As a Windows user, I've seen my share of BSODs. I've also seen some errors from Macs, but as I haven't used them as long, I don't really know what the Mac OS X error screens are like.

I've seen some kernel panics and some other error screens, but what I want to know is which one is the basic equivalent of a BSOD. Is it a kernel panic? Is it something else?

What's the OS X equivalent of a BSOD?


3 Answers 3


A BSOD is the equivalent of kernel panic in unix and unix-like OSes. From the wiki article:

In Unix-based operating systems, a similar term is kernel panic.

That said, I've seen the following image two times over the past 3-4 years. This is a kernel panic screen, as described in this support article.

enter image description here

  • I thought a kernel panic was much more severe. Is it? Or was that some rumor spread to me by the Windows side of the fence? Mar 31, 2012 at 13:16
  • @JavaAndCSharp A kernel panic is by no means a light thing. However, it doesn't mean the end of your mac. The article I linked above tells you step by step how to deal with and diagnose recurring kernel panics. It usually does not mean there's a problem with your mac, but it could.
    – rm -rf
    Mar 31, 2012 at 14:55
  • @JavaAndCSharp, A kernel panic on any Posix system is directly equivalent to something that would cause a BSOD on Windows--essentially something that happens inside the guts of the operating system (as opposed to a program that you're running) that the system doesn't know how to recover from. They're equivalently impactful, but "kernel panic" sounds scary and a BSOD makes people giggle (except when they swear about losing work), so that's not an uncommon mistake to make. Both result in a diagnostic screen and a system restart.
    – sblom
    Jul 20, 2012 at 17:01
  • @JavaAndCSharp Kernel panics are more rare than BSODs, so they must be more severe! :P (Actually, I've experienced Kernel Panics a bit more often than BSODs, but I'm just guessing why people might think that) Jul 30, 2012 at 1:01

Probably gonna be the ISPL. This is much more severe in looks, but it is about equivelant.


There is no equivalent to a Blue Screen of Death on a Mac. Mine has been running 12 Hours a Day for 7 years with no issues whatsoever.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .