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How to fix a kernel panic loop on a Mac

Apple’s products may be expensive, and they may sometimes under-deliver features compared to their competition but there is one thing that still holds true about them; an Apple product rarely bricks beyond recovery. Your iPhone or Mac may end up in a restart loop, but software problems are almost always fixable.

Mac Kernel panic

macOS is an operating system and like all other operating systems, it can run into errors. Much like other operating systems, it has ways to fix problems that prevent it from running smoothly or running at all. In most cases, you won’t even know there’s something wrong.

A kernel panic is what happens when your Mac has run into a problem or an error and it cannot recover from it. When your Mac experiences a kernel panic, it restarts and shows you the following message;

Your computer restarted because of a problem. Press a key or wait a few seconds to continue starting up.

Fix kernel panic loop on Mac

Your computer should be able to boot to the desktop after it experiences a kernel panic but, it can often get stuck in a kernel panic loop. A kernel panic loop basically shows you the kernel panic message (see previous section), tries to restart the Mac, fails to boot to the desktop, and shows the kernel panic message again. This continues happening and you never get to the desktop.

To fix it, follow these steps.

  1. Allow the kernel panic message to disappear.
  2. When you see the Apple boot logo, wait a few seconds to allow the progress bar to load a bit (see screenshot).
  3. Once the boot is in progress, press and hold the power button until the Mac turns off.
  4. Wait 5-10 seconds.
  5. Press the power button again.
  6. The Mac will boot and take you to your desktop.

Kernel panic causes

Kernal panic is caused by software. If you’ve tried to install something exceptionally invasive i.e., an app that modifies the system, it can cause a kernel panic. 

When the system recovers from a kernel panic, it disables the software that caused it. You should remove it from your system and look for an alternative.

This is anecdotal but I experienced a kernel panic when I tried to install Bluestacks which, needless to say, won’t run on my Mac. Emulation apps are tricky so it’s possible you may experience trouble with the same or similar apps.

Conclusion

A kernel panic loop should be taken seriously and whatever caused it should be removed. You may be tempted to try and run or fix the app that is causing the problem but even if you do, your system’s stability isn’t guaranteed in the long run. Look for something that’s stable.

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