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Randomly shuts down when not connected to an external display.

Hi, this is my first post on ifixit so bare with me.

About a couple of months ago i was away from home and my Macbook randomly shut itself down. It kept on doing this so i did a bit of googling and thought it may of been the heatsink not keeping the CPU cool enough so it went into protect mode and shut down. I took my mac apart and saw that the heatsink wasn't looking too great so i decided to change it just incase that was the problem.

After fitting the new heat sink the problem went away. Since then I've been using my macbook pro as a desktop. Connected to an external display with a keyboard and mouse. The problem hasn't been happening. Great! Or so i thought until the other evening when i removed my laptop from my desk and tried using it elsewhere.

I've troubleshooted the SMC, reinstalled OSX, tried it in safe mode (Which worked), tried a new user account, disconnected everything one by one to see whether something triggers it... Nothing but disconnecting the external display seems to trigger it to happen.

So in brief. My macbook will only run for about 10 seconds without an external display before the screen goes black and the keyboard lights and fans stay on then turns off.

Please help if you can.



UPDATE 10/6/2016


I ve been having this issue for 3 months since theirs no apple store near me i have no other solution

My macbook pro keep on shuting down randomly , i ve suspected the motherboard but since last month i ve used it connected to a 32" monitor via hdmi it havent shutdown since works fine

Can anybody help ?

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Please tell us exactly which machine you have, there are known issues on different machines.

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)

@danj is more up to date on this model than I am.

Dominique dis u get yours fixed ? Im having the same trouble macbook pro retina late 2013

Dom, did you get this fixed? Mine is doing the same thing.

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I have the same issue with my MacBook Pro 15 Mid 2014.

The only way to use the MacBook without the shutdown problem is using an external display or a HDMI dummy plug like this:


It is a hardware defect on the logic board, probably the i7 Processor with intel Iris Graphics. Maybe its the smc circuit.

On Windows, I thought, I had no problems. But I saw some times the display goes black for 1/10 of a second.

So I believe, it is the defect of the Onboard Graphic.

My Problem occurred, when I used dolphin Nintendo WII emulator, which leads to 100% CPU usage und the fan full power. I think, the MacBook went too hot and this caused the damage.

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I have solved it completely by reapplying thermal paste of the cpu.

There was only about 50% covered with thermal paste.

Not one sudden shutdown since then.

It is easy, just put off the heatsink and reapply thermal paste.

About one hour, and all is done.

I couldn't believe ist, but it works!

Thanks Ulrich. Any guess why this problem doesn't occur when the Macbook is connected to an external display?

Higher thermal limit with connected Display or plug and cable cools down a bit

Hi Ulrich. Just tried this and it didn't work for me :(. Was easy enough to do and also removed a lot of dust in the fans but it made no difference. Currently using a HDMI dummy and it isn't too bad, at least I now have some portability so thanks for that suggestion. Exact same Macbook Pro (15-inch, i7 Mid 2014), exact same problem but it seems the solution didn't work for me. Hmmm?

Hi Dave, sorry to hear. I decided to use arctic Silver no5. What paste did you use? It is very important not to apply too much paste, less is more. Because it worked for me, I still think, the problem is an emergency shutdown because of too much heat. This is the key. Maybe it makes sense to try it again with the right paste and the right amount of paste? My Macbook still run´s fine!

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It's easier than it looks....


How to fix?

1) reboot with CMD+R pressed.

2) open Terminal

3) csrutil disable

4) reboot in normal mode

5) sudo mv /System/Library/Extensions/AppleThunderboltNHI.kext


6) reboot with CMD+R pressed

7) csrutil enable

8) reboot and forget about problem

We turn off buggy driver, that is for ethernet via thunderbolt. It is possible, you dont need that functionality, like me.

Thanks to:


and personally to Lukas Kroll, who wrote here in comments about that solution found in that forum.

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Thanks so much! This seems to have fixed the issue for me, after months of having most of the power saving features disabled and plugging in a HDMI dummy display (and suffering random shutdowns when I forgot). Disappointed Apple weren't able to diagnose this when I took the machine in - they ran a full set of tests and couldn't find any problems, and advised the next option was to replace the motherboard.

Disabling the AppleThunderboltNHI driver fixed the random shutdown issue I was having too. My laptop screen would freeze and after a few second, shut down. It looked like it was actually going through the shutdown routine since it didn't immediately stop. I tried disabling the AppleThunderboltNHI driver (ethernet over thunderbolt) and it fixed the problem. It hasn't shut down in 10 days. Thanks for sharing that solution!

After 6 days of troubleshooting and 2 fruitless Apple store trips, this finally fixed it for me. Thank you so much!

This worked for me too! I have had a technician inspect the laptop and they couldn't find the issue. Forced to keep my Mac docked for over a year until now! Thanks for the great fix!

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Lets try this, download this free app: CoconutBattery.

With the system plugged in with your MagSafe power adapter take a screenshot of the main screen then disconnect the MagSafe adapter and take a second after at least 10 mins of being unplugged. Post them here so we can see them.

I'm suspecting your battery is going here or the battery charging logic has a problem. The issue of the display winking out is related as the system is going into power save mode and the system will then go into deep sleep.

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After speeding way too much time on this issue, I discovered the source of the problem. This is one of the most evil crashes I’ve ever encountered and behaves not unlike a virus. It is silent and strikes without logs or error messages, leaving you completely baffled as to the cause. If you’re getting a proper kernel panic, then you’re having a completely different problem.

As already mentioned, you can solve this issue by simply disabling or deleting the AppleThunderboltNHI.kext. I also discovered deleting the Thunderbolt Ethernet Adapter profiles as well as any associated NVRAM variables also resolves the issue without disabling the drivers.  These solutions, however, doesn't explain why some MBPs of the same model numbers do not exhibit the shutdown problem, or why it doesn't occur under Bootcamp Windows, or why zapping the NVRAM/PRAM doesn't solve the issue.

When you plug in a Thunderbolt ethernet adapter, AppleThunderboltNHI.kext loads and creates the NVRAM parameters and network profiles. The NVRAM is needed to ensure a network configured connection during Recovery Mode. MacOS loads the driver based on the parameters even without the adapter present to support hot plugging.  This is why clearing the NVRAM doesn't work.  It only clears the values of the parameters, not the parameter variables which clues MacOS to load the driver.

Unfortunately, AppleThunderboltNHI.kext is buggy and throws a fit when it detects there's nothing connected to the Thunderbolt port and silently shuts down the system. The event isn't random as it occurs during certain network operations.

Consequently, by merely plugging your MBP to an ethernet Adapter once, it triggers the scenario for the random shutdowns. If you're having this issue, you can disable the driver, remove the NVRAM variables (NVRAM command)  and Network Profiles or plug in a Thunderbolt device to keep the driver happy. If you're having this issue and you've never plugged in a Network Adapter, think really hard. Did you lend it to someone or purchase it from someone who has? Did you take your MBP to an AppleStore or Service provider and had a diagnostics performed? The dongle they attached to your Thunderbolt port was an Ethernet Adapter.

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Hi Barry,

I did never connect my Macbook to an ethernet adapter, nor did I bring it to a service.

I can’t remember, but maybe I connected it once to a TV via HDMI.

Maybe, HDMI is connected through thunderbolt, so this could explain your theory.

Greetings, Ulrich

Hi Ulrich,

Reread my post. Good questions. Check you network settings. If you see anything mentioning Thunderbolt Ethernet profile, then it was most likely connected to the adapter. Try to delete the profiles and see if the issue goes away. It doesn't occur in bootcamp because Windows uses a different driver.


I completely removed macOS and installed Linux – the shutdowns still happen, albeit perhaps less frequently. Maybe there are different causes for the same problem, and in my case it's hardware. The question is which part of the hardware.

Are you using a MacBook Pro? What Linux distro are you using? First, do a proper diagnostic at startup and then install Windows. Linux is hardly a good benchmark for ruling out driver issues. The symptoms are very specific. The shutdown has a specific behavior, the screen goes black and then turns off after a few seconds.

@Ulrich & @ Barry: I'm on 10.12 (Sierra) and I'm considering upgrading to 10.14 (Mojave). I'm interested in hearing the experiences of anybody who has a shut down problem that was fixed by deleting AppleThunderboltNHI.kext. After you upgraded and ran the usual fix, did everything work as normal again?

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I can only guess, but to me it sounds like the magnetic sensor that indicates your lid is closed is damaged. It goes into sleep but if your monitor is plugged in, nothing happens (as expected). Problem is that the resistor is on the logic board. It is going to be expansive if you do not know much about soldering and that stuff :-/

A workaround would be to go to settings and change the option when the lid is closed to do nothing

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This sounds less like a cooling issue and more like the device is thinking the lid is closed thus going to sleep after a few seconds... whereas when a external display is connected it goes into clamshell mode and there for stays switched on.. I may be wrong but this could be you issue

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Try this: https://realmacmods.com/product/macbook-...

I have “rescued” 3 systems with this utility. Apple wont even acknowledge the problem (which is why I’m not bying from them ever again.

The CPU has several power states and voltages.  Some CPU’s become unstable at extremely low voltages on one of it's cores.   The CPU will sometimes briefly dip into that power state, and if it happens to be on the core wherein it is unstable you will see the “silent” crash.

The reason that the hdmi trick works for some cases is f. ex due to dual gpu systems, where an hdmi display will force the system to use the dedicated GPU, which again results in the above mentioned state not occurring. This can also be achieved in dual gpu systems by removing the kext of the internal intel GPU in \System\Library. The result is the same.

It will be the best 10$ you ever invest.

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Is this any different from making your own python script which prevents the CPU from going into lower voltages? Which is what I've tried and it's made the shut downs more rare but it still happens.

I would not think so. I don't have any more insight into the utility itself than the description. You could test it with the kext trick to se if you get any better result than your python script (which would indicate some difference.)

HDMI solves the problem on MacBooks with only integrated GPU as well.

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only thing that worked for my retina macbook pro mid 2014 was nocrashmbp.app. looked into every other solution. Apple store’s diagnostics tool found nothing. the problem is a power saving protocol in the OS that was added with El Capitan were the power allocated to the cpu goes under the working threshold and it triggers shut down without warning.

nocrashmbp.app stops this power saving protocol from going under the minimum required by CPU

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This is not a Display Issue!!!!

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then it could be a battery problem

or it could be a connection issue

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If you didn't replace the thermal paste, a new cooler will be useless. You need to replace the thermal paste as well. Go to your local computer store and ask for 95 watt tdp thermal paste.

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I had this issue since an OS X upgrade in about late April 2019.

mid 2014 i7 MBP 15”

Sometimes would work for hours then just power off afetr a black screen and breif pause,

Othertimes 2 or 3 times an hour.

Safari seemed to make it crash more than opera.

Anyone ever notice the weird flash of words and screen display once booting for first time after crash? tried to film and capture it. Dont know what it says?

Reinstalled to clean vanila OS X - still the same

Even powered off during one re install.

Cleaned it out , dusted fans. inside looked clean and prestine.

seemed to shut down less after a clean.

Yes - I have used thunderbolt ethernet in the past.

I have 2 apple thunderbolt adapters , 1 bought new, 1 bought from ebay.

The rename kext solution seems to have fixed this for me.

Reading above “This is why clearing the NVRAM doesn't work.  It only clears the values of the parameters, not the parameter variables which clues MacOS to load the driver.

Anyway to remove the parameter variables or reset NVRAM totally? making it clean?

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Hey guys.

I’ve had the same problem but couldn’t go for the solution to disable my thunderbolt ports as I need them for music production. I think now the thunderbolt adapter in my case IS NOT THE ISSUE!!! Neither a defect logic board.

Let me tell you this. For me it was the DEFECT LID THING!!!! My MacBook thought that it was closed and went into “sleep” with an open lid. DUH! No Kernel Panic, no defect logic board nothing like it.

I disabled it as it was suggested in this forum in preferences>energy>battery>turn display off when on battery power……AND SET IT TO NEVER!!!!

WORKED!!!! Haven’t had a shutdown since!


Hope it helps!!!


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Finally fixed mine. Read somewhere updating the built in ssd to a Samsung with certain firmware A0d or A12 can’t recall exact number fixed it.

tried a 512gb adata unit Compatible with a 2014 model and no issues since. Original drive was a 256gb from Apple.

not had any power saving issues either.

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Same problem here, works fine if a Thunderbolt Display or Ethernet adapter is connected, random shutdown if nothing is connected to Thunderbolt. Also works fine if booted into Windows Bootcamp.

Took to Apple Store Genius who ran hardware diagnostics, no problems found. Suggested I back-up computer and reinstall OS, which I did. Problem still occurs.

Thinking the issue is related to the Thunderbolt driver as others have stated, but not wanting to disable the Thunderbolt functionality, I tried the other solution mentioned. I was skeptical but this solution is working.


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FWIW, disabling the kext only disables thunderbolt *hotplug* functionality. You can still use the mac with thunderbolt devices, but it won't detect when they are plugged/unplugged unless you reboot. Not great, but better than no thunderbolt at all.

Thanks all for this post....going to try the no-crash utility to solve this annoying problem that Apple wont admit to.... In the event of a non start (or very short timeframe before the crash) on the macbook...any workarounds to install this app?

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