Gizmodo reported today that their new MacBook Air was crashing something fierce. They turned to their own forums and the Apple Support forums and found that many other users of the MacBook Air also had the crashing issue. Both parties saw improvements when they stopped using Google’s star web browser, Chrome, but no one could be sure.
They even checked on the MacRumors forums, finding the same issue. Then, they heard from Google.
Later in the day, Google contacted Gizmodo, telling them the following:
We have identified a leak of graphics resources in the Chrome browser related to the drawing of plugins on Mac OS X. Work is proceeding to find and fix the root cause of the leak.
The resource leak is causing a kernel panic on Mac hardware containing the Intel HD 4000 graphics chip (e.g. the new Macbook Airs). Radar bug number 11762608 has been filed with Apple regarding the kernel panics, since it should not be possible for an application to trigger such behavior.
While the root cause of the leak is being fixed, we are temporarily disabling some of Chrome’s GPU acceleration features on the affected hardware via an auto-updated release that went out this afternoon (Thursday June 28). We anticipate further fixes in the coming days which will re-enable many or all of these features on this hardware.
So, while it’s good to know what’s going on, users of Apple’s latest MacBook Air hardware who are experiencing crashes (I’m not, but my Air is from last year) might check for an auto-update of Google Chrome, or stick to Firefox and Safari until Google fixes the main issue.