Apple's Mac Studio has proven popular among professionals thanks to its speedy M1 Max and M1 Ultra chips array of ports. But some people have been dealing with an annoying problem — their Mac Studio whistles. And you won't believe what might fix it.
Since the Mac Studio debuted almost six months ago, people have reported a strange whining noise coming from it during use. That noise didn't seem to really be affected by whether the Mac was under load or not, nor how warm it was. But it was there, and it was driving people crazy.
Some of those people thought it was caused by faulty fans, others said it could be something called coil whine — a noise made by the power supply as it does its thing. But everyone was wrong. Turns out, their Mac Studio was just playing a tune all along.
You hum it, I'll play it
The fix might have been found by @BasicAppleGuy on Twitter, with a lengthy blog post explaining what's going on. The short version? The Mac Studio's "precisely-machined perforations" around the back. The machine's air vents were the culprit, with the Mac Studio fans pushing just the right amount of air through them to cause them to whistle.
"The whistling idea made sense. Try it yourself: start whistling and then change the amount of air you are forcing out, noticing that the whistle peaks at a certain point and stops altogether at others," the blog post says. And it's right. But how do you fix it?
You put electrical tape on it.
THE CASE OF THE SINGING STUDIOI have something to whine about concerning the Mac Studio. 🎵🕵🏻♂️https://t.co/qx3kmEhRGH pic.twitter.com/MNBbI8eOViAugust 16, 2022
"Next, I did something that requires an obligatory "don't try this at home": I began taping closed small sections on the back of the Studio. I first experimented by blocking portions of the airflow with a small piece of cardboard to see if it stopped the whistle and would apply small amounts of electrical tape across the places that seemed most problematic.," the post continues. Over the next few weeks they monitored the situation and found just the right holes to block in order to quieten the whistling. "Covering the first dozen columns on the far left of Mac Studio reliably resolved the issue," it seems. Eureka!
The Mac Studio might be the best Mac for a ton of professionals, but this is a strange one. As the post notes, don't try this at home. Those holes are there for a reason, after all. But with the Mac Studio generally accepted to be pretty great at keeping itself cool anyway, @BasicAppleGuy is happy. At least for now. Maybe they'll take the machine into an Apple Store one day and hope the noise can be replicated to the point of getting a proper fix implemented.
Be sure to check out the full blog post for all the details — and some sound recordings of the whistling in action.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.
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