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Apple warns of boot loop bug in latest macOS beta

MacBook users with FileVault enabled might lose access to volume after updating

Apple has warned of a bug in the latest beta release of its macOS Monterey operating system that could render devices inaccessible.

The problem affects macOS Catalina users that install the beta releases of Monterey 12.3 or Big Sur 11.6.4. If Catalina users install these on a volume with FileVault enabled, it could stop them logging back into the previous volume, Apple's release note warned.

If triggered, the bug causes the machine to fall into a boot loop, trying to start up but perpetually failing.

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Launched in 2003, FileVault is Apple's on-the-fly encryption solution for macOS. Originally targeting just the home directory, later versions offered full-volume encryption.

Apple announced macOS Monterey at its WWDC event in June. The software, which shipped in October, features a redesigned tab system for the Safari browser and updated applications including Maps and Notes.

The operating system also promised Universal Control, a feature that allows users with multiple Apple devices to work across them all at once. Apple since delayed this feature for mainstream users until spring this year.

Apple made Universal Control available in the Monterey 12.3 beta release last week, but the implementation has known issues including unexpected disconnections, and problems with drag-and-drop for some file types and applications. It also said some third-party keyboards and mice might encounter issues with added functionality like scroll wheels.

Beta operating systems are intended for developers and other technically advanced users willing to cope with and report technical issues. They should be installed only after data has been backed up. Apple enables users to install beta operating systems on separate volumes and switch between them.

Other problems have also plagued mainstream users. In November, reports emerged of Monterey installations bricking older MacBooks.

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