Over the last few months I’ve been managing to live with an issue with my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014). It has been a real challenge to fix!
UPDATE: This issue occurred again for my MacBook Pro 2014 following an update to Mojave 10.14.6 and again for Catalina 10.15.2. I have updated the steps below accordingly.
Every so often my laptop screen would go blank, there would be 8-9 seconds where the fan would go wild and then everything would power down. I would boot the machine and have no crash report.
Sometimes it would crash once a day, other times it would be upwards of a dozen. More often, it would crash 3-4 times a day.
These issues tended to occur when the laptop was not connected to the mains. At the time of this issue starting, I had a battery condition message appear so naturally I connected the two issues.
Rather than go to the Genius Bar, I tried the following:
- Boot in safe mode
- Run hardware diagnostics
- Reset NVRAM
- Reset SMC
- Audit all apps (removed where possible)
- Removed SD card
- Reviewed network devices
- Cleaned up laptop using CleanMyMac X
- Ran first aid
- Remove Chrome extensions
- Fresh OS install
- Disk Utility & Repair Disk
- OS X Recovery
- Disable/remove network properties including VPN
I did eventually get a Genius appointment and had a battery replacement which did not fix my problem but at least my battery would last a suitable length of time (assuming no crashes!)
Eventually after months of having this issue, I finally had a crash report which gave me the necessary information. Very quickly I learnt that the issue was with the thunderbolt port and has been speculated that it was introduced with an OS update.
A short term fix was to always have something plugged into the thunderbolt port (I had a spare ethernet converter) but after a few days, it did crash.
Looking for a permanent fix, I found that you could disable certain drivers. A lot of threads online suggested one driver but my laptop continued to crash (very infrequently). There was one suggestion to remove a dozen drivers but this seemed careless, I cherry picked a few and hoped for the best. Fortunately, after a week of no crashes, I felt the need to write up my findings!
The following steps were carried out:
- Reboot with CMD+R pressed.
- Open Terminal and run
- Reboot in normal mode
- Open Terminal
- For Catalina only, run
sudo mount -uw /
- Run the following commands:
mkdir /System/Library/DisabledExtensions cd /System/Library/ mv Extensions/AppleThunderboltDPAdapters.kext DisabledExtensions/AppleThunderboltDPAdapters.kext mv Extensions/AppleThunderboltIP.kext DisabledExtensions/AppleThunderboltIP.kext mv Extensions/AppleThunderboltPCIAdapters.kext DisabledExtensions/AppleThunderboltPCIAdapters.kext mv Extensions/AppleThunderboltEDMService.kext DisabledExtensions/AppleThunderboltEDMService.kext mv Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext DisabledExtensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext mv Extensions/AppleThunderboltUTDM.kext DisabledExtensions/AppleThunderboltUTDM.kext
- Reboot with CMD+R pressed
- Open Terminal and run
- Reboot in normal mode and you are done!
Ideally, I’d like to reintroduce some of these drivers and wait for the crash to come back so I know exactly what drivers to disable but I’m very happy to have a working laptop and having these drivers disabled has not changed my day to day use of my laptop.
I haven’t been able to determine what OS update caused the bug but believe the following logic boards are affected:
Hopefully this is useful for someone in the future!