Google Bug Corrupts macOS File System

A wave of mysterious file system problems affecting Hollywood video editors has finally been solved. A defect in Google Keystone is corrupting macOS storage systems.

Hollywood Video Editors Affected by Google Defect

The Mac is the workhorse of audio visual professionals. Countless recording engineers, video editors and graphic artists rely on Apple’s high end machines, which are known to be virtually flawless. Unfortunately, third-party software can undermine Apple’s quality, bringing systems to a grinding halt.

The most recent incident involves macOS and a showstopper bug in Google Keystone, which is used to update Chrome. A recent version of Chrome was released with a bug that corrupted the macOS file system. According to Google:

“We recently discovered that a Chrome update may have shipped with a bug that damages the file system on macOS machines with System Integrity Protection (SIP) disabled, including machines that do not support SIP. We’ve paused the release while we finalize a new update that addresses the problem.

If you have not taken steps to disable System Integrity Protection and your computer is on OS X 10.9 or later, this issue cannot affect you.”

How to Fix Corrupted macOS File System

Fortunately, Google provided a solution for Macs with corrupted file systems. Affected users need to boot in recover mode and run the following Terminal commands:


chroot /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD   # "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 com.apple.rootless "" /var

Reboot your Mac after running these Terminal commands. This will remove the defective software updater and restore the damage file system.

Third-Party Software Often Defective

Apple is no stranger to the perils of third-party software. For a long time Adobe Flash was the main culprit in Mac crashes. To be fair, iTunes was the second major cause of crashes on my Mac.

Steve Jobs famously rejected Adobe Flash on iOS, mainly due to its buggy nature. Defects like this Google bug may see Apple reacting by tightening up the Mac. They may also need to start testing common third-party apps to ensure that they don’t cause major problems with Apple products.

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