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I have a Macbook Pro 13" 2016, without Touchbar (16G1036, macOS 10.12.6) that has been randomly crashing since it was purchased. Last week it gave the message Your computer has been shutdown due to an error twice.

What are the most likely causes for this - and is there high hopes in Apple care finding and fixing an unpredictable issue like this?

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is there high hopes in Apple care finding and fixing an unpredictable issue like this?

Yes. And if your MBP is still under warranty, I wouldn't think twice about calling Apple. They can assist over the phone and may even be able to run some diagnostics remotely. And, if necessary, depending on where you live they may be able to send someone out to you if it can't be resolved over the phone. The worst case scenario is you will need to bring it in to Apple or one of their authorised repairers.

What are the most likely causes for this

Now this is not so easy to answer, as there is a multitude of possible causes for this behaviour. However, there are a few things you can try yourself. See below.

Run Apple Diagnostics

Follow the steps below to run Apple Diagnostics:

  1. Fully shut down your Mac
  2. Restart your Mac
  3. Immediately press the D key and keep it down until you see the Diagnostics screen appear
  4. Wait for Diagnostics to finish (this typically only takes a few minutes)
  5. Once complete, one of two things will appear on the screen:
    • a No issues found message
    • a brief description of any errors found plus further instructions
  6. If the diagnostics test does find errors, take a note of what they are

Note: If pressing and holding the D key at Step 3 doesn't work, start again at Step 1 and, at Step 3 press and hold both the OptionD keys instead. This will try and run diagnostics from the internet instead, so you will need to allow more time for it to complete.

Regardless, take a note of what happens as this will be useful if/when you contact Apple.

Boot into Safe Mode

Follow these steps to boot your Mac into Safe Mode:

  1. Fully shut down your Mac
  2. Restart your Mac
  3. Immediately press the Shift key and keep it down
  4. Let go of the Shift key when you see the login window (NOTE: If you have FileVault enabled you may need to log in twice).
  5. If there's anything you've identified that will normally cause a crash, then try repeating those steps while in Safe Mode to see if you can get your MBP to crash again. If there isn't, try using your MBP for long enough to see if you can get it to crash.
  6. Exit Safe Mode by restarting your Mac as normal
  7. Once again, test to see if your still crashes

If you find that your MBP works fine while in Safe Mode, but not when booted normally, then let me know and I'll explain the process of identifying the culprit (it's likely to be a login item, corrupted font, or kernel extension).

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I concur with monomeeth. As for why a kernel might panic, here’s a few of my personal favorites:

  • loading a kernel extension
  • unloading a kernel extension
  • attempting to divide by zero at the kernel level, not the user-application level
  • using the PF packet filter and sharing an internet connection to wlan ( worked under Sierra - not sure if high Sierra still vulnerable...)
  • tampering with kernel-reserved memory space ( explains the first two in this list )

Just my two cents worth, there exist plenty of other ones...

F.

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