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A Note On High Sierra Compatibility with Third Party SSDs

Some users have reported compatibility issues with third party SSDs when attempting to install or run macOS 10.13 High Sierra. In testing, we have identified a related issue with our Aura SSDs. Apple is aware of these issues and we are working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible. Thus far we believe the issue is limited to Aura SSDs  for only these Mac models:

  • MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2013)
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, Mid 2013)
  • MacBook Air (11-inch, Early 2014)
  • MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

The number of OWC customers affected by this issue is limited, but we take every issue very seriously. We have sent communication to our customers that purchased these specific SSD models, and have been working directly with any customers affected. For those who have not attempted to upgrade yet, we recommend using macOS 10.12.x Sierra or earlier on your OWC Aura SSD.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding the upgrade to macOS 10.13 High Sierra, feel free to contact our award-winning customer service team.

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  • I have a Mac Pro late-2013 with a 2T Aura SSD. Over time I’ve upgraded OS X’s from High Sierra through Catalina by replacing the Aura SSD with the original Apple SSD, update the SSD and put it into an external case, boot off the updated external and clone back to the re-installed Aura, and finally after rebooting off the updated Aura, use Migration Assistant to re-install data.

    Q: is this routine also needed to upgrade from Catalina to Big Sur?

    • Yes the routine is still needed to upgrade to Big Sur. The only thing to watch for is which version of the software they recommend for cloning the upgraded stock SSD to the Aura. When I did mine I had to grab the beta version (download the free version they provide, go into preferences in the app and then select the option to install beta versions). Only other snag I ran into was manually setting the device/path for Migration Assistant to pull from my Time Machine backup on my home network.

      • Thanks Paul.
        While chasing this issue, I text-chatted with OWC support who said my Aura 2T SSD wasn’t compatible above High Sierra because the SSD was RAID-based modules. He recommended I upgrade to 2.0TB Aura Pro X2 SSD for some $400+. No problems on my end up through Catalina; does this make sense?
        That aside, is the upgrade to Big Sur worth the effort? On an upgraded Mac Mini, I only see user-interface modifications (and minor ones at that). Are there meaningful security or technological reasons for this update?
        Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

        • I have the 4TB Aura Pro for my trash can Mac, so I can’t speak in regard to the difference between the Pro/non-Pro version.

          Since I’ve been through this upgrade process so many times now (I’ve had the Aura Pro for quite a while) I can disassemble/reassemble my Mac in no time and rip through the steps quickly. It’s the migration from the Time Machine backup that takes the time.

          For me, I’m enjoying the upgrade to Big Sur. New icons, updates to Messages to bring it more in line with the iOS version, etc. Obviously at some point Apple will drop supplying security updates to Catalina, but that won’t be for a while. Big Sur has been stable for me, and they (literally) just released another point release for it.

  • I encountered issues with an Aura 2TB SSD in my Mid-2014 MacBook Pro Retina, on High Sierra, with Apple 500GB SSD.

    Many painful steps later I: 1. upgraded to Mojave on the old SSD; 2. Created a bootable USB with Mojave; 3. Moved the Aura 2TB to the Mac and the old Apple SSD to the Envoy enclosure; 4. booted (using Cmd-R) and then installed Mojave on the 2TB from the USB key; 5. replaced USB key with Envoy external drive, rebooted, and used Mac Migration to copy files from the Envoy (the old 500GB SSD).

    Before this I had tried (after step 4) to recover from a Time Machine backup I made but after 24 hours of TM in “Preparing Backup”, I cancelled this and went to the step 5 above.

    So far (fingers crossed!) I’ve been running 2 days on the Aura 2TB SSD with no problems.

    • I’ve successfully upgrade to High Sierra, then Mojave and now Catalina using the 4TB Aura Pro in my desktop Mac Pro (trash can Mac).

      Make sure I have an updated TimeMachine backup.
      Re-install the original SSD into the Mac Pro.
      Upgrade the original SSD to the latest OS version.
      Put the original SSD back into the external enclosure.
      Re-install the Aura Pro back in the Mac Pro.
      Boot up off of the external enclosure (original drive)
      Use a utility to image the external drive (upgraded to the latest version) onto the Aura Pro (installed internally).
      Reboot using the Aura Pro, then either restore from TimeMachine or use the Migration Assistant. (I think the last time the Migration Assistant was the way to go.)

      I can’t remember offhand the utility recommended for imaging the Aura Pro from the original drive. While a pain for something that should be dead simple, the process works.

      I’ve not experienced any heat issues or problems. However, I do recognize that my Mac Pro is getting up in age (although still an awesome system!) and with the release of the new Mac Pros don’t expect it will be supported for much longer.

      • I had a problem with upgrading to High Sierra on my 1TB Aura SSD. It took several weeks to get suggestions back from OWC customer service beyond the “We know we have a problem and are working with Apple to resolve it” message. It turns out the the Apple OS upgrades now update the machine’s firmware and you can’t do that due to shortcomings in the Aura SSD. After several tries with similar complex instructions to swap SSDs install the upgrade etc. I finally got it to work. When Mohave came out I the problem reoccured and when I asked Customer service if I was going to have to go though this process every time Apple upgrades it’s OS, I was told that it would seem so. Given that the process didn’t always work, I decided to just stay with High Sierra. If I eventually need something in a later OS upgrade, I’ll look for a different SSD that doesn’t have this issue. I am fairly certain that Apple is not working on any solution to correct Aura SSD issues.

  • I have a 2T Aura installed in a Mac Pro 2013 and have successfully upgraded operating systems through Mojave. A couple of months ago I was about to repeat the process of swapping out with the Apple SSD (for the firmware update ?) for Catalina when I got the OWC-support advice NOT to upgrade until they have tested for compatibility.

    Not sure where to ask, has the compatibility with Catalina been tested, and if so, what’s the installation process starting from Mojave?


      • Mark:

        Thanks for the reply. I will call to discuss with support, but the last two times I called on this issue, I got completely conflicting answers: Initially “go ahead and repeat what’s worked for you in the past”, and then later when I wanted a refresher on the procedure … “we do not advise upgrading to Catalina until Mac Pro with an Aura SSD has been thoroughly tested for compatibility.”

        How do I make sure I’m talking to someone well-informed on this arcane hardware issue?


  • Been dealing with his issue for 2-3 years now on an Aura 4TB Mac Pro SSD. Spent countless hours – no, days – troubleshooting and googling. Unbelievable something that cost that much has caused this many headaches with no actual solution or firmware update from OWC. A few days ago I had to jump through hoops – once again – because Mojave would refuse to install. Had to pull the Aura, swap in the Apple SSD, install Mojave, clone the install to a USB stick, swap in the Aura again, format it APFS, clone the USB stick to the Aura, and cross my fingers that it would boot. Thankfully it worked. This, after literally 10 years of buying different generations of SATA SSDs from OWC for different machines, most of which failed within a few years. I’m so absolutely fed up and done with OWC it’s not even funny.

  • What a nightmare I have had with 480GB OWC Aura Pro Xb SSD. Both in High Sierra and Mojave on a mid-2013 Macbook Air !!! Kernel panics constantly, eventually disk file corruption when it is actually able to boot up. And what is up with the huge chunk of thermal putty attached to it when the original Apple SSD doesn’t need that? What a disaster. I had to send it back. Now using the original Apple SSD and it runs much cooler and back to rock-solid reliability. very sad.

  • I replace my 2015 MacBook Pro hard drive with the OWC 1TB Drive. I get a File and ?. I tried numerous fixes and nothing worked. I reinstalled the old drive, upgraded to the latest software and Mojave. Reinstalled the drive, same thing. I’m so beyond frustrated. I have followed every possible way to fix this problem. I spent most of the day on it reading every possible solution. I’m ready to use it as a frisbee for my dog.

  • I have a 2013 Mac Pro cylinder 6,1 with the OWC 2TB SSD as the internal drive and am unable to upgrade to High Sierra. I have done a firmware update but still am unable to update the Mac Pro.

  • Hi.
    I have a Mac Pro late 2013 running Mojave10.14.1, just purchased the 1TB Auro Pro X drive. System does not recognize the drive and to make matters worse as long as the drive is installed the system refuses to boot into recovery mode.

    So far not heard much back from OWC.

  • I had followed the process to update the firmware when high sierra was released for my Mac Pro 2013 with the Aura 4 TB SSD. The firmware is installed through a Marvell software RAID manager. I was able to get the Mac Pro to update and run properly but maintained in in HFS+ as I was unable to format the drives as APFS and I was concerned about APFS being stable enough for my configuration. Yesterday I just updated to Mohave and voila…it updated without a hitch and now my boot drive is now APFS with an indicator that its “shared by 4 volumes” in Disk Utility. So far so good…fingers crossed it stays stable.

  • Aura SSD Firmware Update:

    Jarrod Rice Thank you for your help.
    followed your steps and it worked with no problem (Late 2013 Mac Pro Aura SSD 4TB).
    I am now running 10.14 with APFS Volume on my Aura SSD 4TB.
    Again Thanks. William

    • Hi William

      Could you by any chance advise me what you ditto get this working? I can’t seem to get anywhere with thisissue. I have a Mac Pro late 2013 and Aura SSD 1Tb.

      Appreciate your help.



        • William, the firmware updater specifically says “This specific firmware update process does not apply to Mac Pro customers.” Are you saying that, in fact, the firmware updater DID WORK on your Mac Pro’s Aura 4TB SSD?

          • I used the firmware updater on the link above on a Mac Pro with a 4TB Aura SSD, and was successfully able to install Mojave 10.14 without a problem. Thus far my system appears stable; crosses fingers.

            • I tried to follow the directions, but in the menu where they say to select “update” there is no update option. So how do I update on a MacPro?

            • Hi – I was successful on my MAC PRO 2013 – not not do the Firmware update, just upgraded the APPLE SSD and then Carbon Copied over to the OWC AURA 1TB.
              Question – HIGH SIERRA has a patch – can I update via APPLE ‘s way going forward?

  • I have this problem. Funny that OS X refuses to install, but didn’t refuse to upgrade to High Sierra. I ended up with an un-fixable file system error. Trying the approach of installing previous OS

  • I’m a developer here as well. What can I do to fix this issue? It is especially annoying because I’m running high Sierra already and I’m trying to update to mojave. Does anyone have a solution?

  • Trying to install the Mojave developer beta on my MacBook Pro with a 1Tb OWC Aura SSD.
    Even though I am attempting the Mojave install, I am getting the message:
    MacOD High Sierra cannot be installed because the third-party storage installed in your Mac is not compatible. Please contact the supplier directly for assistance.

  • I have a 13 inch MacBook Pro with the 1G Aura SSD installed. I tried to wipe it and put a fresh install of High Sierra 10.13.3. No Joy. Got a message that my SSD was incompatible. Fortunately I had a backup, but it took 18 hours to restore from a USB 3 drive.

  • I have a Macbook Pro 15 Retina and the only way the drive worked was to install a fresh copy of High Sierra from USB and then migrate the data from the apple drive or time machine.

  • I just installed OWC aura pro ssd to my MacBook Pro 2013, however it seems to reboot two times by itself everytime I turn it on. I don’t know if this cause by the ssd or if it just the way it is! Also the SSD has been causing my MacBook Pro to over heat which forces the fans to run 80 percent of the time.

    Do you think you guy have any solution of that?

  • Once again issue related to the compability. In my case, the screen displayed the following quote: “macOS Sierra cannot be installed because the third-party storage installed in your Mac is not compatible. Please contact the supplier directly for assistance”… so I do.

    By the way, I had already had some issues in the past which I had resolved by installing the original one into the MacPro (2013)…. however and very saddly, the problem seems to arise once again

  • I purchased a ssd for 13″ MacBook Pro Retina display (2013) back in Nov/Dec. It has been working fine until today. When I attempt to reinstall IOS over the web, I get an error message that says my hard drive is not compatible? I had just upgraded to the newest version of High Sierra.

  • Just a note for everyone here, I was having trouble with installing 10.13. When I re-installed the original SSD (including the screws), I got a black screen and the fans spun up. I was still under applecare, so I took it in and they replaced the logic board, I/O board, and I/O flex cable. These mac pros have a high failure rate, so if you are having problems, and have the original SSD and applecare, it might be worth it to have apple check it out.