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30 Dec
2018

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Defective AMD GPU fix on Macbook Pro 2011


If you are suffering from the infamous blue lines on the black screen on startup or random reboots then you maybe suffering from an AMD graphics card hardware issue with your later 2011 Macbook Pro laptop.

Now there are several solutions on the web but this is the only one that worked for me running macOS High Sierra (10.13.6+) and what was worst for me is that the MacBook Pro was stuck in looping reboot... I wanted to use the Time machine backup... if I could ever get it to bootup!

NOTE: One known issue to this solution (and maybe others) is that when the screen goes to sleep/black it no longer wakes up, therefore needing a forced reboot. The solution is to change your energy settings and make sure the screen saver animation options are always active.

Step 1 - Disable the csrutil.

Now there are other solutions that say at first boot into Recovery Single User Mode - CMD + R + S. But I had two problems - I had no permissions when trying to disable the csrutil and when trying the same with Recovery Mode - CMD + R I had the blue lines on black screen appearing, but the below sorted it for me.

So first reboot your Macbook Pro into single user mode by holding down the CMD + S keys. The terminal will now be on the screen.

First input.

sudo nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00

Then.

reboot

Now reboot into Recovery mode using CMD + R. On the screen that loads choose a language then on the screen which appears next choose the following options in the menu Utilities -> Terminal - see below.

Recovery Mode Mac Screen

In the terminal add the following.

csrutil disable

When csrutil is disabled we can now move kexts and delete system folders.

Then.

reboot

Step 2 - Remove the AMD drivers

On reboot go back into single user mode by holding down the CMD + S keys. Now in the terminal add the following, which will fix any disk permissions before we do anything.

fsck -fy

Once done mount the MacBook Pro hard drive by adding.

mount -uw /

Try using /sbin/mount if you get mount command not found

Now we are going to move all the AMD graphics card drivers, so best to make a copy of them rather than deleting them all. So first make a backup directory to copy them into.

sudo mkdir /amd-backup-kexts/

Then move all of the drivers with a wildcard naming.

sudo mv /System/Library/Extensions/AMD*.* /amd-backup-kexts/

Now once done lets delete the kext drivers cache.

sudo rm -rf /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kext.caches/

To be safe create it again.

sudo mkdir /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kext.caches/

Now update the timestamps of the driver cache without the AMD drivers.

sudo touch /System/Library/Extensions/

Step 3 - Enable the csrutil.

Now we are more or less repeating the same as Step 1.

sudo nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00

Then.

reboot

Now reboot into Recovery mode using CMD + R. On the screen that loads choose the following in the menu Utilities -> Terminal.

Recovery Mode Mac Screen

In the terminal add the following.

csrutil enable

Then.

reboot

Now your mac should be booting normally without any issues, if not then there really is more than a graphics card issue.

Important! This is up to you but I would suggest doing a Time Machine backup just to be safe.

Hope this helps anybody else with the same problem.

Note: You will probably have to do this all again when doing any system updates and from my experience even security updates.

Posted in: < Mac OS X >
me@grafxflow avatar

me@grafxflow


I am a Full-stack Developer who also started delving into the world of UX/UI Design a few years back. I blog and tweet to hopefully share a little bit of knowledge that can help others around the web. Thanks for stopping by!

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20 Thoughts

  1. 10 Jun
    2019

    avatar

    Raúl

    Wow/ now my vintage 2011 MacBook Pro 17 inches are running, obviously with the video card limitations, I was using. My computer with Thunderbolt Display, and now is imposible because the thunderbolt port use the amd card... thanks so much... this tutorial save my work....
  2. 10 Jun
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Glad it helped Raúl... back when I had an older Macbook Pro 2011 laptop this graphic card issue stopped me from doing any work as well. So after a lot of messing around... the above worked like magic!
  3. 10 Jun
    2019

    avatar

    Tee

    Hi,

    Thanks for the info, I ran the first line and it rebooted and logged in normally before I got a chance to do the rest of the script, I'm just happy it did, maybe run the rest at a later date, thanks again for big help.
  4. 10 Jun
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Tee,

    Yes just doing this section helped me at first but I found after a few hours or maybe a day it would reset itself and the problem would start again.

    It could also be the early signs of the AMD GPU issue so best to make a note of this tutorial, for later :)
  5. 23 Jun
    2019

    avatar

    Tee

    Hi, just finished the full tutorial, thanks so much, there were apps that were locking up the MAC and forcing reboots which always put it in the pink stripe loop. Now I've booted, rebooted installed some of the apps that were crashing (Slack etc.) my machine, everything is working great. I've only ran the script for few hours but so far its working perfectly. Thanks again for your script. Cheers!!
  6. 23 Jun
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow.co.uk

    Hi Tee,

    Glad this helped :) at first I installed an app which allowed you to force the mac to use a certain graphics card, but the problem with this, is when the mac booted up it would change the graphics card to AMD by default so I had to race to force the graphics card each time!!! But the above solution meant there was no longer a need for this app.
  7. 24 Jun
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow.co.uk

    Hi Tee,

    One thing to note about the above procedure there are known issues such as the screen going to sleep/black screen so it will no longer wakes up, therefore needing a forced reboot.

    Best solution is to change the screen saver options and timeout options, so if it does go to sleep you will get the default screen saver animation instead and therefore it will turn on again.
  8. 26 Jul
    2019

    avatar

    John

    Hello! thanks for sharing this solution, it worked as expected. I sent my MBP 17" Late 2011 for repairs and my motherboard was changed so how to I revert it back to using the AMD GPU? Thanks a lot
  9. 26 Jul
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    John: The solution would be to either copy the extensions (/System/Library/Extensions/) back again or do a software update/reinstall and this should place them in automatically. When I say reinstall I don't mean format your drive just reinstall and update over what you already have installed.
  10. 26 Jul
    2019

    avatar

    yogesh jadhav

    i was use this method its very good i like it.
    but, when i start my macbook pro high sierra 2011 then i looked apple gray logo but after some time mac shows white screen.
  11. 26 Jul
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    ogesh jadhav: Unsure if this is a sign of a more serious issue with your graphics card, or a known issue is when the power saver turns the screen off it doesn't appear again so you have to force a reboot.
  12. 08 Aug
    2019

    avatar

    funkmeister

    I tried this and it saved a machine. After trying a few other mothods this worked perfectfly!
  13. 17 Sep
    2019

    avatar

    Dominic

    Hey I tried this line, thought it was working fine, now my MacBook Pro 2011 15 inch gets stuck in boot up screen. Thoughts?
  14. 22 Sep
    2019

    avatar

    Thimoshi

    After literally months of trying to get past the disable csrutil obstacle (because of permissions) this worked and my vintage macbook is back in service, thanks for a great solution.
  15. 22 Sep
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Dominic,

    Try booting up in safe mode again or have you recently done any software update. In my experience these sadly place the graphics card drivers back in place.
  16. 22 Sep
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Thimoshi,

    Glad to help :)
  17. 12 Oct
    2019

    avatar

    Sergio Rodriguez

    Eres increible! Un genioooooo! I try all the forms and only your help save my pro 17 inch 2011. Thanks a looot
  18. 18 Oct
    2019

    avatar

    Ben Brinkmann

    Using a MacBook Pro 15“ (Model A1286, Early 2011, mac OS High Sierra 10.13.6).

    After fixing the dGPU issue a couple of months ago, everything worked fine again. Just today, the brightness keys stopped working and when going to sleep and trying to wake, a forced reboot was necessary.

    So I thought, what the heck, I‘ll do the whole procedure again. Started by doing a SMC and NVRAM reset. Now I can‘t even get to Single User Mode, as the screen remains permanently black.

    What can i do?
  19. 18 Oct
    2019

    avatar

    SLD73

    Hi,
    I did everything as above and my daughter's laptop is now working, however, the brightness buttons won't work and the screen is very dark. Any suggestions? Also some of the other function keys are acting a bit weirdly!

    Thaks,

    Sarah
  20. 25 Oct
    2019

    avatar

    Anne

    How to i revert to AMD gpu? I had a problem using photoshop as the intel HD gpu didnt support the app. I had downgraded my high sierra to sierra as i notice that the gpu problem starts right after i upgraded the OS

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