My trusty MBP 17" 2011 is now hitting the failing AMD GPU issues.

This is what I understand from my research:

  1. This has been a known problem, and Apple addressed with an extended warranty on these models's GPUs, which ended Dec 31st 2016. My local repair shop, which is usually pretty handy, says it can't fix it.

  2. You can revert to using just the internal Intel graphics. Basically, boot into Single User mode and move some of AMD*.kext files from /System/Library/Extensions/ elsewhere.

This covers it pretty well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyDu-Y_G1D8&app=desktop

  1. Unfortunately, the System/Library/Extensions directory fall under Sierra's SIP protection so I can't carry out those instructions. crutils disable, to disable SIP, won't work in Single User mode. SIP can only be disabled in Recovery mode... which fails because it is a graphical environment and I have a failing GPU.

[EDIT re point 3 only] (as far as just the SIP issues goes: https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/276433 is correct: Cmd + R + S, at least on Sierra, gets you recovery and single user and you can csrutil disable from there).

Question: Can I do the following:

  • Boot my Mac from a bootable Linux USB, mount the HD and move those AMD*.kext using Linux, thereby forcing use of the Intel graphics?

Anyone have any experience doing such a thing? A particular challenge I have is that I'd have to prep the bootable USB from a Windows or Linux machine, as my Mac is stuck in single-user mode.

What Linux distribution/USB prep tool should I be using? Mind you, I don't need to boot into a graphical Linux, just the command line is good enough and less likely to hit the GPU issue.

  • fwiw, you apparently can't even mount an USB drive for backing stuff up, due to SIP. Whoever hardwired SIP disabling to require a healthier machine state (i.e. Recovery mode) than single-user mode should be tarred and feathered.
    – JL Peyret
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 1:23
  • 1
    Check out some of the answers to the above-linked question (especially the ones pertaining to single-used recovery mode)
    – NoahL
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 2:21
  • ah, nice. Very Cryptonomicon, typing away blindly. I'll try that later, but for now, I am prepping an Ubuntu usb. Yes, I've since realized that, help.ubuntu.com/community/hfsplus, write access is a bit trickier than just mounting the HFS disk as read-only. That dumb SIP makes single-user quite a lot less useful than expected.
    – JL Peyret
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 4:07
  • See the answers provided to the linked duplicate — it's possible to boot the recovery partition to single user mode and use that to disable SIP.
    – grg
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 14:11
  • OK, the command + S + R combo does launch you into a Single User Recovery mode where you can do the csrutil disable.
    – JL Peyret
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


There is a fix to this that allows you to bypass the discrete GPU and always use the integrated GPU! You will have to boot into archlinux to bypass SIP and disable the discrete graphics card.

Moving just the AMD Kexts will allow you to boot up the Mac, but it will be very sluggish and slow. Following this method will allow you to completely use your Mac again! I typed this response off of my 2011 15 inch MacBook Pro that recently had its GPU fail.

Here is a link to a video I made discussing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrBLJIepJXU

Original forum: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/force-2011-macbook-pro-8-2-with-failed-amd-gpu-to-always-use-intel-integrated-gpu-efi-variable-fix.2037591/

  • ok, I'll take a look at it at later. I have managed to de-SIP in single user mode and move the KEXTs around. the machine now boots but looks a massive mess, with blue/black vertical striping. and very slow. But it did allow me to work a bit more and backup everything nicely so it was a worthwhile workaround. I'll take a look to see if your recommendation works better.
    – JL Peyret
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 22:17
  • the question of the MBP2011 GPU fails probably needs to be re-opened on Ask Different because the previously accepted answer (which was to use Apple's specific GPU warranty extension on those models) ran out Dec 31 2016.
    – JL Peyret
    Commented May 16, 2017 at 22:19
  • well, after applying a macos update by mistake i was back at having blank screen. so I had to use your procedure. Thanks a huge deal for this - mac is totally looking good right now (the previous procedure I got from youtube left me with a lot of screen artefacts). The actual bit that worked for me, is the nvram-based variation @ post #528 . You guys rock!
    – JL Peyret
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 17:48
  • gist of above method - no Linux. 1. write a complicated nvram based flag with a massive GUID (sudo nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00). 2. move AMDRadeonX3000.kext out of its usual location. 3. subsequently sudo kextload AMDRadeonX3000.kext after each initial boot to lower power use. I esp appreciate that these folk have narrowed it down to 1 AMD file - taking out all the AMDs, like I did before, left my Mac with a lot of problems - sleep didn't work, lock screen didn't, etc...
    – JL Peyret
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 17:54

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