How to fix macOS Big Sur download failed error occurred

MacOS Download Failed Error

Are you trying to update your Mac to the latest version of macOS Big Sur but get the Download failed arise? Is your computer notifying you that “an error occurred while downloading the selected updates?” This is a common macOS 11 issue that triggers when downloading a new version of macOS Big Sur!

How to fix macOS Big Sur download failed error

1. Check Internet connectivity

The pop-up that failed to download comes with some troubleshooting tips. macOS asks you to “check your internet connection” and try the update again.

This is the first troubleshooting step you should take. Check the status bar for active Wi-Fi connectivity. You can also open Safari and do a Google search or play a YouTube video.

Do: Internet connection must be stable. If it is intermittent, it will trigger the download failed error and the macOS Big Sur download will stop.

2. Rule out any problem on the Apple server side

MacOS Software Update System Status

Although rare, Apple’s servers can get overloaded when trying to update. This could trigger the macOS download failure issue. The servers will stop downloads once a critical server load is reached.

Apple is transparent on this subject and informs of any internal problems on its System Status Page. If the macOS Software Update Service is listed as “Available” (green), go to the next step!

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3. The correct date and time on your Mac?

Date and time settings may interfere with a macOS Big Sur software update. Make sure your Mac is configured with the correct date and time:

  • hurry cmd + space bar to illuminate the Spotlight search.
  • To research Date and hour.
  • Make sure that the ‘Set date and time automatically‘the option is checked. Otherwise, click on the padlock in the lower left corner to make the required adjustments.

4. Download macOS Big Sur from the Mac App Store

Try downloading the latest version of macOS Big Sur using the Mac App Store and see if that can help you bypass the download failed error:
download macOS Big Sur from the Mac App Store

  • Open the App Store on your Mac.
  • Type macOS Big Sur in the search box.
  • Click on View next to the macOS Big Sur result.
  • Use TO HAVE to force your computer to check for the latest version of macOS Big Sur.
  • The Software Update application opens and prompts you for the latest version of macOS 11 available. Click on To download to start the update. Crossed fingers!

5. Update in safe mode

If the macOS Big Sur download failed error keeps showing, your next option is to try updating after restarting your Mac in Safe Mode:

  • Click it apple logo, available in the upper left corner of the screen.
  • Go for To close… and wait between 15-30 seconds.
  • Turn your Mac back on and immediately press and hold the button. Shift key.
  • Release Shift after connection the interface is loaded. Provide your password.
  • To research System Preferences -> Software Update and try to download the latest version of macOS Big Sur once more. Does it work? Use the comments section and let us know.
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Important: Booting Mac M1s in Safe Mode is a bit different. After turning off the computer and waiting 15-30 seconds. Turn on the MacBook and hold down the power button until you see startup disks and on-screen options. Then press and hold the Shift key and Continue in Safe Mode!

6. Run Disk First Aid

Performing disk first aid might resolve the macOS Big Sur download failure issue:
how to perform macOS disk first aid

  • Bring it Spotlight search again and search Disk Utility.
  • To select Macintosh HD in the left sidebar, or the first drive that appears below the Internal Category.
  • Click on First aid and let’s go Course. To continue to confirm your order.
  • Restart Mac Once the first aid procedure is complete, try updating to the latest version of macOS Big Sur again.
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7. Free up storage space

Last but not least, you need to check if there is enough free space available on your Mac. macOS Big Sur requires up to 30 GB of free storage for deployment.
Even minor updates like macOS Big Sur 11.5.2 require at least 3GB of free storage. Anything less than this will cause the download to fail.

Point: Check out our in-depth guide on how to free up storage space on Mac!

Did you successfully fix the macOS Big Sur download failed error? Which fix worked for you? Are we missing something? Do you have a better one? Use the comments section to share your comments.

Related: How To Fix MacOS Big Sur Download Stuck!

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