Mac OS Big Sur Warning for Sony Camera Owners

MacOS 11 Big Sur Warning

Apple’s next version of the Macintosh operating system MacOS 11 Big Sur will be released November 11, 2020 replacing macOS 10.15 Catalina. Please do NOT update to Big Sur until you’re ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE all your existing software is compatible with macOS 11 Big Sur.

Sony camera owners should be particularly wary of updating since Sony firmware updates released prior to macOS version updates are generally not compatible with the next macOS.

Sony camera owners should NOT update to Big Sur until all Sony camera & lens firmware is updated. Please make certain the firmware on every Sony camera & lens you own is updated BEFORE even considering macOS Big Sur update.

If you use Imaging Edge or Capture One, do NOT update until Big Sur compatible updates are available.

• Sony firmware updates released prior to Big Sur will NOT be compatible with macOS Big Sur
• Imaging Edge Remote tethering will NOT be compatible with macOS Big Sur upon release
• Capture One Pro tethering will NOT be compatible with macOS Big Sur upon release

Make certain you’ve turned off Automatic macOS Updates in System Preferences > Software Updates
Uncheck ‘Automatically keep my Mac up to date’ then click ‘Advanced…’ and make certain ‘Install macOS updates’ is NOT checked.

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45 thoughts on “Mac OS Big Sur Warning for Sony Camera Owners”

  1. David A Greenberg

    In case I miss a future warning, is it fair to assume that major Windows OS updates will suffer the same time lag?

      1. David A Greenberg

        Thanks, Brian. I meant to say this is really helpful, as always. That’s really what I meant. Win11, etc. It is curious to me that the platform managers don’t prepare at least the major software and firmware players with the final beta version – or better yet, the release version a few months ahead of public release – to avoid inconvenience or even real harm. Is it the game of coveted secrecy?

        1. The problem with macOS is that Apple usually slips in a security update that blocks tethering and firmware updates in the release version that they don’t show in the Beta. I’m not certain what Microsoft does in that regard.

  2. This is exactly why I have a 2012 MacMini sitting on my floor with and old version of MacOS.

    It gets booted up only when Sony updates firmware for my equipment.

    However, with that said; I still won’t update MacOS for several months. I don’t like being a guinea pig.

  3. Thanks for the reminder!

    However it is sort of irrelevant, since Sony still hasn’t caught up to Catalina, which has been out for 18 months or so now.

    If you have Sony’s ear at all, please suggest that this is unacceptable – they do a fine job with the camera hardware, a decent job with the firmware, a terrible job with the apps, and a horrible job with update software.

    1. All Sony camera and lens firmware updates releases since Catalina are 100% compatible. Firmware updates releases BEFORE Catalina will never be compatible. Once again, this is why I strongly recommend making certain all Sony camera and lens firmware is updated BEFORE even considering the macOS Big Sur update.

    2. I have a brand new Apple 13inch M1 with Big Sur OS 11.2.3.
      My Sony XQD card reader (MRW-E90) disconnects from the computer.
      So is the issue Sony? Or Apple? My hard drives have no issue. Just the Sony card reader. If Sony cant step it up. It is useless and going to cost me clients. Useless tools get tossed in my world. This is beyond rediculous.

      1. I’ve had this happen with a SanDisk Extreme Pro USB-C SD card reader when the built-in cord went bad so I seimply had to toss it in the trash. Fortunately Sony MRW-E90 has a removable cord. The first thing I test is using a different cord to see if that’s the issue.

        Next, when it disconnects are you trying to drag and drop images from card to a folder or using software to import? Drag & drop should work regardless of the OS. If you’re using software to import that may be the incompatibility. If that’s the case, try using Finder to drag and drop (or copy-paste) images from card to a folder on your computer or hard drive.

    1. Absolutely. System Preferences > Software Updates > uncheck ‘Automatically keep my Mac up to date’ then click ‘Advanced…’ and make certain ‘Install macOS updates’ is NOT checked.

  4. I love my Sony cameras – but I have to say, Sony’s ability to remain up to date and user friendly get a 2 out of 10 for me. Poor support, emails not answered, it all feels very clunky – and they are only after the sale of the camera. So disappointing from a crowd who are so far out in front on every other front.

      1. Glyn Davies Gallery

        As a professional photographer with nearly 40 years pro experience Sony Pro Support have been horrendous, patronising and unhelpful. I’ve featured Sony cameras on major TV series and I have my photo books on Royal coffee tables but Sony Pro refused to accept me as a professional because of ridiculous levels of what they consider valid gear. I use the Zeiss 16-35f4 because as an outdoor photographer I’m looking for lightweight & small gear – I never needed a 2.8 so even though I had all the other requires gear they offered monosyllabic email replies that were as rude as patronising.

        Many fellow pros have said similar things about Sony Pro and most use Fixation as a much better pro support for camera repairs than Sony Pro. I love Sony cameras and have sung their praises to other photographers and
        Visitors to my gallery but they are the worst and rudest pro support I’ve encountered in 4 decades

        1. Hello Glyn, if I remember correctly, there is a list on the Sony Imaging PRO Support website of combinations of cameras and lenses that qualify. But, I’ve seen them make exceptions. They approved a cinematographer who only used cine prime lenses because he had for a7S II bodies. The FE 16-35 F4 ZA is an excellent lens and it’s a great choice for landscapes. Possibly if you have enough camera bodies, they’d consider that. What I can say is the cost of supporting each Imaging PRO Support member is MUCH more than the $100/year they charge in the U.S.

  5. I tried to register for it. The entry requirements are WAY too onerous – photos of serial numbers for all my cameras and lenses? PLUS the receipts (who keeps these for more than 2 or 3 years – I bought several of mine before that). They have an email address if you can’t meet these requirements (and you can’t register unless you have completed these fields). I sen them an email 4 weeks ago – still waiting for a reply! AND – Sony already has this info – I register all my Sony products (with serial numbers) when I buy them. Left hand seems unable to talk to the right hand… Sorry, just a very poor experience overall.

    1. Are you in the U.S., Anders? If so, I’m happy to reach out to the Sony Imaging PRO Support team for you.

  6. Hi Brian.
    I’m in Australia. I have to agree with Glynn above. The weird thing is – I’m trying to spend money with them!!! You think they’d make it easy! Instead, they want me to supply screen shots of the problems I’m having! Have you ever heard of any support doing this????? I have asked for a phone call several times – no response. I’ve given up.

    1. Hello Anders, I’m in the U.S., so I’m only familiar with how things function here. Every country or region runs their own Imaging PRO Support and not all have a large enough customer base to support the cost of Imaging PRO Support. If Sony Australia Imaging PRO Support is asking for a screen shot that may be so that they can try to solve your issue over the phone rather than making you send your camera in for repair.

  7. I can confirm as of Monday November 16th, 2020, Big Sur Breaks my Sony Remote functionality… (Which was already spotty under Catalina)

    I wish I had read this post before!

    1. UPDATE: I connected my camera to my wife’s MacBook Air, running High Sierra, and was able to update the firmware on my Sony A6500. I went from firmware v1.0. to v1.6 and now I’m back in business on Big Sur! (the update application would NOT work on Big Sur. But now with the updated Firmware, the Sony Remote app is working once again.

  8. I was on the Sony website and did not see this prior to updating. When, how or will this be corrected? Currently running Mac Book Pro with Big Sur and unable to update my Sony A7 III (ILCE-7M3) Ver. 3.01

    1. It won’t.
      Firmware updates written prior to a new MacOS are no longer compatible do to USB Stac k security changes that Apple makes to the new MacOS.
      This is why I posted this warning months before Big Sur was released.
      You either need to find a friend still running 10.15 or Windows if you wish to update to 3.01

  9. Why can’t Sony get their act together on Big Sur?? It’s been a month since Big Sur was rolled out! This delay is ridiculous especially by top camera company . Yes I am a Pro Support member and my experience has been OK. Slow sometimes but OK.

    1. It’s Apple – not Sony.
      Every full update to the MacOS completely changes USB Stack Security protocols.
      This means any application that connects via USB (tethering and firmware updates) must be completely re-written.
      If you’re a Pro, you should have learned by now that this will happen every single time and thus you should NOT upgrade your MacOS until it’s fully supported.
      I post these warning months before MacOS updates but few people listen. So I start to wonder why I bother.
      It will happen again with MacOS 11.1…

      1. Sorry…I need to correct you there. It is not Apple’s responsibilty to ensure that other manufacturer’s software works on their operating system. Each publisher is responsible for updating their apps and software in time

        Sony is simply notoriously bad at developing and updating their software. Support for Catalina is still missing. Now none of the Sony apps work on Big Sur including the software used to combine Pixel Shift images.

        Furthermore Imaging Edge Mobile does not work on IOS 14.3

        In short no Sony software I need now works. I’m sure Sony has the ability to get beta versions of both IOS and MacOS month in advance….but somehow they always seem to leave us hanging on for months if not years to update their software. This is no doubt the reason why the stopped making camera apps.

        I love Sony cameras and lenses but software is an area which Sony needs to massively improve on. It wouldn’t cost that much to employ a better skilled team of software engineers

        1. You’re failing to understand the issue.

          Apple changes the USB Stack security protocols with each full MacOS release (and occasionally in incremental updates as well).

          This disables any software that runs via USB – including tethering and firmware updates. Apple does NOT show these security updates in software beta. Manufacturers have to scramble to add support after the release.

          Capture One has documented similar issues with Big Sur. Additionally, to the dismay of many medium format back users who use firewire, Apple discontinued firewire support without warning.

          I warned people this would happen. Those who ignored my warning have only themself to blame.

  10. If you do a firmware-update for e.g. Sony a7r4 via e.g. MacOS High Sierra and then you use a Mac with BigSur installed to download and edit, would this generate any issues and what kind of issues? Is this different for different cameras e.g. a7s3, a9II, etc. And is this different for different kind of apps such as DaVinci, Final Cut or Capture1?

    1. No. That’s fine.
      Cameras are not tied in any way the the OS that they are updated with, so you can use MacOS 10.12-10.15 or Windows to update.
      The issue is MacOS 11 USB Stack Security blocks access to perform firmware updates.

  11. Is there an update for Mac OS Big Sur and updating to the new firmware? I bought a new macbook and have no other way of updating my firmware if it’s not compatible with Big Sur.

    1. Today’s a7 III & a9 II firmware updates are compatible with MacOS 10.14, 10.15 & 11.

      Previous Updates will NOT be rewritten for Big Sur, so be certain EVERY camera and lens firmware is up to date BEFORE considering upgrading to Big Sur.

      If you’re already on Big Sur and need to install previous updates, try to find a friend with a PC or Mac running OS 10.15 or earlier – or you can do so using any Virtual Windows software.

  12. I have been having issues with the catalyst browse reading and editing Sony A7sIII 10 bit video files. The catalyst browse software freezes when trying to view or edit the video files.

  13. Renata Steiner

    Thanks for the info, Brian. I’m new (since 2019) to using Sony for my work (vs various RX100s I’ve been using for personal photography since they released that camera) and am interested in whether I can sign up somewhere ?with Sony? to be notified once Imaging Edge works with Big Sur. I would appreciate any insight you might share.

  14. Hey there. In light of this news, I went to Sony’s site and downloaded the Mac version. I’m on Big Sur. When I ran the installer, it stalls and shows a pop-up “waiting for other installations to complete”, which I then Force Quit. Of course, I’m not running any other installations. Would love to know if anyone else is coming up against this problem.

    1. Try not force quitting. Progress bars are never linear. I find that most software installations ‘appear’ to hang up at a certain stage of the process. Let it finish.

      But if it takes over 30 minutes, you may need to Download & Install the Sony Camera Driver.

    1. I’m going crazy, remote does not identify the camera. I have mac os Big sur Do you know if there is any other compatible program? My camera is A7 III. Thank you very much

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