My Feb-2011 MacBook Pro hangs with three beeps.

I noted the first strange thing a few days ago. The MacBook was in standby (as always) but very hot (not usual). I thought some process must have stopped the mac from switching to stand by and kept the processor busy, so no big deal.

Switched off, booted up normally. After a while the screen freezes and I hear three loud beaps (they repeat). This happend three or four times, every time it boots up as if nothing happened.

Than it happend at a boot. The grey start up screen is interspersed with terminal messages repeatedly sagin "8debugger called: ", three loud beeps. Turn off, turn on, everything normal again.

I googled the issue and found out that three beeps signal a RAM issue. However most sources agree on the fact that system diagnostics are only run at startup - so this should not happen in other modes of operation. Also I'm puzzled since it did not always hang with three beeps (I got a “regular“ kernel panic most recently, with that black PNG in the middle of the screen, telling me to reboot).

Also I did a memtest, which reported no errors. It may be worth noting that every time the problem occurred I was playing some flash video. system.log and kernel.log do not contain any error messages (at least none relating to a kernel panic).

What may be the cause of this problem? Is it possible that the RAM is damaged (without memtest reporting an error?) or simply loose somehow? In some forum I read it may be the logic board. Do you think that may cause the issue? What should I do next to identify the problem or better: solve it?

3 Answers 3


You might try removing part of your ram and booting up; then trying with the full amount or first one then the other. As for acting up/freezing during operation, I recall having this same behavior with a loose RAM stick once so IMO it would also be worth reseating them. MEMTEST is not perfect BTW.

  • Why is MEMTEST not perfect? Dec 25, 2012 at 13:21
  • I removed one of my both RAM sticks and it works now. I also tried switching them and it seems that not the stick but the slot is defect. Anyways, it's working again, only with half the RAM :-/
    – scravy
    Apr 5, 2013 at 7:53

While your problem may indicate a RAM issue, it may not necessarily be the memory sticks. It could be a problem with the logic board that seats the memory.

I strongly recommend booking an appointment with a Genius at an Apple Store, or taking it in to an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

The easiest way to make an appointment is to go to Apple's website and click on the Support tab at the top on the far right. Scroll to the bottom of the page and in the lower right hand box click on the link for Check Your Service and Support Coverage (or just click the link I have provided).

Once on this page, enter in the serial number for your Mac. This can be found either on the underside of your MacBook Pro in small letters on the aluminum casing (if your machine won't boot up), or by clicking on the Apple Icon on the top-left of your Mac's screen and clicking About this Mac -> More Info.... Hit Continue

The next screen will display the service and support coverage for your Mac. If you bought Applecare, both telephone and repair service should still be covered. If not, you will likely have to pay a diagnostic fee to identify the nature of your problem, then pay for the labour and parts for what needs fixing.

You can book an appointment with a local authorized dealer directly from your service and support screen, or contact applecare support directly.

Good luck!

  • Unfortunately, probably this. My Feb 2011 Macbook had a similar failure and had to go back to Apple. It came back with pretty much everything except the case replaced... Bad logic board, bad DVD drive, bad screen, bad cables, etc. Good thing it was under applecare as the parts bill would have been higher than a new Macbook! Feb 25, 2013 at 18:14

I've been dealing with this same freezing/3 beep issue myself for a couple weeks after upgrading my early 2011 MacBook Pro with 16 GB of OWC RAM. I'm running OSX 10.6.8, with an OWC 6G SSD in the main bay, and an OWC 3G SSD in the optical bay. The problem also happens on the stock 4 GB of RAM that came with the machine.

Then I came across this google forum page, it seems that there are a lot of people on 10.6.8 that have experienced the freeze and three beep problem because of an apparent conflict with Google Drive. As I was reading the page, it occurred to me that a good amount of the freezes happened right after bootup, when Google drive and my other menu bar applications are loading.

I've disabled Google drive from launching into the menubar after boot up, and hopefully this will finally resolve this for me.

  • Actually, userspace applications should NOT cause such problems. If so, this is a severe bug in OS X. You really should consider upgrading to 10.9!
    – bot47
    Mar 3, 2014 at 8:34
  • Can you please come back in a few days if disabling Google Drive really solved your issue (and also if not)?
    – nohillside
    Mar 3, 2014 at 11:06
  • +1 I had the exact same problem, and this fix worked for me. @MaxRied I have no idea why this worked, but it did. My best guess is that either GDrive installs a kernel extension for its FS integration, or that it's triggering an OS bug somehow.
    – Patrick M
    Mar 22, 2015 at 2:05

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