MacBook Pro Touch Bar Photos image 001

Some proud owners of the new MacBook Pro with TouchBar are reportedly seeing their notebooks shut down repeatedly and unexpectedly. According to a report from Jeff Porten of TidBits, the problem might be related to external hard drives connected to the notebook through its Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.

Apple declined comment. This is yet another in a series of teething issues that have been plaguing early adopters of the new MacBook Pro. Just a few days ago, for example, some MacBook Pro owners reported an annoying graphics glitching issue.

After trying a few times, Porten realized he was unable to copy a large number of files from one external USB drive to another without his brand spanking new MacBook Pro shutting down unexpectedly.

Here’s what he found after analyzing error messages and logs in the Console app:

In my testing, my system appears to be stable when a single external drive is connected to one Thunderbolt 3 port or when multiple drives are connected to a powered USB hub that plugged into a single port.

But I eventually get a crash whenever I have multiple drives connected to multiple ports directly on the MacBook Pro. The issue appears to be related to whole drives; most of my drives have multiple partitions, which doesn’t seem to matter.

A thread of MacRumors’ forums confirms the error messages, with some of the posters claiming that the issue also raises its ugly head when a Time Machine backup kicks in.

“If your MacBook Pro is experiencing shutdowns when you’re not deliberately copying anything, the culprit might be Time Machine doing background backups to an external USB hard drive,” wrote Porten.

His Mac did back up to Time Machine without a hiccup in a single-drive setup:

If you’re using Time Machine, be careful to attach drives only to one port on your MacBook Pro, or turn off Time Machine while you’re using multiple ports. Wireless network copying seems to be unaffected, so Time Machine over a Wi-Fi network should work, but some people reported issues with Ethernet adapters connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port.

For what it’s worth, other people in the MacRumors’ are having problems with single drives and even individual files. Porten’s had no problems copying from the internal SSD to a single external drive. AppleCare is reportedly unaware of this problem as a general issue.

In his local Apple store, Porten couldn’t replicate the crashes he saw at home:

My crashes all came while using backup utilities, which I couldn’t test at the Apple Store. I used the Finder there with my external drives. But even after I managed to get my MacBook Pro replaced by my reseller, the problem persisted on my replacement machine.

Unless this is a hardware problem that would require a full product replacement, Apple should be able to fix this problem with a future macOS software update. According to the post, the Apple Geniuses speculated that the problem might be related to USB power draw, suggesting that a future firmware update may be needed.

Are you seeing similar issues on your own MacBook Pro?

Source: TidBits via The Loop

  • macjeff

    I had this issue and working with apple we solved it. The problem seems to have to do with Migration assistant items brought over. I spent two full days of using backup utilities and copy chucks of data at a time until I got the crash. Once I got the crash I continued to narrow down to the file. After two days there were a total of 5 files causing the crashes. ALL of them came over with migration assistant. All of them were video files (though some people have image files also). All files were over 100mb. All files were either created by me or downloaded.

    Even finder copying would reboot the macbookpro.

    I deleted the files, copied them over (and also redownloaded) using the finder and NOT migration assistant. Then I ran complete backups to multiple drives without any issues including time machine backup.

    Apple is aware of this issue and working on a fix but those who migrated before the fix will have to do what I did to discover the corrupted files.

    • Bruno El-Bennich

      I installed my new Macbook Touchbar about a month ago with Migration Assistant but I do not see which files should be responsible because I experience these shut downs only on battery mode. Indeed, when the laptop is connected to a power adepter this never happens.

  • Alex

    This isn’t just related to new MacBooks and also not only to backup/migration/restore issues. Mine has been doing it in what seems to be a random pattern. Once when browsing, once with no apps running after a clean reboot, once overnight. I turned off all apps, background apps, startup apps, so on with Apple. They have no idea and my hardware all checked out 100%. I have a Late 2013 MacBook Pro model and it has been doing it since the last release. Coincidentally, both my iPhone 6S (which doesn’t fall in the serial number range for a battery replacement) as well as my friends iPhone 5S is shutting off randomly.

    • 5723alex .

      9 years with iPhone devices and some with iPad devices, never has a device shut down while in use.

      • Alex

        Lucky you.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Random shutdowns trending at apple or what

  • Felipe Queiroz Drumond

    Just like many iPhone 6s.

    • Felipe Queiroz Drumond

      Just to mention, my MBP sometimes wakes up from sleeping alone, even with my bluetooth peripherals turned off.

  • Creuse Santos

    I have a MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) 3.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 6 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3 and Intel Iris Graphics 550 1536 MB. From the first day I bought the MacBook it locks and reboots itself, sometimes 3 or 4 times in a row. In my first contact with Apple Care they tried various tests, re-installing the system, removing some App’s and nothing solved. They asked me to take the device for a technical assistance, I levied the device to Apple, the first they said that could not identify the problem, they did a reinstallation of the Sierra and they gave me back the notebook. The problem has happened again. I took it back to the service and they said that had identified a problem on the motherboard, they changed the motherboard, and returned the device. On the same day the problem happened again. And so I’m until now. I know the problem is not software, because I have two other Macs at home, besides iPad’s and iPhones running on the same App’s and this does not happen. Apple here in Brazil said it will not change the notebook. And I’m still waiting for a solution. I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated to have bought such an expensive device but that does not work right.