updated 05:45 pm EDT, Wed September 14, 2011
Resolves Thunderbolt display, Disk Mode issues
Apple today issued updates for the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) on Thunderbolt-equipped models of the MacBook Pro and Mac mini that is said to resolve issues with Apple's Thunderbolt Display compatibility and Target Disk Mode under Thunderbolt. The updates also add Lion Recovery mode to MBP and Mini models that shipped with Lion pre-installed, which previously made re-installation of Lion unnecessarily difficult.
The update only applies to models with Thunderbolt on board, meaning the "Early 2011" MacBook Pro and the "Mid 2011" Mac mini models, and requires that the units be running OS X 10.7 (Lion) or higher. Although the updates are numbered differently (2.2 and 1.3 respectively), they address the same issues.
The high-speed connection, which will eventually be standard on all Mac models, is capable of performing many of the tasks that other connectors such as Firewire and USB traditionally perform, including Target Disk Mode, audio and video information transfer and supplying power. Through the use of adapters or multi-port hubs, the technology has the potential to adapt to older equipment's connections, increasing flexibility while providing a massive speed boost over almost all other current forms of data transfer technology.
The addition of Lion Recovery Mode to post-Lion MBP and Mac mini models resolves an issue that could arise if a hard drive or SSD in the computers failed on those models before a bootable backup could be made. The machines lacked the "Internet Restore" feature that Lion upgraders had, as the units shipped with no recovery media at all (unlike earlier models that had restore DVDs included).
EFI updates require that computers be plugged into a working power source to install, and require two (sometimes more) restarts. After the first restart, a gray screen with a "gas gauge" status bar appears, showing the progress of the EFI update. It is critical that the machine not be cut off from power or interfered with during this portion of the update. A further automatic restart will return the computer to normal operation.
Once complete, the Boot ROM version as seen in the System Information utility will be MBP81.88Z.0047.B1E.1109091244 for MacBook Pros, and MM51.88Z.0077.B0A.1109091226 for Mac minis. The update, which will appear in Software Update in appropriate models or can be downloaded directly (MacBook Pro, Mac mini) is slightly over 4MB in size. All standard Mac OS X languages are supported in this update.