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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    • Today, my Mac Pro (2013) Aura SSD 2TB is the perfect solution for installing macOS 10.13.2 High Sierra. No need to replace the original APPLE SSD, make the boot disk, right in the Aura 2TB SSD, direct disk formatted APFS format, and then a new installation, everything is going well. The problem seems perfect! At least on my Mac Pro this is the case.

  • I have a MacBook Air 13 inch mid 2012 with a 1 TB Aura 6G SSD installed. Reading the comments below, I was very reluctant to try the High Sierra upgrade.
    Long story short, it went smoothly for me.
    I used the 10.13.1 (17b48) build (about the 3rd version of High Sierra).
    My original disk was in the Envoy, and I first did a clean install to that as a trial. That worked OK, as did installing on top of the existing Sierra that was on my Aura.

  • For those who are new here: OWC emailed me a few days ago with a workaround…
    Put original SSD in system, install HS. Put Aura SSD in and reinstall. complicated but they say it will work to upgrade the system Firmware.

    **I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS** I bought a new computer instead (due to other issues).

    They also said they would update this post. I see that hasn’t happened.

    • This solution, although a pain to do, I can confirm worked in my case. Luckily I had the original Apple SSD in an OWC housing.

      • Since replacing the primary drive would entail for most people having to do a full Time Machine restore, how do you do this if Time Machine has the old OS on it?

        • I had a SuperDuper bootable backup on my original Apple drive in the OWC housing. Removed that drive from housing, reinstalled in to my MacBook Air, and did High Sierra update. Removed that drive, re-installed OWC in Air, then did High Sierra Update again. Took a few hours, but does work.

  • I have a 2013 Mac Pro and purchased the 4TB SSD from OWC as well as 128GB Memory. I contacted them today and was given a fix that worked for me. I was told to put my original SSD back in the mac pro, upgrade to High Sierra and put the OWC back and upgrade to high sierra. It worked. I am happy that the OWC SSD now shows as internal and i am also happy to be on High Sierra. What i don’t understand is why the Drive was not automatically upgraded to the new File System. I did an in place upgrade and not a clean install. I might try it this weekend .-

      • it appears that Macsales offers the option to rent a 256GB SSD from them to do it. I am not sure how that goes and how they would take money from a client to fix something they should be fixing. Maybe whatever money you pay is in case you don’t return the drive. It’s worth checking with them to verify.

        • I have the Envoy SSD but with no instructions. Tried installing Mojave on this external SSD OWC sent me and get the same errors and doesn’t install.

    • This worked for me. It was pretty straightforward, just a little time consuming swapping old drive in and out. The Aura SSD does retain the old file structure.

      • Joel, will you try to reformat so you can use the new file structure or will you remain with the old file structure. I think i am about to try .. i will let you know if that worked.

    • Update on High Sierra Clean install on Mac pro after install on 11/15. The install on 11/15 retained the old File System. I did a clean install on 11/18 , reformatted the Drive to APFS and it worked …

  • I am one of the affected customers, and I never received any communication from you about the problem. I only found out about it after spending several fruitless hours trying to determine why I could not install High Sierra. Please try to beef up you communications to affected customers!

  • I was looking to upgrade my Mac Pro 2013 running El Capitan with one of these, although I’m seriously not considering it now, I’m not sure how long Apple will continue to support EC with security updates.

    This is a significant worry.

    Seems somebody has been looking at this since Sept and no updates forthcoming in the last couple of months. This is a big chunk of cash to part with for a very limited lifespan.

  • I contacted you folks back when High Sierra came out back in September and your response was to watch this blog. No change here. MacBookAir6,2 (13-inch, Mid 2013) with installed 1TB Aura SSD. Really do need a solution path quickly to install/upgrade to High Sierra.

  • I Bought a OWC 240GB SSD for my MacBook Air Mid 2012, Every time I try to Install the High Sierra with the Apple installer Kit, I received this message: com.apple.osinstallersetup.LinkFileDownload erreur 3
    What can I do about this.

  • me too Model Identifier: MacPro6,1 Aura 4tb fails High Sierra update. Mostly just doesn’t install, one time spotted the “firmware error” message. No email received here. SO9711366

  • OWC. I have the OWC Aura SSD 4TB and you didn’t send me any emails. I get the blinking folder with a question mark and then it says there is a firmware problem. When are you going to fix this?

  • I believe I am one of those affected by the aura SSD upgrade kit (order P4890513) as I have not been able to upgrade to high Sierra, it will give me a unbeatable disk logo followed when rebooted a message about the firmware not being able to be verified and to restart, then it restarts back into Sierra. Is there recovery date as of yet? So far this has not caused any problems but I am worried that I use fairly high end software that may require High Sierra in the near future. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  • I have an OWC Aura ITB Ram upgrade for Mac Pro (Late 2013) and am unable to upgrade to High Sierra – Midway through installation, I get the flashing folder with a question-mark. I’ve tried the installation several times and the same problem arises. I guess this is related to the new AFS file system. Please help

  • I have the 2013 Mac Pro with aura update
    I was going to use it for an esx server but the esx install couldn’t find the disk, now apple high Sierra can’t find the disk either resulting in the same firmware update error as others have seen.
    whilst it is certainly not an acceptable get out for OWC has anyone tried attaching the old apple ssd with the external hard case that comes with the kit and updating the aura as a secondary drive?
    I definitely think that some kind of reduction is in order if it needs a new own product to get round the error

  • Does a failed High Sierra installation attempt make it impossible to boot from the prior Sierra installation or damage anything?

    My 2015 MacBook Pro retina is not on the list of affected machines. I have a 1TB Aura in this machine.

    I’m willing to try installing High Sierra so long as it’s not going to brick the Aura or my MacBook Pro. I have a bootable external clone and two Time Machine backups I can restore from if needed. Any recommendations?

      • Ouch! Thanks for your reply, that experiment is off my to-do list.

        This is a real problem for many Aura customers. I wish OWC would provide regular updates on the issue.

  • Getting so sick of Apple’s annual update of Mac OS X and iOS. Every single year, users have to worry about whether their machines will “just work” or not after the upgrade. It’s even worse for those of us who dare to use third party hardware.

    Sure, one can hold off on upgrading annually, but after just three years, more and more applications and programs (like Chrome, Dropbox, Python, etc) no longer work with older systems. At the same time, iTunes no longer connect with the latest iDevices. So one is forced to upgrade sooner or later.

    Apple, the master of planned obsolescence. I never understood why so many fanboys have become brainwashed into being excited by each and every new release of Mac OS which add functionality that most of us (middle aged adults) don’t care about and probably would never even use.

    • … On here, we are not talking about stages of life, we are talking about how our purchases do not work. I bought a OWC product because they are well known in relation to Apple Software. If because a new update of Apple, the products do not work, it is okay: it is reasonable. However, the “reasonable” is to refund the money to your clients or otherwise, provide them an original producto with which they are able to work with. Need I explain myself better or clearly? Please, we look forward to reading about that solution NOW!

      • Hey OWC, so you sent me an email on 9/25/17 alerting me to this problem with no updates since. And you’re not participating in this discussion and providing any info here, although the comments are moderated and you are obviously reading all of them. Your reputation will take a hit if you don’t provide more communication and transparency in dealing with this issue. Where are you at in the process of resolving this issue? What will you do if it can’t be resolved? Aura owners want to know. Thanks!

  • We have 6 machines (late 2013 MacPro) all running Aura 4TB SSD upgrades. They fail the upgrade with a “firmware” error. Is there an estimated timeline for a fix?

    • I have a 2013 Mac Pro and purchased the 4TB SSD from OWC as well as 128GB Memory. I contacted them today and was given a fix that worked for me. I was told to put my original SSD back in the mac pro, upgrade to High Sierra and put the OWC back and upgrade to high sierra. It worked. I am happy that the OWC SSD now shows as internal and i am also happy to be on High Sierra. What i don’t understand is why the Drive was not automatically upgraded to the new File System.

  • I have a late 2013 MacPro with a 2TB OWC Aura SSD. Please let me know what to expect with High Sierra and when it will be safe to upgrade.

  • Hi everbody! Could somebody help me, please? Like for the moment we have no solution, in my case, I am a MacPro Late 2013 user who sold the original SSD. Do you know some web page which sells original SSD by Apple? …This way… at least, I am able to install macOS High sierra

    Thanks in advance

  • I just tried the 10.31.1 HS as a clean USB install on my Mac Pro 2013 with Aura SSD and get the firmware error part way through installation. Reformatted as OSX-Journaled and it failed (is this the same as HFS+? I don’t get that option in the disk utility drop down when re-partitioning), reformatted as MSDOS and it won’t allow an install on that file system. SSD was £1000 and change and it’s brand new, wish I’d read this first… Rolling back to the installation OS from 2013 and hoping that at least works…

    • I have a 2013 Mac Pro and purchased the 4TB SSD from OWC as well as 128GB Memory. I contacted them today and was given a fix that worked for me. I was told to put my original SSD back in the mac pro, upgrade to High Sierra and put the OWC back and upgrade to high sierra. It worked. I am happy that the OWC SSD now shows as internal and i am also happy to be on High Sierra. What i don’t understand is why the Drive was not automatically upgraded to the new File System. I

  • One of the big frustrations about this whole thing is that the introduced a new product line offering rebates to upgrade but many of us, like myself, are not eligible. I purchased my drive in June of 2015. It’s still under warranty yet not eligible to upgrade because they will not accept drives older than 2016. They are still advertising that the Aura works with High Sierra on their website when it doesn’t and offer no updates when it will be available. The lack of support for current and loyal customers is disheartening.

    • I agree. The lack of transparency is frustrating. If there were weekly updates of where things stood with this process, I would have more confidence that it was actually being worked on.

      I support about 25 Macs as part of my job and make recommendations to many other users. If this is not resolved in a satisfactory way for current customers, I am done recommending OWC products for anything.

  • Just for the record: if I try to install the last version (10.13.1) in my MacPro Late2013 with HFS+ format and AURA SSD 2TB…will it work? Please, note that I have sold my original SSD by Apple.

    Could somebody help me? Thanks in advance

  • What was it Donald Perreault? An opinion or an OWC advertisement? I spent more than €1300 to get a AURA 2TB, so, where is my money?

  • I spent $2000 on my 4TB Aura for my Mac Pro, almost as much as I spent on the Mac Pro itself. I want an update on the process to fix this and when to expect a resolution. If it can’t be resolved, I want to be able to upgrade for a minimal fee. C’mon OWC, be more responsive to your existing customers please.

    • I concur. I also have the Aura 4 TB drive. It’s only a year old. I feel like OWC should send me a replacement 4 TB drive that works with the latest version of the OS they claim to support.

      Here is my chat transcript from customer support:
      Chas B (10/13/2017, 2:50:13 PM): Byron, thank you for contacting OWC Support. I am happy to help! One moment please while I review the information you’ve provided.
      Chas B (10/13/2017, 2:55:06 PM): Hello Byron, I am happy to help.
      Chas B (10/13/2017, 2:55:22 PM): I am sorry if you have had any issue with that install of the OS and the machines that are affected.
      Me (10/13/2017, 2:55:32 PM): Thank you.
      Chas B (10/13/2017, 2:55:33 PM): https://blog.macsales.com/42466-a-note-on-high-sierra-compatibility-with-third-party-ssds
      Chas B (10/13/2017, 2:55:44 PM): That blog is the best spot to watch for an update.
      Chas B (10/13/2017, 2:55:48 PM): we are working with apple on the issue.
      Me (10/13/2017, 2:56:51 PM): So, there is no estimated date for a fix, yet?
      Chas B (10/13/2017, 2:59:47 PM): I am sorry, I do not have a time frame on that.
      Me (10/13/2017, 3:00:02 PM): Ok. Thanks for answering my question.

  • I admit I am very anal and when things aren’t working properly or the way I want them to on my Mac Pro (2013), I do whatever is possible to resolve the problem. My solution turned out to be, purchase the new Aura Pro X 480. I then traded in my Aura 1TB for a rebate of $320. I lose half a terabyte storage and the Aura Pro X ends up costing me about $120 with the return.

    This works for me because I wasn’t using but 30% of my Aura 1TB anyway. I off load most of my data onto a 16TB OWC 4 Disk Raid 0. Therefore, the loss in internal storage is not a problem for me.This may not be a practical solution for most but it worked for me.

    I am extremely happy with the new Aura Pro X. It is much snappier than the old Aura on my Mac Pro (2013). Not sure if the speed difference is the HS, APFS or the new Aura Pro X, most likely a combination of all.

    Needless to say I am not pleased with how OWC handled the whole High Sierra Aura situation. I’ve been a long time customer and have spent thousands at Macsales and this is the first problem I ever had. I have had two SSD drive failures that they replaced in warranty immediately. So I certainly can’t complain about their customer support. As a matter of fact they have top notch customer support and tech support. The representatives are always polite and helpful. OWC is the premier engineering company of Apple Hardware and for that reason I will continue purchasing from them in the future.

  • I’m not sure if my first post went through or not but here goes.

    Hi Ryan could you be more specific and say if you were able to install High Sierra 10.13.1 on your OWC Aura SSD media?


      • Hi Ryan,

        Many thanks for your quick follow up. Before I take the plunge, did you have to do anything specific? For example my 1TB OWC drive is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) which is HFS+ with journaling. Did High Sierra 10.3.1 ask to reformat your drive to HFS+, etc? You didn’t swap out drives or anything of the sort? I apologise for the many questions in advance, but it appears that Apple are the ones who allowed the “Rotational Drives” to be used in their 10.3.1 update and not OWC.Thank you.

    • Yes! Installed it last night on a MacBook Pro (13″ late 2011) with a boot HD Samsung EVO SSD. No problem at all. Only concern was when the fan was speeding and it eat about 7 Gb of SSD storage (after the upgrade). But now it’s quiet and working as expected.

    • There is no mention of dealing with 3rd part SSD. Seems like the big change: “Adds support for 70 new emoji including food types, animals, mythical creatures, clothing options, more expressive smiley faces, gender-neutral characters and more:

    • I tried the latest version and still can’t get past the firmware error. I’ve tried to get help numerous times on this and I’ve also asked about the availability of a trade-up to the one that actually WILL work with 10.13.x I was told that a solution would be coming soon. That was a few weeks ago

  • Hello

    I recently did everything I could to update my Mac Pro (Late 2013) to MacOS High Sierra. After wasting nearly a whole day, I gave up.

    Having just come across this post after clicking a link in an email you sent me, it sounds as if I have found the reason!

    The is what I see in System Information:

    Device Name: OWC Aura SSD
    Media Name: OWC Aura SSD Media
    Medium Type: Rotational
    Protocol: PCI
    Internal: No
    Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)

    Please let me know when you have a fix. Thank you!

    • No solution for more than a month. However, I am afraid that you can get your “own” solution: buy the Aura SSD X PRO :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

      Same situation than you. My device: MacPro Late 2013 Aura SSD 2TB

  • The MacSales.com web site (as of 10/30/17) lists the original Aura SSD for the 2013 Mac Pro as being compatible with MacOS High Sierra. Does that mean that they now have a “fix” for this problem?

  • From the MacSales’ site:
    Innovative, Dependable, and Made for Mac… custom engineered for your Mac Pro
    … industry leading suite of controller technologies to deliver longevity and dependable performance …
    Back by OWC’s 3-Year Warranty.
    Engineered for Mac first.
    Quality & Performance You Can Trust
    … reliable performance long into the future
    … exceptional warranty

  • I reported a High Sierra glitch with my OWC Excelsior SSD wherein it no longer reports free & used space accurately. To date OWC is ignoring it.

  • This impacts the MacBook Air (late 2010) with Aura SSD installed as well. Any update on a fix? I have the Aura SSD installed on the Air and a MacPro. Ended up buying a new MacBook Pro because I thought the Air installation had trashed the machine.

  • Mercury Accelsior E2 PCI SSD drives also appear to be affected by this issue. These also show as Medium Type “Rotational” in the System Report as opposed to SSD. The High Sierra install would crash at the beginning and send me back to my current OS. I have a Mac Pro 5,1.

    It is a pretty tedious workaround but by inserting an old SSD into my Mac, taking a full Time Machine backup and restoring it to this SSD, booting into it, upgrading to High Sierra, doing another Time Machine backup and finally restoring the new High Sierra backup to my OWC SSD I was able to complete the upgrade.

      • True, I was trying to stay positive. :)

        I think my bigger concern is at what point did OWC realize this was an issue, and was there any attempt to notify customers of the issue? I spent multiple hours trying to upgrade, and only happened upon this page in looking for answers. I would hope that prior to the official release, they had already identified this issue and communicated this to Apple.

  • Hi , what about question mark on reboot error – have solution soon – too ? When the OWC Aura SSD is installed in a mid-2013 MacBook Air 13″ (MacBookAir6,2), the computer may intermittently boot to a flashing question mark. Restarting the computer or resetting the SMC will allow the computer to boot normally. We are working to resolve this issue.

    • Hi, Donald. We are still working with Apple on a fix for the issue affecting third-party drives. We do expect a resolution to come soon for the Aura models mentioned in this article.

  • Hi there! I am Rubén from Spain. I am very disappointed too. I have gotten the same problem: Mac Pro Late 2013 + Upgrated with OWC Aura SSD Mac Pro 2.0TB Internal Solid State Drive.

    MacOS Sierra was deleted by Apple frome the AppleStore, therefore, should I / we suppose that the only option available righ now for me/us, is to update to OSX El Capitán 10.11? Right?

  • Hi. I have purchased an upgrade from you for my 11″. I haven’t received any kind of communication concerning the high sierra install issues. Your assistance is appreciated

      • Hi Jarrod,

        I know many of us would like it soon since we have Aura drives and have been waiting. Also, I wonder when I go to Aura drives why there isn’t any mention that currently it is not compatible with HS? I would think potential customers would like that bit of information.

  • My 1TB Aura is working on my Late 2013 MBP running High Sierra, but if I don’t keep waking it from sleep after a few minutes, it requires me to do a hard reset to boot back up.

    Is there a driver update or something coming soon?

    • We are very sorry for the troubles that you have been seeing. We are working with Apple closely and expect a resolution soon!

  • I have a 500GB Apple internal SSD drive in my iMac and 4 400GB Micron_P400 external SSD drives in an OWC Thunderbay 4/mini enclosure. Can I convert all of these drives to the new file format, if and when I move up to OSX 10.13? (I am now on OSX 10.12.6.)

  • Having dealt with hard drive crashes, file corruption, magically dismounting RAID arrays and hardware RAID controllers endlessly rebooting servers (I am looking at you PERC), I have learned to hang back on most new OS releases as default…APFS is too new and so undocumented that upgrading upon it’s initial release should scare everyone, doubly so if you rely on your Mac for production. A co-worker of mine faced endless macOS corruption issues after he updated to 10.12.5, only to be told that his mid-2010 27″ iMac was too old and not to bring it into the Apple Store. Once he updated to 10.12.6, everything has been golden. Frankly, Apple’s software QC does not inspire confidence. While I am not impressed with OWC’s communication regarding this issue (bunker mode never works, guys), I suspect this issue is complex and may take longer than anyone wants. File systems and storage controller firmware are non-trivial affairs and should not be treated as such. Anecdotally, it seems as though Apple “assumed” that users would be running all Apple hardware when designing APFS and as of today, you can’t convert a Fusion drive to APFS…it should make everyone think twice before upgrading.

    • Travis,
      while I don’t disagree with your comments I think there is another lesson learned. If you want to get the latest Apple release don’t get 3rd party hardware like Aura. I have two Mac Pro desktops, one with Aura and the one with a 1TB Apple SSD. The latter I’ve had no problems. It just isn’t worth it to me to go OWC again after this experience.