How to Fix Watchdog Timeout Kernel Panic on Mac


Sometimes your Mac can generate kernel panic errors during shutdown. Other users have reported experiencing the same issue when waking their computer from sleep. This problem has been around for a long time and solving it is not an easy task. Let’s take a closer look at the root causes of this problem.

What Causes Kernel Panic Errors on Mac?

Kernel panic errors are actually important security measures. Your operating system decides to shut everything down after detecting fatal errors that could potentially lead to major data loss.

Two of the most common triggers of kernel panic errors on Mac are software conflicts and incompatible hardware. Outdated application and operating system versions can also cause unexpected system problems and trigger kernel panic errors.

Other reasons include not enough RAM, not enough free space on your hard drive, outdated driver versions, and conflicting system settings. Let’s explore how you can fix kernel panic errors on Mac.

How do I get my Mac out of Kernel Panic?

Free up space and move data to an external SSD

A number of users have solved this problem by moving the data to an external drive (ideally, use an external SSD). It appears that during shutdown the process that should reset the watchdog closes while other background processes delay shutdown long enough to trigger the watchdog errors. Or maybe one of the internal drives fails to shut down properly.

So, free up more space on your Mac by moving the files to an external drive. Make sure you have at least 50 GB of free space on your machine.

Boot into recovery mode

Start your Mac in recovery mode and check if the error persists.

  1. Click on the Apple logo and select Restart.
  2. Then immediately hold the Order and R keys.
  3. Release the keys when you see the Apple logo or the rotating globe on the screen.
  4. The MacOS utilities The window should appear on the screen with the following options:
    • Restore from Time Machine backup
    • Reinstall macOS
    • Get online help
    • Disk Utility
  5. To select Disk Utility.MacOS Utilities Options
  6. Run First aid to repair your disk. Restart the computer and check the results.

    Disk Utility First Aid window
    Run First Aid on all problematic drives.

  7. If the kernel panic problem persists, select Reinstall macOS to install a new copy of macOS.

If you have an M1 Mac computer, the process is a bit different.

  1. First, turn off your device. Stop it completely.
  2. Then press the Power button and keep pressing it until Apple logo appears on the screen.
  3. Continue to hold the power button until you see the boot options.
  4. Then select Options and hit Carry on to enter recovery mode.

Disconnect all peripherals

Unplug or disconnect all devices connected to your MacBook. Then restart your computer and check if the problem persists. If not, it indicates that one of the devices connected to your Mac may be the culprit.

Check for software conflicts

Many Mac users have complained that Photoshop, Adobe Premier, and Lightroom often cause kernel panic errors. Close your Adobe applications or uninstall them completely and check if this action fixes the kernel panic issue.

Other users have identified AdGuard as the culprit. If this problem occurred soon after installing new apps and programs on your Mac, uninstall them, restart your computer, and check if the problem persists.

Update your Mac

Make sure you are running the latest version of macOS on your computer. Go to System Preferences, select System updateand check for updates.

Software update available macOS Big Sur

Then run the App Store application and tap the Update button to check if there are any updates available for your apps. Make sure to regularly update macOS and all other apps installed on your machine.

Disable FileVault

A number of users have confirmed that they fixed the kernel panic issue by disabling FileVault settings. The main role of FileVault is to prevent unauthorized access to your startup disk. Try this method out and see if it works for you too.

  1. Click on the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. Then go to Security and confidentiality.
  3. Select the Safe tab, click the lock icon and enter your credentials.
  4. Click on Disable FileVault.

Disable FileVault Macbook

Other users have also disabled SIP (System Integrity Protection) and Gatekeeper. Go to Utilities, select Terminal and run the following commands: csrutil disable and sudo spctl –master-disable.

Keep in mind that SIP and Gatekeeper are two important security features that prevent unauthorized access to your Mac. Disable them at your own risk.

In addition, run the sudo kextcache -i / command to rebuild the kext cache. Restart your computer and check if the kernel panic errors are gone.

Reset NVRAM and SMC

To reset your NVRAM, you must first shut down your MacBook.

  1. Then turn on the power and immediately hold the Command + Option + P + R keys.
  2. You must hold down these four keys for 20 seconds.
  3. Once you’ve freed them, your computer should start normally. If your Mac makes a chime sound at startup, release the keys when you hear the second chime.
  4. Check your System Preferences and adjust them as needed.

To reset the System Management Controller (SMC), turn off your Mac.

  1. Then hold the Power button for 10 seconds.
  2. Release it, wait another 30 seconds, and then turn on your machine.
  3. If the problem persists, shut down your Mac, and then press and hold the following keys: Control (left side of the keyboard), Option (left side of the keyboard), and Offset (the right side of the keyboard).
  4. With these three keys pressed, hold down the key Power button also.
  5. Now hold down all four buttons for 7 seconds and then release them.
  6. Wait two minutes, start your MacBook, and check the results.


Kernel panic errors occur due to unexpected hardware and software issues. Avoid connecting third-party devices to your Mac. If possible, use an external SSD to store your media files. If the problem persists, try resetting your NVRAM and SMC.

How often do you have kernel panic issues on your MacBook? What solutions do you usually use to resolve the problem? Share your opinion in the comments below.


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