Early 2011 model, A1278 / 2.3 GHz i5 or 2.7 GHz i7 processor.

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MacBook Pro freezing, kernel panic, not booting up


Yesterday, my Macbook Pro completely froze whilst I was using it (never done this before). I had to do a forced shut down. When turning the macbook back on I would get this flash of code appear over the white screen with the Apple logo on, it would only stay a few seconds, then my login page would appear. I would try to login, but after my first attempt, the macbook would shut down and repeat the same process (with the code appearing on the screen). I would then normally be able to enter my login details on the 2nd attempt, which would leave me with the loading screen with the progress bar - which would take ages and eventually freeze when the bar was showing to be fully loaded.

This was how the problem started. From here I tried various methods, from resetting the PRAM, SMC and booting up in recovery mode. When in recovery mode I eventually figured out how to perform first aid on my SSD (as it was encrypted, I needed to mount it as before it was greyed out). The attempt to repair it with first aid was unsuccessful. I ran it twice, and both times it gave different reports of what went wrong - not that I understand what the output info meant. I also ran a quick AHT - which produced an error - 4HDD/11/40000004: SATA(0,0).

During my numerous attempts of restarting my macbook, one occasion the flashing folder with a question mark appeared when attempting to start up. Now, when I try and start it, I just get the white screen with the Apple logo with a progress bar that doesn't seem to load, then my macbook screen just goes blue/black - then resulting in the need for a forced shut down.

I did eventually manage to boot up from an external HDD with a CCC backup on - although this was painfully slow. But I believe that might be due to having only 19GB free on a 1.5TB drive.

Macbook Pro spec: Early 2011, 13", upgraded 16GB 1333Hz Crucial RAM, upgraded 1TB Samsung EVO SSD. These upgrades were made probably 2 years ago. Never had a problems.

Thank you in advance for any help or advice anyone can offer. I've been searching all night for solutions and I am looking for what you guys think, and then perhaps a way of narrowing down the possible causes.

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Oh boy! You have either a bad drive or the HD SATA cable has failed which is a common occurrence in this series.

I would start off by replacing the SATA cable following this IFIXIT guide: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Early 2011 Hard Drive Cable Replacement as for the part I would strongly recommned you use the newer version of the part which is this one: MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable-Apple P/N 923-0104.

As far as the drive, I would make a clean backup and then reformat the device before using it. One of the problems when the SATA cable is not reliable is a corrupted boot sector and corrupted files. In some cases the damage is not recoverable and you’ll need a new drive. If this is the orginal drive you may want to consider upgrading to a SSHD or SSD drive to get some zip.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable Image


MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2012) Hard Drive Cable


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Thank you for the feedback. Would the 2012 SATA cable be compatible with my early 2011 model - as from the images it appears that the wire is thicker? I did manage to install my SSD into my partner's 2011 MacBook Pro and although it failed to boot on the 1st attempt (showing the same symptoms of freezing, making me worry that the SSD was buggered), subsequent attempts have been successful and problem free. When booting in recovery mode, I successfully carried out first aid on my SSD with no problems (again, whilst using my partner's Mac). Would this hopefully suggest my SSD is okay, and not needing reformatting? Thank you


Yes the ‘12 cable fits your system and is the better cable. I wouldn’t have aimed you to it if I wasn’t sure. I should add you want to put some tape down on the uppercase where the drive cable rests as the ruff surface of the case tends to wear the cable.

Sounds like you’ll need a second cable for your friends system too. Keep in mind the 15”uses a different cable.


Awesome. Thank you for the help Dan :D.


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