It appears the mystery behind a high volume of crashes on new MacBook Air computers are being caused by Google’s Chrome browser. In a statement to Gizmodo, Google explained that there is a graphics resource leak that is leading to something known as “kernel panics” on devices with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics (i.e., Ivy Bridge Macs like the new MacBook Airs). Google went on to say that in normal circumstances “it should not be possible for an application to trigger such behavior,” and that the company filed a bug report with Apple to find out what’s going on. So what to do in the meantime?
“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 there you have it folks, at least now you know what’s going on. It’s not your shiny new Macbook Air thank goodness. We would assume that Google and Apple will get this straightened out post-haste.