Apple Fixes Mid-2010 MacBook Pro Freezing With Video Update

Apple Fixes Mid-2010 MacBook Pro Freezing With Video UpdateApple has issued a video update for its 15-inch MacBook Pro that addresses a freezing issue users some users may be suffering with the mid-2010 model. The update also fixes a bug that presented users with a blank screen when they attempted to watch a video on their machine.

This is the Snow Leopard version of the update Apple released three weeks ago for OS X Lion users. It weighs in at 51.45MB and can be downloaded via Software Update, or from Apple’s website. You’ll need Mac OS X 10.6.8 to install it.

In a support document accompanying the fix, Apple explains the issues affecting some users in more detail:

Apple has determined that a small number of MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) computers may intermittently freeze or stop displaying video on the built-in display or on an external display connected to the MacBook Pro. In this situation, you may also see a restart warning message before the video is lost or the display turns black or gray. Affected computers were manufactured between April 2010 and February 2011.

Has Apple’s update fixed these issues for you?

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  • Vinicius Santana

    I have a 13″ Mid 2010 MBP and the video started freezing recently. Any ideas?

  • AAS

    Buy 15″ model!

  • HerbalEd

    So this fix is only for the 15″ MBPs and not the 17″?

  • Movdqa

    We had crash and hang problems on Windows and Mac OS X and a logic board replacement solved those problems. This was with a June 2010 15 inch MBP. A lot of folks on the Apple Forums are reporting that the Lion Video update doesn’t fix all of their hang/crash problems but a logic board replacement with the most recent board revision does.

  • Dee Sadler

    Have the i7 15″ and Apple just replaced the logic board, the battery and the hard drive. We’ll see if that fixes it. I kind of doubt it.

  • Rourke Douglas Decker

    Ever since I bought my mid-2011 i5 15-inch Macbook Pro, it has manifested all of the symptoms of the faulty logic board issue that plagued that generation of MBP, specifically the ones that came with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GPUs. The problem is that those computers have inherent logic board flaws that (somewhat randomly) prevent them from dynamically switching from the on-board Intel GPU to the discrete NVIDIA GPU.

    This is an inherent design flaw with the hardware itself and contrary to the rumors flying online, cannot be fixed with software. In fact, many users have reported that updating to Lion or Mountain Lion greatly exacerbates the problem, which is why I am still on Snow Leopard. On its service bulletin related to this problem, Apple provides an update for Snow Leopard that is supposed to fix the issue, but it actually made my system significantly more unstable. Regardless of what Apple representatives might say, the only true solution to this problem is to replace the logic board.

    That being said, there is a free piece of software one can install to work around this problem. gfxCardStatus lets the user control manually when the MBP switches between onboard and discrete GPUs. Since the problem is with the interaction between the NVIDIA card and the logic board, setting gfxCardStatus to force the computer only to use the Intel card entirely prevents the black screen of death and resulting kernel panic. I used gfxCardStatus for over a year before realizing that this issue is covered under a special Apple replacement plan, and I never had a crash.

    The downside to this workaround is obvious, however: You have just turned a $2,000 laptop into the functional equivalent of a $1,000 laptop (or worse). For anyone involved in photo and video editing like myself, that is simply not acceptable.

    A few months ago, while researching this issue, I stumbled across this Apple bulletin (http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4088), which stated that Apple would replace MBPs with this problem for up to two years from date of purchase. They have since extended the replacement period to three years, which shows just how pervasive this problem is. Accordingly, I took my machine to the local authorized service center. They ran the standard diagnostic tests, and they came up clean. The technician also claimed to be unable to reproduce the issue. Apple said they could not replace the logic board unless they were able to reproduce the problem.

    Finally, after a couple weeks of stalling on their part, I asked to make an appointment to replicate the problem myself in their lab. They agreed, and when I went in, I was able to reproduce the issue twice in a matter of minutes. The technician uploaded the crash logs to Apple’s central service department in Houston, and they agreed that the logs were consistent with the logic board issue covered under the special replacement program.

    After that things moved quickly. I received my machine back yesterday afternoon, and since thing it seems to work perfectly. I have left it in dynamic switching mode the entire time and have had no issues with instability — in comparison to before, when it would crash every few minutes if I were not forced to stay in integrated-only mode. In fact, the computer actually seems to run a bit faster and snappier than it did before.

    I was one of the luckier ones, though. I have read plenty of reports of people having to get their logic boards replaced twice or even three times, probably because intil recently, Apple was replacing the defective boards with other boards from the same defective lot. They have apparently released a new version of the board that resolves the problem.

    My point in writing all of this is to encourage your readers to take their defective mid-2010 15? MacBook Pros into their nearest service center for logic board replacement. Don’t be discouraged if they try to brush you off. A lot of machines that have the issue still pass the diagnostic tests. Be persistent and make sure you bring some crash logs with you. It’s worth it.

  • Skeletope

    I had the same problem with my 2010 i5 15-inch MBP. Very annoying for such an expensive machine which I rely on professionally for video editing. I’ve just found out about the diagnostic test and recall but have been told that my machine is too old to be repaired free of charge. Apple apparently considers this accepable, so I suspect I’m about to become an ex-Apple customer.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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