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MacBook Pro 'popping' sound bug returns in new 16-inch model

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro

A number of users are reporting a popping or clicking sound from the speakers on the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, similar to a recurring problem that has affected Apple's portable Macs over the last several years.

Some owners of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro say they're hearing repeated popping or clicking sounds coming from the device's speakers. The problem does not appear to be consistent and there's no information about how widespread it is. But there are claims that it is even affecting the 16-inch MacBook Pro models on display in Apple Stores.

If you get the problem, what happens is that when you're playing any audio or video, when you stop it, skip to another part, or close the window, you get this sound. It's similar to the clipping you can get when audio peaks too high, or when speakers are abruptly switched off and on.

AppleInsider reader Rene says that he has this problem. He suspects that the manifestation is related to Final Cut Pro X.

"I bought a new 16 inch last Saturday and I also have the issue and I'm currently in contact with Apple Support to fix the issue," he said.

Currently 195 people have said on an Apple Support discussion forum that they have the problem.

One, with the username gymnast79, has captured the problem on film.

So far Apple has not officially responded to the issue, though reportedly some people are hearing that the company is aware of it.

There are various workarounds that people have discovered will alleviate the problem. "A work around is to open up QuickTime [Player]," reader Rene told us, "hit new audio recording without actually starting to record. Just keeping this window open will eliminate the unexpected sound."

Others report that starting a video or audio in YouTube or SoundCloud in your brower, then leaving to go to another page helps. You get the popping sound as you leave that first page, but then allegedly it goes away at least temporarily.

Supporting rumors that it's related to using Final Cut Pro X 10.4.7, the site run by professional users of this video editing software, also reports that the problem is severe.

"[When] we came to edit our first look video, we found a problem," writes Peter Wiggins. "Nearly every time we pressed the space bar for play or stop, we got an annoying loud click from the speakers." Wiggins, too, filmed the sound.

"So having convinced ourselves there really was a problem," he continued, "we contacted Apple. They saw the issue first hand and they are already investigating. Ever [get] the feeling we might see Final Cut Pro X 10.4.8 out soon?"

At present, there doesn't seem to be a large volume of people seeking service help for the problem — but there isn't much data in regards to infant failures of the model as a whole as of yet.

Not the first time

While it has never been a tremendously widespread problem, nonetheless, this popping or clicking sound is actually a recurring issue with Apple equipment.

In 2017, AppleInsider reported on how heavy users of the then-current 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar were getting this problem.

"A small proportion of users with the 2016 MacBook Pro," we wrote, "are reporting hearing a pinging, or popping noise, described as similar to that of crushing a plastic bottle, seemingly related to thermal conditions in the laptop."

At the time, we contacted 10 Apple Stores and half reported having seen the problem at least once.

Back in 2016, the problem affected people using Boot Camp to run Windows on their MacBook Pro.

Then all the way back in 2007, Apple updated Mac OS X Tiger specifically to eradicate this popping sound that had been found on Intel-based Macs since the previous 10.4.10 update.