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macOS 12.1 now showing up on your M1 Mac? Here’s how to force the update

macOS 12.1 isn’t automatically showing up on M1-powered Macs but there is a workaround.

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If you’ve got a Mac, you might have been eagerly awaiting the macOS 12.1 update. The biggest part of the update? SharePlay, which lets you share your screen or watch the same content with other people on a FaceTime call. Perfect timing, with omicron about to put us back into social distancing.

That’s not all that’s coming; with Apple’s Hide My Email feature for creating burner emails, new family safety controls for Messages, and the new Apple Music Voice Plan also included in the update.

Sounds great, right? Well, for some users of M1-powered Macs, the update isn’t even showing up. Here’s how to force it to appear.

Here’s how to force the macOS update on your M1-powered Mac

macbook pro notch on 2021 model
Image: KnowTechie

At this time, we’re not really sure why the update isn’t showing up. It seems only M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max users, are affected, and even the full macOS Monterey installer doesn’t work to get macOS 12.1 installed.

This workaround (found by a 9to5Mac commenter) seems to do the trick:

Open System Preferences > Software Update. If it says the update is ready to download, do so and install normally. If it is not showing, leave the window open.
Open Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor
Click on View > All Processes
Look for com.apple.MobileSoftwareUpdate.UpdateBrainService. Select it, and click Force Click.
(Try com.apple.NRD.UpdateBrainService if that didn’t work)
Check the System Preferences > Software Update window that we kept open to see if the 12.1 Update shows up now. Click Update Now
If the update doesn’t start downloading, force quit the com.apple.MobileSoftwareUpdate.UpdateBrainService or com.apple.NRD.UpdateBrainService again.

Doing all of that should get your Mac downloading the macOS 12.1 update. Once downloaded, you shouldn’t have to do anything out-of-the-ordinary to get it installed.

We’re still scratching our heads as to why this is necessary. Hopefully, Apple fixes the issue so you don’t have to resort to workarounds to get your update.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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