Apple's T2 Security Chip Is Causing Kernel Panic Meltdowns On 2018 MacBook Pros And iMac Pros

2017 imac pro dark grey front
Apple puts out one fire and then another pops up just a few feet away. That seems to be the case with its MacBook Pro family, with the latest flareup affecting both the iMac Pro and the 2018 MacBook Pros. The commonality between the two product lines (besides the operating system) is Apple's custom T2 security chip.

On the 2018 MacBook Pro, the T2 chip runs the Touch Bar and includes a Secure Enclave for encrypted storage and secure boot. It also integrates the system management controller, SSD controller, and audio controller (among others) while also providing "Hey Siri" functionality. The T2 provides similar functionality on the iMac Pro with the exception of Hey Siri and the Touch Bar (for obvious reasons).

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But the T2 chip is being blamed in part for kernel panics on these macOS devices. The problem, which was brought to light by Digital Trends, has been reported on multiple threads on the Apple Community Forums and all incidents of kernel panics reference Bridge OS. For those that might not be familiar with the inner workings of Mac hardware, the T2 (and its T1 predecessor) runs its own embedded operating system called Bridge OS.

What's interesting is that the kernel panics can be caused by any number of issues in a given system considering the various tasks that the T2 chip is burdened with. Some have reported issues when daisy-chaining storage devices via a Thunderbolt 3 port, while using Secure Boot or Power Nap has been enough for some to see kernel panics. 

Apple MacBook Pro Update data manipulation simulations

Some people have gotten around the issue by disabling FileVault and PowerNap, while others have been told not to unlock their computer with their Apple Watch (which happens to be an added perk for those heavily entrenched in the Apple ecosystem).

Some users have resorted to formatting their storage devices and reinstalling macOS or restoring from a Time Machine backup. Others have had their entire systems replaced by Apple, only to see the issue pop up later down the road.

According to the report, the problems first started occurring months ago when the iMac Pro was released (the first Apple device to ship with T2) and haven't been fully addressed by Apple at this time.


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