MacBook Random Shut Down

Written on August 21, 2006 – 5:48 pm | by Ash |

My Macbook is now just over two months old and I’ve been extremely happy with it, until it suffered a series of random shutdowns immediately after logging in earlier today. This was followed by a simple refusal to start up. Overall, it was very much like what has been experienced by YouTube user, pippoburro: a series of shut downs, without any warnings!

More after the jump.

Luckily, I managed to get my MacBook to boot again. I plugged out the AC Cord and took the battery out for about half a minute before sticking it in again. Somehow that got it to boot up again and it’s been running for a good two and a half hours since then.

But thinking about the random shutdown, I recall experiencing one a few days ago but I didn’t think much of it and blamed it on some software glitch. But after today’s events it really caught my attention and after a quick search on the Apple Discussion forums, I quickly found out this was a known issue.

Looking at the threads on the Discussions Forums a lot of MacBooks have been sent for repairs because of the random shut downs.

The interesting thing is that each MacBook sent to Apple for repairs has come back with a different part replaced. From the logic board, the heat sink, RAM, Hard Disks to even keyboards! Clearly, there doesn’t seem to be a set cure for the problem.

Looking at the various parts that Apple have replaced in MacBooks suffering from random shutdowns, it would seem like Apple is still trying to figure out what the cause is. And as far as I know Apple hasn’t (yet?) acknowledged the issue!

Until then, I can only hope that my MacBook won’t have any more of those shut down fits!

Note: Most of the MacBooks that have been back from repairs still have the same problem!

Update: 24AUG06
My MacBook has not suffered any further random shutdowns since (for 3+ days).

Matthew over at macbookrandomshutdown.com has set up a blog dedicated to the random shutdowns. He reports that Apple replaced the heat sink in his MacBook and that it hasn’t had a shut-down since (5+days).

Matthew has also opened the blog to anyone with a MacBook story. So if your MacBook has the RS (random shutdown) syndrome, then register for free at macbookrandomshutdown.com and post your story.

Related Posts:
MacBook Random Shutdown List
Testing Your MacBook for Random Shut Down
Macbook Gone for Repairs
Life is Random
~10% of MacBooks (13″) have Random Shutdown

  1. 26 Responses to “MacBook Random Shut Down”

  2. By Vidar S. Ramdal on Aug 28, 2006 | Reply

    Hi! Thank you for posting this, I thought I was the only one suffering from this problem. The symptoms you’re describing are exactly the same I’ve seen.

    I called Apple Support, and the guy I spoke with suggested there could be something wrong with the battery. However, I’ve since observed the problem even with the battery removed.

    He also led me through a procedure of resetting the Power Management unit - by shutting down the mac, removing the power cord and battery, and then press and hold the power button for 5 seconds. This procedure seemed to cure the problem for a while, but I still see it from time to time.

  3. By EddyB on Aug 30, 2006 | Reply

    Sell the Apple and buy a Dell they have real life fire built in for free!

  4. By Richard Anderson on Sep 1, 2006 | Reply

    My 2 month old Macbook has exactly the same problem.

  5. By Mark on Sep 11, 2006 | Reply

    my MacBook started shutting down today and it would not boot anymore til I removed the battery and had it work only on the power supply. It worked fine and I plugged the battery back about 5 minutes later. It did not shut down anymore. it seems it is running just fine right now. It might be a battery flaw or something which is reset when the battery is disconnected for a while

  6. By Ash on Sep 12, 2006 | Reply

    Mark, mine did exactly the same thing. It wouldn’t start again until I took the battery out. But unlike you, I put the battery back in right after (without switching it on using AC power only) and it booted fine again.

    It may be a battery flaw like you suggested but it’s quite likely that it’s related to the heatsink temperature sensor problem. Removing the battery might have the effect of resetting the output from the temperature sensor.

    Although I managed to get my MacBook to boot up again this way, it still had many more shutdowns afterwards…

  7. By Maria on Dec 11, 2006 | Reply

    I’m thinking about buying the macbook & decided to do some research. Anyone know of any other common problems with the macbook?? If so, please post it. l’m having my doubts about buying one & am contemplating on geting a PC instead (worse case senario).

  8. By Ash on Dec 11, 2006 | Reply

    I haven’t had any problems other than the random shut downs with my MacBook. And even this has now been fixed with a firmware update.

    Also, the MacBooks being sold now are a newer design featuring the Core2Duo processor and shouldn’t have the shut down problems.

  9. By Ludwig on Feb 21, 2007 | Reply

    Just letting you now my macbook is 5 month old and it also looses power without warning. Now I say loss power, because there is no warning or hint this would be a software problem, I’m thinkking the design has a flaw in it allowing for an electrical short, or there is some sort of resistance on the board that burns through. It’s obviously something electrical, that happens wether you are plugged into an outlet or not. I think it happens more frequently when there are periferals plugged in to the macbook but it does not happen exclusively in those instances. My 2 cents

  10. By Ash on Mar 12, 2007 | Reply

    Ludwig,

    Apple has released a firmware update which they claim will fix the random shut down issues. I would suggest you give it a try to see if it helps.

  11. By Sutty on Oct 12, 2007 | Reply

    We bought our Macbook on 30 June 2007. It was a bit of a gamble because we had never used an Apple before but we thought it was great.
    Graphics were fab and the overall machine much better than the pc.
    But then one day it shut down and wouldnt turn back on. We returned it to John Lewis on the 29 August and were told that it had passed the 28 days refund but they had a right to repair, so it was sent away and finally returned to us on 13 Sept. After getting it home, it just kept shutting down every few seconds. We returned it again on the 15 Sept and have still not recieved it back. After ringing John Lewis and complaining, they have agreed to give us a full refund. Now what to do? Liked the Mac but will we have the same problem if we buy another?

  12. By Claudia on Mar 3, 2008 | Reply

    I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMA, WHAT SHOULD I DO???

  13. By Ash on Mar 3, 2008 | Reply

    Claudia,

    I’d suggest running ‘Software Update’ to download and install the latest updates from Apple. The random shutdown problem was fixed by Apple through a firmware update in October 2006.

    If the problem still persists after installing the latest updates, you’ll need to contact Apple Care for service.

    You may also find this article on Apple’s website of interest.

  1. 14 Trackback(s)

  2. Aug 27, 2006: HardMac’s Blog » Blog Archive » MacF%*kingBook
  3. Aug 27, 2006: The Apple Files » Testing your MacBook for Random Shut Downs
  4. Aug 30, 2006: The Apple Files » MacBook RS: Life is Random
  5. Aug 30, 2006: Tech Llama » Blog Archive » MacBook Intermittent Shutdown Problems
  6. Aug 31, 2006: the8thsign » Macbook Random Shutdowns
  7. Aug 31, 2006: Macbook Random Shutdown » Blog Archive : Week 19 Macbook » Week 19 Macbook
  8. Sep 1, 2006: The Apple Files » ~10% of MacBooks (13″) have Random Shutdown
  9. Sep 1, 2006: The Apple Files » MacBook gone for repairs
  10. Sep 2, 2006: The Apple Files » MacBook RSS List
  11. Sep 5, 2006: The Apple Files » Random Shutdown: Possible Cause
  12. Sep 8, 2006: The Apple Files » Apple sends memo to service providers
  13. Sep 21, 2006: The Apple Files » Horrendous Apple Repair Experience
  14. Oct 4, 2006: The Apple Files » MacBook Random Shutdown on Sky News
  15. Oct 4, 2006: Macbook Random Shutdown » Blog Archive : We are on SKY NEWS! » We are on SKY NEWS!

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