Your Brand New MacBook Is Freaking Out and Here's How to Fix It

Illustration for article titled Your Brand New MacBook Is Freaking Out and Here's How to Fix It

So, you unwrapped your shiny new Macbook and booted it up for the first time, only to be greeted by sluggish performance and occasional forced restarts. What's going on? We don't know either, but here's a potential fix.


First, turn off your computer. Then hold down the Option key while turning it back on. You will be greeted by a language select dialogue; take your pick. Next, select Disk Utility. Select "Macintosh HD" from the left hand column, then click on the Verify Disk Permissions button. Chances are that this will reveal some sort of error in the text box above. Once it's done, click the Repair Disk Permissions button and let it do its thang. Finally, click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the menu bar and restart your computer the normal way. For some, this has been a sufficient fix, affording that fresh-out-of-the-box, super speedy performance you've come to expect of a new Apple computer.

We've had three new MacBook Airs with performance issues out of the box thus far, and yesterday's Kinja session only further confirmed that something is indeed afoot. Mostly, the problem boils down to a little case of MacBook v. Google Chrome, with Apple taking the fall. For whatever reason, Apple PR isn't willing to talk to us about the issue. But we did have a rather successful call with Apple Care today. Here's what they had to say on the matter:

Illustration for article titled Your Brand New MacBook Is Freaking Out and Here's How to Fix It

That scary 5-language dialog box prompting you to restart your computer is endemic to a kernel panic. The kernel is the bridge between applications and the actual data processing done at the hardware level, basically the behind-the-scenes wrangler of your computer's every action. And a kernel panic occurs when bad info is sent to the OS kernel. The bad info gets to the kernel and the kernel stops it in its tracks, which sends the kernel into a panic requiring a hard reboot.

Usually, when a recurring problem happens only while using a specific app (in the case, Chrome), the issue is with that app, not with the Apple system or hardware. This makes sense. Chrome has been the common denominator, without exception, when all of our MacBook Airs are crashing.

Apple Care suggests going back 2 or 3 builds in Google Chrome, to an earlier version. If that version works on your MacBook Air or Pro, and it isn't' buggy, then we know it's a problem specific to the latest version of the browser. As we'd guessed before, the best thing to do right now is to stay off Chrome till an update addressing this issue is made available. (*We've been using Safari, somewhat begrudgingly, for the past 24 hours now and haven't had a single crash.) Otherwise, you'll just keep sending bad info to your kernel, which will continue to panic and crash.

Apple Care did say that if you should happen to experience the same panic/crash while using Safari, to tell them ASAP, because a crash while using a browser native to the OS would be very significant. And tell us, too!


If you or anyone you know has an explanation for what's going on, please shoot us an email at or join in on the discussion below.



If you don't know about the Repair Permission or the Disk Repair... you shouldn't have a Mac. 9 times out of 10 this is the solution to any OS problem on a Mac.