Random Macbook Shutdowns. Solved. At Last. Hopefully.

Some friends of mine have this nasty issue with their Macbook; it’s shutting down spontanously. Apple’s support forum is full of postings from users seeking solutions, and a web site is just dedicated to this problem. Now, a German news site has posted an article about an IT engineer from Munich, Germany (my hometown! Prost!). It is stated that he has located the problem which is a result of pure physics. The phenomenon seems to be caused by the cable between the heat sensor and the CPU’s heat sink being too short.

Macbook Shutdown VideoThe heat sink expands during operation and gets into contact with the sensor cable and melts the cable’s isolation. This in turn causes a short circuit and, thus, the immediate shutdown of the Macbook. As the heat sink is cooling down, the heat sink contracts to the point that it looses its contact with the cable and breaks up the short circuit. You can now boot again. Just until the processor heats up and the heat sink and the cable have contact again…

If this proves to be the reason then there might be a quick fix, specifically you would not have to exchange your mainboard or RAM.

Update: Besides being picked up by digg.com (again), the news is published by the major German Heise Newsticker (incl. 400+ comments).

Update 2: Apple officially acknowledges Macbook Random Shutdowns. See my blog article.


  1. […] https://maba.wordpress.com/2006/09/01/macbook-shutdown-solved-at-last-hopefully/ […]

    • matt said

      hi, had this problem for years, finally downloaded SMC Fan control, problem never happened since, fan peed is too slow on macbook, it really works….

  2. sarutu said

    But whats the quick fix? you didnt give a solution

  3. maba said

    sarutu, the post from the pingback link above states that people have put an insulating scotch on the sensor cable. It is stated that they didn’t experience any shutdown since. To do this, you have to open up your Macbook in order to get access to the motherboard. However, be careful, I think you void your guaranty doing so.

    • Maba I have the same problem my mac overheats, can I ask you I want to fix myself and need to know how to open my white mackbook up, would you have any material available , cheers. D

  4. Ben said

    Or… Just wait a little while longer, and Apple will fix it for free. I’m sure once they verify it they’ll invite everyone to come to the Apple store to fix it for free. No voiding the warranty, and no nothing. 🙂

  5. […] If this proves to be the reason then there might be a quick fix, specifically you would not have to exchange your mainboard or RAM. [via] […]

  6. Bernard said

    This would likely fix the random shutdown.. doesn’t fix the superheating though, or is the heating going to be an acceptable thing?

    I have a MacBook Pro 17″ machine, and the strip just above the keyboard gets very very hot to touch at times.

  7. […] With ProCare membership in hand, I will make yet another visit to the nearest Apple store for what will be the 4th repair on this machine. I am more than willing to upgrade this machine in hopes of squashing additional problems. If only the in-store manager would sign-off on such an order. If such an exchange is impossible, I guess the MacBook is going in for open surgery. 5ThirtyOne Sponsors More info […]

  8. My first MacBook would shut down spontaneously when COLD as well as hot, so I think this solution or explanation isn’t universally applicable.

  9. […] Apparently, a German engineer and a certain Richard Chi Fai Li have solved the Macbook Random Shutdown Problem. I’m sure this is welcome news to many Macbook early adopters, who constantly cry “My beautifully thin notebook has failed me!” There’s even an online support group for these poor souls. […]

  10. […] https://maba.wordpress.com/2006/09/01/macbook-shutdown-solved-at-last-hopefully/ […]

  11. Geoff Will said

    i think this is a fake

  12. […] read more | digg story […]

  13. […] read more | digg story […]

  14. Johnathon said

    Thats what everyone says when they dont understand it. It COULD BE a fake. It probably isn’t.

  15. Craig said

    This sounds like a plausible reason to me. I notice a few people saying ‘but mine does it even when cold’, but that also works. The problem is that once it starts, it will get worse and worse. The heatsink needs to get hot enough to melt the insulation in the first place, but once that is done, it only needs to come into contact by accident and the machine shuts off again. This can happen at any time, thanks to the fact that you now have essentially two bare conductors in there.

    Mine is in for it’s 3rd logic board due to random shutdowns. When I go back I’ll ask about the sensor cable – it might be worth opening it up in store and having a look.

  16. Stephane said

    We need INFORMATION – update#4
    As previously stated, I bought two macbook recently and both of them have been randomly shutting down. I am very disappointed. Apple won’t replace or reimbourse me. I understand from this thread that I am not the only one dealing with this problem.
    How many are we ?
    If you have this problem with your macbook, can you please send me an email at macbookproblem@mac.com with the complete serial number of your computer, model , date of purchase,outcome and as much information as you want.
    I plan on publishing weekly stats about number of computer affected and contact apple with the information when I will reach 100 SN. I may contact you by email if there is any info to pass on.

    any suggestions welcome.

    I had a powerbook 12′ before and never had so much problem with a mac before.

    This is the fourth stats report:


    serial numbers / model / purchase date / email available

    4H61815 EVMM/2Ghz, Black/May 21st /email

    4h619/ white 2ghz/ 2gig 3rd party ram /email
    4H619 / Black MacBook 2.0 / late May / email
    4H619 / ? / ?
    4H619 /White 1.83 GHz /June 15 / email
    4H6192YBVMM / 2.0GHZ/512MB/80GB/SUPER/BT/AP / June/ email
    4H6195XHU9B / 1.83GHz 512MB RAM (2*256) / 24-05 /email
    4h6199n2u / ? / ?
    4H6199X8U9C / ? / 20-05 / email
    4H619ASPU9B /1.83 ghz, white /10-06 / email

    4H620 / white, 1.83 GHz / 31-05 in SF/ email
    4H620 / white, 2GHz, 1GB / ?
    4H62002KVMN / Black added a gig of crucial ram / email
    4H620033VMN /black macbook 2.0ghz / 19-05 /email
    4H6201 / white, 2GB / ?
    4h6201up / white 2.0 ghz 1gb ram / 5/16 /email
    4H6203BW*** /White, 2.0ghz, 2.0gb ram from OWC, 60gb/ email
    4H6204CDVMM / ??? / email
    4H6208TGVMM / 2 GHz / ?

    4H621 / ? / ?
    4H621 / black / case#65194196
    4H6211 / ? / europe
    4H621276VMM / black / 10-6 in Germany case#67490518 /email
    4H62128KVMN / black, 2 GHz, 1GB ram / 26-5 in Canada /email
    4H6212C4 / White 2Ghz / Italy / email
    4H6213M / white / end of May
    4h6215ueu9e / ? / ? /email
    4H6216UYU9B / 1.8GHZ/512MB/60GB/Combo / 13-06 Perth, Australia /email

    4H622 / ? / 13-06 / email
    4H6220xxxxx / 2ghz white/ 1gb/ 80gb hd/ july /email
    4H6221XXXXX / 2.0Ghz MacBook White / USA / email
    4H6228STU9C / white, 2 GHz, 2GB ram / 13-06 in Belgium /email

    4H623 / ? / ?
    4H6232ESU9B / 1,83GHz, White. / 18-06 / email

    4H62413RVMM / Black, 2GB / July*/ email
    4H6242DPU9D / white, 1.83 GHz / 14-06 in France / email
    4H624 / white 2.0 GHz / 2 GB Crucial Tech RAM / 100 GB HD / July/email

    4H625 / 2 GHz, 2GB ram / USA
    4H625 / white, 2 GHz, 2GB ram / USA
    4h6257xxxxx / white 2.0 /Houston / email

    4H626 / White 2Ghz / France / purchase : 06/2006 / email

    4H62918BVMN /Black 2Ghz / 10-06 Antwerp, Belgium / email
    4H6291D4VMN /Black 2GHz 1 GB RAM 120 GB / midjuly /email

    4H630767U9E / 2.0 / 2×512 / 100gb / email

    4H631KXTU9B / 1.83Ghz / 19-8 / email
    4H6317RR / 2 GHz, 100G HD, 1 GB / 4-8 / email

    some example of the problem:


    A lot of users are reporting problems even after repair.

    Time for a recall ?

    Stephane Elkouri, Montreal, Canada

  17. I hope this is truly solved, a black eye for Apple. But I’m convinced that they’ll fix the problem and do whatever it takes to make it right for customers.


  18. […] Apple’s forums are full of people searching for a solution, now it appears that an IT Engineer from Munich, Germany has found the source of the issue.read more | digg story […]

  19. Thomas said

    Obviously we have many question and there is no . But nevertheless it is not our job to solve Apple`s problems. As long as there is no official press-release – why we do not ask the official PR- lady?! I know she won´t invite me for a date after posting her adress here but i don´t want a date – i want my macbook back!

    found at:

    No need to say that we all should be very, very friendly … Thomas/Germany

  20. Jaybird2006 said

    This could be the cause of all the reported shutdowns, or it could be the cause of just the shutdowns for this one computer. All MacBooks will be virtually identical inside so if one has this problem they all shoud have this exact same problem. If the cause is as described, the problem should be repeatable, very repeatable and not ‘random’ at all bacause the heat sink will get hot and expand at a very predictable rate (sorry, that is how Physics works). If a MacBook is used the same way every day, it should fail at the same time every day. It should be possible to place the MacBook in the sun in a closed car (this would ‘preheat’ the heatsink) and cause it to fail very qucikly or to place it in a refrigerator for an hour or so (or place it in front of an airconditioner) and delay the shutdown. If you thik this is the problem, start by keeping records of when it happens. Take note of where you were when teh system failed and what you were doing. Try to repeat the shutdowns. You have to know how to cause the failure to know when it has been repaired. Then take your MacBook and a copy of the article to a 3rd part authorized repair center, ask them for an estimate to insulate the wire with kapton tape. It should cost about 1 hour of time (generally about $100). Pay them to do it and see if it helps your system. If it does, report it. If it does not, report it. I am sure many people will complain that they should not have to pay. This procedure is experimental and may not help. The question is how much time/money are you wasting because of the problem now?

  21. Mika Cooper said

    It’s not just a few people whose Macbooks experience RSD when cold. Indeed, it seems to be the majority. The single most “predictable” (if one can use that word about something that’s otherwise unpredictable) time for affected Macbooks to shut down mysteriously is within a few minutes of being awakened from a long sleep or being booted up for the first time in the day. Otherwise, the shutdowns can be utterly random.

    If the computer shuts down when cold, then it seems to me that “the laws of physics,” so patronizingly invoked above to justify this fix, are going to have a tough time explaining how a cold heat sink can expand enough — in many cases without the processor temperature even rising more than a degree — to cause a short circuit. Moreover, they’re going to do a pretty fancy dance to explain why all the affected computers can run perfectly fine, all day long, nice and toasty, under a protective boot (holding down the power button until long beep) but — at the very SAME processor temperature or less — shut down within minutes of restarting under a normal boot.

    To propose that these prolific cold shutdowns result from a short due to contact caused by jiggling between a cold heatsink and the sensor wire with melted-away insulation is simply wishful thinking. Computers are shutting down while they are sitting firmly on tables, displaying movies.

    Personally, I’m pretty convinced that the problem is related to defective heat sensors — perhaps acting in an unfortunate combination with an intel chip designed to shut down immediately when presented with certain sorts of readings that these defective sensors are liable to give. Perhaps the expanded heat sink melts the insulation and is somehow part of this problem. But it seems very unlikely — given the laws of physics — that most of the cold shutdowns are caused by a short circuit brought about when heat causes the heatsink to touch a bare sensor wire.

  22. Yay, My MacBook Randomly Shuts Down

    After hearing numerous reports about a problem with early “Rev A” MacBooks shutting down, I was comforted by the fact that I had not experienced this problem. Unfortunately for me, my MacBook exhibited its first signs of RSD (Random ShutDow…

  23. […] More | Add To Del.icio.us | Digg This | Related Stuff | NoImages? […]

  24. […] The source of the sudden shutdown issue some MacBook owners have been experiencing seems to have been found- according to his article, it is caused by thermal expansion of the cable that connects the heat sensor to the heatsink- the shutdown is apparently a result of thermal protection kicking in. Original article, in german, is here. […]

  25. Clark said

    Yeah, it seems that if this is a short between wires, that some amount of shaking would cause the shutdown right? But the fact is, this problem occurs when the machine is hot or cold. It happened with factory RAM, factory hard disk, aftermarket RAM, aftermarket drive, and on a brand new, freshly formatted install. This is definately a hardware issue, I am just not convinced it is this faulty cable placement.

  26. […] Apple’s forums are full of people searching for a solution, now it appears that an IT Engineer from Munich, Germany has found the source of the issue.read more | digg story […]

  27. DELL4LYFE said

    Just one more reason to not buy a MAC!

  28. […] The last few days have been interesting in the world of Macbook RSDs. Paul Stamatiou got hit with RSDs, possible theory and a hardware fix. […]

  29. We currently have large number macbooks at the depo, Apple has recalled all the heat sinks that were produced. We expect a new part to be announced on Sept. 12th, and it to ship with in two weeks after the announcement.

    We expect everyone to have to get the new heat sink, we have found that the firmware upgrade helps slow down this issue. We apologize for every one starting out the school year. Rest assure we are doing everything with our engineers and suppliers to fix this issue ASAP. We value all our customers, you are the most important thing to our company. For those who can’t wait, you are welcome to send your units in, and then call our agents daily to expedite a replacement unit. If you replace your macbook, please makesure to apply the firmware upgrade ASAP after getting it.

    If the heat sink was not bad enough we also have no logic boards coming in for the macbooks. The new model is now in production and is taken 100% of the allotted time we get. Once again we apologize, but we expect to be back in production as soon as we get our batch completed.

  30. […] i found this post at https://maba.wordpress.com/2006/09/01/macbook-shutdown-solved-at-last-hopefully/ and thought it was pretty interesting and gave me a small glimpse of light at this BIG problem we all have. it looks like sites like this are starting to put the pressure on apple. on a side note, i found that the shutdowns do happen less when i use my cooling pad, an ok temporary band-aid to the problem. hopefully this post is trustworthy source, a real apple insider. […]

  31. joopp said

    My Macbook was at the repaircenter (because of randomshutdown problems) and I forwarded this page.. but they couldn’t find it..
    Pictures would be very usefull!

    Besides that.. my Macbook shuts down when cold.. so don’t think this is a fix..

  32. BOK said

    [OT] This sounds a bit like the same problem that caused the infamous “raster shift” on the Apple eMac. Due to a raise in temperature, the insulation of a specific cable shrunk, causing the screen to shift a couple of inches upwards.
    Check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/apple_emac/

    Due to this malfunction I traded in my eMac 700 for a late 2004 model iBook (no, not a 1st gen MacBook!) last June…

  33. r said

    the word LOSES only has 1 O, not 2. the word LOOSES has 2 however but means something different.

  34. Ace Fury said

    My Macbook only shuts down when COLD, never has when hot! So much for the Law of Physics.

  35. […] Expand and retract Heatsink shorts wire when hot Shutdown will ensueread more | digg story Related Posts Apple sneaks new logic board into whining MacBook ProsDigg Forces Shutdown of DiggGames.com DomainHijacking a Macbook in 60 Seconds or LessMacBook Firmware Update Now Available!The Problem with Wi-Fi in the Classroom « Software Delay Said to Cost IRS $318 Million in Overpaid Refunds […]

  36. […] Random Macbook Shutdowns. Solved. At Last. Hopefully. [Maba via […]

  37. […] Random Macbook Shutdowns. Solved. At Last. Hopefully. [Maba via Digg] […]

  38. […] An anonymous German IT engineer claims to have found the cause of random shut downs in Apple’s new MacBooks. The original German article was translated by Martin Backschat on his blog. […]

  39. ash said

    This is a nice theory but unfortunately, it does not explain my experience with the shut downs.


  40. Dmolloy said

    Mine also shuts down when cold, in fact has shut down several times just after waking from sleep while it has been in my bag for hours.

  41. Dmolloy said

    One last note, this did not happen before installing 10.47.7 and I should add I never heard the fan come on at all before installing 10.4.7 update, now it does come on after a while (although still not very often at all), Lastly the every once in a while the power block heats to SUN temps.

  42. maul said

    Just got a MacBook back from Apple today and the repair parts are listed as:

    APP-603-8071 ASSY, HEATSINK, M42

    So, it’s most likely true. Also just because the case doesn’t feel hot, doesn’t mean the processor and heatsink aren’t. I don’t think some folks realize how fast processors heat up from the strartup process alone.

  43. mike casino said

    this is the macbook’s PR Janette Barrios email. i suggest that everyone send in a email expressing your concerns, i certainly have. we have to continually put pressure on apple and let them this cannot happen.

  44. […] A German engineer has claimed to discover why the MacBook randomly shuts down. Here’s the translated explanation and solution according to Martin Backschat’s blog and CrunchGear: The heat sink expands during operation and gets into contact with the sensor cable and melts the cable’s isolation. This in turn causes a short circuit and, thus, the immediate shutdown of the Macbook. As the heat sink is cooling down, the heat sink contracts to the point that it looses its contact with the cable and breaks up the short circuit. […]

  45. jebworks said

    I had the repair done with the same comments as maul reported above.
    After the 10.4.7 update the “mooing” sound made previously by the fan turning on and off has stopped. Now the fan occasionally is on high for a period of time when the machine gets hot. My shutdowns prior to the repair were when the machine was cold coming off long periods of sleep mostly overnight.

  46. Vince said

    Is the claim posted by “Apple insider” (just above, sept.5th) a credible one? Is there a way to verify that? Ia there another place/website where such a statement was issued? This is something….

  47. mike casino said

    this was a really good post on the apple discussion forum, it has pretty much all the stuff we should know before taking the trip back to the apple store

    Posts: 23
    From: seattle
    Registered: Jul 19, 2006

    Random, Sudden Shutdowns – A redux and other things to rule out first
    Posted: Jul 27, 2006 11:14 PM
    Click to reply to this topic Reply email Email

    Do a google search for “macbook random shutdown” and you’ll find many people with similar problems reporting on various forums. At present, this issue has not been picked up by the mainstream PC news media. However, one should also note that only a fraction of those with problems are suffering this particular fault. A large number of other reasons must be ruled out before a MacBook owner should become convinced their machine is one which suffers this problem. Bad RAM, poorly seated RAM, improperly installed hard drive, corrupted OS, corrupted plists, bad batteries, bad chargers, corrupted PMU, and corrupted NVRAM all need to be ruled out first!

    My own MacBook suffered the random sudden shutdown malady and eventually required complete replacement after a logic board replacement did not solve the issue. Some of the MacBooks appear to have a hardware problem which surfaces after a period of use. Many reported their problems starting after a month of ownership. Coincidentally, that also coincided with the release of 10.4.7, but most likely that is not at the root of the sudden, random, shutdown problem.

    (However, 10.4.7 is strongly implicated in a separate MacBook problem – colored vertical lines during boot on some machines. That is probably a separate issue.)

    Description of the Random, Sudden Shutdown Problem

    MacBook suddenly shuts off to a completely powered down state seemingly at random. There are no kernel panic, mouse freezing, or other premonitory symptoms. The machine simply powers down suddenly. The screen goes black. The hard drive spins down and no sleep light illuminates. The machine simply turns itself off.

    The shutdowns may occur on either battery or with AC adapter attached. Some owners report their MacBook is less prone to sudden shut down while on battery vs AC adapter. My own afflicted MacBook would suddenly shutdown on a fully charged battery or on either of two AC adapters.

    The shutdowns occur with either 10.4.6 or 10.4.7 OS loaded. I went through several cycles of clean installs of the base 10.4.6 and the Intel Combo update to 10.4.7 before it became clear that it mattered not which OS was running. Another indicator that this is not an OS issue is that sudden shutdowns can occur in target mode and also when running just the Apple Hardware Test – which relies on minimal software to operate.

    The shutdowns tend to grow more frequent once they begin. They may worsen to the point that a machine will not complete boot up before shutting down. It may take several power up presses to start the machine. Oddly enough, a machine that had difficulty starting up, may be easy to start up several minutes later. It may run for hours or minutes before another sudden shutdown. The frequency is low and random enough that is very difficult to demonstrate this fault to a service technician.

    Some users are able to induce a sudden shutdown by running their CPU’s at high load and thus heating up the machine. This is easily done by running the yes command in two Terminal windows. Some users report their MacBook is more prone to sudden shutdowns when their CPU is relatively cool. The bipolar reporting is confusing. There may be more than one type of sudden shutdown being reported. One due to CPU overheating and another due to another hardware problem which has yet to be elucidated.

    Resetting of the PMU and PRAM MAY temporarily reduce the frequency of the sudden shutdowns, but the effect is temporary. Indeed, the effect may not even be real given the randomness of the shutdowns. None-the-less, one must perform PMU and PRAM resets to ensure that some corruption of those devices is not creating a reason for shutdowns. On my own MacBook, resetting PMU and PRAM (four chimes) did not prevent the random sudden shutdowns.

    The sudden shutdowns occur with well seated stock RAM, replacement RAM, and reseated/replaced hard drives. Swapping out and testing both RAM and hard drive helps to eliminate those as the source of the problem. On my own machine, I exchanged the RAM and the hard drive to eliminate them as the cause. This made it considerably easier for the Apple genius to decide it was an internal problem.

    In my case, a logic board replacement did indeed solve the fault, but several days later, sudden shutdowns began again. Presumably either the replacement board has the same weakness as the original or some other component of the machine was the actual reason for the sudden shutdowns. The former is quite likely because the machine was made stable for several days with a new logic board. At that point, I requested to be swapped to a new machine and the Apple Store manager wisely decided to help out his customer. For that I am most grateful. However, it is unlikely that the majority of people will have their machines swapped out, but instead repaired.

    At this time, no official statement regarding cause for or acknowledgment of the MacBook’s sudden random shutdown problem has been made. Because the underlying cause has not been revealed, it is impossible to know that a logic board replacement will permanently solve the problem or merely result in the same fault recurring later on the replacement board. Of course, we do not know if it actually is a logic board flaw.

    My advice to MacBook owners whose machines develop the sudden random shutdown symptoms are to…

    1. Get your data backed up immediately. The machine will likely suffer more and more frequent shutdown events.

    2. Revert to stock RAM and hard drive if you have installed after-market replacements. You must do this and see if the shutdowns continue to occur. Otherwise, the first thing blamed will be your RAM and hard drive.

    3a. Perform a PMU reset, by shutting down the MacBook. Removing the battery. Disconnect the AC Adapter. Then, press the power button for five seconds. The reinstall the battery and mains adapter. Restart the machine.

    3b. Reset PRAM by holding option-command-P-R keys down during startup until you hear the chime at least three or four times.

    Resetting the PMU and PRAM are standard procedures you’ll otherwise be asked to perform to diagnose your machine.

    4. Do a CLEAN install of the OSX if you wish to totally eliminate a bad OS install as the problem. This will destroy all your data. Alternatively, an archive and install will be helpful without totally destroying your data, but that will not let you exonerate your system files and settings. An alternative is to run Apple’s hardware test utility which is found on your OS installation disc. However, an extended hardware test is needed because the shutdown flaw may take hours to surface.

    Note: If your MacBook has become so “narcoleptic” that it cannot even complete a boot up sequence, try holding the power button down until you hear a loud beep. That may allow an otherwise balky machine to start.

    Once you have done the above, and are still seeing random sudden shutdowns, you have largely done the preliminary footwork that you’ll need to prove whether your MacBook has this particular problem and not something more common. Then, call AppleCare or visit your Apple Genius to have the machine repaired or replaced. Hopefully, the root cause of this problem will be discovered, disclosed, repaired and prevented. For now, it appears only a fraction of the MacBooks are suffering this fault, but the machine population is still young. Overall, the MacBook is perhaps the finest laptop I’ve bought from Apple. It will be nice to trust the machine to not lose my work.

    BTW – resetting PMU may induce a separate 10.4.7 related bug which results in your MacBook exhibiting a white screen with progressively more numerous vertical color lines during startup. This appears to be fixable by resetting PRAM and then temporarily changing display resolution to something other than the current setting and then back.

    macbook Mac OS X (10.4.7)

  48. Gary said

    My early production model Macbook (May) started to experience theRandom Shutdown Syndrome about a week ago. The Apple store backed up my HD (with some difficulty, or so they said) and sent it off to the TX or TN repair depot on Aug 31st. On September 1st I checked the repair status online and discovered that my Macbook repair was on hold because a part was on order and it had not yet arrived.

    I checked with a human at Apple support today (Sept 5th) more more details, if available. To my surprise, they told me exactly what part they were waiting for…

    …. a heat sink.

    Presumably the new part will have a longer cable connecting it to the nearby heat sensor.

    I miss my Mac!

  49. […] My odyssey began when my new (< 3 months old) black Macbook started the dreaded random shutdowns (a la Kevin Rose on Diggnation – possibly recently explained?). […]

  50. Drbee said

    It happens in mine also but it was rock solid until the smc firmware upgrade. I’m sure it is caused by that. They should at least let people downgrade to the old working firmware. I’m very disappointed by apple.

  51. […] Por otra parte, las apuestas más serias apuntan a un problema en el área del disipador [http://www.powerpage.org/archives/2006/09/macbook_random_shutdown_syndrome_rss_isolated.html], un pequeño cable que produce un cortocircuito [https://maba.wordpress.com/2006/09/01/macbook-shutdown-solved-at-last-hopefully/]. Pero definitivamente no hay una respuesta oficial. […]

  52. Al fin esta resuelto el problemas del subito apagado en las MacBook

    (Ingles/Alemán) Un porblema grave en las MacBook es su repentino apagado, se sospechaba de diversas causas pero no se habia encontrado el problema en especifico, ahora parece que un Ingeniero de Munich, Alemania; resolvio el problema , pero su soluci…

  53. […] Apple surely felt the heat when (again!) the Macbook community raged on the “Macbook RSD” (Random Shutdown Defect). (See also my formely posted blog entry about a possible cause of RSD) As the recent Walk of Shame, Apple came to its senses and has now published an official statement: Knowledge Base article 304308 says: […]

  54. […] MacBook random shutdown explained: https://maba.wordpress.com/2006/09/01/macbook-shutdown-solved-at-last-hopefully/ […]

  55. James Kim said

    I have a PowerBook that seems to have a RSS problem. After reading this post, I think I can almost conclude that my PowerBook has the same issue as MacBooks with overheating. As all of you know, since PowerBook runs “hotter” than MacBoook, I think it’s more prone to over-heating and thus damaging sensors.

    After installing a temperature sensor monitor program to monitor the Trackpad, I have observed the temperature ranging from 0 degree celsius to 85 degree celsius. At 85 degree temperature, there should be a something buring through my desk.

    I think it’s time for Apple to widen the investigation on all PowerBook and investigate the source of the issue.

    Did anyone experienced this issue?



  56. […] esoterica: steve irwin is gone.. =[ why you should follow your heart why you should call them out. gmail jukebox by using gmail. wow… pornotube is rocking.. for you with those new macbook random shutdowns i want secret rooms […]

  57. […] german engineer has discovered what could be the reason behind the mysterious macbook random shutdown that has affected me and everyone i know who has one. unforseen design flaw? Cat:  […]

  58. […] Take this with a grain of salt my Mac friends, but some guy in Germany (an IT engineer) claims that a heat sensor in the MacBook lacks some needed insulation and therefore shuts the computer down when it gets too hot. […]

  59. There ya go. Another perfectly good reason why you should have bought a PC. mmmm Just a thought.

  60. Zeugme said

    IT is just a faillure.
    Choose your camp :
    * Choose a PC for random shutdown caused by crap software
    * Choose a Mac for random shutdown caused by crap hardware

    And now, go back to work !

  61. clara said

    this thing really sucks .sooo boring

  62. s06er said

    I’m very happy that Apple has finally found a solution. However, I’m still very irritated with them. I called Applecare on Sept. 7th after reading about all the new updates. The man on the phone still wouldn’t tell me that they definitely fixed the problem, which is both sad and not reassuring. This is the worst customer support I’ve ever dealt with. Specifically, I’ve been waiting like many others for 3 months now until Apple could SAY they had a solution and would be HONEST in saying that it was NOT a problem for a minimal amount of users.

    So now everyone will have a refurbished machine. THANKS APPLE! I really appreciate that. I can only imagine in a couple years while I’m trying to sell it on Ebay, every person will ask, “So, is this one of the macbooks that had the heatsink refurbished?”- and down goes the value of the machine.

    I’ll tell you what they SHOULD do. Take our busted machines and GIVE US NEW ONES! GIVE US OUR MONEY’S WORTH!

  63. Joseph Gand said

    My MacBook shuts down only when it is cold, after a night of inactivity. If there is a fix, please mail at seppistyle@laposte.net. Thanks.

  64. I called Apple on Wednesday (September 13th) and found out that they 1) will not repair the machines in the Apple Store (even though they do full repairs there in 48 hours if you’re a Pro Care member) and 2) insist on a 2-week turn-around to fix it. How are they fixing it? Replacing the logic board. Then I started reading about how people were getting it back multiple times with the problem still unresolved. I use my machine at work and it’s a pain in the ass to have it gone for 2 days, let alone 2 weeks. So based on all of that I decided I’d rather fix it myself.

    And I did, with the help of a coworker. We had no idea where the heat sensor cable was (why are there no detailed instructions anywhere?) and had to look around for quite awhile, but we eventually found it. It’s on the left side of the heat sink, is very thin, and to find the fried part you have to actually unscrew the heat sink and fan, at least partially, and look under it. We applied the tape and not only does it not shut down anymore (it was doing it consistently after being on for just a few minutes, if not even more often) but it also regulates the fans properly. If you’re skeptical, you’re wrong. This works and is so much better than losing your machine for half a month with potentially no results.

  65. […] Random Macbook Shutdowns. Solved. At Last. Hopefully. « Martin Backschat’s Blog (tags: macbook random-shut-down mac) […]

  66. Shiv said

    its all crap information… guys its time for apple to admit that they have made a faulty product and its time for them for recalling their product..

    first we have dirty casing – which they very reluctantly replaced… remember the absurd questions put up by the apple technician.

    we always have problem of overheating and apple suggested we should learn to live with it.. yes they did release a firware for fan and instructed to check the vent blockage.. but did it solve the problem..

    display probelm, noisy powerbrick.. faculty ports, noisy fan… now what are they/we waiting for a blast for burn injury..

    and what about the money we are losing which we sit unproductive after sending macbook for repair.. precious work lost with macbook RSD.

    we must form a group and sue the company… compalin to consumer protection department in our respective state and country… i am certain this will bring a truth..

    thanks for reading,
    A mackook customer in a sorry state.

  67. Harmen said

    I Bought my macbook in may, it started suffering from RSS early september. Now I’m waiting for new logic boards to arrive at my apple centre.
    I also noticed my heat sensor died completely…. A bit weird I guess, it’s a bit hard to imagine the heatsink to melt trough the entire cable..
    Fan control is out of control too 😉 Sometimes the fan won’t spin up at all even under load, other times it spins at top speed when the machine is idle..
    But what is the weirdest thing: most of the time the machine works fine when not stressing the cpu too much. (itunes, word, safari etc.).

    A macbook customer waiting for repair.

  68. […] It’s been reported many times lately at Apple’s Discussion Board in the U.S., Japan and other coutries that MacBook shuts down all of a sudden. Apple officially acknowledged in September 1 that MacBook has a shutdown problem. And you are requested to contact AppleCare if your MacBook experiences such problem. A sudden shutdown + portable Mac implies that it’s a heat problem that must be causing the CPU to stop clocking. Especially if you can restart MacBook after its CPU has cooled down, the cause must be heat. Actually, the problem is not that simply. One German site writes this article, and the following is its rough English translation: […]

  69. Shiv said

    there is no solution to this problem. I have read around 5% / 10% of macbook owners are facing this problem.

    Apple is still not clearly stating what is wrong… they are still guessing. I have a friend who has got his macbbok fixed with so called newly designed logic board and heat sink unit. The has again started RSD.

    This is a LEMON product. Apple will have to recall the present line of macbbok. It i just a matter of time..

    also it seems apple is spending to much time with their phone and revamp of their product line with core2duo… also the ipod is giving them good business.


  70. Soren Wind said

    My macbook shuts down within 60 sec. @ 2 Ghz, but runs for days @ 1 Ghz…. but it is very hard to make it boot @ 1 ghz.. if’ only someone could make a prefs program, to make i run 1 ghz all the time, then i at least would have a usable computer untill Apple finds a solution.

  71. Peter said

    Holding down the start button until the beeping noise comes on should start the machine at 1 Ghz.

  72. Johanne said

    This is so unacceptabe to me. i have been a Mac user for years and this is the first time that I encountered this problem. I am very frustrated because I need this computer for everything. Why did they sel me this product if they knew that this problem existed. I am for a group petition to require immediate action. I cannot afford to send the computer in……..It is not an option for me.

  73. mrskin said

    Great post, I need to make a blog.

  74. Anthony said

    This is definitely not a heat problem since I can be on my Macbook for hours and running it heavily without a hitch and some times simply turn the Macbook on and after 5 min., it just shuts down. Restart and before it even gets to boot completely it shutsdown. Try again, and it’s up for hours again even under heavy load. Don’t know what the issue is but it most definitely is not a heat problem. My Macbook is of the batch with the issue and is in for repair. Just an FYI.

  75. […] Apple’s forums are full of people searching for a solution, now it appears that an IT Engineer from Munich, Germany has found the source of the issue.read more | digg story […]

  76. Zak said

    The MacBooks here, in the Middle East (Kuwait to be exact), aren’t having any problems… No random shutdowns, no trackpad button problems, not fan noise and no discoloration of the palmrest in white MacBooks… BUT, last week, the Apple Center recieved a new shipment of MacBooks (that were not updated) LOL 😛
    Nothing so far… is this problem only present in the US?
    Good Luck to those who have the problem/problems.

  77. Zak said

    I have no problems with my MacBook…
    So far, no problems have been reported…. Here in the middle east… Kuwait to be exact…
    There aren’t any RSS problems, no fan noises, no track button problems, and no screen or discoloration problems…
    Six friends of mine have the new MacBook… And no problems at all…
    I just wanted to know if this problems is only found in the US???
    Good luck to those who have these problems…

  78. I killed bambi said

    Hope you’re right, got some random shutdowns today so I tested my Blackbook and turns out I’m infected.
    If we’re lucky apple is prioritizing the rss and will come out with a fix. A firmware update would be ideal but i presume thats not gonna fix anything :(((((((

    Zak, no its not only occuring in the states. I’m in Sweden and have a “Swedish” macbook.

  79. […] I have widely researched and read everything available on this topic and the most promising leads are the two guys (one of them is here, sieb on the previous page) that have opened theirs up and insulated their burnt (and presumably shorting) wires connected to the heat sink. They both say that their units are now functioning properly; their unit’s future behaviour will be the most telling. One other fellow claims to have a unit with a new logic board and new heatsink assembly that started to act up again after it’s repair. There was one mention of Apple "recalling the heatsink assembly" but that can safely be dismissed as bulls***t. Many say the whole "heatsink shorting against the thermistors" doesn’t explain their RSS as it only happens when the machine is cool and is woken up after a (long and cool) sleep and never when running full out. More questions than answers so far. Here is the second guy who "got under the hood"… it is found at this link: Random Macbook Shutdowns. Solved. At Last. Hopefully. Martin Backschat’s Blog Adam Dachis Says: September 15th, 2006 at 4:02 pm I called Apple on Wednesday (September 13th) and found out that they 1) will not repair the machines in the Apple Store (even though they do full repairs there in 48 hours if you’re a Pro Care member) and 2) insist on a 2-week turn-around to fix it. How are they fixing it? Replacing the logic board. Then I started reading about how people were getting it back multiple times with the problem still unresolved. I use my machine at work and it’s a pain in the ass to have it gone for 2 days, let alone 2 weeks. So based on all of that I decided I’d rather fix it myself.And I did, with the help of a coworker. We had no idea where the heat sensor cable was (why are there no detailed instructions anywhere?) and had to look around for quite awhile, but we eventually found it. It’s on the left side of the heat sink, is very thin, and to find the fried part you have to actually unscrew the heat sink and fan, at least partially, and look under it. We applied the tape and not only does it not shut down anymore (it was doing it consistently after being on for just a few minutes, if not even more often) but it also regulates the fans properly. If you’re skeptical, you’re wrong. This works and is so much better than losing your machine for half a month with potentially no results. Last edited by acoustix : Today at 06:20 AM. […]

  80. jebworks said

    In response to the last post: After having the heatsink replaced back in August I had RSS again two weeks ago while traveling. Checking with the Apple store in Tokyo, they had me reset the PRAM and I was lucky to have the macbook work until today when it shut down repeatedly.
    I brought it to the local Apple store telling them that I was very unhappy with this situation. Contrary to the post, they did in fact repair it locally and my guess is the genius did what the post describes. It seems the problem is a heat sensor cable malfunction, with the sensor “thinking” the machine is overheating when it actually isn’t and shuts it down.
    Let’s see if this has solved the problem permanently. I keep my fingers crossed. At least I didn’t have to be without my mac for days which is a majore hassle.

  81. Josh Byrd said

    So can we expect a recall on macbooks or what? I recently converted from PC to Mac because of all the problems with PCs. Now I’m having problems with both OSes. This is downright ridiculous and I feel like giving Apple hell about it. I’ve read reports of people sending in their Macbook for repairs and only to be brought back in a crappier condition. The same RSS as well as a handful of other problems. Either they need to recall these Macbooks and get a full refund or replace the parts…It seems like this problem has been going on for quite some time and it seems like Apple has done nothing to try and resolve the problem. Way to go apple. I thought I had a real good notebook and now it’s a peice of junk I wasted so much money on. Thanks for nothing.

  82. Tom Hutchinson said


    Join the crew. They’re planning a class-action law suit. Here are some other links that may help you all out:

    This is what Apple is doing to fix your machine

    iTunes 8, Applications, v.1.2, 16GB

    This is a program to control your fan speed and make your macbook run cooler (no, it’s not just for macbook pro)

  83. Mike said

    Does anyone know if Apple fixed this problem for MacBooks that were made past the 34th week of production?

    To find out, your serial number should tell you what week was your MacBook made.

    For example: if it was 4H634XXXXXX

    4H= Code
    6= Year (2006)
    34= Week of production

    So, in this example its the 34th week of 2006

  84. […] 有人拍下影片記錄這個情況(影片中01:48發生第一次,之後的混亂情形,就如影片中所述): […]

  85. Peter said


    I applied the above update and my random shutdowns have STOPPED!!!!

  86. […] My odyssey began when my new (< 3 months old) black Macbook started the dreaded random shutdowns (a la Kevin Rose on Diggnation – possibly recently explained?). I’m currently travelling back and forth between Sydney and Melbourne for work, so on the weekend at home (Sydney) I backed up and prepared to take the Macbook in for servicing, figuring I could do without it for a couple of days without a serious work issue (I have a client PC to use for email). After taking the Macbook to Melbourne on Monday, I prepared to drop it off with the local reseller who I had purchased it from (fortunately on a Gold Card, more to come on that). […]

  87. Suspected RSS problem was actually poorly inserted memory.... said

    Some people who think they have this logic board/heatsink problem might want to try this.
    I have a week 27 black macbook, just around xmas, 3 months or so after purchase, the random rebooting at sleep, was then followed by a complete failure to boot. tried all the resets etc.

    I was ready to send the mac back, but as a last resort after reading elsewhere that it might be a memory issue, I just “repaired” the RSS problem by taking the 2g memory I had inserted a few weeks previously, replaced the default memory (using as much force as required this time)…booted fine. Then put the 2g back in there making sure it was fully inserted, which isnt obvious the first time you put memory in one of these, it feels like you’re going to break the socket.

    Before you freak out at apple, who it has to be said aren’t building their low end products very reliably these days, your laptop might be fine. Because of the many websites talking about the heatsink issue, a lot of people might be wasting their time sending machines back that just need the memory looked at, and pushed in properly, even if it is the default and has shaken loose. It might seem obvious, but most people are overlooking it, and talking like they’ve got a problem that requires mass product recall because its easier to complain on the web about it.

  88. Marcellus said

    Well I don’t think it’s the heat sink wire short circuit theory unless it applies to icey cold machines as well. I live in Japan where we don’t have central heating. the house gets mighty cold in the rooms where the airconditioner is not on.

    My Macbook pro is only 2 weeks old. On the first day it shut down without warning. After that I have to start and restart the damn thing about 10 times before it will actually start up. The machine is usually ice cold when I do this.

    Let me try the memory push maybe it will work.

    I sure hope so.

  89. Diana Kalitzin said

    I have been using my new MacBook for 4 months. Now it shuts down on its own immediately (a question of a few seconds) after turning it on.

  90. Great…

    A spanish translation about this topic might be found in here


  91. Daniel SNEED said

    I’ve just installed the last OS-10.4.9 update.
    In the information screen that came with it, I’ve red something about correction of some random shutdown risk.
    Since upgrading, no shut down for two weeks now.
    Fingers crossed…

  92. […] warrant an eponymous domain: http://www.macbookrandomshutdown.com. My forays through Google links led to this page that indicates a short that occurs when the Mac gets hot. That would explain why I had problems […]

  93. i’m losing my mind, and i don’t think it’s cleve. Martino Heino.

  94. that’s why it will never wor. Joey Hadassah.

  95. Personally, I havee ben looking for simular information as I am writing a sals page for our employees to assist them with having th knowledge they need

  96. Camille said

    Oh my gosh… My macbook pro has the same problem and shutdowns automatically and this problem happens after 1 year I bought it. At first I think this maybe made by my typing mistaken, but today it happens again. There is no warning like others said before, just turning to all black!! When I turn it on again, the problem disappeared. I hope this is not going to happen again since this is only a physics problem!!!!!

  97. Matthew Ceradini said

    I have the shut down problem with my MacBook Pro 17″. I thought it was either do to the battery or heat. After reading this post I think it may be both. I hesitate to get an AppleCare plan because I had a bad experience with them in the past and I don’t want to loose my machine for 3 months awaiting a fix. This is what I’ve notice, my Mac started shutting down after running for long periods of time, but recently it was after only 20-30 min. What I did was remove the battery and then start up the machine. I’ve let it run like this for 6 hours, not putting it in sleep mode, although it goes into power save mode after 15min. The computer woke up and ran fine, no shut downs. If I leave the battery in the machine the shut downs start up again, sometimes after a while (5hr+), but more recently after only 30 min. What I’ve notices is if I pull the battery out for a while and then start the computer up, the shut downs don’t happen for a while. But if I install the battery again, it’ll shut down at random. Any suggestions, does this help anyone narrow down the problem?

    My warranty has expired and the new AppleCare plan costs $250. If I do it on my own, a new battery would cost $150 and having an Third Party Apple Tech will probably cost me $150 to do the ‘heatsink wire fix’. I’m willing to spend to fix the problem but I’d like to know which route is the best method, have Apple fix it, and loose the computer of extended periods of time with no guarentees, or fix it on my own.

  98. […] solution, now it appears that an IT Engineer from Munich, Germany has found the source of the issue.read more | digg story Filed under Blog by […]

  99. Mak said

    Thanks for you information.
    I really like this stuff. I’ve just bought it last week form Amazon, someone told me I can fine cheap macbook airin there.

  100. gimme said

    I think this one is cheaper cheap macbook.

  101. SadPonyGuerillaBoy said

    I am a mac tech, and i have seen a variety or issues with shutdowns. Some are heatsink related (faulty temp sensors), have only come across one instance of a melted cable though. About I would honestly have to say that 95% of the shut downs i see are thermal paste related. Just clean off the old dried up thermal paste on the heatsink and cpu and southbridge. Then put a good sized gob on each. Now when i say good sized gob, i really do mean a good helping. I suggest thermal paste such as artic silver. A lot of shutdowns are related to the fact that the machine just gets to hot and too much heat is being transfered and shut downs occur. THen once in a while it is mainboard replated. But most i see are thermal paste related. Hope this is useful to some of the do-it yourselfers

    • Damian said

      Total agreement with SadPonyGuerillaBoy – removing the old thermal paste and reapplying a decent (or at least, new) thermal paste has fixed this for me.

      I ran yes > /dev/null & for around 30m (i.e. maxing out the CPU for 30m) without a shutdown – so there can’t be a heat problem any longer!

    • ServiceDocs said

      I used the MacBook C2D Heatsink Guide plus the Thermal Paste guide to resolve my MacBook RRS (Random Restart Syndrome) issue. My MacBook would randomly restart after the fan kicked into high speed. When I removed the heatsink I discovered an an irregular patch completely free of thermal compound of about 15-20% of the area on one of the processors. I removed and re-applied the thermal paste. I ran a memory test utility overnight that previously caused a restart after a couple of hours, and the probelm seems to be solved. Time will tell. Link:


  102. I can’t start my MacBook. When I turn it on, it starts but almost immediately gives me a dialogue window with the message: You need to restart you computer. Hold down the power button for serveral seconds and press the Restart button.
    Retarting the computer brings me back to the same message again and again.
    The problem started when I tried to upgrade my utilities disk from a new computer MacBook I had bought for my son.
    Any suggestion on what I should do. My I Year Limited Warrenty expired on May 13.

  103. Chimbles said

    Jeez that thing is riddled with problems. Fortunately for me it doesnt shut down on it’s own yet… but the plastics are cracking, screen is flickering, power cord malfunctioning, and audio jack has a mind of its own. If it wasn’t for AppleCare I would say this is the worst product for its money, and that is unfortunate enough because Apple does put out some nice things.
    Check out my blog , and you will thank your lucky stars that this is the only problems you have.

  104. […] Random Macbook Shutdowns. Solved. At Last. Hopefully. « Martin Backschat’s Blog (tags: macbook random-shut-down mac) […]

  105. SoCalHeather said

    I still love my Macbook Air and can’t even say I’ve ever had one problem with it…and thankfully nothing as serious as overheating issues.

  106. […] Bundan önce internetten araştırmalarımız konusunda da bilgi vermem gerekir. Shutdown, macbook kelimelerini beraber aradığımızda google’da zaten karşımıza çıkan tek şey “RSS”, yani Random Shutdown Syndrome (Rasgele Kapanma Sendromu). Birçok Macbook’ta bu problemin olduğunu kısa bir aramayla gördük. Kiminin servise gidip geldiği zaman problemin çözüldüğünü, kiminin ise probleminin asla çözülmediğini anlattığı bu sayfalarda fazla zaman kaybetmedik. Yalnız dikkatimizi birşey çekti, Apple’ın da kabul ettiği ifade edilen, işlemci ısı sensöründeki hatalı üretim bir kablonun zaman içerisinde sıyrıldığını ve fazlasıyla sıcak olan heatsink’e ne zaman dokunursa ani ısı artışıyla Macbook’un kendini önlem olarak kapattığını, kablo değişiminin problemleri giderdiğini anlatan bir yazı. Linki de burada. […]

  107. michael said

    After removing lots of excess thermal paste it would run for an hour instead of 15 minutes,New paste got it to 2ish hrs before the random restart
    The fix for me was- it was misassembled at the factory
    The was a ground tab that i moved to the top of the assembly ,(one of the screws that holds it down) it was underneath.Thin, but I guess it was enough to
    disrupt the sink doing its job.I think the gpu was overheating causing the restart Although cpu and heatsink temps seemed normal, they dropped almost 10 degrees C after moving the tab ,also became more stable.Kernel logs reported monitor not usable and called a reboot ,this was another good gpu heat clue

  108. Judith Antonelli said

    I have had my MacBook since September 2006; it was originally OS X 4.6 (Tiger). In April 2008 the hard drive died and I had it replaced; at that time the OS was upgraded to 4.11. I never had a problem with random shutdown until July 24, 2010, when it happened AS SOON AS I TURNED THE COMPUTER ON (i.e., cold). Every time I tried to turn the computer on again, it would shut down again. The following day it worked fine, and it continued to work fine until today, August 15, 2010, when it suddenly shut down again as soon as I turned the computer on (and every time since). Now I am on my old OS 9, and I am at least glad to find this information and learn what the issue is. Tomorrow I will call my Mac repair guys, and at least I will know to say that my problem is “random shutdown syndrome.” I hope to God they can fix it. In the three weeks between shutdowns, I bought a flash drive and backed up EVERYTHING, so at least I’m safe that way. But I need my computer for freelance work, and this is very disturbing. I live in fear of the next random shutdown and of being unable to meet my work deadlines!

    • Hannah said

      Did you manage to get if replaced, my laptop has been broken for over 2 months now and I’ve just discovered that this is the problem! Would love to know what the tech guy said!

  109. i use google when i want to do some spanish translation, it is good for general spanish translation -*~

  110. mike said

    I fixed it.Look at the logs,its the video quitting.Too much paste, cleaned it up,shutdowns went from 10 min to 1/2 hr.Turns out it was mis-assembled?
    at the factory with a ground tab under one of he hat sink corners, moved the ground on top so the sink sits flat on the chips, new paste and no more shutdowns : )

  111. […] a German article (translated and summarised here) suggests that it’s because a cable to the heat sensor comes into contact with the […]

  112. milo said

    worked perfectly for me

  113. this is a useful thing 4 sure Here’s some pass forward: Thought for the day? : A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. Groucho Marx

  114. Max said

    Thank you! You helped me with an old MacBook.

  115. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as
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