Apple says software glitch caused 2018 MacBook Pro Intel Core i9 throttling, issues fix

'There is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system'

MacBook Pro 2018

It looks like it might not be the MacBook Pro’s slim, metallic design holding back the highest-end 15-inch Intel Core i9 version of the laptop.

Apple says that a software bug causes the widely reporting throttling issues the high-end laptop has experienced since its launch. Apple confirmed the problem in a statement following a furor of YouTube videos where various influencers placed the laptop in a freezer in order to get it to perform at its advertised clock speed.

Toronto-based YouTuber David Lee (Dave2D) was first to discover the issue and report on the 2018 MacBook’s throttling issues. When running Adobe Premiere Lee’s MacBook Pro failed to apply Turbo Boost and didn’t achieve a fast enough clock speed for such a resource intensive task, dropping the speed to as low as 2.2Ghz — a number that’s significantly under the processor’s advertised base 2.9Ghz clock speed.

The tech giant says that a bug pushed down clock speeds when the laptop is under a heavy work load, with Apple also stating that the issue affects all new MacBook Pros and not just the 15-inch Core i9.

Below is the full statement from Apple:

“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. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70 percent 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.”

It’s unclear if Apple’s recently issued fix actually solves the problem, but the fact that the company is making an effort to get in front of the controversy surrounding the issue, as well as admitting its existence, is promising.

MobileSyrup will have more on Apple’s MacBook Pro in the coming days, including an in-depth look at the recently released Blackmagic eGPU.