MBP: Noise Update

March 24th, 2006

This post is part of the MacBook Pro Complaints series. Instead of (or in addition to) linking directly to this post, consider linking to the series link, which includes a summary of all findings to date and direct links to the pertinent downloads that users may find useful. Thanks for reading!

Since I first wrote about the MacBook Pro CPU noise problem, some things have come into sharper focus. Unfortunately, there is still no official fix (or even acknowledgment of a problem) from Apple for the CPU noise, but there are some interesting tidbits I’ve noticed on the Apple discussion forums and elsewhere:

  • The “brightness-related” noise is a distinct and acknowledged defect. Apparently Apple has identified the humming/hissing noise many MBP owners experience as caused by a faulty “display inverter.” The noise is usually only present when the display is at less than full brightness, and goes away immediately at full brightness. It sounds like owners who are afflicted by this noise can get their laptop serviced under warranty. I will certainly do this as it’s distracting and a waste of battery to run at full brightness, but I’m waiting to see if any of the other issues might be fixable in the same service request.
  • People believe in magic. There is widespread discussion about the fact that running a 3rd party “Mirror” widget alleviates the noise indefinitely, even after the widget is shut. People are so excited by this fix that they are going out of their way to come up with automated techniques for invoking and then quitting that widget. I can’t help but think that if the noise is stopped, something interesting is still going on. I assume that running the Widget configures the hardware in such a way that power is being consumed even after the widget is closed. I took a look at the Widget and observed that at its core is a standalone QuickTime movie that contains all the iSight integration. You can open the movie independently of the Dashboard (with QuickTime Player) and cause the noise to stop. However, when you close the movie from QT Player the noise resumes. I don’t believe there is a magic solution to this problem, since it seems so directly related to power consumption.
  • There is a 3rd noise. A somewhat distracting noise, sort of like a lowing cow, occasionally emerges from the lower-rigth quadrant of my MBP. I haven’t heard this noise discussed much, but in my opinion it might as well be tossed into the defect list. It sounds like a false-starting motor, or something. I don’t know if it’s a fan that starts up and then decides it doesn’t need to, or if it’s the DVD drive trying to access a non-existant DVD. I would like this issue to enter the discussion, though.
  • Some people, including Scott Stevenson, have noticed that plugging an external USB device into the MBP alleviates the noise. This isn’t convenient for me, but if you’ve got a USB flash drive around that happens to silence it – might not be such a bad way to buy your sanity.
  • People are excited about Cryptonome. Since I shut down comments on the last MBP noise post, people have been emailing me furiously, concerned that they might miss out on the culmination of Cryptonome’s work. I’m excited to see what he comes up with, but I have also been warned that such manipulation of the MBP’s power management strategy might be dangerous. I’m sure the delay in Cryptonome’s releasing anything is because he’s carefully studying the impact such a tool would have, but I would be timid about running such a tool all the same.
  • QuietMBP is still the best all-purpose workaround I know of for the CPU noise. I’ve updated the application to include a slider so users can precisely control the amount of CPU the program uses. This should satisfy the curiosity of those who worry I could be using less CPU to achieve the same goal, and it’s also fun to play with the slider to hear the difference in sound at various CPU utilization. Download QuietMBP 1.1.

I still anxiously await a public response to the CPU whine issue from Apple. It’s the single biggest downer about the MBP and it’s affecting a whole heck of a lot of people. I’m still getting hundreds of referrals a day from Apple discussion forums, and the popularity of that single entry’s URL is about to exceed the default entry URL for my blog as a whole.

Update: People are starting to record their MacBook Pro noises, and to be honest they are usually not representative of what it really feels like to be in a quiet room with the problem worming itself into your brain. But this post by Paul Turner includes an interesting analysis of the sound showing up in Logic (Apple’s own pro audio recording software) with no microphone plugged in. He observed that the subtle but insanity-inducing “CPU whine/twitter” actually shows up in a Logic recording even when it’s not audible through the speakers. Interesting, indeed. I feel really bad for Apple. I love Apple and I don’t want to see this machine turn into a complete audio lemon. I also don’t want to regret my purchase, since I’m interested in home recording myself. This is just one more downer for what is otherwise a great machine.

148 Responses to “MBP: Noise Update”

  1. Amos Says:

    FYI. Cryptonome has put up a new website at http://www.cryptonome.com/ which, hidden within its pages, is gradually building a picture of the problem and his solution. He’s recently put up screenshots of his application and solicited feedback. I’m not sure what the dangers or possible pitfalls are and would love more info on what the Apple developer’s specific concerns are. Well actually, I would love for Apple to state that they accept that they have a problem and are working on a fix.

    Incidentally, I have two MacBook Pro systems. Neither have the display inverter noise. Both have the “left side” CPU noise (both plugged-in and on battery) and both make the cow noise. One has been in the shop for two weeks now as the service folks swap parts in an attempt to solve the CPU noise (I had also reported the cow noise – to sceptical looks.) Before taking it in, when I spoke to the very first Applecare tech about the noises, I tried to make the noise by essentially mooing into the phone. She laughed and said “Oh… is that the cow noise? We have reports of a cow noise where someone was actually looking out the window.” Then I laughed and admitted that I had done the same thing. I would still be laughing about it if the thought of a permanent cow companion weren’t so tangible given Apple’s failure to own up.

  2. Andy Lee Says:

    Hopefully someone won’t have to resort to a petition like with the audio looping problem in the last G4 PowerBooks. Apple at least acknowledged the problem in a tech note in December before fixing it in February with 10.4.5. But then, that problem was pretty hard to not acknowledge.

  3. Jon Hendry Says:

    Is the cow noise “mooooooof”?

  4. Scott Stevenson Says:

    I’ve heard the the cow sound. I thought of it more as a low-frequency growl. It doesn’t start until the machine has been on for several hours, so it might just be a fan. It’s also not what I would consider annoying or even really audible for most people in a normal environment, just a bit surprising.

  5. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Scott: It wouldn’t annoy me if it just came on every once in a while, but when it starts it seems to repeat on a regular basis for a long time. It definitely sounds like a bug – whatever it could possibly be trying to do isn’t finishing. If it’s a fan, it needs to stay on for a little while and cool something off. It’s not convincing that it’s serving any real purpose :)

  6. Jim Zajkowski Says:

    The “cow noise” is, I’m pretty sure, one of the two fans in the case. Pictures of the inside of the MBP and sticking my ear up to the bottom of the case let me isolate it to a fan starting and stopping quickly.

    My guess is that may be fixable with firmware.

  7. Scott Stevenson Says:

    I was trying to emphasize that compared to the whine, the mooing doesn’t seem like such a big deal. I might have overdone it, though. :)

    In the meantime, I’ve given in and disabled the second core as a temporary measure. Ah well, I guess it’s still a significant upgrade from my 1.5GHz PowerBook.

  8. Scott Stevenson Says:

    I vote that those of us with ADC accounts file actual, legitimate bug reports, as those seem to hold more cumultive weight than random complaints on the discussion boards.

  9. Greg Smith Says:

    On my MacBook Pro the buzzing sound occurs when I drop the brightness by one block from full. However it doesn’t occur if I have a FW drive hooked up.

  10. John Buckley Says:

    I have the same display inverter noise on my 20″ ACD. I never turn the brightness down below 80% to avoid the noise, which you can only hear in a quiet office, but it’s annoying enough.

  11. ELRhodeo Says:

    Not sure Apple’s going to do something about it… I’ve got my second replacement already, and everytime I complained the Apple Care people tried to tell me they never heard of that issue before. With the third book, they had me wait 20 mins on the telephone, then put me through to “the specialist team”, as they told me.
    Well, “the specialist” was just another guy trying to convince me that every noise my MacBook emits is perfectly normal.
    I really hate that – you know hundreds of people call them, the internet’s full of stories about it, but they try to make you think you’re the only one.

  12. tf23 Says:

    My MBP arrived on Thursday. Is someone keeping a “all-inclusieve-list” of all the noises, and what is done to make said noises happen?

    The only one I could tell how test, from the above article, was to lower the screen brightness one knotch. So far, no noise.

    Infact, there has only been one odd noise from the machine so far. Once, after waking from sleep, it sounded as if it spun up the DVD drive to see if there was something in it. I thought this was strange, since a disk had not been in the drive for a number of hours.

    That’s it. Other then that one growl of the DVD drive, this things been quiet as a mouse for 3 days now. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe it’s too new and I haven’t had the opportunity to use it enough to put it into situations to make any of the odd noises. Or maybe it’s just not making any weird noises and it’s working exactly as it should.

  13. Jon Hendry Says:

    My MBP is mooing at this very moment.

  14. David Says:

    The whole “We’ve not heard anything about this issue [you’re crazy]” is standard procedure. They do this about everything. If they can get just one person out of ten to give up and assume they are just being too fussy, then the strategy pays off.

    I also really dislike speaking with Apple support in general. I think they are on the whole pretty unhelpful.

  15. JV Says:

    Wow. And here I am considering returning this new ThinkPad I got (T60p) and getting a MBP. These reports bum me out.

  16. say it ain't so Says:

    How sensitive is the microphone on the MBP? Could QuietMPB use it to establish a lower bound for processor load instead of (or perhaps in addition to) the slider?

  17. Ants Says:

    I’m happy with my cows in my MacBook. I think cows are nice and they are my friends inside my mac. That sound gives me the feeling I’m on the countryside and not in office ;-)

  18. David Says:

    The “cow” noise is just funny. not so much of a bother and I am sure easily fixable via software update down the road. The screen brightness hum is not so cool, however. That is the one I want to have fixed. Is there any concrete evidence that Apple has acknowledged this particular defect?

  19. Kevin Says:

    Thank you for QuietMBP – I can finally be quiet when I need to. Sometimes that sound is really distracting in a quiet class.

    I can’t wait for a real fix, though.. this is a pretty nasty hack.

  20. Erik Says:

    I’ve got the whine and the moo… I also had the display inverter. I shipped it
    back to Apple mentioning all of these. Just received it back with only the
    display inverter issue fixed. My machine is moo’ing at me now and the
    CPU whine is still there (QuietMBP hides it but Apple really needs to address
    that). As for the moo I seem to get a bunch fairly close together and then
    they go away (I call it the “herd” effect… a group of moo’s just kinda wanders
    by and then seems to go away for a while). It does sound like a fan spinning
    up and down.

    Always more fun. I’ve got another fun one with Safari crashing every 5 to 30
    clicks (easily repeatable, crash dumps/etc) and apparently Apple decided to
    ignore looking into that as it’s still doing it (for newly created users as well as
    after archive & install, etc). This one seems somewhat unique so it must be
    something installed on my system that I’ve got to figure out. Argh… the
    machine has potential (it’s fast) but the while/moo issues need addressing.

  21. Dave Says:

    I’m on my third MBP. The first had the display whine, the second and third the CPU noise. I’ll spare everyone the details and save them for a separate blog post…but suffice it to say that I’m more upset about Apple’s customer service than I am about their quality control. A similar thing happened to me the last time I bought a Powerbook. Apple’s inconsistent, periodically unfriendly, and often unhelpful responses make dealing with a problem like this a lot harder…and leave me confused. With that in mind, a few questions:

    1. Is the CPU whine a hardware problem with some MBPs, or an unfortunate downside to most or all MBPs? I know there are people out there who don’t hear it, but there are people who can’t hear mine. Not everyone is good with high-pitched sounds.

    2. If it’s normal for most MBPs, is it something that can likely be fixed in software? Cryptonome seems to think so, but to be honest a lot of what Cryptonome is saying goes over my head.


  22. Sean Says:

    I have unusually high-frequency hearing, and I’m pretty convinced that there is yet another sound on my MacBook Pro that hasn’t been discussed yet: an ultra-high, maybe around 25KHz, constant (and loud) whine from the machine. This happens even when the screen is turned off and processor #2 has been disabled. This is a high enough frequency that most people cannot hear it, though many can sense it, mostly in the form of neck tension and mild headaches. If you’re being bothered by it, you can test for it: shut the computer down and see if it feels like a yoke has been lifted from off of you.

    This sound is fairly serious: if the machine is generating a loud enough it can cause major stress in people and they don’t know why. I’ll try to have the machine tested by an audiologist soon.

  23. Jim Hillhouse Says:

    I have had a MBP for about a month now. No display whine or ultra-high frequency noise either, unlike my older PowerBook G4. But I do have the cow sound. It doesn’t bother me, but it still shouldn’t happen. I guess that’s what I get on the bleeding edge. Really sad to hear of all the problems.

    As for the ADC idea, yeah, I’m going to file a bug report on the cow sound.

    Good luck everyone.

  24. Lance Lindsey Says:

    My MBP accesses (spins up briefly) the optical drive on every start-up, restart and wake from sleep, and when I start the iDVD program. Is this normal?

    In the PC world, random accesses to the optical drive is a bug, not a feature.

  25. Jon Hendry Says:

    “no microphone plugged in.”

    Did he disable the built-in microphone?

  26. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    I agree the optical drive noises are a little clunky on waking up, but it’s so confined to that period of time it doesn’t bother me.

    Jon: my take on it was he set up the input source for the track in logic to be “Audio In”, so it wouldn’t even be tryin to get audio from the built-in mic.

  27. Charles Downey Says:

    Two comments and two questions:
    First, I talked to someone at customer service who was able to reproduce the high pitched niose that the MBP makes. When I asked where he got it, he said an internal website. So Apple is aware of this problem, despite calling it “normal.”

    Second, I had this MBP serviced for the noise and like so many others it came back the same- noise and all. I finally downloaded Quiet MBP and this cut the noise when I backed it off to about 140. So thanks Mr. Jalkut, you, rather than those drones staffing the mac stores, are a genius.

    First question- I called to complain about the fact that this MBP continues to whine and was treated as if I were the only one with the whine. They (the MBP specialist “Benny”) called the noise normal and told me sending it back in for repair or replacement was “not an option.” So how have people been able to get new ones?

    Second question- How much does the MBP quiet affect battery life? I assume turning it off will give me more time?

    And final comment- I too have the mooing in my machine. Waiting to hear what barn animal is next. Thanks to everyone who contributes to this site, as people like me who know very little about this stuff learn a ton!

  28. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Charles – sorry to hear that your machine did not come back repaired. It’s stories like yours that are the reason for my holding off to send mine in. I am holding out hope that at some point Apple will commit 100% to fixing the problem, but right now it sounds like they are taking an approach of partly denying the issue and partly just hoping that a motherboard replacement will address the problem (if they’re even doing that much?).

    I haven’t personally evaluated the battery drain impact of the QuietMBP application. I continue to be very wary of it as a long-term solution. It bothers me when I have to run it, but I keep it around just for those times when quiet concentration are absolutely necessary. I would also like to look into the phenomenon of the Mirror widget workaround when I get more time.

  29. Jon Hendry Says:

    I wonder if the moo is due to a temperature sensor too close to the fan. When the fan comes on, the airflow might give the sensor a false reading, turning the fan off without really changing the temperature, so the fan comes back on soon after, then runs for a moment, etc.

  30. Jon Hendry Says:

    “but I keep it around just for those times when quiet concentration are absolutely necessary”

    You could always buy a pair of $7 shooting range hearing protectors from WalMart. That’s what I did.

  31. Arbor Says:

    Thankyouthankyouthankyou for QuietMBP. This is the single most useful application for this otherwise wonderful machine yet. It should be bundled with the system, probably called iShutTheFuckUp.

  32. Kristian Says:

    Hey folks.
    Just wanted to give my input on this. My MBP ofcourse has the whining aswell. Quite anoying for me actually so I had to get Quiet MBP. Works great although I`m alos concerned about battery life. What do people keep their QuietMBP at. Mine is at 30. Somebody here said that his is at 140. What is the difference? Should I maybee increase mine aswell?
    Besides the noise I like the MBP. Quite better than my sony PCG-K35. Another thing that bothers me a little is that MBP heats up like crazy. Is that normal and can it be a problem in the future? I mean compared to the MBP my sony is and icebox.

  33. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Anybody who has been following this saga, please check out the next episode, in which I abandon the QuietMBP approach and instead adopt a hack that I feel more cloesly resembles the Mirror widget workaround.

  34. Thomas Nielsen Says:

    Hi, I’m just as unlucky with my MBP. Noise……related to brightness, Harddisk test and repair after working on the machine for only a week.
    BUT my biggest problem is the fact that the MBP isn’t able to run Macromedia Flash Proffessional 8 properly. There are major problems with sync. on the timeline when you publish and so far I am left with NO solution from Apple. It seems like that Rosetta messes up the programming in the Publishing process and I have gone back to working on my Ibook, 800 mhz – it get’s the job done.

    Are anybody having the same problem?

    Check my website : http://www.thomasnielsen.dk to see what kind of work I do and you can imagine the important factor of SYNC.

  35. still on a powerbook Says:

    is there enough evidence to start a class action case against apple? maybe this would be a more effective way of getting apple to fix/replace the faulty units which, by the looks of things, effect a very large percentage of MacBook Pro users.

  36. » Says:

    […] MacBook Pro – continued Some of you may remember that shortly after I got the MacBook Pro I mentioned that I was hearing a buzzing noise if my screen brightness was on anything less than full brightness. I was unable to capture the noise unfortunately, but it can be kind of grating in a quiet room. I asked Apple to fix this while my computer was in the shop for the CD burning problem but they didn’t do anything about it. Research Department Niraj was able to find an interesting temporary fix to the problem, and this fix shows that it’s actually a software problem, not hardware. The fix is to open up PhotoBooth (remember the really funny one I told you about that lets you take distorted pictures of your friends and family to embarrass them later? Anyway, if you launch PB, take a picture, and then CLICK on the picture, the buzzing sound goes away! How weird is that? He also suggested a program called QuietMBP from red-sweater.com that also is supposed to get rid of the problem. I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet (I actually wrote up my shownotes sitting in the car between Kyle’s soccer games at a tournament at the Rose Bowl!) but maybe it will work for you. […]

  37. Steve Says:

    I have the “Moo” noise, too. Each burst lasts for about 2-3 seconds, then repeats after a minute or so.. then can stop all together. More noticeable while running on battery. Almost like a faint “air siren”, with an increase in pitch from beginning to end, or like a very quiet “Red Alert” noise from the original Star Trek”. Definately coming from the lower right side (to the right of the trackpad). I don’t seem to hear any fans spinning up, even when the computer is hot – could it be a fan? Does not sound like a HD or Optical drive noise.
    Any ideas?

  38. Sean Says:

    Awesome work around with QuietMBP, THANKS! I thought I would go crazy from the buzzing.

  39. Jessica Says:

    Hello, I recently upgraded from an old tan G3 with the RCA inputs, (you know how old that is), to the MBP. Seriously dude, I thought I was being anal about all the weird noises coming fromt he MBP because I’m an audio technician and hear a lot of things most people don’t, but you hit the nail right on the head. As I was reading your post, I was like “OMG! I have the mirror widget, but I don’t keep it on the dash!” so I turned it on and bam, that one whiney noise went away! However, as excited as I was for .25 seconds, I still can’t let myself keep the mirror widget on my dash because I’m basically paranoid about having iSight on ALL THE TIME. The last thing I need is someone hacking me and watching me pick my noise thru my own freaking iSight camera. But seriously, then you talked about the cow noise, and again, you are so right. Kudos to you for posting about it. We need to document that. I’ve never had a nice computer like this, or a laptop, so I wasn’t sure what noises were normal. This really is a loud machine sometimes. I know what you mean about the dvd/fan/start/stop noise too. All of these things ad up. One problem I have that you didn’t mention is my case. When you close the computer the screen is crooked and the left hand corner doesn’t snap down flush. Take a look, do you have that too? Am I the only one? I’ve had the MBP a week now. I’ve been very careful with it, and wondering if that’s a new prob, or an old powerbook prob. I’ve never had a laptop, is it a laptop thing that everyone deals with? I sort of thought the noises were one of those “comes with the terratory” things until I read your post.

  40. Hamm Says:

    I own a MacBook Pro 1.8. Initially I had the piercing scream under the keyboard that is fixed by leaving photo booth on in the background. I now have the lowing cow noise. It occured today for the first time when I powered up on battery and it satrted immediately. It makes a noise about every five seconds like it is trying to wind-up a fan or DVD – though the fan is running already at a respectable whisper. As I am writing this, after about 45 minutes of use and two thirds battery power level, the cows have just mysteriously gone home.

    Apple please fix these noises – I love the machine otherwise.

  41. OCDan7 Says:

    I’m visiting many forums with many users facing the same noise issues.

    I have yet to read of 1 user who got a new MBP that was “quiet”. For those mercilessly free from high-pitching hearing, their MBP’s are quiet and awesome (and yes, HOT).

    At this point, we collectively have no faith in Apple ‘addressing’ an issue that does not have a measureable effect in performance (that is, unless the brightness of the display causes the noise, then they’ll replace it). So, as communities do- clever programmers are finding work arounds.

    It would be hilarious to know (or dream) that Apple has learned to sit tight until the programmers find a way around it- for then they would have isolated the issue and provide the highest level of insight into the defect. Could be Intel, could be Apple- I would like to hear about core duo use in non-apple products to isolate that one.

    I’ll try downloading some of the work-arounds and use my hot MBP while plugged in.

    Love all y’all contributors!!

    1.86MHz MBP with CPU noise…

  42. OCDan7 Says:

    More info:

    Petition to Apple: http://www.petitiononline.com/whinefix/petition.html

    Analysis of Battery Drain using a work-around (stop 2nd cpu): http://planet.taoofmac.com/
    scroll down to: Daniel Jalkut : MacBook Pro Noise: Battery Life Tests

    Information available on Apple.com: none.

  43. Nate Says:

    Well, there is hope yet. I’m sending my 1.83 back because of the sound. I don’t know why they’re letting me do it, and I’d like to have my computer for the next 5 days, but it’s worth a shot.

    I talked to two different representatives, and they both sent me through for a replacement (knowing it’s not the screen brightness whine). The first time, I didn’t have my web order number ready and the lady hung up on me. The second time, both guys were as nice as could be and helped me through. I’m shipping back tomorrow!

    BTW, on the survey on this page, 20% of 1.83’s don’t have the whine…

  44. Charles Says:

    I have my MBP 1.8 for more than 3 days now. Other than the constant cooling fan noise (kind of annoying), I do hear a high pitch noise whenever the computer is busy on doing something, e.g. scrolling a page. However, the noise would go away if it is idle for about 10 seconds of inactivity.

  45. Chris Schulz Says:

    I would like to add my observations of the MBP noises.

    The worst is the high pitched intermittent mosquito like noise.
    It starts immediately after booting up
    It can be turned off by:

    Opening Photobooth will turn the noise off. The noise will come back as soon as Photobooth is closed.

    There are two other apps that will keep the noise off even after they are closed.
    They are: Mirror (widget) & ComicLife
    There are only 3 conditions that will cause the noise to come back.
    1) turning computer off and on again 2) Opening and then Closing Photobooth 3) Opening iChat

    I can run any app (expect iChat) and the noise will stay off. iChat is the only app that can’t be run with the noise off. Launching iChat will always bring the noise back. But there is another odd thing about iChat. It takes several seconds before the noise comes back after opening iChat; where as when Photobooth is closed the sound comes back instantly.

    Has anyone noticed a different noise when the computer is sleeping. Normally it sounds like a high pitched intermittent mosquito noise. When I put it to sleep, the sound switches to a rapidly flapping noise. Almost like rapidly spinning helicopter blades.

    Both of these noises are greatly muffled when the computer is charging.

    Lastly when the brightness is not at 100% or 0% there is also a different noise. A continuous buzzing that comes from near the power button. But I can only hear this buzzing noise when the earlier described high pitched intermittent mosquito noise it turned off. The buzzing from the screen brightness is unchanged weather the computer is charging or not.

    Also, when the mosquito noise is off, I can also hear intermittent “mooo”ing from both far ends of the keyboard. I believe these are the MBP’s two fans.

    So, to conclude, I hear four distinct different noises. Is this consistent with other people?
    Has anyone else noticed my observations in regards to iChat?

  46. ChrisC Says:

    I may have stumbled upon a solution to the mesquito noise that many people may live with until Apple fixes the problem. Rather than using Photobooth or the Mirror widget I have noticed that as soon as I enable and connect my blootooth mouse the noise ceases. Of course turning blootooth on will drain the battery faster, but I would be willing to guess that most people don’t ever turn it off anyway. Personally, I prefer the wireless mouse to the trackpad, so this is a good solution for me.

  47. ChrisC Says:

    Sorry for spelling (bluetooth) I don’t know where my brain was. Photobooth, bluetooth, too many o’s. I guess my fingers were typing faster than my brain.

  48. peter Says:

    me tooo.. bad noise… and I have another serious problem.. my airport drops from 4 to 1-2 strength all the time.. when i place it next to my old pb12″ it has a worse signal than the old mac. ??? an apple care says thats normal.. cant fix it.. try to erase and install.. did that.. no help…

    anyone else… ahhrrrrr that whining noise… cant stand it…..

  49. Teddy Says:

    I currently use the QuietMBP whenever I hear the cpu whine noise and it works fine. However, I noticed that the cpu whine noise doesn’t occur all the time when the computer is idle. I hear it the loudest when I am charging the battery which kinda puzzled me. When the computer is fully charged, the cpu whine noise almost disappears. I’ve installed the latest firmware update for the macbook pro. I’d just like to confirm if anybody else has a similar case as mine — where the cpu whine noise is most apparent while the macbook pro is being recharged.

  50. itinerant Says:

    I received a Macbook 1.83 yesterday – installing the CHUD tools from the developer disk gives you a processor controller, which when you disable the second core stops the whine…and improves your battery life, also gives you a handy menu item….

  51. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Itinerant – in my experience it’s not true that disabling the second core improves battery life. Quite the opposite – see my battery tests post for more info.

  52. Shane Says:

    Maybe this will be helpful:

    The noise only started for me after running a program for 3 hours at 90% CPU, closing the lid expecting it to go to sleep, waking up in the morning to find out that it was locked up, very hot and still running at full force. Since then the noise hasn’t stopped.

  53. chaichat Says:

    ok, mine is hissing too, and once I turn on photo booth it goes away.

    I actually had a rev D mbp before this one, which I took great care of, but the lcd started to warp. The apple care lady said it could be cause by bad manufacturing job and that I should take it in for an exchange before it get worse or they may claim that I drop it if it get worse. I took it to the apple store, and they made it sound like it was my fault, giving all kinds of excuses. The rev D didn’t have the noise, but this one does. I’m very disappointed with apple customer service & quality control. Btw, the $400 apple care support doesn’t help at all. I don’t even know why i bought it, because theyseems to deny any problems that exist.

    I think this will be the last apple laptop product for me. i really hope a really good lawyer would get our words out.

  54. Darth Pixel Says:

    I bought my first Mac. One of those MacBook Pro.
    When it’s on battery, I hear this hissing noise coming from under the keyboard.
    If I plug the power cord, the noise goes away.

    I cannot say it’s a good first impression.

  55. Henry Says:

    That is insane…
    I didn’t believe the miror thing for the whining, but i tried it and it works (for me at least)

  56. $h4g Says:

    Best Solution I have Found —

    -Launch Photobooth
    -Doube-Click on any saved image (displayed below video preview as thumbnail) in Photobooth to open it
    -Hit Apple-Q

    The noise still returns after launching iChat, but what a blessing…no running process And no noise… now someone please automate this process for us!

  57. chris kearney Says:

    Interesting thing to note.

    When using boot camp to run Windows XP, the whining noise is not present.

    Windows XP makes the macbook 1.83 run so hot it can hurt my lap.

    Queit MBP works. But this is ridiculous, we need a fix Apple.

    conclusion: The sound will drive you insane!

  58. Ian Says:

    As of yesterday, April 18th, I just took possession of a 2ghz model (W8614xxx), and I am happy to report that, to point (15 hours of useage), there is nothing that causes me any great concern. I did notice a whine, but being of mid life and possibly deaf, it is not offensive. Of course the whine only occurs under particular circumstances, which are easily avoided. No dead pixels. No screen noise. I can hear the fan going, but the machine is not too hot.

    Previous to this, I owned a PowerBook G4 1.33 ghz. That notebook warped and the logic board failed and I was able to get it replaced. The replacement is the computer referred to above. In comparison to the previous machine, I don’t notice much difference. Of course my software is not running native, with the exception of the loaded apps. In terms of temperature, not a problem and I would go so far as to say that I wouldn’t be inclinded to place my previous laptop on my lap either. Overall, a positive experience. So for those with bad apples, I feel for ya. I seemed to have lucked out. If circumstances change, I’ll report back and let you know.

  59. Vance Makin Says:

    This forum has been very useful – thanks to all the contributors. It reminded me of my 14″ iBook. Apple has now acknowledged the problem with it, and replaced the logic board on affected computers. However, I went through three computers, withthe attendant time loss and aggravation. The screen would suddenly go black and it was unusable. Apple treated me as if they had never heard of this. I found them rude, as well. They refused to replace the computers. Meanwhile, the store’s technician told me there were several in the shop for the same reason. Eventually the store (not Apple) replaced it after I suggested a lawsuit might follow. After the second one burned out, Apple finally provided the third. A month later they admitted the problem and did a recall.

    To add to the absurdity, the letters started coming off the keys. Apple had never heard of this before, either. The third computer apparently was not registered in some database by serial number, so they couldn”™t help for that reason, too (maybe it was a phantom or something). I gave up and used a marker pen to label the keys. I understand they are now replacing the keyboards for free, but only if you ask.

    This was my sixteenth Mac. I lost a lot of confidence in Apple from this. After reading this invaluable web site, I cancelled my MacBook Pro order until such time as I hear Apple admit the noise problems and promise it is fixed.

  60. Thanks for the input Says:

    I never owned a Mac and I was seriously considering purchasing one. However, thanks to your listing of issues, I am gonna purchase a new Fujitsu or Thinkpad. Perhaps in a few years I’ll try a Mac.

  61. mhamm Says:

    At first I was hopeful the firmware upgrade for 10.4.6 and bootcamp would fix some of the MacBook Pro (MBP)noises mentioned on oyur blog, but it did not.

    Then I sent my MBP in to Apple for noise repair and they replaced the logic board which seems to have fixed some of the noises but the “lowing cows noise” will not go away and they are present at this very moment as I write – have been for the past hour after several hours of operation. While not a show stopper for me I would imagine it is for anyone working with audio on a MBP.

    I do hope Apple takes this seriously and fixes these noises.

    We should really think about forming a petition to send in to Appple? If the petition were ignored we could take donations to post it in the WSJ like the Firefox promotional ad. We could also send it to Guy Kawasaki who has a very prominent/influential blog and many Apple contacts prior to sending it to the WSJ.
    I would donate money via PayPal. Would others? Going by the counter for this site there may well be over a 100,000 of us interested in resolving this problem.

  62. David Brown Says:

    Personally I am gutted because my friend bet me that apple could never get new hardware right first time. As someone who suffers from tinitus, this is irony bordering on the macabre.

  63. Oliver Clements Says:

    I’ve just received my MacBook back from AppleCare – they’ve fixed the inverter whine, so that’s one major niggle out of the way. They have however neglected to repair the CPU whine, which is a slight annoyance. I can’t do without the laptop for another week, so may consider sending it back in a month or so when they finally admit to it being a problem..

    I must say though, they were very quick turnaround. Sent it off on Monday, on my desk Friday morning repaired.

  64. Oliver Clements Says:

    As an off topic addendum, they’ve failed to put the case back together properly. Joy.

  65. Anne Says:

    For me the same problems:

    Really high noise, hate it.

    When i did boot into Windows XP, noise stops immediately but now it was getting really extremely HOT!

    I had a serial W8613…..

    I called apple, and they send me a new one, the new serial W8616.

    This one is noise-less, but still much hotter then my other powerbook G4 (last 15inch 1,67ghz apple sold)

  66. Chris Says:

    I have the MBP 2.16 and the cow moo from the lower right side is driving me nutz. Its deffinatly a motor spinning up and down, not static or filter noise. My guess is thats its the optical drive motor.


    Im sure we will get a tech. notice on this shortly.
    Authorized Reseller and Service Provider.

  67. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Chris: Interesting observation! And I’m thrilled to have an authorized service provider reading the blog. If you hear anything interesting that you can share, please do so!

  68. Milan Says:

    I have MBP with a serial of W8613… and didn’t recognize any noises until I auto updated today (pages, garageband, keyboard, … ). Now I hear the noise and it’s pretty annoying. According to my old PC it’s still a calm. But it’s a shame on an otherwise excellent product.

  69. J-E Says:

    After not using my MBP (serial no. W8612) for a couple of weeks a few updates appeared as I logged in. I dowloaded everything without paying too much attention as to what it was (I’m kinda new to Macs and OS X). Now, however, I cannot stop the annoying processor whine by opening and closing Cimic Life, like I could before. Now the MBP whines and hisses whenever it’s (close to) idle! I never thought the problem could get any worse……. Shit! :(

  70. Dora Says:

    same here, downloading all the updates stopped the photobooth trick working.. now i have to use quiet mbp, and lose lots of battery life and cpu power

  71. jdragon Says:

    QuietMBP works for me, but Apple still needs to fix this problem!

  72. parags111 Says:

    I can hear the cow moo’ing.
    I can hear the whining noise.
    I can hear the fan speed up (really fast) and then slow down

    And now…. my MBP wont power on. Looks like a dud battery (serial #W8616)

    WTF Apple??

  73. parags111 Says:

    Interesting… the dead battery issue turned out to be a PMU issue:


    I hope these guys release a firmware upgrade soon!

  74. Ron Doron Says:

    Hello everybody,

    DO NOT UPDATE your MacBook Pro with the “Security Update 2006-003 (Intel)” (1.0)!!
    I have the new 2Gz version, was quit before updating now it is louder than my first 1,86.
    A this time aim going to hate APPLE!


  75. Will Riley Says:

    Quick question: Who reckons the Macbook (released yesterday – apple.com/macbook) which otherwise seems to be a good solid replacement for the ibook which I love so dearly will be affected by similar nagging sound problems?

  76. Joakim Nygård Says:

    I have been fortunate enough to recieve a MBP without annoying noises. That is until today when I installed the SMC Firmware Updater! I now get the hissing noise when running on battery, a sound I’ve heard on some PowerBooks as well. Not good at all.
    To make things worse, I also hear a very distinct low frequency vibrating (not sure how to describe it, kinda like an engine running idle, a piston moving) sound ALL THE TIME. I think it’s a fan because when I put both cores to work (aka ‘yes > /dev/null’ in two Terminal windows), the frequency of the vibration goes up and then disappears completely. When the temperature drops again, the sound comes back.
    I am certain that this sound was not there from the start and I will call Apple in the morning, very disappointed. AAAARGH!

  77. Boliviandude Says:

    Hi today I tested 3 MacBooks (not MacBook pro but the brand new MacBook ), 2 Black ones and one white one.
    The whine was present in the white one , a 2 GHz model and it was absent in the two black ones. The whine in the MacBook is below the s and d keys. Looks like the processor is in this new position. The Whine subsides when you use quietMacBookPro.
    You might also be interested in knowing that the glossy finish in the screen was not well applied and a little texturized in two of the three machines. On the good news side, the machines don”™t get half as hot as the MacBook Pro , I ran the cpu at over 78% for over 20 minutes both with and without plugging the machines to the AC and the heat was only on the bottom part and around the superior vents. It was not hot on the left lower corner which was a pleasant surprise. One interesting thing to notice is that in one of the black machines you could feel some low physical vibration under the keyboard all the time. But it was well under reason. My advice about the whine. Buy a machine form the Apple store and have them open it and let you hear for the whine .. worse case you can exchange for one of the ones that hey have on display. I repeat the white issue is still present in the MacBook 1 out of three in my experience. I hope this helps

  78. Naomi Says:

    i’m experiencing exactly the same issue… i used to stop the annoying whine noise by using the mirror widget but since i’ve downloaded all the updates yesterday (incl. SMC Firmware update & Security Update 2006-003 Intel) that trick doesn’t work anymore… now i’m doomed to leave photo booth running since trying to work with that noise is just unbearable. Quite MBP does the trick but I’m afraid to leave it on too long… then my MBP starts making other small weird noises and i don’t feel too safe about it…
    anyway, this is a major issue and i really hope apple will start to focus on it’s problem…

    thanks for your excellent blog!

  79. ryan Says:

    Question for those with the whine. Do you get it when plugged in, on battery, or both? My 17 whines only when plugged in.

  80. Cargo Cult Says:

    The SMC Firmware update seems to have stopped my MacBook Pro (very early model) from making those ‘moo’ sounds – in that I haven’t heard a moo since I installed it, and before it used to moo all the time.

    Probably not a coincidence.

  81. Joules Says:

    I get the problem when not processing anything. eg If I hold down the click button, load a programme, render… the sound vanishes. Then the minute I am inactive or simply typing it makes the buzz noise!
    I too am an audio techi/ music composer and having not yet used my mbp for audio/ writing because of the Universal problem with all the plugins etc – I am still using windows xp on a pc. So am waiting very patiently for the updates for these programmes.
    I then have noticed on this site that the noises appear on audio tracks! What the f***, no way. Is this true? I use Cubase SX3, so hope that whatever the problem is will be repaired. Otherwise I will have to go back to a G4 PB. Does this noise occur on audio if using an external fw card?? Or is it just with the built in mics? If it is just with the built in mics then get an external audio card and mic!

    As for the moo sound, I am glad to notice that it is not just my machine!!! I think it is a fan switching off and on. The same noise came from my old 120gig hard drive, and as you can tell I have been use to pc tower units so do not have a clue about how quiet these laptops are meant to be so I just thought it was the norm; it sounds like I am wrong in a big way. WE WANT SILENCE!!!!

    So am I the only where the sound goes away when processing?

  82. OCdan7 Says:

    On Monday I got a new Logic board (aka motherboard) to ‘hopefully’ upgrade my way out of the CPU-whine noise. (From Apple Store in the Irvine Spectrum in So California)

    Alas, but no. I did have to update my firmware for Bootcamp (proof? that I did get a new ‘board)… Nevertheless, the noise remains. To second an earlier post, Windows XP can’t idle a CPU ;) so I never hear it when I’m in that OS.

    It was a long and sordid story filled with management escalations, a store manager that said I was welcome to give it back for the restocking fee as well as 2-3 week potential wait if I didn’t have Apple Pro Care.

    My parting shot will be a follow-up call to Apple to let them know that my beloved MBP has an irritating whine.

    It’s an awesome machine that allows me to get along with my company’s VPN and proprietary software- as well as live my iLife.

  83. Brian Richmond Says:

    The display inverter problem is not rare, Toshiba laptops also suffered a problem with them which would cause the display to blank out because the lamp shut off; the “FL Inverter” had a design/manufacturing defect. Toshiba replaced all of them, even those years out of warranty, until this month, when the program ended. I know this because of personal experience with arranging for a friend’s Toshiba Satellite laptop to be repaired which was 3 years out of warranty. Maybe the owners of the problematic MacBooks should launch a Class Action Lawsuit as the owners of the faulty Toshiba laptops did.

    Explanation of problem:

    Class Action Lawsuit settlement:

    Toshiba’s “FL Inverter” Class Action Lawsuit required repair notice:

  84. Allen Says:

    Just received my MBP replacement for my initial purchase (which was unbelievably noisy… even after two visits to service centres, one which included them replacing the logic board)… anyway – and all was fine… transferred all my date via firewire… did some additional configuration – THEN did the software updates unlcuding the SMC and Security updates… and NOW the noise is back… is there no justice????? After the nightmare of dealing with Apple – (and you know for an incredibly ingenius company insofar as technology – their customer service has to be some of the worst I have ever experienced) – I guess I am stuck with this one… ugh. Any suggestions for those who have experienced the noise POST updates????? HELP!!!!

  85. ArsGeek » My first 21 days with a new Macbook Pro 15″ Says:

    […] Moving on, there are several other small issues that cast a shadow on the Macbook Pro. The first is the heat issue – the second is the processor whine. When idle, the processors make a whining noise – very high pitched, very tough to hear. But in a quiet room, it will drive you insane. I found a really neat program called QuietMBP that basically keeps your processor slightly in use all the time, which kills the noise. Works great. Only problem? Running your processors like that keeps the heat levels up. Sigh. […]

  86. YIELD79 Says:


  87. Sad Me Says:

    I loved my eMac, but I really needed a laptop and due to all the complaints with this I went ahead and got a… Dell. After coupon it was only $650 for a 1.66 Duo Core. This really makes me sad though, I’ve been following it since MBP and you think Apple would have at least acknowledged the problem by now.

  88. ArsGeek » OS X Universal Binaries I can’t live without Says:

    […] QuietMBP – this utility fixes the annoying processor whine […]

  89. Laura Says:

    Question – is it possible to run QuietMBP and not have the icon sitting in the dock? Many thanks for this great Web site!


  90. Markus Says:

    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to thank you for providing the QuietMBP script. I bought an MBP two weeks ago and went almost nuts because of this terrible CPU noise. Now I installed the script and it’s a great relief!! I can also confirm that the noise is somehow related to system updates. It was there before but became even worse after I installed the most recent update. Ultimately, I’ll have to send the MBP in but until this happens I can at least finish my work…

    Thanks so much!!!!!


  91. Markus Says:

    I just wanted to add something to my previous message – since many people complain that Apple seems to convince callers that there is nothing wrong with the MBP. Back in the TIBook era I had this one unit where the coating bubbled and ultimately chipped off. It took me almost a week of continuous calling until one consultant – after putting me on hold forever – switched back and confessed that they’re aware of the problem but try to deny it wherever possible because customers have used it as an excuse for scratches and stuff. Anyhow, I find all this extremely annoying…

  92. David Says:

    I am so glad I found this blog. The cow noise was about to drive me insane. I’m also kind of relieved that I’m not the only poor sap that is having this problem with my MBP (I grew up on a farm and though maybe I was having flash backs!) I have to turn up my radio so loud everyday to drown out the mooing that I was just waiting for a neighbor to complain (I work from home).

    Anyway. After reading this blog. I just plugged in small USB jump drive and guess what! Ten minutes later and the mooing has not come back! Thank you so much whoever discovered this. Okay so it’s not an ideal fix but it is going to stop me from sticking a spork in my eye!

  93. David Says:

    Cancel that last comment. The mooing is back.

  94. Top 10 Reasons Not To Buy A Macbook Pro by Elliott Back Says:

    […] 6) Some Macbook Pro owners report a hissing noise from the display if it’s running at less than full brightness. […]

  95. widmann.org » Blog Archive » Apple updated OSX auf 10.4.7 Says:

    […] Somit verwende ich vorläufig das Programm QuietMBP, das die zwei Kerne des Prozessors immer auf Trab hält, damit das Fiepen nicht auftreten kann. Hier gilt die Devise: hoffen und beten, dass Apple nicht nur endlich das Problem anerkennt, sondern es auch irgendwann mal in irgend einer Art und Weise endgültig löst. […]

  96. Kay Sperre Says:

    It’s quit astonishing that Apple haven’t acknowledged and addressed this issue. I’m kind of dissapointed, as it brings down the overall feeling quality and excellence of the MBP… Thanks a Million for making the QuietMBP application, it’s a real prozac :)

  97. matt mclean Says:

    my MBP is in the shop for its 2nd time regarding the inverter noise. i wish they would just replace the dang thing.

  98. Brandon Hartley Says:

    So i thought that a majority of these problems were fixed with the recent revision updates so i went ahead and picked up my macbook pro the other day. To my astonishment the cpu whine is present on my mac. SN W8624. Atleast quietmac seems to be working for the moment.

  99. Ian Says:

    I posted earlier. Have a macbookpro, 2.0 gig hz. When I updated to 10.4.7 a week or so ago my cpu whine stopped. I only had the noise when unplugged. I am unplugged at the moment with 75% left on my battery and no whine what so ever. My guess is this update addressed that problem?

  100. renato Says:

    To Ian:

    10.4.7 didn’t address the CPU whine problem. My MBP (week 17) also has the whine; with 10.4.7 the fequency and the ‘behaviour’ of the whine has slightly changed.

    On 10.4.6, the whine was the same with and without the power adapter hooked on. On 10.4.7, the frequency is higher with adapter, and the buzz is lower and louder when running on batteries.

    So, software *is* changing its behaviour. Not stopping the whine as for now….

  101. MattC Says:

    Is it a good idea to send my MBP back for service? Or am i going to get my or another MBP back with the same whinning problem? thanks

  102. Joe B. Says:

    Another solution is not to run Mac OS X. When running Win XP in the “notebook” the whine/hissing is gone. go figure. but yes I have been complaint about this too. And the store I bought mine from says there has been only one instance of a MBP that has been bought from their store that has had this problem. I find this hard to believe. Welp now they have two. (week 11) Is it too late to get a full refund?

    As for the mooing… I had a slight ticking sound in the fan that would happen with every revolution of the fan. Then one day it got extremly loud for about 5 mins then died along with the ticking. I believe the fan is now dead, don’t even hear it run now. Will find out later tonight from their “Genius Bar” if they just used their ears this could save them a lot of time.

  103. Matt Says:

    I have a week 23 MBP and before I installed the 10.4.7 update I did not have the whine but now I do. I was wondering how to uninstall 10.4.7 and reinstall 10.4.6.

  104. macophilia » Das Apple MacBook Pro… Says:

    […] In der Vergangenheit hat es allerdings wenig Sinn gemacht, ein Early Adaptor der Apple-Rechner zu sein. So hat das MacBook anscheinend schon mehrere identifizierte Probleme, sei das Lärmproblem, sei es der Brand des MagSafe-Steckers (dessen Besitzer die Photos mittlerweile modifiziert hat, weil Apple ihm angeblich ein neues MacBook Pro angeboten hat). […]

  105. yallaman Says:

    Some weeks ago I updated the firmware on my MBP (W8613) and the processor noise got even worse. I think a lot of people have experienced this. I could still silence it with the QuietMBP programme, set at about 150 (milliseconds). Now, with one more firmware update, it got even worse!!! I cant’t ******* believe it. Now I have to set QuietMBP to only 70 milliseconds, and naturally, the processor works harder and gets hotter, thus making the fans run faster and LOUDER (and wasting even more battery). I too heard from my local Apple dealer that Apple consider the ‘noise issue’ to be ‘normal’. I’m impressed! Obviously, I’m not looking forward to the next firmware update …

  106. cat slave diary » Blog Archive » End of an era Says:

    […] In the new year, after the wedding, I’ll get a nice MacBook Pro once they’ve sorted out the whine, fan noise and overheating issues (probably fixed with the firmware update), and expanding batteries and reports of poor battery life. […]

  107. Cindy D Says:

    I just got my 2.16 MBP and had purchased a 23″ Apple Monitor at the same time. For the past couple of days it’s been plugged into the monitor and there has been no problem (consistant with the USB port solution). Today, when I’m actually using the computer away from the monitor I’ve had the whine. I downloaded the app suggested and the whine is gone.

    Maybe Apple will sell a little cheese to go with the whine … it could come from the cows….

  108. Alex Says:

    I just read through the whole blog and I’m impressed, now I have my second MBP, the first one I had to send it back because of the beautiful overdrive on the right speaker, any way I was sitting in this quiet hotel room and wondering if this stupid hiss it’s normal? If I called the Apple service for sure they had told me “it’s normal”, it’s ridiculous what’s happening with this guys anyway.
    I read somewhere that if I turn on PhotoBoth the noise goes away, so I tried and it did, then I found this beautiful blog and I shall download MBP in few minutes,

    In the end the stupid hiss is not that bad, when you’re in very quiet environment you can turn on QuietMBP, and probably a quiet environment it’s in doors so there while be an electricity plug around,
    On the other side you have yo use this baby hard, make it work!run it hard , so it shall stay silent when I’m bloody recording something,
    Thanks a lot for this application

    All the best

  109. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Alex: I think it’s worth pressuring Apple to repair the noise now that they seem to have logic boards without the problem.

  110. NumacUser Says:

    I too have the dreaded whine. I’ve noticed that the photobooth trick works as well as holding down the mouse button. I’m going to try the QuietMBP script pretty soon. I’m glad I found this site because I thought I was going crazy.

  111. Marc Logemann Says:

    i heard that the latest revision of the MacBook Pro Mainboard have no noise problems anymore. But still we dont have an official respsonse from Apple so far. In fact, they will most likely keep it this way because replacing mainboards will get expensive. I will try to replace it anyway, because in a quiet room, this noise sucks and i am not willing to accept that for a machine expensive like that.

  112. Jeff Says:

    I sent in my MacBook Pro after hearing a odd fan noise. It sounded as if the fan was hitting another component. I got my computer back after 6 days and it appears that they replaced several components:
    SVC,MLB,1.83GHZ, 128VRAM(M1-CAP)MBP15″

    They also included a letter stating that they installed a different version of the Main Logic Board and if I need to reinstall Mac OS X I will need to use the new disc that they included. The fan noise is still there but I was more concerned with the high pitched whine from the inverter, which seems to be gone. They did not need to reformat my hard drive.

  113. Bruno Says:

    FYI, Apple finally acknowledged the problem : http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303365

  114. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Wow, thanks Bruno! That’s great news, to have some acknowledgement. To anybody worried about calling support you now have something to point the phone representative to when they refuse to comprehend what you’re complaining about.

  115. Jess Says:

    my macbook pro used to make that high-pitched hissing/whining noise, which stopped when photobooth was running. so i took it back, they updated it, now that particular noise is gone.

    BUT, there is still a constant high frequency noise (not a hiss or a whine, just a constant high pitched noise). it is so annoying. it makes me want to slice my eardrums out. other people i have shown cant seem to hear it, but it is definitely there. thing is, i cant really return/refund a computer where it’s problem is so hard to pinpoint/point out. i guess i will just have to get some earplugs and deal with it.

  116. Jillian Says:

    I’m absolutely devastated. I bought this MBP to replace my 5 year old Toshiba Satellite laptop which is held together with duct tape and barely runs. I had been SO looking forward to getting a Mac, they look so well-designed and professional and (I thought) they had a reputation as a great machine. Also the noise of my old computer had been giving me quite severe headaches.
    I’ve been using my MBP for 2 days now and I have to remind myself every couple of minutes how much it cost just to stop myself hurling it across the room in frustration. The whine is killing me. I cannot believe Apple will not admit the severity of this problem. Do they not use their own computers?

  117. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Jillian: you should get in touch with Apple because they seem to be fixing the problem, now.

  118. Jillian Says:

    I downloaded QuietMBP and obtained instant relief from the above symptoms the moment I ran it, thank you very much!
    However in playing with it I realised that the lower the number on the slider, the higher the frequency of the whine. Surely this means that my computer is still whining, it’s just now doing so at a frequency I can’t hear? As somebody mentioned earlier that will probably still be cause for a headache. But if I’m going to get a headache regardless I’d rather do it without having to listen to that noise!
    Has anybody sent their MBP in since Apple acknowledged the problem? I’d be interested to hear whether they actually fixed it…

  119. Red Sweater Links » Blog Archive » Apple Acknowledges MBP Whine Says:

    […] A reader pointed out in the comments to one of my MBP saga blog entries that Apple has finally, briefly, acknowledged the CPU whine. Thanks Bruno! […]

  120. mike dutch Says:

    The MacBook Pro noise is a problem which annoys many people, judging by the number of posts. There is, however, no known solution to the problem (other than getting a replacement MacBook) only workarounds. One work around is occupying the CPU, as the noise appears when the CPU is idle. Some suggested turning on the Mirror widget, then turning it off, putting the MacBook to sleep and waking it again (the noise will be gone until the next sleep). How about doing something useful with the CPU instead? Today I downloaded a client to the Folding@home distributed computing service (http://folding.stanford.edu), which does molecular research into cancer and other diseases. It works great, occupies enough CPU for the noise to disappear, but at the same time does not interfere with other tasks (it only occupies the idle time, and in case you want to do some rendering, you can always switch it off).

    Apple must know by now about the problem, so let us wait for a solution to the MacBook whining, and instead of whining ourselves, let us turn the situation into something useful, by supporting, for example, molecular caner research.

  121. Jillian Says:

    Me again, I still didn’t have a chance to take mine back to the shop, but I did discover something else that fixes the problem.
    To deal with a completely unrelated issue, I downloaded the CHUD tools from developer.apple.com and switched off the second CPU (install the tools, go to System Preferences > Processors and unclick the second processor). The noise stopped at once. However, running on one processor does kind of defeat the purpose of spending all those $$ on a (theoretically) decent computer…

  122. Ketan Says:

    i have an AMD athlon 2400, recently my comp has been giving me few beeps after shutdown…there are around 3 to 4 beeps each at a diff scale…any idea wat might be causing it

  123. Chuck Says:

    My powerbook has this whining problem and that is how I found this web page. I downloaded QuietMBP and have to turn the slider all the way down to zero to get the noise to stop.

    Does anybody know what the difference is between 1 and 1000? Is 1000 using more CPU or less?

  124. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hi Chuck – 1000 is using less CPU. The closer to 0, the closer to constantly using the CPU to keep it busy and avoid the fluctutating that seems to cause the whine.

  125. Tobias Says:

    Does anyone know how to set CHUD to default to single processor mode on startup?

  126. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Tobias – you could use an AppleScript/ShellScript combo. Paste this into Script Editor:

    do shell script “hwprefs cpu_count=1”

    Test it by opening up the Processor control panel and confirming that the cpu count goes from 2 to 1 when you run it. Now save the script as an “Application Bundle” and add that application to your login items.

  127. Witty Srisa-an Says:

    So I sent my Macbook Pro 1.83 GHz to Apple last week to fix the hissing problem. I got it back today and was surprise to see they replaced two fans. I didn’t think I had any fan problems. Unfortunately, that didn’t solve the problem. It is still as loud and as annoying as before.

  128. Joshua Ellis Says:

    Just a note here — I got a refurbished 2.16Ghz MBP a couple of weeks ago and I’ve only noticed two auditory problems: 1) the whine when the screen isn’t at full brightness (which I barely even notice), and 2) the distorted right speaker, which is far more irritating to me.

    As far as CPU/drive noise, I don’t hear a damn thing…and I’m using this for recording, so I’m pretty sensitive to such things. It’s actually much quieter than my old PowerBook 866Mhz G4!

    I wish they could fix that damn speaker, though.

  129. Mark Says:

    I am trying to record using an external mic into the line-in. I disabled the built-in mic by going to utilities and selecting line-in, but when I record using GarageBand, sound is still being input through the built-in mic and not the external mic. What is going wrong?

  130. Creative Creature » Blog Archive » MacBook Pro-blems Says:

    […] However, after about 3 months of solid performance from my new machine (a MacBook Pro 15.4″ with the 1.83 GHz Core Duo), problems started to crop up. I had already grown accustomed to the intense heat put out by the machine (particularly on the bar over the function keys and precisely where you place your wrists while typing), and I had found a wonderful little app to stop the incredibly annoying whine (QuietMBP). However, the new noises were much scarier, and seemed to originate from the right fan near the power button: […]

  131. oldfartingskunk Says:

    Hello everyone:

    My roommate’s constant complaints have finally forced me to seek advice. I tried everyone’s suggestions including the QuietMBP software, dismantiling Photobooth…the works. I’m pretty much getting ready to call Apple and demand a new computer. From googling, I noticed a lot of people were in fact successful in this endeavor, but wanted to see if anyone on this site could speak to their experiences!


  132. Scott Stevenson Says:

    I”™m pretty much getting ready to call Apple and demand a new computer

    It’s a supported issue. Just take it to a Genius Bar, or call Apple Support if you’re not near a store. Here’s the complete text of the knowledge base article:

    “If your 15-inch MacBook Pro emits a high-pitched buzzing sound, please contact AppleCare for service.”


  133. Michele Says:

    I just installed the newest firmware update for my mac book pro. IT BEEPS!! Not a buzz..but a loud beep. ABOUT ONCE AN HOUR! I have heard of all kinds of other complaints regarding noises, but not after the firmware update.

    Is there anyone whho knows how to fix this?

  134. firstpinkgirl Says:

    I thought my Mac was going to explode the first time it started whining – then after a while I was hoping it would, so I could go back to apple to tell them the noise sucks. It’s incredibly annoying. And what’s worse, my PC friend tease me.

  135. Ethan Says:

    Does this high pitch sound under the s and d key also show up in recent MacBooks??

    My MB, just a few hours old suddenly starts making this noise =/ :S

  136. PCFish Says:

    Easiest fix to your noise problem: don’t fix it.
    Instead, wear your headphone and play your favorite tunes.

  137. Rob Says:

    Noise on your MBP. I am on my buddy’s mbp and we have the same problem. I did find something that you didn’ mention. The noise stops when the cpu is in heavy use. If the cpu is in idle, it’s not drawing as much power, so I presume another component is getting too much power.

    This “magic widget” is simply consuming cpu cylces, causing more power to go to the cpu, and less to the offending component.

    Taking the battery out and running ac only helps, but the problem is still present.

    If you get resolution (because wasting cpu cycles on another app as some have suggested), I would be anxious to hear from you.

    Keep fightin the good fight.

  138. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Rob: I think you’ll find the “noise stops when CPU is in heavy use” to have been among my preliminary findings in the earliest post in this series.

    As far as a solution – the best thing to do at this point I think is to insist on a replacement logic board from Apple. This seems to alleviate the problem to a great extent for many people. I think they finally reached a compromise that is not perfect but is much less aggravating.

  139. Din Says:

    It is disappointing to hear all the problems with the MBP. I am a avid MAC user at home and at work and was planning to purchase a MBP. Now i am having second thoughts about doing so.

    I guess I’ll have to wait and see how apple deals with all these issues with the next release of the MBP.

  140. Costas Cleater Says:

    Din’s comments above almost mirror those I left on an older site a couple of days ago. And if the other (more recent) comments above are anything to go by, your optimism about an improving situation would appear to be….well, optimistic. One year on, and nothing much seems to have changed.

    A real shame, but I’d say the scales are now tipping heavily in favour of an MS-based machine. Ironic, isn’t it? I wanted an Apple, yet they have all but succeeded in driving me into Bill Gates’ arms. Do Apple have a death wish? How many other potential customers are they willing to lose before they act to put things right?

  141. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Costas: I’m basing my optimism on the real decrease in the number of public complaints about MacBook Pros, and in the personal experience of myself getting a much improved newer one.

    Keep in mind that a lot of these early, flawed MBP are “out in the wild” so recent comments about the problem don’t necessarily mean *newer* machines. There are a lot of machines that never got repaired, either because the noise didn’t bother the owners, or because the owners didn’t know they could get it fixed.

  142. Costas Cleater Says:

    I have to admire your loyalty, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s misplaced. I just hope you’re right. As for recent machines being more reliable, one MAC columnist for one of our many PC mags recounts the story of a proud MBP owner/acquaintance who called on him to show off his new machine. Guess what? The machine died on him during the demonstration! He took it back to the shop and was given a replacement on the spot, no arguments. Guess what? It also died within the month. We are not told if he got a 2nd replacement as easily. Still think the current crop is more reliable?

  143. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Costas: yes, I still do. Because one anecdote doesn’t change my whole world view. But it sounds like you’ve been exposed to more negative stories than I have, so I can appreciate that your world view is different.

  144. Costas Cleater Says:

    One anecdote maybe, but I have to wonder how many times it is repeated across the world. Most of the ‘negative exposure’ that you refer to has come from sites/blogs like yours – from people who are pro Apple by nature and who should be singing the praises of their machines. Instead, the vast majority only manage to document one problem after another.

    Have you come across the ‘swelling batteries’ and dying displays yet? Where does it all end? When I typed MBP into a search engine, this is not what I expected to find. I expected that anecdote to be a one-off, not repeated a thousand times in different forms.

    I was a willing customer, but it is your own community that has put a hex on my enthusiasm. Despite all that, I’m still hanging on by a thread – but only just.

  145. kfupm Says:

    Thanks for your well explination of the problem.

    I was thrilled by this information.


  146. Evelhakur Says:

    Guys. After debating calling Apple to have my logic board switched due to the CPU whining problem, I think there is a fix! I downloaded the Battery Update 1.2 and it has cured my noisy laptop!!! Now I only have the friendly low pitched (and very, very low volume) whirr of the fan on the left side of the macbook pro.

    I love my MacBook Pro again!!! I hope this works for everyone else!


  147. Flahool Says:

    I’ve found that this exact problem also exists on my first generation iMac G5.

  148. Quora Says:

    What are good ways to solve the CPU noise problem in Macbook Pro?…

    As many may encountered, the Macbook pro has an annoying high frequency noise. You can hear it in a quiet environment. It is said that it is caused by CPU and energy saving strategy. Here is a detailed summary and some suggestions posted several months…

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