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Model A1286. Released February 2011 / 2.0, 2.2, or 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 Processor

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Green and Blue Screen of Death?

I have come across possibly the weirdest, hardest issue I’ve ever had to troubleshoot with a Mac and it’s time I ask the smarter minds: avengers assemble! @mayer @danj

So my girlfriend has a 2011 MBP and told me she was using Safari, watching a Twitch stream of some gamers, when Safari crashed and the entire system entered a reboot loop. Upon trying to restart normally, the screen had a greenish tint and would overheat to the point that the system would power off, then restart again by itself, but would never actually boot into recovery or the OS as normal.

Here’s an example video I found, I have the exact same issue as this.

I figured it was a thermal issue so I cleaned out the machine with compressed air and even applied new thermal paste, which did not seem to make a dent in the heating issue.

Today, I cannot boot into macOS, nor into recovery. Using the keystroke tricks, this is what I get:

  • Reset SMC (disconnected battery and tried the key combination): Apple logo, slow loading bar, green lines and tint, reboot loop and it begins again.
  • Reset PRAM: Same as above
  • CMD+R: Same routine, but this time I get a BSOD. Yay.
  • Safe Mode: Same green routine, but now a light gray backdrop comes up like it’s about to show me something… what is MBP trying to tell me???
  • Target Disk Mode: Apple logo, slow loading bar, green lines and tint, now TB&FW Logos come up. I connected and ran first aid, everything looks good according to disk utility.
  • Verbose: I get a fully green screen now, with a ton of wacky errors. (Explained at the end of post). This is gives me the only real “lead” I have to troubleshooting anything.

Now I attempt CMD+R again. BSOD again… Keep in mind there are no peripherals connected to the Mac at any point during this post.

Next tried startup manager to see if it can even recognize the internal SSD I upgraded it to a few months back. Yes, it comes up. I select it. Fast loading bar this time. After it completes i’m greeted with a gray screen again, about the same shade of gray as the background in the recovery suite. After about 30sec, the machine silently shuts off and doesn’t attempt to restart on its own.

I tried to take some shots in the dark at this point. I tried entering the Apple Hardware test, and honestly I’m surprised to be greeted by the apple hardware test screen asking to select a language, which appeared after a series of green flashes. Have I entered the Matrix or something? I select “Perform extended testing” to see if I can get any glimmer of hope, a tiny clue, or any indication of anything. Testing went on for an hour and was only 20% done and still testing memory so I stopped it.

More on Verbose: when I enter verbose mode, the entire background is green and lists a ton of errors, and I mean a ton. Do I know what many of them mean? Not really, but I know things like “Unsupported CPU” and “Unsupported PCH” don’t sound good at all. I can make out a few other lines but it’s a few hundred lines and I can’t record everything. Here’s the link to my video of it.

The Bottom Line: I have a funny feeling that between all the random games she’s downloaded on the Mac and normal internet use, there’s a slim chance this is software/disk related but I know in my gut it sounds like a failing GPU. Problem is, 350-400 bucks is a ton of money to burn for a 2011 Mac, might be best to just put money towards a newer one. However, before I admit defeat, I want to try and access the Boot Log with all those errors and show you guys, so you might be able to get a better idea of what is going on under the hood. I just have no clue on how to access it, even if I remove the SSD, put in in an external enclosure, and read the files.

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Update: After running a quick run of the Apple Hardware Test, I get "No trouble found"

Also, looking back at the video, I see something:

bash: /etc/rc.installer_cleanup: No such file or directory

bash: /private/var/install/deffered_install: No such file or directory


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Solução escolhida

gfxCardStatus will disable the integrated graphics chip. Download the and install it and turn it on.

I’ve had great success using this on the 2011 15” machines.

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@mayer thanks for your speedy reply, as usual.

How do I go about this? Add to a USB? If so how do I run it if I can’t even boot into anything?

Any steps or bullet points will help a ton, I’ve never used that program before.


I agree with @mayer - Your dedicated GPU has failed.

To load the file onto your system just leverage Target Disk Mode.


@danj so I have this problematic MBP and my MBAir. I make the MBP the target disk, boot from that disk on my MBA. Install gfx. Then what? I just don't understand how I'll be able to force the MBP to use that software and even boot up, especially because my Air cannot use gfx.


Once the file is on your system then you need to run it via a startup action. Restart your mac into Safe mode as you need to get it running long enough to enable gfxCardStatus by running it. Open Preferences > Users & Groups click the Login Items and add it in. Make sure its the top entry.


I can't get into Safe mode, just single-user mode. If I use TDMode, and do what you said above, would gfx kick in when I try and boot to Safe mode after?


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