New MacBook Air Freezing & Crashing? Try Using Safari or Chrome Canary For Now
We’ve discussed some pretty flattering attributes of the new MacBook Air lately, but here’s one that’s less than pleasant: a sizable amount of users are reporting the machine will completely freeze up seemingly out of nowhere, requiring a hard reset. Though not every new MacBook Air owner is experiencing the freezing issue, those who have seem to all being running the Chrome web browser when the system freeze occurs.
This has anecdotally been confirmed by Gizmodo and their staff writers, and they also cite several Apple Discussion Board threads and MacRumors forum posts on the matter. With a reasonable amount of evidence pointing to a software bug in an existing version of Chrome, the solution for the time being is simple enough, try using the latest Chrome Canary build, Safari, or Firefox, each of which seem to resolve the issue for the time being. Google typically releases new stable versions of Chrome with some regularity so an update probably isn’t too far off and hopefully it will resolve the freezes and crashes once and for all.
Update 6/28/2012: Google has confirmed that an existing version of Chrome is causing conflicts and crashes with the Intel HD 4000 GPU on the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro:
We have identified a leak of graphics resources in the Chrome browser related to the drawing of plugins on Mac OS X. Work is proceeding to find and fix the root cause of the leak.
The resource leak is causing a kernel panic on Mac hardware containing the Intel HD 4000 graphics chip (e.g. the new Macbook Airs). Radar bug number 11762608 has been filed with Apple regarding the kernel panics, since it should not be possible for an application to trigger such behavior.
While the root cause of the leak is being fixed, we are temporarily disabling some of Chrome’s GPU acceleration features on the affected hardware via an auto-updated release that went out this afternoon (Thursday June 28). We anticipate further fixes in the coming days which will re-enable many or all of these features on this hardware.
If you have a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and use Chrome, update it now to receive the temporary fix.