Google says its update software is crashing some Macs, here’s how to fix

Earlier today, Mac video professionals began reporting that their computers were crashing, and many attributed the problem to Avid’s Media Composer editor. The issue instead lies with a piece of Google software that helps keep Chrome up-to-date.

Version of Google Keystone (Google Software Update) recently shipped with a bug that damages the macOS file system on computers where System Integrity Protection is disabled. Also known as SIP, the OS security feature helps “prevent potentially malicious software from modifying protected files and folders on your Mac.” This issue also affects Macs that do not support SIP (pre-OS X El Capitan).

Google tells us that it has paused the roll out of Keystone until a solution is developed. The company recommends taking the following steps to recover a machine affected by the bug until a fix is in place. (Update: Google this evening has issued new commands after running further tests.)

chroot /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD [note: “Macintosh HD” is the default]

rm -rf /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle

mv var var_back # var may not exist, but this is fine

ln -sh private/var var

chflags -h restricted /var

chflags -h hidden /var

xattr -sw “” /var

Those Terminal commands will specifically remove the affected version of Google Software Update, and then restore the damaged portion of the file system. A system reboot is then needed. Users need to perform these steps in Recovery Mode, and root credentials are required.

Several Mac administrators have compiled a more technical explanation of what’s happening and the underlying issue that’s not related to Avid after all. Video professionals were particularly affected as System Integrity Protection has to be disabled to allow for third-party video card support. The majority of users should be unaffected as long as SIP is enabled, which is the default setting.

1. After rebooting the affected system it would Kernel Panic. The system will reboot only to KP again

2. User Logs out and the system shows the Setup Assistant.

3. The System Kernel Panics into a boot Loop.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: