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Can an EFI Security Updated Early 2011 MacBook Pro still boot OS X 10.6.8?
(Updated - see below for 3 replies from 2011 MacBook Pro owners)
I saw a post with this question last week but it was from a 2010 Mac Pro owner (which doesn't get the bootrom update). Here's a mail from a reader with an early 2011 MacBook Pro wondering if the updated bootrom affects using older OS X versions like 10.6.8:

"Snow Leopard still working after Mac EFI Security Update 2015-001?
I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro and I would like to install the Mac EFI Security Update 2015-001. Currently I am still booting between Mac OS 10.9.5 and Mac OS 10.6.8.
   As I have read on Apple's website, the update must be done in 10.8.5+.
(I think that's because they don't release updates for pre-10.8 OS's anymore.)
But I couldn't find any info if the Mac is still working ok with Snow Leopard after the update?
Best regards, Wolfgang"

IF all they did was improve write protect it should be ok, but I can't verify that as the only Mac I have that gets an updated bootrom from the EFI security update is a 2012 Mac Mini - which can't boot OS X 10.6.8 (or 10.7.x) to test. The 2012 mini's bootrom went from MM61.0106.B03 before to MM61.0106.B08 after the EFI Security update 2015-001 update, so there could be other changes as well. (It's -B0A after the later EFI Security Update 2015-002 update.) I also have a 2009 Mac Pro but per Apple's doc, the only Mac Pro that gets the bootrom security update is the Late 2013 model.

If anyone has applied the Mac EFI Security Update to an early 2011 MacBook Pro, and also has an OS X 10.6.8 volume they use with it, let me know (news at xlr8yourmac.com) if you've seen any problems with 10.6.8 after the bootrom update. Thanks. (See below for replies, including from Wolfgang.)

Per the revised listing of EFI firmware updates, Macs that get an EFI security update are:

  • Early 2011 to Mid 2014 MacBook Pro
  • Mid 2011 to Mid 2014 MacBook Air
  • Mid 2011 to Mid 2014 iMac
  • Mid 2011 to Late 2014 Mac Mini
  • Late 2013 Mac Pro.

The article's listing includes the bootrom version after the update for affected models. Again, most of these Macs don't support OS X 10.6.8. The early 2011 MacBook Pro's did. (FYI: On Oct. 21st, 2015 Apple released Mac EFI Security Update 2015-002 that included another fix for EFI argument handling. Affected Mac model's bootrom version is shown in Apple's list of Mac firmware updates.)

As I mentioned in the June 30th news, the doc on 10.10.4 and Security Update 2015-005 for Mavericks/Mtn Lion lists the same 2 EFI fixes as the EFI security update but just applying the Security Update 2015-005 to OS X 10.9.5 on the 2012 Mac Mini -did not- update the bootrom. Applying the EFI Security update did. They may have added some protection in the OS, but that software update would not be present in older OS X versions. (I do not use Yosemite so I can't comment if 10.10.4 also updates the firmware automatically.)

Update: Replies from 2011 MBP owners on using OS X 10.6.8 after the bootrom update.

"I have 2 early 2011 MacBook Pros, both with dual startup volumes and both capable of running the latest version of Yosemite (10.10.4) as well as Snow Leopard 10.6.8. Both still boot into Snow Leopard without any problems after the 2015 EFI update that came with 10.10.4.
Kind Regards,
Robert S.
Denmark"

"MBP 2011 with new rom boot 10.6.8
I have a MacBook Pro 8,2 with installed Mac EFI Security Update 2015-001. I can't remember whether it is early or late 2011. (per the Apple doc on EFI updates, if it's an Early 2011 MBP the new bootrom is MBP81.0047.B2A. Late 2011 MBPs new bootrom is MBP81.0047.2AB. IIRC, late 2011 MBPs shipped with OS X Lion instead of Snow Leopard.)
I did a target disk mode boot to a laptop that has 10.6.8. It worked fine. I didn't do much, a little Safari and Pages but it seemed to function. To truly see if it works I'd like to spend a day on 10.6.8 but not today.
-Eric"

Thanks guys. Not able to reply but appreciate you taking the time to write.

And here's a later reply from Wolfgang (who sent the original question above) that includes a note about different SMC versions for his German MacBook Pro than the US model. (A later SMC version linked in the German article listing that was posted before the earlier version US SMC update for the same battery issue/fix.) I added notes in italics about the different SMC updates referenced in the US vs German Apple SMC updates.

"thank you for posting my question. And big thanks also to the readers who have replied.
I have just updated the Firmware and the (early 2011) MacBook Pro is indeed booting in Snow Leopard and as far as I can tell for now, all peripherals and disk(s) sleep are still working like before.

One thing seemed strange, though. These are the relevant lines from System Profiler after the update:

    Boot-ROM-Version: MBP81.0047.B2A
    SMC-Version (System): 1.70f6

As you can see, the SMC-Version is newer than the one that Apple provides (links) here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201518
(The US page list of "EFI and SMC firmware updates". For Early 2011 17" Macbook Pro the US article lists SMC "1.68f99 (SMC 1.6)"

"MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.6
This update addresses a rare issue on some Apple notebooks where a battery that has accumulated more than 1000 charge cycles may unexpectedly shut down or stop functioning"
Post date: Jan 30, 2013.
File Size: 666 KB
System Requirements: OS X 10.6.8, OS X 10.7.5, OS X 10.8.2 or later."
(supported languages are same as the german smc 1.7 update below)
).

And so the SMC-updater refused the installation. (1.6 won't overwrite 1.7.)

I have checked where and when I got the update. It came from this German Apple website (page): https://support.apple.com/de-de/HT201518
(the german page of EFI/SMC updates page) - which (after one week) still lists the older EFI bootrom for download (not updated for "EFI Security Update 2015-001" that the US page was), but has a newer SMC Version (mine is 17", but also the 13" and 15" versions are newer).

(The german EFI/SMC updates page shows early 2011 17in MBP as SMC 1.70f6 (SMC 1.7), that also lists Mid 2010 Macbook Pro.)

"MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7
This update is recommended for MacBook Pro (Mid 2010) and MacBook Pro (Early 2011) 15 and 17 inch models.
This update addresses a rare issue on some Apple notebooks where a battery that has accumulated more than 1000 charge cycles may unexpectedly shut down or stop functioning.
Post Date: Dec 12, 2012
File Size: 703 KB
System Requirements: OS X 10.7.5, OS X 10.8.2"
)

Do you have an idea what this may be about?
Thanks again.
Best regards, Wolfgang"

Not sure why the difference - and note the later date on the (US linked) SMC 1.6 than the german v1.7 which also applies to the Mid 2010 MacBook Pro per the SMC 1.7 d/l page. (The US page lists a different SMC version for Mid 2010 MBPs than Early 2011 MBPs.) I can only guess the german/EU models shipped with a different (later) SMC version than the US model and when they released a fix for the battery charge cycle issue they had to bump the version again.

(I suspect most have already seen this but a reminder to owners about Apple's Repair Extension Program for Early 2011 to Early 2013 MacBook Pro Video/GPU Issues from Feb.)
  

(July 4-6th) Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Article Updates:

(Topic-based page of Tips, Troubleshooting & How-To articles for Mac/OS X/iOS Users.)
  

Tips, News and Reviews:
Recent Updates, Tips, DIY Upgrades and Repairs:
List of Updates, DIY Repair, Upgrade articles, Tips and more you may have missed. (Topics range from OS/software updates, troubleshooting to hardware upgrades and repairs.)
  

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Previous News Archive Summary:
    July 2nd, 2015 News Archive
  • Nvidia Graphics Driver Update for OS X 10.10.4
  • Nvidia CUDA 7.0.52 Update for OS X Yosemite and Mavericks
  • Microsoft Mac Office 2011 v14.5.3 Update
  • OS X Server v4.1.3 (for OS X 10.10.4)
  • Apple How-To/Troubleshooting Article Updates: (partial list)
    - Learn what to do if your Mac won't turn on
    - How to manually migrate data from another Mac
    - Troubleshooting keys on the keyboard do not respond
    - Using the USB-C port and adapters on Early 2015 MacBook
    - Macs that get the EFI Security Update (and bootrom versions afterwards)
    - How to use Continuity to connect your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac
    - Accessing and archiving content from iTunes U private sites
    - Get help signing in to Messages, FaceTime, and Game Center
    - Changes to iCloud storage for current customers
    - About Time Machine local snapshots
    - 5 How-To Articles on Final Cut Pro X

For links to older news pages, see the Archives.
  


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