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Can't Install macOS Sonoma on Mac/MacBook, Why & How to Fix

Updated on Thursday, July 11, 2024

iBoysoft author Connie Yang

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Connie Yang
Professional tech editor

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Jessica Shee

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Summary: If you can't install macOS Sonoma on your Mac/MacBook Pro/MacBook Air, follow this post. From here, you can learn why you failed to install Sonoma on your Mac and how to fix this issue. - From iBoysoft

cant install macOS Sonoma on your Mac

You receive the message saying "macOS Sonoma cannot be installed on Macintosh HD" or similar during the system installation process.

If you don't know why you can't install macOS Sonoma on your Mac and are seeking ways to get out of this trouble, read this article carefully. It supplies 11 proven solutions to fix the macOS Sonoma installation failure. Let's try them now.

11 quick fixes for macOS Sonoma not installing:

Share these tricks to help those who also can't install macOS Sonoma on Mac.


Why can't you install macOS Sonoma on your Mac?

The macOS Sosoma installation failure can be caused by diverse reasons. Here are the common causes why you can't install macOS Sonoma on your MacBook:

  • Incompatible Mac model.
  • Poor and unstable internet connection.
  • Insufficient storage space on Macintosh HD.
  • Unsupported format of the startup disk.
  • macOS Sonoma bugs.
  • Corrupted macOS installer.
  • Errors on the startup disk.
  • Conflicts or impediments from third-party programs.

Go to tell your friends the reasons why macOS Sonoma cannot be installed on a MacBook.


Can't install macOS Sonoma on your Mac, how to fix it?

As various reasons can make you fail to install macOS Sonoma on your Mac, you need to troubleshoot all the possible troublemakers. Thus, you're suggested to follow the fixes below one by one until your Mac can install macOS 14 successfully.

macOS Sonoma

1. Check if your Mac model supports macOS Sonoma

macOS Sonoma is incompatible with old Mac models. Only the following devices support Sonoma:

  • MacBook Air 2018 & later
  • MacBook Pro 2018 & later
  • Mac Mini 2018 & later
  • iMac 2019 & later
  • iMac Pro 2017
  • Mac Pro 2019 & later
  • Mac Studio 2022 & later

You can go to the Apple menu > About This Mac to check the release date of your Mac.

2. Ensure your Mac has a good and stable internet connection

An internet connection is required to install macOS. If the internet connection is unstable and poor, it probably makes the macOS Sonoma installer downloading fail. Even if you've prepared a downloaded installer, the internet is also required during the installation to get some other information about your Mac.

So, you can check if your internet connection is well. You can try turning off your Wi-Fi and then on or relaunch your network.

3. Free up enough storage space for macOS Sonoma installation

Sometimes, the insufficient free storage space on your Macintosh HD makes the macOS Sonoma cannot be installed successfully.

check free space on Mac hard drive

You may notice the macOS Sonoma update stuck during the OS downloading or installation process. It requires at least 13GB of free space to store macOS Sonoma. The older the macOS version that you currently use, the larger the free space asks for installing Sonoma.

To prevent your Mac not turning on or running improperly after installing Sonoma, you also need to retain over 15% of free storage on the Mac hard drive.

Not enough space to install macOS Sonoma? You can remove duplicate images, useless larger files, software that's not commonly used, etc. But this job is time-consuming and complex, so you'd better use a Mac cleaner to help you.

clean junk files on Mac

iBoysoft DiskGeeker is a nice choice. This Mac optimizer can help you clean useless files that are scattered on your Mac with simple clicks. Then, you can quickly get much free storage on your Mac for macOS installation.

After getting enough free storage space, you can download and install macOS Sonoma on your Mac again.

4. Check the Apple Server status

If the Apple Server is down, you will fail to download and install macOS Sonoma onto your Mac. This a rare case but indeed has happened.

You can visit the System Status webpage to verify if the broken Apple Server resulted in this problem or not. Usually, the light next to the Mac App Store and macOS Software Update shows red means that the Apple Server is broken and you can't download the OS installer at current. If that is the case, wait until the Apple Server returns to normal.

check Apple Server

5. Restart Mac and install macOS Sonoma again

Perhaps, your Mac has some temporary errors that stop you from installing the macOS 14. Usually, a simple restart can bring your Mac to the original and best state. Later, you can try installing macOS Sonoma again.

6. Update your Mac to the minor updates of the current system version

Still can't install macOS Sonoma on your Mac? You might haven't updated the available minor updates of the current system.

The minor updates of the macOS you're running usually contain patches for security vulnerabilities, software compatibility improvement, system performance enhancements, etc. All of them work to bring a smooth and stable OS upgrade.

So, you can go to the Apple Menu > System Preferences (or System Settings) > Software Update to check and update the available minor updates for your Mac first and then install macOS 14 again.

update minor updates of the current macOS

7. Delete the installer and redownload

Maybe the macOS Sonoma is corrupted, make macOS Sonoma cannot be installed on your Mac. You can move the installer to Trash and then redownload macOS Sonoma from the App Store or support.apple.com. Note that ensuring the internet connection is well during macOS downloading.

8. Install macOS Sonoma from Software Update

If you fail to install macOS from the Apple Store or Apple's official website, you can directly update your Mac to macOS Sonoma from Software Update. Simply click on the Apple menu > System Preferences (or System Settings) > Software Update and then click "Upgrade Now."

9. Install macOS Sonoma in Safe Mode

If the "macOS Sonoma cannot be installed on this computer" error message still disturbs you, try installing macOS in Safe Mode. Starting up your Mac in Safe Mode won't load third-party drivers, which may be the troublemaker that runs in the background to prevent your macOS Sonoma installation.

10. Check your startup disk

Still no luck? Your startup disk may have some problems. You can run First Aid to check and repair possible errors on your startup disk.

Here's how:

  1. Go to Launchpad > Other > Disk Utility.
  2. Select Macintosh - HD or macOS volume on the left sidebar of Disk Utility.
  3. Click "First Aid" > "Run."
    run First Aid check the startup disk 

During the process, you'd better not operate on your device.

11. Clean install macOS Sonoma

If you can't install macOS Sonoma on your Mac after trying the above solutions and checks, the last workaround is to perform a clean macOS Sonoma installation. Simply speaking, that is to erase the startup disk and then reinstall macOS in Recovery Mode.

Clean macOS reinstallation will erase all data on your Mac. So, you need to back up your files in advance to avoid data loss.

After that, follow these steps to cleanly install macOS Sonoma:

  1. Enter macOS Recovery Mode. Ensure that your Mac is connected to the internet well.
  2. Click "Disk Utility."
  3. Select the Macintosh HD or macOS volume from the left sidebar and click "Erase."
    erase Macintosh HD
  4. Back to the utilities window and choose "Reinstall macOS."
  5. Follow the on-screen guide to set up your Mac.

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