Black Screen Of Death Plagues Some Mac Users After Lion Update



Apple is allegedly investigating complaints from some Mac OS X Lion users about system crashes related to graphics or sleep/wake issues on various Macs. Users that complain about the problem say that a person will see their Mac suddenly crash and display a black screen or a kernel panic. One common situation surrounding the problem is that some sort of graphics event is taking place or that the crash may take place when the computer wakes from sleep.

The majority of people complaining about the problem appear to be using MacBook Pros released in 2010 that contain a GeForce 330M graphics card and an i5 or i7 CPU. The problem is apparently evident on MacBook Pros which have the ability to switch between two graphics cards (either a dedicated GPU or an integrated one to save power). Some iMac users are also reporting problems, but they seem to be in the minority.

One workaround for MacBook Pro users using a machine with two video cards it to select one of the graphics cards. You should refrain from switching back and forth between the two because this is what appears to cause some of the crashes being reported. Another workaround for the wake errors is to turn off system and display sleep on the MacBook Pro or iMac.

It isn’t clear when Apple will release a fix for these problems, but hopefully they will act quickly since Apple’s discussion forum is rather lively about the topic with a thread approaching 36 pages long.

Note: the picture accompanying this post is of a MacBook Air simulating what a BSOD might look like on a Mac.

  • Jordan Stocker

    i get it on my late 09 macbook pro

  • Dave

    Question, if the Mac Air is not having this issue, why would you use one to simulate a problem it does not have?

    Sounds stupid to me.

  • Mark Hughes

    I have the 2010 model and have not experienced this problem.

  • Mettsy

    I have an early 09 17″ MacBook Pro with 9600M GT and optional, but rarely used 9400M and have had absolutely no issues with Lion.

    I’ve heard of two ways that might temporarily fix the issue:

    Use this to force OS X to stay on a specific graphics preference, it’s free:

    Or, optionally, go into the hidden Library folder by going to the menu bar under the Finder, pressing Option and clicking on the “Go” menu and selecting Library.
    From there go to /Preferences/ByHost/, in the search bar in that Finder window type “windowserver” and delete all the files with that name, reboot your MacBook.
    I’ve deleted them and nothing funky has gone wrong.

  • Robert Gregg

    I’ve had the same problem with my Mac Mini, late 2010 model. It continued for several days, though I couldn’t pin it down to specific activities. Did too many things to fix it to know what worked, but it’s been fine for the past three days. (zapped the pram, booted from a LION backup disk and did a file repair and permissions repair. The permissions repair had a big long list of stuff, which repeated when I did it a second time. The file repair didn’t report any problems, but made a final comment about partitions or something.

  • Andy Gibson

    I haven’t had any problems with Lion, but has anybody else noticed their battery draining quicker?  I installed Lion on my MacBook (4GB RAM, late 2009 model) on the day it came out and since then I’ve noticed my battery drains quicker than it used to.  

  • Jay Floyd

    I’ve had the problem a couple of times but my new MacBook Pro has a AMD Radeon HD 6750, not the GForece you mention.  It’s running on an i7.

  • Chris Robinson

    I have a Hackintosh and don’t have this problem.

  • David Alexander Harrison

    That’s not a Hackintosh!  It’s OS X running on a virtual Mac!

  • David Alexander Harrison

    Mac: It just works.

    (Most of the time.)

  • Wes

    I’m having the same problems as well…I’ve got a 2011 15 inch MBP with the GeForce 330M graphics card and i5 core. Sometimes my computer just freezes out of nowhere and I have to do a hard restart. I’ve posted on Mac Forums about the problem…guess I just have to wait for Apple to release an update fixing it. It’s so annoying though..

  • Simon Cockayne

    I have an 09 Macbook Pro, 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M/9600M GT.

    Since updating to Lion I get black screen when opening the lid to wake from sleep. The only way found to recover was to hold power button down until machine shut down, and then reboot. I also noted this only happens when the MagSafe is connected while attached to mains. Without MagSafe attached all appears fine and wakes correctly every time. 

    Rather than change my Energy Preferences I have elected to wait for Apple fix. In the meantime I just have to remember to disconnect mains power before closing the lid for sleep mode.

  • Ché Martinez

    There are def problems with either the graphics drivers or the OS it self. I was using the pre release on a Macbook Pro 13″ thunderbolt model and it would go full pixel when the screen saver would come one. It got resolved with the later updates. Now with the official release when I drag things to iTunes or even the trash the screen will wig out a little bit. This is on a 2.93 24″ inch iMac. 

  • Eric Fine

    I have not been able to play any of my games on my late 2008 unibody Macbook Pro since after some time, the screen get graphics issues then eventually freezes up.  Every time.  I’m hoping it’s a driver issue and gets fixed in a update real soon.

  • Dilbert A

    I have this problem on my 2010 iMac. i7 27.

  • CharliK

    2010 iMac, 2011 MacBook pro and 2009 Mac mini of my own with no troubles

    20 iMacs (half last year, half this year) and 30 MacBook pros spread between the last three models in the office. No problems

  • lals122
  • Allan Cook

    My MBA battery drains like a sieve,  my computer seems hotter, I get a black screen about one in 10 times, and my wi-fi connection is anything but automatic. I’m really beginning to regret installing Lion.

  • linsha88                      

  • lals122
  • linsha88
  • lals122
  • CollinMel

    Have experienced this frequently on my mid-2010 MBP 2.8GHz i7

    The last time it happened, my SSD must’ve been in mid-read/write as it resulted in a corrupt boot partition. Me = unhappy!

    Lion needs much taming!

  • lsl56
  • Andi Ariwahyudi

    I have 2007 MacBook Black (Lion)  and once experienced this problem

  • Jaymes Farmer

    Well, definitely not updating now. My exact MBP model is the one listed as the most popular hit and I kind of like my macbook as it is without fast power drains and without a black screen of death.

  • lsla79
  • lals82
  • jersey36
  • Chris Robinson

    What do you think a Hackintosh is? It is running Mac software on PC hardware. Dosn’t matter how you get it to run.

  • Jeremiah Hagler

    I have this problem on my i7 MacBook Pro and it is driving me crazy. I am contemplating downgrading to Snow Leopard.

  • Kenneth

    Either you have the 2011 with Radeon or the 2010 with Nvidia GeForce, which one is it?

  • Yolanda

    How do you select just one graphics card? 

    This is my error.  I get it about 1 every other day or more.

    Interval Since Last Panic Report:  302457 secPanics Since Last Report:          5Anonymous UUID:                    267ECA15-730E-4D21-B6A4-B9F943E7BCF8Mon Oct 24 19:48:31 2011panic(cpu 0 caller 0xffffff7f8091504f): NVRM[0/1:0:0]: Read Error 0x0061021c: CFG 0xffffffff 0xffffffff 0xffffffff, BAR0 0xc0000000 0xffffff80a0356000 0x0a5480a2, D0, P3/4Backtrace (CPU 0), Frame : Return Address0xffffff807c633210 : 0xffffff8000220702 0xffffff807c633290 : 0xffffff7f8091504f 0xffffff807c633320 : 0xffffff7f80a0513c 0xffffff807c633370 : 0xffffff7f80be20f0 0xffffff807c633400 : 0xffffff7f808f31e4 0xffffff807c633520 : 0xffffff7f808f594b 0xffffff807c6335b0 : 0xffffff7f808f5a14 0xffffff807c6335f0 : 0xffffff7f808f5a71 0xffffff807c633690 : 0xffffff7f8091a323 0xffffff807c633880 : 0xffffff7f8091be91 0xffffff807c633960 : 0xffffff7f81797138 0xffffff807c6339a0 : 0xffffff7f817a6798 0xffffff807c6339c0 : 0xffffff7f817c23fc 0xffffff807c633a00 : 0xffffff7f817c2461 0xffffff807c633a40 : 0xffffff7f817aa60d 0xffffff807c633a90 : 0xffffff7f81760f63 0xffffff807c633b10 : 0xffffff7f8175f9d4 0xffffff807c633b40 : 0xffffff7f81765429 0xffffff807c633b70 : 0xffffff80006528dd 0xffffff807c633be0 : 0xffffff8000652c7c 0xffffff807c633c40 : 0xffffff800065343b 0xffffff807c633d80 : 0xffffff80002a3898 0xffffff807c633e80 : 0xffffff8000223006 0xffffff807c633eb0 : 0xffffff8000214829 0xffffff807c633f10 : 0xffffff800021bb58 0xffffff807c633f70 : 0xffffff80002ae8a0 0xffffff807c633fb0 : 0xffffff80002d8383       Kernel Extensions in backtrace:[3B24E838-5E73-362B-97FA-239F5AEE7D81]@0xffffff7f808b4000->0xffffff7f80b8dfff            dependency:[6D54F06A-46B7-37FC-AF22-DE68DC18A1A3]@0xffffff7f8083f000            dependency:[6517D9A6-58F5-3CFC-B021-C882306150D5]@0xffffff7f808a2000            dependency:[55FF26D3-292D-3B4B-8AB7-1D25C8B4313B]@0xffffff7f8086a000[2E84958C-1EEC-316B-9F7A-68C368F83476]@0xffffff7f80b8e000->0xffffff7f80eaffff            dependency:[3B24E838-5E73-362B-97FA-239F5AEE7D81]@0xffffff7f808b4000[61E6C721-447E-39D3-BAB8-2A661467B517]@0xffffff7f81748000->0xffffff7f81807fff            dependency:[3B24E838-5E73-362B-97FA-239F5AEE7D81]@0xffffff7f808b4000            dependency:[6517D9A6-58F5-3CFC-B021-C882306150D5]@0xffffff7f808a2000            dependency:[6D54F06A-46B7-37FC-AF22-DE68DC18A1A3]@0xffffff7f8083f000            dependency:[55FF26D3-292D-3B4B-8AB7-1D25C8B4313B]@0xffffff7f8086a000BSD process name corresponding to current thread: WindowServerMac OS version:11C74Kernel version:Darwin Kernel Version 11.2.0: Tue Aug  9 20:54:00 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1699.24.8~1/RELEASE_X86_64Kernel UUID: 59275DFA-10C0-30B3-9E26-F7B5DFB1A432System model name: MacBookPro6,2 (Mac-F22586C8)System uptime in nanoseconds: 10289634790137last loaded kext at 9252010917554: (addr 0xffffff7f807ad000, size 36864)last unloaded kext at 9364246755665: (addr 0xffffff7f807ad000, size 36864)loaded MacBookPro6,2, BootROM MBP61.0057.B0C, 2 processors, Intel Core i5, 2.53 GHz, 4 GB, SMC 1.58f16Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, PCIe, 256 MBGraphics: Intel HD Graphics, Intel HD Graphics, Built-In, 288 MBMemory Module: BANK 0/DIMM0, 2 GB, DDR3, 1067 MHz, 0x80AD, 0x484D54313235533642465238432D47372020Memory Module: BANK 1/DIMM0, 2 GB, DDR3, 1067 MHz, 0x80AD, 0x484D54313235533642465238432D47372020AirPort: spairport_wireless_card_type_airport_extreme (0x14E4, 0x93), Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 ( Version 4.0.1f4, 2 service, 11 devices, 1 incoming serial portsNetwork Service: AirPort, AirPort, en1Serial ATA Device: TOSHIBA MK5055GSXF, 500.11 GBSerial ATA Device: MATSHITADVD-R   UJ-898USB Device: hub_device, 0x0424  (SMSC), 0x2514, 0xfa100000 / 2USB Device: Apple Internal Keyboard / Trackpad, apple_vendor_id, 0x0236, 0xfa120000 / 5USB Device: BRCM2070 Hub, 0x0a5c  (Broadcom Corp.), 0x4500, 0xfa110000 / 4USB Device: Bluetooth USB Host Controller, apple_vendor_id, 0x8218, 0xfa113000 / 7USB Device: Internal Memory Card Reader, apple_vendor_id, 0x8403, 0xfa130000 / 3USB Device: hub_device, 0x0424  (SMSC), 0x2514, 0xfd100000 / 2USB Device: Built-in iSight, apple_vendor_id, 0x8507, 0xfd110000 / 4USB Device: IR Receiver, apple_vendor_id, 0x8242, 0xfd120000 / 3

  • Yolanda

    So far so good.   Went into System preferences –>  energy saver –>  uncheck automatic graphics switching for both battery and power adapter.   I’ll update if it crashes again but normally it would of crashed 5 times by now.

  • Yolanda

    I spoke too soon.   BSOD again.   What a frustrating POS.

  • Chj

    I had this problem and downgraded to Snow Leopard. Now I have no Problem with Blackscreen anymore. But recently APPLE released update for MBP 2010 to fix this problem. it is oficial. 
    Did it help? should I upgrade to Lion again? :) thnx

  • Mark R Walker

    I have a problem whereby, if I start my Mac Mini (2011) from cold it comes up as garbled black lines on a light greyish background, and the cursor is like a square made up of dots.  Solution is to use the HDMI port then connect the display with to the mini display port. 

  • YB

    Just an update.  I took it to the apple store and they replace the motherboard even though it was out of warranty and now it has been 2 months and no BSOD.   So glad Apple stands behind their product when they make a mistake !!

  • YB

    The MBP 2010 fix didn’t work for me but I took it to the Apple store and they replaced the motherboard for free even though out of warranty.   see this –>