My Macbook pro (early 2011, upgraded to 10.11) started behaving strangely lately. It started randomly crashing multiple times of the day, and the only information I've been able to find is the following message in the logs.
Oct 26 10:07:01 localhost kernel[0]: Previous shutdown cause: -128
Any idea what might have caused it? I've looked up the cause code, but it didn't provide me any additionl information and I couldn't find anything online.

Edit: I did two memtest runs and they both returned no errors on the memory. I've also tried swapping the memory banks around without any improvement. AHT same thing, doesn't find any error.

5 Answers 5


Please make sure you also check your Macbook for excessive dust inside!

I have a Macbook pro which shutdown randomly (and gave the shutdown cause -128 error). When I cleaned the build up dust it started functioning normally again!

I just removed the backplate and used a can of compressed air to clean it. Check https://www.ifixit.com/Device/Mac_Laptop to see how you can remove the backplate of your model.

PS: Try not to touch any parts inside, because of static discharge


Check your memory.

From Apple Support Communities

There is also a really good procedure for testing hardware and software of your Mac on Apple's Support site https://support.apple.com/en-us/ts3742


The shutdown cause -128 is related to the hardware issues. For example it may be related to RAM, although some people suggest that it can be also related to battery time span (it surpassed the end of its life), so basically it tells you that you shouldn't re-cell this battery due to proprietary circuitry that protects the battery. Therefore you should try to plug in your Mac into a power source and check whether it helps. Then install Coconut Battery app to find out the state of your battery, if it's fine, then it could be some issue with your logic board.

Keep in mind that -128 code is a general unknown hardware error ("catch all" code), so it can be anything else. So in general you should:

See also: Are OS X shutdown cause and sleep cause numbers listed/explained anywhere?


Mine has been with Apple for a couple of weeks now, with this problem. They've reproduced it with a full rebuild of the software from scratch, so at least they now acknowledge it wasn't anything I was running and is hardware related.

They're suggesting most likely a logic board to correct the problem. $750 Canadian. Not sure I'm going to shell out that much on my mid-2014 MacBook Pro 15" but I'm plenty pissed about it.

  • 1
    I’m going to disagree @IconDaemon - I think Tim is saying that shutdown cause -128 can be hardware related but the cost to pay out of warranty repair isn’t economically feasible for him. Maybe some of the generalizations are over broad / opinions are anecdotal - but there is an answer here.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 12:47

Shutdown cause -128 is an unknown shutdown cause. That means the system doesn't know what's the reason why the computer shutdown.

The hardware did suffer a low voltage event or crash that isn’t common enough (or there aren’t sensors to record this as it goes down like a black box) and the software didn’t have a chance to shut things down so consider hardware service if you can’t resolve with with a clean erase / install.

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