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Google: Yes, Chrome is crashing MacBooks

While this problem is rooted in Chrome, it ultimately is an issue with Apple's drivers that allows the kernel panic to be triggered.

After reports surfaced of its Chrome browser causing crashes on some of Apple's new MacBook systems, Google has publicly acknowledged the issue, claiming a workaround is immediately available and a true fix is in the works.

Owners of Apple's new MacBook Air had been experiencing persistent kernel panics on their systems, which after investigation were found to be rooted in actions like closing tabs and otherwise managing windows in Google's Chrome Web browser. Unfortunately, being kernel panics, the crashes did not just close the browser, but caused the entire system to require rebooting.

In a statement to Gizmodo, Google recognizes the problem that MacBook Air users are having, but suggests that while Chrome is causing the crashes, the problem also lies with how some of Apple's drivers are built.

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.

If you are experiencing crashes when using Chrome on your Mac with Intel HD 4000 graphics, then you can install the latest development or Canary releases (available here), which have had workarounds implemented and should not crash the system. Alternatively you can use another Web browser or wait for the official Chrome release to be updated.

While this problem is rooted in Chrome, it ultimately is an issue with Apple's drivers that allows for the kernel panic to be triggered, so hopefully Apple will issue a software update in the near future that closes this hole.

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