Apple issues thermal throttling fix for 2018 MacBook Pros

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2018 MacBook Pro
Apple just released a fix that will speed up every 2018 MacBook Pro, no matter the processor or screen size.
Photo: Apple

Ever since the debut of the 2018 MacBook Pro, there’s been controversy about the top-tier version suffering thermal throttling. Apple today apologized for this problem, and released a fix.

It also seems every version of the new Apple laptop will down-clock itself to prevent overheating. The slowdowns occur even when it’s not totally necessary to stop the machines from being damaged.

Apple says this is caused by a problem in the firmware that’s taken care of with macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update. Apple issued the software update this morning.

The controversy surrounded the 15-inch version of the new MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor. YouTuber Dave Lee’s video illustrated the slowdown — and highlighted the heat problem by running the MacBook Pro in a freezer.

Without the software update, the Core i9 chip in some 15-inch MacBook Pros is in danger of overheating when running continuously. Thus, it slows itself down to prevent damage. This results in the laptop sometimes performing more slowly than the Core i7 version.

However, Apple indicated today that every version of the 2018 MacBook Pro slows down to some extent due to thermal throttling, no matter the processor or screen size.

Fix for 2018 MacBook Pro thermal throttling

Apple explained what it’s doing to alleviate the MacBook Pro thermal throttling problem.

“Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended,” the company said in a statement.

Apple went on to promise better performance for every version of its latest macOS notebooks, which the company launched July 12.

“Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website,” Apple said.

The company also issued a rare mea culpa. “We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems,” Apple said.

2018 MacBook Pro problems

It’s been a rough start for the updated MacBook Pros. First, Apple faced scrutiny (and not a little outrage) over the third-generation butterfly keyboard. The company claimed at first that the new design simply made the keyboards quieter. However, the new silicone mat inside the keyboard also quietly fixed a problem related to dust, which has caused some previous versions to quit working.

Now the 2018 MacBook Pros face a new possible problem: Apple T2 chip might crash iMac Pro, MacBook Pro.