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Dual-Booters Beware: Boot Camp Could Damage the Speakers on your new MacBook Pro

Posted on December 7, 2016

For those who need versatile options when it comes to operating systems, Boot Camp is one of the best tools to have at your disposal. With how easy it makes dual-booting both Windows and macOS on your Mac, many people rely on it when they require access to a Microsoft environment for work or development purposes.

However, it seems that the recent refresh of the MacBook Pro line has brought with it some unexpected problems affecting the laptop’s speakers. Users began to report that when dual-booting into Windows, they experienced strange and erratic audio issues. These included sudden, severe fluctuations in volume and problems with the speaker balance. Some users even reported that their speakers “popped” so hard and so frequently they became physically damaged from overuse.

While this is a severe and serious issue, Apple quickly stepped in and issued a patch to prevent the problem from occurring at all. But what was causing the problem? The answer seems to lie with a faulty audio driver that was not working correctly with the updated MacBook Pro hardware. The drivers packaged in the current version of Boot Camp accompanying macOS Sierra were not yet ready to cope with the upgraded hardware. As a result, improper communication between the hardware and the software driver caused the “popping” sounds and other fluctuations.

All those who intend to dual-boot with one of the new MacBook Pros should take note of this bug and exercise care to apply the relevant patch. While it seems unlikely that the issue would reoccur so soon after corrective action, we advise users to watch for any signs of unusual behavior after updating Boot Camp. Some reports of volume fluctuation issues continue to surface on the web, so Apple may need to tweak the speaker drivers further.

Despite the potential severity of the bug, it is worth noting that it should hopefully only affect a small number of MacBook Pro 2016 users. In combination with the rapid proliferation of Apple’s driver patch, individuals shouldn’t anticipate future problems with the hardware. Of course, if you do not use Boot Camp at all, the problem is easily avoided. Did you experience this issue while playing audio in Windows on your MacBook Pro before the patch? If so, you may want to contact Apple for repair or replacement under warranty if you suffered any damage.

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