (at least in my case) is on the original logic board. I’m going to rest my case now.

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Original logic board and top case.

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