Random Shut Downs: Apple releases firmware update

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Following recent contact between a major member of the media and Apple, it was revealed that Apple has today made a fix available for random shutdowns that will eliminate the need for customers to send their systems in for warranty service!

The fix takes the form of a SMC (System Management Controller) firmware update.

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Update on the cause of random shut downs

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Jason Siebert, aka Sieb (thatsiebguy), who took the photo of the melted insulation featured on our demystified post points out that the shut downs may be caused NOT by an electrical short circuit problem but rather by the high levels of heat that the sensor cables are exposed to. Heat increases the resistance of the electric sensor cable and this results in a decrease in the current through the cable which in turns lead to altering the signal sent by the heat sensor (thermistor). If this signal indicates a high enough temperature, it is possible that the MacBook just shuts itself down to prevent any damage to the processor.

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Random Shut Downs Demystified!

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Thanks to some pictures of the MacBook heatsink on Flickr, the cause of random shutdowns in the 13″ MacBooks is now clearer! As previously thought, it is indeed an insulation issue. Here’s a close up of a melted heat sensor cable:

The area where the cable insulation melts actually houses a pair of cables and it is suspected that this is where the short circuit triggering a shut down occurs (when those two cables make electrical contact).

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Technofile Podcast looks at Random Shut Downs

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The tech news segment of Sky News, Technofile, from a few days ago addressing the issue of intermittent shut downs in MacBooks is now available as a video podcast from iTunes or as a download.

The podcast episode also includes a brief pros and cons discussion of PC vs Mac.

Download Link: Technofile Episode 6a

MacBook Random Shutdown on Sky News

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Last night’s Technofile, the techology segment of TV news channel Sky News featured the issue of MacBook Random Shutdowns.

The segment featured an interview with 3 affected MacBook owners:

  • Matthew Swanson from macbookrandomshudown.com over webcam
  • Myself (Ash Matadeen) and
  • Robert Nisbet, Sky News Environment Correspondent who actually had his MacBook shutdown during the interview!

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The buggy iTunes 7

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Soon after announcing iTunes 7 at Apple’s Showtime event, users started reporting problems with the software. The most talked about issue with iTunes so far seems to be that of distorted/scrambled playback, mainly on iTunes for Windows. This has made the iTunes 7 experience so bad for some that they decided to revert back to iTunes 6.0.5.

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Horrendous Apple Repair Experience

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Photo by Jonas Thomén

I sent my MacBook in for repairs over 3 weeks ago now and besides the inconvenience of being without a computer for this long, I’ve been very disappointed with the service. Specially so in the Apple Store through which I sent my repair. I was initially told the repair would take a week but it ended up taking them 24 days! During this time I was mislead/misinformed several times by the Genius at The Apple Store. This lead to extreme disappointment and frustration on my part.

During this time, I also explained that I desperately needed a computer to work and insisted that they loan me a notebook or offered me a replacement/refund for my MacBook but my request was promptly declined each time!

In addition, I also emailed Apple’s PR (Janette Barrios) person for the MacBook explaining my situation, the inconvenience it caused me and why I desperately needed a computer to work on.


Today, 17 days since my email to Janette Barrios, I still don’t have a reply.


This led me to think back to a few years ago when I needed my Dell laptop repaired. I can recall Dell sending out an engineer to my house the very next day to fix the issue there and then!


Apple may design great products but they have a lot to learn from Dell about customer service!

If you are interested in the details of my Apple doesn’t Care/Store experience, read on for a chronological list of events relating to my repair.

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My RSS MacBook finally repaired

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24 days after I dropped my MacBook at my local Apple Store, it has finally been repaired.


I have used it for about 8 hours since picking up the repair and have not had any problems so far. However considering that the random shut down issue is one that typically doesn’t surface until after a few months of use, it will take me a good few months before I could say for certain whether Apple fixed the problem or not.

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Random Shutdown in The Apple Store

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I visited the Apple Store in Birmingham (UK) last Tuesday to pick up my repair, which I was told would be ready by then. But to maintain the scum level of service on offer at this store, nobody knew where the MacBook was although they said to me it had been repaired and ready to be sent back since Thursday 7th September.

So I called Apple Care myself to investigate. After 30 minutes wait on the phone, I finally got through to someone who insisted that contrary to what I was told in the Store, my MacBook is still awaiting parts and won’t be ready for another week still.

It’s 3 weeks today since I left my MacBook at The Apple Store and I still don’t have it back although the Apple not so Genius said it would be ready within 1 week. I have officially filed a complaint about this whole situation with Apple Care on the phone yesterday. It’ll be interesting to see what Apple has to say…

With a large number of MacBooks affected by this, Apple is still very quiet although MacBooks in their own stores are suffering from the issue.

Video after the jump.

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Apple sends memo to service providers

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According to AppleInsider, a memo has been sent to its service providers mandating that MacBooks affected by the Random Shut Downs be repaired with a matching logic board and heat sink.

More after the jump.

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