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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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60 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
  21. 27 Nov
    2019

    avatar

    Mr_Pinguin

    I got a macbook pro 15 inch non retina mid 2012 with a broken amd gpu does the fix works with the 2012 model too?
  22. 27 Nov
    2019

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Mr_Pinguin,

    Sorry I am not sure whether this would work or not - never had to try it on that MacBook model.

    You could always try it and if not copy the files back again.
  23. 29 Nov
    2019

    avatar

    Vincenzo

    Hi and thanks for this post. I haven’t tried it yet, I suppose this guide assumes that the operative system is already installed on the hard drive is it correct? I’ve formatted the hard drive because I thought the Problem could be there.
  24. 04 Dec
    2019

    avatar

    Vincenzo

    Great article! I’ve tried several solutions, yours is the only one that works and is easy to implement! My MacBook is now working! Ad maiora :)
  25. 15 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    Nico

    Works! Thx a lot!

    Best regards
  26. 24 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    Andrey

    Thank you !!! Thank you!!!
    This Magic works !!!!

    Great article :))
  27. 30 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    Damon

    Seems to work other than I can’t use my external monitor and when I boot up or power down I see lotsa text. Scared to do anything
  28. 30 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Damon,

    Yes this is something that will be effected. The other graphics card which causes the issue also controls external monitors etc.
  29. 30 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    Damon

    Ok. Thanks. Should I do a safe boot to get rid of the text or let it be? Could I change the harddrive if I wanted to sell the computer but keep the ssd I installed?
  30. 30 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Damon,

    If I understand you correctly with the text - is it on a black background? then you should now be able to boot up normal and not worry about the text.

    As for the hard drive I can't see there being an issue. But I would also (if possible) do a time machine backup to another hard drive to be safe.
  31. 30 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    Damon

    Yes it’s on the black background. It’s pretty fast but a little annoying I guess until I’m used to it. I’ll see how it goes. Thanks a million!!!!! GOD BLESS
  32. 30 Jan
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Damon - I had the same problems with my old laptop, so I know what your going through!
  33. 27 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    Andy

    This worked for me but after a reboot it went back to pink screen. Any ideas why?
  34. 27 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Andy,

    Did you delete all the AMD extensions?

    sudo mv /System/Library/Extensions/AMD*.* /amd-backup-kexts/
  35. 27 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    Andy

    Yes I followed everything above and worked fine. It went into sleep mode and wouldn’t wake up so had to keep finger on power button to shut down and then on startup it went pink again.
  36. 27 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Andy,

    If you just do

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

    and

    'reboot'

    Does the pink screen still happen?
  37. 27 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    Andy

    Back to normal now but load status bar stuck at 3/4!
  38. 27 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Andy,

    Sounds like it's something more than just the graphics card, or different than what the article covers.

    Sorry I can't help you on this one :(
  39. 27 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    Andy

    Thanks for your help anyway. It held at 3/4 then shutdown.
  40. 28 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    Andy

    Got it working again!

    Performed a SMC and NVRAM reset, followed all the commands again but changed sudo mkdir /amd-backup-kexts/ to sudo mkdir /amd-backup-kexts1/. One or the other solved it but its now working again.
  41. 28 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Andy,

    Good to hear... can't be without your mac :)

    I am guessing it was the 'Performed a SMC and NVRAM reset'
  42. 31 Mar
    2020

    avatar

    Pete

    You're the MAN. I could not get into Recovery to disable csrutil until I did the steps in this order. THANKS
  43. 27 Apr
    2020

    avatar

    Rufus

    I did the fix on mac os sierra. can i upgrade it to high sieraa
  44. 27 Apr
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Rufus,

    You should be able to update your macOS but I am guessing you will need to do this all again since I know it will create all the deleted files again.
  45. 04 May
    2020

    avatar

    Paulos

    Cheers, This worked for me after many attempts using other methods, I also found that the cooling fans don’t run as much as with other methods Ive tried. I have no real need to update or to use security as I have no personal data on this Mac, I don’t even need the use of the internet as this Mac is just to run my Daw as a backup to take along to my DJ gigs. Would you recommend stripping it down even more to stop any unnecessary background tasks such as security and updates.
  46. 04 May
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Paulos,

    Best to leave it as is regarding security.

    The only thing - maybe make more space on your hard drive with apps you don't need or use so you can store more music etc.
  47. 04 Jun
    2020

    avatar

    Josemi

    Thank you very much, you are god! If you come to Spain I will invite you a beer!! hahahahaha
  48. 28 Jun
    2020

    avatar

    Damon

    Does this leave the thunderbolt port useless ?
  49. 18 Aug
    2020

    avatar

    caterina

    You are the best!!!!Thank you so much for sharing. Also beer in Vienna
  50. 22 Aug
    2020

    avatar

    Macaroni

    Damon, did you manage to change the hdd after doing the GPU fix? I myself tried to change my hdd to an ssd and now I cant get OSX installed on the new SSD even trying to install from an external drive. Did you have any luck? My solution now is to get a hard drive adapter and install OSX to an externally connected SSD through another computer then put it back in my MBP2011 and see if that works, not sure if it will though. Any advice would be awesome!!!
  51. 23 Aug
    2020

    avatar

    Numbiano

    Hi. I’m running a late 2011 MBP with High Siera. I can’t access recovery mode or single user mode so there is no way for me to access terminal to remove the GPU Kexts. I read somewhere that I can take out my SDD, boot it from another machine, remove the GPU kexts then replace the SDD into the machine with the failed GPU. Could you share some light on the process for doing this? Would it need to be done on a similar aged machine? Is their a risk of messing up the host machine? Thanks in advance!
  52. 20 Sep
    2020

    avatar

    Damon

    Macaroni
    My ssd was already installed so I never tried anything after fixing the gpu issue.
  53. 25 Sep
    2020

    avatar

    TAG

    If you have trouble getting to recovery mode using command R try resetting smc and pram then holding it for like 5 minutes while it reboots or until the recovery mode screen pops up. I was having trouble until I did this.
  54. 29 Sep
    2020

    avatar

    Brian Paxton

    Before I embark on what appears to be a super great fix, let me state that:

    1) My MBP runs OS X El Capital 10.11.6 and I'm unable to update.

    2) I had a guy "heatgun" the GPU and it worked for a week or two, then the problems started to occur again. I let it sit for a week and after cooling it is rebooted now. Is there a better way to approach this fix and GPU switch if mine is able to boot for the moment?

    Thanks for sharing this excellent information.

    Cheers!
  55. 29 Sep
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Brian,

    I had a similar issue with an ibook back in the day with its graphics card, due to heat would start to separate from the motherboard therefore causing a major issue with the startup screen. It was fixed by adding pressure but eventually came back again. So you may have had the GPU welded back to the motherboard, I sadly still think it will keep coming back. It's a simple case of a badly built laptop that was done for this model proven by the amount of people with the same problem.
  56. 08 Oct
    2020

    avatar

    Eric Aguilera

    Thanks for this but every time I restart my 15” Late 2011 the process reverts. I’m running High Sierra. Any thoughts
  57. 08 Oct
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Eric Aguilera,

    Are you making sure to delete the ' /System/Library/Extensions/AMD*.*' ?

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

    If these are still in the '/System/Library/Extensions' then it will keep crashing.

    If need be try the following and see if the AMD extensions are still listed.

    ls -a /System/Library/Extensions/
  58. 08 Oct
    2020

    avatar

    Eric Aguilera

    Hello Again

    Thanks for the fast reply.

    So im not that good with single user mode so I did the entire process again and im up and running in the os.

    I navigated to /System/library/Extensions and I do see lists of files in there that start with AMD so im guessing I didnt delete them correctly.

    Can I delete within the OS?

    Thanks for your support
  59. 08 Oct
    2020

    avatar

    me@grafxflow

    Hi Eric Aguilera,

    I don't think you will be able to delete them via the desktop, because they will be loaded and in use once it starts up. But if you follow the tutorial then it should work fine.

    The really important part is the csrutil disable since without this disabled you won't be able delete the files either way.
  60. 28 Oct
    2020

    avatar

    AJ

    Hi,

    Many thanks, it worked really well.

    My sound is not working correctly, have a no entry sign at bottom when clicking the volume up and down key and other times it works fine?

    Has anybody else have this issue? Do you have any possible solution

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