How to fix random restarts on a MacBook Pro running macOS Catalina

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macBookpro
Until Apple steps in with a patch, this should help.
Photo: Apple

A new bug introduced with Apple’s recent macOS 10.15.4 seems to be causing random restarts for some 16-inch MacBook Pro owners. Apple hasn’t rolled out an official fix yet, but there is a workaround you can use for now.

The problem seems to affect 16-inch MacBook Pro units while they are napping. It can cause the machine to restart during sleep, while being put to sleep, or while waking from sleep.

A similar issue plagued owners of the 13-inch MacBook Pro built in 2019 earlier this year, forcing Apple to publish a new support document. We’re yet to get one of those for this problem — but we are aware of one temporary fix.

Fix random restarts on MacBook Pro

The bug appears to be related to the Power Nap feature baked into macOS, iMore reports. In most cases, then, eliminating the problem — at least until Apple rolls out a proper fix — seems to be as easy as disabling this feature.

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Click Energy Saver.
  3. Uncheck the box alongside Enable Power Nap while on battery power.
  4. Click the Power Adapter tab.
  5. Uncheck the box alongside Enable Power Nap while plugged into a power adapter.
disable-Power-Nap
Not the best fix, but a welcome workaround for now.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

This fix isn’t ideal if you rely on Power Nap, of course, but it should at least fix the random restarts for now. We believe Apple is aware of this issue, so it may not be too long before the bug is patched properly.

If disabling Power Nap does not prevent random restarts for you, your MacBook Pro may be suffering other issues. You might need to try reinstalling macOS, or contacting Apple Support to get to the bottom of the problem.

What is Power Nap?

Power Nap, first introduced in 2012, allows a Mac to continue backing up, checking for new email, syncing calendars, and more while it’s asleep. It can be incredibly handy, but for most users, it’s not entirely essential.