Apple’s Patch for 2018 MacBook Pro Thermal Throttling Appears to Have Worked

On Tuesday, Apple released a software update specifically for the mid-2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

The supplemental update is designed to address an issue with performance and thermal throttling, with Apple trying to fix an issue that has caused some of the latest MacBook Pro models to suffer from severe throttling issues due to potential overheating. For a quick refresher on what was going, be sure to click right here and get caught up.

There were plenty of theories out there regarding the issue, and just how Apple could go about fixing it. For its part, Apple had this to say regarding the update released today:

“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.”

That missing digital key in the firmware was apparently causing all of the issues, and it appears that Apple has indeed fixed the situation. At least, that appears to be the case based on some preliminary testing that AppleInsider has run, following the release of the patch to the public earlier today.

According to their tests, the 3.5GHz speed was maintained in their testing, with the speeds only dropping down to 3.1GHz in some cases. Here’s what the publication had to say regarding one of the many tests they ran following the patch release:

“The gains aren’t just in a synthetic benchmark.

A five-minute 4K project with effects in Final Cut Pro X rendered in three minutes and 39 seconds before the update, and three minutes and 29 seconds afterwards. Premiere Pro saw big gains, going from 24 minutes and one second pre-patch rendering time to 21 minutes and eight seconds with a large project.

A one-minute 4.5K Red RAW project with effects took eight minutes and one second to render before Apple’s patch, and six minutes and 59 seconds after application of the fix in Premiere Pro.”

At this point in time it is unknown just what, specifically, Apple did to fix the situation. The company’s reference to the missing digital key within the framework gives us an idea, though. And while this is just one test, it does at least look like Apple has fixed the issue. Which, if anything, means that the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and the Intel Core i9 processor under the hood is once again a worthwhile option for those who want to fork over the cash for the most powerful MacBook Pro.

Our Take

Apple notes in its statement that it discovered this thermal throttling issue after “extensive performance testing under numerous workloads”. Which is great! Except that it seems like Apple should have been running those “numerous workloads” before they launched the mid-2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. There’s no doubt that Apple did some testing on the machines, but . . . this is a pretty big issue to miss.

[via AppleInsider]