Apple Releasing Update to Address Thermal Throttling in 2018 MacBook Pro

BY Evan Selleck

Published 24 Jul 2018

2017 vs 2018 MacBook Pro Comparison

Apple released new versions of the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar earlier this month, but while the devices included plenty of new features and oft-requested spec bumps, it also came with some massive thermal throttling.

That led to plenty of coverage regarding the issue, which saw the max-specced MacBook Pro running into performance issues that made the Core i9 option seem like a less worthwhile option than the Core i7 variant, which also costs less. However, it turns out that Apple may have a fix in mind. The company will be releasing an update for the mid-2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar today, which the company says will address the thermal throttling issue:

“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.”

Apple’s statement appears to confirm that the bug, or the missing digital key in the firmware, isn’t just located in the Core i9 variant of the 2018 MacBook Pro, but the other variants as well. Up to this point, heavy workloads have been throttled by the hardware to prevent overheating, which severely impacted performance. Comparisons showed that the fully-loaded Core i9 variant could actually be outperformed by the other models, including the Core i7, because the thermal throttling did not come into effect as aggressively.

With this update being released today, it will more than likely not take a lot of time for folks with the Core i9 variant of the MacBook Pro to test out how it actually impacts performance. And, more than anything else, to determine if it actually fixes the thermal throttling issue that has plagued the new laptop since its release.