Restarting MacBook Pro 2012-2015

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If you have a MacBook Pro 2013 to 2015 that keeps on restarting, you need to read this. It could save you about $700 in unnecessary logic board replacements or throwing away a perfectly good computer.

While using my current MacBook the screen randomly spontaneously go black with the fans spinning up to max until it restarted

I tried:

  • A fresh install of OSX
  • Running in safe-mode
  • Checking for overheating using HWMonitor
  • Manually controlling fan speed using SMC Fan Control
  • Replacing the thermal paste
  • Cleaning the ventilation of dust

The worst thing was that the issue would occur sporadically, sometimes giving the impression that the above attempts had fixed it. While I was able to lower the operating temperature of the system by about 10 degrees nothing seemed to really fix it permanently.

Checking the system logs yielded nothing. After SMC resets, PRAM resets, RAM testing utilities and many searches, I had resigned myself to the fact that it must be a hardware issue that would not be worth the cost of repair.

What had confused me was that while connected via HDMI, I had no issues but when I tried to use it without a second screen, the problem would reoccur. After another search I found this:

https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/306714/macbook-pro-15-retina-mid-2014-random-shutdowns

It turns out that the issue is due to a faulty Thunderbolt driver and nothing to do with the hardware. The listed solutions are to keep it plugged in or remove the driver.

Steps:

  1. 1. Boot in to recover mode by holding CMD + R when starting up
  2. Run Terminal
  3. Run “csrutil disable” to disable System Integrity Protection. Without this you cannot disable the faulty driver.
  4. Reboot in to Mac OS
  5. Open Terminal
  6. Run “sudo mv /System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext /System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext.BAK”
  7. Reboot

A downside of this is having to restart the computer to connect Thunderbolt devices but I’d take that over a near unusable computer.

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