Apple’s reputation for reliability has seemingly taken another knock when it comes to the MacBook Pro – following well-documented keyboard woes – as the latest models of the firm’s laptops have reportedly got issues with crackling speakers.
As Mac Rumors highlights, MacBook Pro 2018 owners have been complaining about speaker-related problems on its own forums, as well as on Reddit and YouTube, and of course Apple’s support message boards.
The issue is that when audio is playing, crackling comes from the speakers – sometimes very slight crackling, and sometimes sharper, noisier bursts, which would definitely get annoying quite quickly. Both 13-inch and 15-inch models of the latest MacBook Pro seem to be affected.
This isn’t the first time the MacBook Pro has suffered at the hands of such an issue, as there were similar speaker glitches with the 2016 version of the notebook, which seemed to be more likely to happen when running Windows via Boot Camp. We also noticed a complaint about a 2017 MacBook Pro in the Apple forum, too.
This time around, some folks are also complaining about a correlation between the crackling and Boot Camp, but others are experiencing it while playing songs in iTunes, or videos on YouTube, and elsewhere. There doesn’t seem to be any particular rhyme or reason as to when the problem occurs.
Note that we didn’t have any issues with the speakers in our reviews of the latest MacBook Pros, and they behaved themselves perfectly. Obviously this isn’t a problem which will affect every model – or we’d have heard a lot more about it already – but it does appear to be plaguing some MacBook Pro 2018 notebooks.
Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty of speculation about the cause, and some are complaining about audio drivers, with others pointing the finger of blame at the T2 chip (which handles various security duties, camera access and more, but has an audio controller too).
Apple hasn’t made any official response yet, but word on the grapevine is that the firm’s engineers are looking into the matter. The issue may have been fixed in the latest macOS beta, at least according to one poster, but that’s not been confirmed. Those affected can certainly keep their fingers crossed that this is the case, though.
Meantime, a number of possible workaround solutions are floating about the various posts that have been made concerning this problem, as outlined by Mac Rumors, but they don’t appear to work for everyone, and like the diagnosis of the problem, everything is very much up in the air.
Some have suggested simple measures like simply rebooting the laptop or disabling Hey Siri may have an effect, and others have seen success by tweaking a setting for the MacBook’s speakers, as advised later on in this thread.
If you want to try the latter, as one commenter advises, simply open the Audio MIDI Setup application in the Utilities folder, navigate to MacBook Pro Speakers, and under Format, change it to either 96,000Hz or 48,000Hz (you could certainly try both to see if either resolves the issue).
If one of those ideas works for you, then great. If not, we can only hope that Apple is forthcoming with an official response soon.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).