New MacBook Pro owners report kernel panics when watching HDR YouTube

MacBook Pro 2021 Review
MacBook Pro 2021 Review (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Owners of Apple's new MacBook Pros are reporting kernel panics when watching HDR YouTube videos..
  • People with 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are seeing their Macs crash when watching some videos via Safari.

A number of people who have picked up the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros have reported that they are experiencing kernel panics when watching HDR YouTube videos via Safari. People have been taking to online forums to report the problem with others noting that they were also able to reproduce it on their own machines, too.

According to a MacRumors report, complaints include all manner of the new machines running macOS Monterey 12.0.1. It's also pretty easy to reproduce, with some people saying that watching a video and scrolling to the comments is enough to cause their Macs to lock up.

I'm getting the same error under the same conditions, 4k HDR YouTube playback on Safari/Chrome. At first I thought it could have been some Chrome bug but then it crashed in Safari too. I'm running Monterey 12.0.1, 16 inch M1 Max with 32GB RAM. I haven't tried the workarounds yet. I'm thinking I should just exchange it, not sure.

While it initially appeared to be an issue impacting Safari, Chrome is also impacted — suggesting this is an issue with the Macs and/or macOS rather than the web browser itself.

It isn't yet clear what exactly is going on here, although the fact the issue is easily replicated might suggest that Apple will be able to pin down the problem relatively easily. Whether this is something to do with a dedicated video decoder within the M1 Pro or M1 Max isn't obvious right now either, but fingers are very much crossed that the best Mac for video creation will soon also be the best Mac for watching it, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.