MacBook Pro 2021 crashes because of YouTube - solution to problem

The new models of the Apple MacBook Pro and their displays invite you to watch HDR videos on YouTube. But if you scroll through the comments on the video while you are doing this, it may come to you Kernel failure and the laptop crashes. There are various reports from users that should affect both the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. MBPs with 16 GB of RAM are said to be very susceptible, but the error can also occur with 32 or 64 GB of RAM. The reason? Probably the AV1 video codec! So if your MacBook Pro 2021 crashes because of YouTube, you should deactivate it.

The Apple MacBook Pro 2021 crashes because of YouTube? There is an error when playing back HDR videos or when scrolling the page / when exiting full-screen mode? That could be due to the AV1 codec!
Apple MacBook Pro 2021 crashes because of YouTube? Is there an error when playing HDR videos or scrolling the page / exiting full-screen mode? This can be due to the AV1 codec!

MacBook Pro 2021 crashes because of YouTube

How exactly the error comes about has not yet been clarified. Among other things, at MacRumors, a few messages on the topic from the in-house forum are in one Articles summarized. For example, it says that the error occurs in both Safari and Chrome. 

In addition to scrolling through the comments, when closing full screen mode, the MacBook Pro 2021 may crash due to YouTube and must be restarted. Most of the reports mention that a 4K HDR video was viewed. Therefore, there is a high probability that the AV1 video codec (AOMedia Video 1) is behind it.

Disable AV1 video codec in Safari

Unfortunately, I have not yet found a way to prevent decoding with this technology in the Apple web browser Safari. However, I don't know enough about the developer settings either (Instructions for activating the menu) of the browser. I didn't find a solution in the Safari Extensions Store either. If you know one, please leave a comment.

If there is no solution, then you should use another browser for HDR videos on YouTube that you want to play on the MacBook Pro 2021. Below you will find ways to turn off the AV1 video codec in Chrome and Firefox. If you know of other possibilities or solutions for the problem shown, please also leave a comment.

Disable AV1 video codec in Chrome

In the Google Chrome web browser, the AV1 video codec could be deactivated by going to the experimental settings and selecting the appropriate option there. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible - but there is now a browser extension. With the enhanced-h264ify plugin you can manage various codecs and settings for YouTube playback. You can find the download here: Chrome Web Store.

Disable AV1 video codec in Firefox

In the Mozilla web browser Firefox you can actively prevent media decryption with the AV1 codec. This does not necessarily require an extension / plug-in. You can do the whole thing yourself in five simple steps: 

  1. In the address bar about: config and press Enter
  2. Click on "Accept risk and continue" to access the settings
  3. Enter the following in the "Find setting name" text field: media.av1.enabled
  4. In the line that now appears, check whether it says "true" in the middle
  5. If this is the case, click on the arrows on the far right so that “true” becomes “false”
Deactivate the AV1 codec in Firefox: It is possible via the advanced settings.
Deactivate the AV1 codec in Firefox: It is possible via the advanced settings.

If you don't want to mess around in the Firefox settings yourself, you can also download an extension for Firefox. The enhanced-h264ify add-on mentioned above is also available for the Mozilla browser: Firefox browser add-ons.

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