Apple's MacBook Air is one of the more popular of its laptop offerings, and in its recent hardware announcements Apple updated the Air with speed and storage bumps, in addition to including the faster Intel HD 4000 graphics capabilities. While these updates have been enticing to new buyers, a number of people who have been using the new systems are experiencing crashes.
After using the systems for a while, many users are noticing that they seem to randomly crash with a kernel panic, which fades the display and presents a message that states the user needs to press the power button to restart the system. This message indicates a core component of the system such as a driver or hardware component is not working properly.
While the crashes at first appeared to be random in nature, a number of users found that they were happening when using Google's Chrome browser, and have found evidence of this in the crash logs that are generated when the system goes into a kernel panic. The logs appear to describe an issue with how Chrome is handling the Intel HD 4000 graphics processors on the new MacBook Air, since the following common entries in users' crash logs suggest the Google Chrome process was the cause and last interacted with the driver for the Intel HD 4000 Graphics chip:
Kernel Extensions in backtrace:
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOPCIFamily(2.7)[C0404427-3360-36B4-B483-3C9F0C54A3CA]@0xffffff 7f80829000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IONDRVSupport(2.3.4)[A004D087-8FB7-3630-AD65-18DC2A9B2EEA]@0xff ffff7f80cb8000
dependency: com.apple.iokit.IOGraphicsFamily(2.3.4)[2E0BAC50-C4B6-3353-BADA-0168305F3D06]@0 xffffff7f80c7f000
BSD process name corresponding to current thread: Google Chrome He
If you are experiencing these kernel panics on your new MacBook Air and are using Google's Chrome Web browser, then for now you might consider avoiding the browser, or at least its official release version. Google maintains a development build of Chrome called Canary that does not appear to show these crashes on the Air, so you can try this build if the official Chrome release is showing problems. Alternatively, you can use other browsers like Safari, Firefox, or Opera as a replacement for Chrome.
Yesterday Google did update Chrome to fix a number of security vulnerabilities and bugs, though the update's release notes do not specifically mention a fix for MacBook Air crashes. Nevertheless, you can try updating Chrome and see if the problems have been fixed in the latest release.