2021 MacBook Pro users report crackling and popping audio issues

In October 2021, Apple launched the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models powered by M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. The notebooks have received great reviews for their incredible performance, and battery life. However, recently owners of 2021 MacBook Pro models have reported unexpected crackling and popping audio issues.

Raising the issue on Apple Community Forum and Reddit, users complained that their notebooks’ speakers are randomly creating crackling and popping sounds when a song, video, or audio file is played. The popping sound is more noticeable when the volume is high and the audio issue is experienced on both 14-inch and 16-inch models.

2021 MacBook pro

2021 MacBook Pro’s crackling and popping audio appears to be a software issue

An affected user @Tommy8850 wrote that his 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro made a popping sound which disappeared after updating to macOS 12.1. However, he later updated that the audio issue returned.

After I upgrade to 12.1, now it still happen but only when I play at the highest volume on guitar music and at high pitch only but it is fine when play piano or vocal song even at highest volume, where in 12.0.1 it happened on any sounds even at low volume. I know that even on the HI-FI system the guitar music is quite demanding and require quick twitter response. May be software upgrade did help on eliminating the most of the case, only happen when play challenging music?

2021 MacBook Pro

Other affected users responded that the crackling and popping audio on the 2021 MacBook Pro appears to be a software issue that Apple is aware of.

This speaker popping is sadly – and more frustratingly – an issue that stems back some time and occurs across apps: both native to Apple and 3rd party ones. Apple support are aware of the issue (I’ve been frequently advised of this each time I log the issue with Apple support directly). When I first got the 16″ model back in 2019 not long after buying it, it started exhibiting this issue. The crackling/popping started when scrubbing through videos in YouTube, then would move into apps: Final cut, logic and even Adobe at times, as well as the music app (to name a few).

I’ve seen numerous reports across forums about the popping appearing when the machine undertaking high CPU tasks: this is certainly one of the ways the popping becomes visible, but from my new 2021 machines I’ve had the popping sound appear across both native Apple and 3rd party apps with varying CPU usage. I am certain it’s a deep rooted software issue: so deep rooted in fact I’m using some of my own monitoring equipment to try and send data to help Apple as this issue has been going on – in my eyes – a bit too long now and is starting to become frustrating. @

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