MacBook Air 2012 Continually Locking Up... overheating?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Kevin L., Jul 3, 2014.

  1. Kevin L. macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Just wondering if anyone has experienced issues with their MBA fully locking up. This started happening regularly to me (I'm on 10.9.3) and I've never had this issue with the hundred or so Mac's I've owned and worked-on for clients over the last 15-20 years. There is no indication it's going to lock-up ahead of time, but once it does, there's nothing that can be done other than a hard power reset. I've wondered if it's overheating, although the fans aren't kicking on, and it's not related to the common sleep/wake issue because it only happens when I'm in the middle of using the computer (never when it's been sitting unattended). I'll be moving the cursor or typing and for no reason, everything is frozen and unresponsive; no amount of time "letting it sit" makes a difference either. The only similarity I can think of is that a few of the times I know I was in the middle of using Numbers (3.2).
    Anyhow, I wondered if anyone had similar issues, or knew what to look for if it is in fact overheating. Thanks!
  2. scaredpoet, Jul 8, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Last time I saw something like this was on a MacBook (no Air, or Pro, basic model, from 2007), and it was the result of bad RAM.

    Overheating COULD be a possibility, though in most cases an overheat would cause a kernel panic or a complete shut off of the Mac.

    Another possibility: A damaged northbridge (due to constant heat stress) or similar component on the logic board. Some laptops, Apple and non-Apple, occasionally develop stress cracks in the logic board caused by bad ventilation, and frequent heating and cooling... not necessarily overheating mind you, but frequent, rapid up and down temperature changes. Once the crack is big enough, the laptop will freeze up or shutdown every time the logic board gets warmed up enough to make the crack expand.

    Yet another possibility: Failing hard drive.

    I would open up Console (in Utilities) and check the console logs to see if there's any clue there as to what's going on. Make sure your Mac's clock is displaying on the task bar and showing the seconds, and when a lockup happens, note the time that's on the task bar. Then, check the log for that same exact timeframe and see what errors are popping up that might suggest a cause.

    If nothing appears out of the ordinary, then the problem might be failing hardware.
  3. Kaylor macrumors regular


    Oct 18, 2011
    Long Island, NY/Houston, TX
    The 2012 MBAs are outfitted with SSDs too, as well as MBAs dating all the way back to 2010. Even the Rev A MBAs could be had with SSDs (but there was a HDD option).

    It's not likely that the SSD is the cause OP's problems. Total lockup of a machine could point to an underlying hardware fault on the logic board. However, it could also point to a software fault. Lockups occurring on a fresh install would be cause for concern that there is a hardware issue.
  4. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Next time when it happens, run you hand underneath and see if it's unusually warm. If you were not doing anything heavy duty I'd say failing ram or failing SSD. Run a hardware diagnostic, the fan should come on strong when the machine is working hard, if it doesn't then cooling system/fan faulty.
  5. Kevin L. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    Thanks for all the help and ideas. I've dealt with bad RAM on Macs, but this is my first full-time SSD, so perhaps that is the problem. I'll run the diagnostic test too. Thanks!
  6. HarryWarden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2012
    Let us know what you find out and what your solution is. Best of luck:)
  7. GhettoMrBob macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    If you have an external lying around you could boot to recovery and install your OS on that. Then continue to use is and see if the problem persists. May not be a bad idea to remove the SSD while doing that.

    You could also back up and do a fresh install on the SSD to see if it's resolved, then transfer your stuff back over once confirmed.
  8. Kevin L. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 17, 2008
    This is getting more and more strange. I've narrowed it down to only happening with Numbers (3.2). When I'm editing a spreadsheet, the entire system locks-up and I have no ability to do anything besides a hard power reset. Could this be a case of Numbers crashing and taking the whole system down with it? (I thought the days of apps crashing the whole computer were pretty much a thing of the past.)

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