Archive of Retina MacBook Pro Rumors

In 2016, when Apple introduced the first MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models, the repair experts at iFixit discovered the notebooks have non-removable SSDs, soldered to the logic board, prompting concerns that data recovery would not be possible if the logic board failed. Fortunately, that wasn't the case.


Apple has a special tool for 2016 and 2017 models of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that allows Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers to recover user data when the logic board fails, but the SSD is still intact.

The tool is essentially a little black box that is able to transfer data from a failed logic board to a functioning MacBook Pro. The box has a flex cable that connects to a data recovery port on the failed logic board, while the box and a functioning MacBook Pro are connected via USB-C to USB-C cable.

Apple's internal Customer Data Migration Tool

Once the logic board is placed into a special holder, and all cables are connected, technicians simply power on the functioning MacBook Pro, open Migration Assistant, and proceed with the standard steps for data transfer.

Customer Data Migration Tool connector on 2016 MacBook Pro logic board

While not fail-proof, the tool is a convenient, last-ditch option for data recovery when a MacBook Pro's logic board goes kaput. But, unfortunately, it appears the tool will not work with the latest models.

Last week, iFixit completed a teardown of the 2018 MacBook Pro, discovering that Apple has removed the data recovery connector from the logic board on both 13-inch and 15-inch models with the Touch Bar, suggesting that the Customer Data Migration Tool can no longer be connected.

MacRumors contacted multiple reliable sources at Apple Authorized Service Providers to learn more, and based on the information we obtained, it does appear that the tool is incompatible with 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models.

Multiple sources claim that data cannot be recovered if the logic board has failed on a 2018 MacBook Pro. If the notebook is still functioning, data can be transferred to another Mac by booting the system in Target Disk Mode, and using Migration Assistant, which is the standard process that relies on Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The data recovery port was likely removed because 2018 MacBook Pro models feature Apple's custom T2 chip, which provides hardware encryption for the SSD storage, like the iMac Pro, our sources said.

Apple's internal 2018 MacBook Pro Service Readiness Guide, obtained by MacRumors, advises technicians to encourage customers to back up to Time Machine frequently, and we highly recommend following this advice, as it now appears to be the only way to preserve your data in the rare event your MacBook Pro fails.

MacRumors also confirmed that Apple's internal document for its Customer Data Migration Tool has not been updated to reflect use with the 2018 MacBook Pro, and nothing else we've seen outlines any alternative solutions.

While it appears Apple itself is unable to recover data from failed 2018 MacBook Pros, the Service Readiness Guide does state that customers can consult with data recovery specialist companies, such as DriveSavers, Knoll, Seagate, and Payam, but it's unclear how they might be able to help.

We've reached out to Apple for clarification. If we receive any information, we'll update this article accordingly.
Earlier this week, the repair experts at iFixit opened up the 2018 MacBook Pro, uncovering Intel's new JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 controller, introduced earlier this year as part of its "Titan Ridge" family.


While the specifications for the JHL7540 lists compatibility with DisplayPort 1.4 on Intel's product database, it's not as clear-cut as it sounds, as support also relies on graphics, which vary by MacBook Pro model.

MacRumors reached out to Apple for clarification. Here's what we learned:
  • The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models support DisplayPort at High-Bit Rate 3 (HBR3), a signal standard of both DisplayPort 1.3 and DisplayPort 1.4. Apple says the dedicated Radeon Pro graphics can drive up to two 5K displays at 60Hz, each over a single stream.
  • The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models support DisplayPort at High-Bit Rate 2 (HBR2), a signal standard of DisplayPort 1.2. This is a limitation of the Iris Plus Graphics 655 in these models, as Intel's integrated GPUs do not support DisplayPort 1.4.
What that means:
  • The new 15-inch MacBook Pro theoretically supports DisplayPort 1.4, which Apple confirmed, but at least for now, it still can't drive an 8K display. It could be possible with VESA's lossless Display Stream Compression standard, perhaps, but it's unclear if this can be enabled down the road.
  • For now, then, the new 13-inch and 15-inch models have the same compatibility with external displays as the previous-generation MacBook Pro: up to two 5K displays or up to four 4K displays on the 15-inch model, and up to one 5K display or up to two 4K displays on the 13-inch model.
For comparison, 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models are equipped with Intel's JHL6540 Thunderbolt 3 controller, which supports DisplayPort 1.2.

In related news, Apple has also confirmed that all four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar are now full speed, compared to only the two left-facing ports on the equivalent 2016 and 2017 models.
Following the release of the new 2018 MacBook Pro models, iFixit last week tore apart the 13-inch version and discovered the presence of a new silicone membrane underneath the keyboard's butterfly keys that Apple internal documents have since confirmed has been added to prevent dust and other small particulates from causing key failures.

To give us a better look at the new third-generation butterfly keyboard included in the new 2018 machines and how it works, iFixit has done a much deeper dive, exposing the keyboard to debris to test it out.


iFixit exposed the keyboard to a powdered paint additive that glows, allowing the site to track where and how dust accumulates. On the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard, the dust settled at the edges of the membrane, leaving the butterfly mechanism of the keys protected. The same test was performed on the 2017 MacBook Pro keyboard, demonstrating less protection.
Lo and behold, the dust is safely sequestered at the edges of the membrane, leaving the mechanism fairly sheltered. The holes in the membrane allow the keycap clips to pass through, but are covered by the cap itself, blocking dust ingress. The previous-gen butterfly keys are far less protected, and are almost immediately flooded with our glowing granules.
With a combination of a lot of dust and aggressive typing, the dust did penetrate the membrane-covered key clips, hitting the top of the switch, suggesting that there's still a small potential for failure. iFixit was indeed able to cause the keyboard to fail by adding "a few poorly placed particles" of sand.

While the silicone membrane does not appear to be impenetrable, and there's no way to tell how the barrier will hold up over time as iFixit points out, it's still more protection than offered in earlier versions of the butterfly keyboard.

Following the dust test, iFixit did a more extensive teardown of the new keyboard, tearing it apart layer by layer. After a grueling experience pulling it apart, which explains why Apple has to replace the entire top case when installing a new keyboard, iFixit found that the silicone barrier is a single die-cut and molded sheet.


The keycaps on the keyboard have also been slightly redesigned, measuring in at 1.25mm thickness compared to 1.5mm thickness in the 2017 MacBook Pro, which iFixit suggests is to give the keys room to travel with the addition of the membrane.

The spacebar has been redesigned, with a keycap that easily separates from the butterfly mechanism, a departure from earlier models where the spacebar was more difficult to remove. All of the keys, spacebar included, were easier to remove and harder to ruin, in iFixit's testing.

Apple has not publicly confirmed that the new third-generation butterfly keyboard was introduced to enhance reliability and to cut down on the the key failures that were seen in 2016 and 2017 machines, though the company has informed Apple Authorized Service Providers that this is the case.

Instead, in its 2018 MacBook Pro marketing materials, Apple claims the new silicone barrier was added to introduce a quieter typing experience, an issue that few people seem to have had with the original keyboards.
It has been an eventful few weeks for MacBook Pro keyboards.

Last month, Apple finally acknowledged that a "small percentage" of MacBook and MacBook Pro models with butterfly switch keyboards may experience issues with "sticky" or inconsistently functioning keys, and launched a worldwide service program offering free repairs of affected keyboards for up to four years.


The issues are widely believed to be caused by dust or other particulates, like crumbs from a sandwich, getting lodged in the butterfly mechanism underneath the keycaps, which are shallower than those on previous-generation MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards with traditional scissor switch mechanisms.

Then, last week, Apple surprised us with the release of new 2018 MacBook Pro models, which feature an "improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing," according to Apple's press release. Apple never publicly confirmed if the third-generation keyboard addresses the issues that prompted its service program.

It didn't take long for the repair experts at iFixit to open up the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and discover a thin silicone membrane underneath each key, which they said is clearly to prevent "contaminant ingress," or, in other words, to prevent dust and crumbs from getting stuck under keys.

Then, just hours ago, MacRumors obtained an internal document from Apple, distributed to its network of Apple Authorized Service Providers, that clearly acknowledges that "the keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism," as many people suspected.

Now, in another internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple has announced that it will be hosting a series of 60-minute web broadcast events focused on servicing Mac notebook keyboards and keycaps.

In the broadcasts, which service providers are instructed to watch "in private in an environment away from customers," Apple says it will discuss the anatomy of the current keycaps, focus on troubleshooting and isolating keyboard issues, and demonstrate how to clean keyboards and replace keycaps.

These training sessions are routine for Apple Authorized Service Providers, but given all of the issues surrounding the MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards as of late, they will likely be very helpful for technicians.

Customers can initiate a repair by reading: How to Get a MacBook or MacBook Pro Keyboard Repaired Free Under Apple's Service Program.
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers, obtained by MacRumors from multiple reliable sources, Apple has confirmed that the third-generation keyboard on 2018 MacBook Pro models is equipped with a "membrane" to "prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism."

Image Credit: iFixit

The relevant excerpt from Canadian and European versions of Apple's internal 2018 MacBook Pro Service Readiness Guide:
Keyboard and Keycaps
The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. The procedure for the space bar replacement has also changed from the previous model. Repair documentation and service videos will be available when keycap parts begin shipping.
While the U.S. version of this Service Readiness Guide does not mention the membrane, it contains a link to a separate internal document titled "Butterfly Mechanism Keycap Replacement MacBook Pro (2018)" that does:
Caution: The keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism. Be careful not to tear the membrane. A torn membrane will result in a top case replacement.
In its teardown of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar last week, the repair experts at iFixit were first to discover the thin, silicone barrier underneath the keycaps, and theorized that it was to prevent dust indeed. Apple filed a patent for a contaminant-resistant MacBook keyboard back in 2016.

Publicly, Apple has only confirmed that 2018 MacBook Pro models feature an "improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing," but many suspected that the silicon membrane was actually to prevent "contaminant ingress," fancy speak for the crumbs from your sandwich that you ate at your desk for lunch.

Following years of anecdotal complaints from customers, and a few class action lawsuits, Apple initiated a worldwide service program last month, offering free repairs of 2015-and-later MacBook and 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro keyboards, which are equipped with low-profile butterfly switch mechanisms.

We've already reported about the service program in more detail, but the gist is that those particular MacBook and MacBook Pro models can experience issues with sticky, unresponsive, or inconsistently functioning keys when small particles like dust or crumbs get stuck underneath the shallower keycaps.

Apple confirmed to MacRumors that third-generation keyboards will not be offered as replacements under its service program for 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro second-generation keyboard repairs, likely due to a tweaked top case design.

We've reached out to Apple for comment.
Apple has confirmed that the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is equipped with four full-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports.


2018 models ship with Intel's eighth-generation Core i5 or Core i7 processors, which both support up to 16 PCI Express lanes, providing enough bandwidth for maximum data transfer speeds up to 40Gb/s on all four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

2016 and 2017 models of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar could be configured with sixth- and seventh-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, which supported up to 12 PCI Express lanes, limiting full speeds to the two left-side Thunderbolt 3 ports, with reduced bandwidth on the right-side ports.

Now, users have the freedom to plug higher-performance peripherals into any Thunderbolt 3 port they desire without compromise.

All three generations of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar have always had four full-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys has only two Thunderbolt 3 ports, both full speed.
Alongside the new 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models introduced last week, Apple also debuted a new eGPU enclosure designed in partnership with Blackmagic.

We picked up one of the new Blackmagic eGPUs to check out its design and the performance that it offers when paired with one of Apple's Macs.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The Blackmagic eGPU is equipped with a Radeon Pro 580 GPU, which was first introduced by AMD in June 2017. It features 8GB VRAM, and it is the same graphics card used in the high-end 2017 iMac.

You can connect the Blackmagic eGPU to any Mac that includes support for Thunderbolt 3, which includes the 2016 and later MacBook Pro models and iMac models produced in 2017.

Design wise, the Blackmagic eGPU features a futuristic looking aluminum enclosure that fits well on a desktop. A thermal grille allows for efficient heat dissipation, letting the included fan run lower, so it's as quiet as 18db.

It includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, 4 USB 3.1 ports for connecting accessories, an HDMI port, and 85W of power delivery, so it can also power a MacBook Pro when connected. It is the first eGPU that offers support for the LG UltraFine 5K display.

Unfortunately, the Blackmagic eGPU is not upgradeable, so you're not going to be able to swap out the included graphics card for an upgraded version in the future, which is one of the major downsides to the accessory.

Compared to the graphics cards available in the 2016 and later MacBook Pro models, the Blackmagic eGPU offers much faster performance for tasks like gaming, VR experiences, and graphics-intensive creative work like video editing, 3D graphics work, and more.

In Apple's testing, the Blackmagic eGPU was twice as fast at many tasks as the GPU in the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro, and 6 to 7 times faster than the built-in GPU in the 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro. In our own testing with a 15-inch MacBook Pro from 2016, the Blackmagic eGPU offered impressive speeds in OpenCL and Metal tests.

The Blackmagic eGPU is available exclusively from Apple for $699. There appears to be a bit of a backlog, and orders placed today won't deliver until August 9 at the earliest.

What do you think of the Blackmagic eGPU? Do you plan on buying one? Let us know in the comments.
Following in the footsteps of the latest iPhone and iPad Pro models, the new MacBook Pro features True Tone technology.


True Tone automatically adjusts the white balance of the MacBook Pro display to match the color temperature of the light around you, which, as Apple says, provides a more natural viewing experience. The feature is similar to Night Shift, but more dynamic, continuously adapting to the surrounding environment.

If you are standing in a dimly lit room with incandescent light bulbs, for example, the display would appear warmer and yellower. If you are standing outside on a cloudy day, the display would appear cooler and bluer.

True Tone on iPad Pro

We've received many questions about how True Tone is enabled on the new MacBook Pro, and we've sought out some answers from Apple.

Apple says the new MacBook Pro has a multi-channel ambient light sensor, next to the FaceTime HD camera, that can assess brightness as well as color temperature, adding that the display should be open to enable that functionality. Apple added that True Tone does not use the FaceTime HD camera for its operation.

Apple says the ambient light sensor in previous-generation MacBook Pro models can only assess brightness, suggesting that True Tone is not a feature that can be enabled on older machines through a future software update.

The information also suggests that True Tone will only work on the LG UltraFine 4K, LG UltraFine 5K, and Thunderbolt Display when the display on a connected MacBook Pro is open, rather than in closed-display aka clamshell mode. Apple did not directly confirm this, though, so we'll be testing to see.

True Tone can help reduce eye strain, so it's a feature worth considering if you purchase the new MacBook Pro. It can be enabled or disabled in System Preferences under Displays, alongside options for Night Shift and auto-brightness.

True Tone can also be enabled on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and the 2017 model 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Update: As we suspected, True Tone does not work on external displays when the connected MacBook Pro is in clamshell mode.

Eric Slivka contributed to this report.
A few months ago, in an internal document obtained by MacRumors, Apple indicated the Mid 2012 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display would be classified as vintage or obsolete as of June 30, 2018, marking the notebook's end of hardware service eligibility at Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers.


In a notice distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, however, Apple says it "incorrectly classified" the notebook as vintage or obsolete on June 30, and revised the date to December 31, 2018.

The full-length internal document, obtained from multiple sources:
In a Service News article published in May 2018, the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) was incorrectly classified as vintage in the state of California (U.S.) and country of Turkey and obsolete worldwide (except for California and Turkey) on June 30, 2018.

Please note that the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) will not become vintage in California (U.S.) and Turkey and obsolete in all other countries until the end of December 2018.

Apple apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Apple has yet to remove the notebook from its public-facing vintage and obsolete products list, as shown below.


Apple considers a product to be vintage or obsolete, depending on the region, when at least five years have passed since the product was last manufactured. When this happens, Apple and Apple Authorized Service Providers stop offering hardware service, like repairs, except in California and Turkey by law.

All in all, if you're still using this particular MacBook Pro, it turns out you still have a little under six months of hardware support remaining from the Genius Bar and certified repair shops. So, if you've been looking to get that battery replaced, or otherwise, it would be best to do so sooner rather than later.

Beyond that date, you're on your own. Fortunately, the repair experts at iFixit offer many do-it-yourself guides and replacement parts.
Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pro can be upgraded to include a 6-core 2.9GHz Intel Core i9 processor that has demonstrated impressive performance, but one YouTuber is warning customers away from purchasing it with claims that the MacBook Pro chassis can't provide sufficient cooling for it to run at full speed.

Dave Lee this afternoon shared a new video on the Core i9 MacBook Pro he purchased, and according to his testing, the new machine is unable to maintain even its base clock speed after just a short time doing processor intensive work like video editing.


"This CPU is an unlocked, overclockable chip but all of that CPU potential is wasted inside this chassis -- or more so the thermal solution that's inside here," says Lee.

He goes on to share some Premiere Pro render times that suggest the new 2018 MacBook Pro with Core i9 chip underperforms compared to a 2017 model with a Core i7 chip. It took 39 minutes for the 2018 MacBook Pro to render a video that the older model was able to render in 35 minutes. Premiere Pro is not well-optimized for macOS, but the difference between the two MacBook Pro models is notable.

Lee ran the same test again with the 2018 MacBook Pro in the freezer, and in cooler temperatures, the i9 chip was able to offer outstanding performance, cutting that render time down to 27 minutes and beating out the 2017 MacBook Pro.

As Lee points out, thermal throttling is in no way unusual and it's seen in all manner of laptops and mobile devices from a range of manufacturers, but he says that "this degree" of thermal throttling is "unacceptable."
This kind of thermal throttling really affects the end user. It doesn't matter what you're using it for, like if you're a Final Cut user, or an Adobe Premiere user, or if you're using it for software development or calculations like fluid dynamics -- it doesn't matter what you're doing with your device. If you have any kind of extended computational work that uses the CPU -- that's probably why you're looking at these devices in the first place -- it's going to throttle. And that's unacceptable to me.
It's not clear if there's something wrong with the MacBook Pro with Core i9 chip that Lee received, because this kind of throttling is likely something Apple would have tested for and not something that other users have reported at this point.

Because this is just one data point, it's not enough information to reach a conclusion about the i9 chip available for the 15-inch MacBook Pro, but additional testing will certainly follow to shed more light on Lee's video. We have asked Apple for comment on Lee's findings, and will update this post if we hear back.

Update: Other reports of excessive i9 throttling have been trickling in from Reddit users who have purchased 15-inch MacBook Pros with the high-end chip. These threads are available here and here.
iFixit on Friday started a teardown on the new 2018 MacBook Pro, discovering a new silicone membrane underneath the keyboard keys, which the site believes is an ingress-proofing measure to prevent the keys from seizing up when exposed to small particulates.


That was by far the most interesting bit of information about the new MacBook Pro models, but iFixit has now finished a teardown of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and has a few other tidbits to share.

Both the new 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models are using higher capacity batteries, with iFixit discovering a larger 58wh, 232.7 gram 6-cell battery in the 13-inch model, up from the 5 cell 196.7 gram battery in the 2017 model. Though the battery is heavier, the MacBook Pro has not changed in weight, nor has battery life changed.

It's not entirely clear where Apple made up for the extra weight, but iFixit says Apple "shaved some mass" from the top case of the device.


The speakers in the new machine are longer and narrower, bumping right up against the logic board, and an internal connector used for diagnostics has been removed.

Apple added a new T2 chip in the 2018 MacBook Pro, which is the same chip first used in the iMac Pro. It houses the Secure Enclave and allows for on-the-fly encryption in addition to consolidating several controllers including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller.


It also enables "Hey Siri" functionality, a feature that wasn't even added to the iMac Pro. While the T2 chip is a new addition, the design of the heat sink system has not changed.

Apple shipped the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a new A1947 power adapter, which iFixit says offers more shielding and impact-resistant foam rubber inside, but with a plastic USB-C port rather than a metal one.


As with prior MacBook Pro models, the RAM, processor, and SSD are soldered down, and the keyboard, battery, and speakers are all one unit, which means none of these components are user replaceable and repairs are difficult. For that reason, iFixit gave the 2018 MacBook Pro a repairability score of 1 out of 10, the same score earned by the 2017 model.

For further details on all of the components in the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, make sure to check out iFixit's full teardown. For additional info on Apple's new 2018 MacBook Pro models, visit our MacBook Pro roundup.
Last month, Apple initiated a Keyboard Service Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro, after determining that a "small percentage" of the keyboards in 2015-2017 MacBook and 2016-2017 MacBook Pro models may experience keys that feel "sticky," repeat, or do not respond in a consistent manner.


Apple did not identify a cause for the issues, which they call "behaviors," but they're believed to be caused by dust and other particulates becoming stuck in the butterfly switch mechanism underneath keycaps.

Apple has been servicing affected keyboards free of charge, with the process involving the replacement of one or more keys, or the whole keyboard. For the MacBook Pro, the replacements are second-generation keyboards -- often the 2017 variant with slightly different markings on the Control and Option keys.

Then, last week, Apple surprised us with new 2018 MacBook Pro models that feature an "improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing." These models are not eligible, at least not now, for Apple's service program.

Apple hasn't directly acknowledged whether the quieter, third-generation keyboards dually address the keyboard issues, but iFixit discovered the 2018 MacBook Pro has a thin, silicone barrier underneath each key, which they believe are intended to prevent the dust and crumbs from getting stuck.

iFixit discovered a thin, silicone layer underneath keys on the 2018 MacBook Pro

For this reason, some customers have been hoping that Apple will start swapping out second-generation keyboards with third-generation keyboards, as part of its service program, but MacRumors has learned that isn't the plan.

When asked if Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be permitted to replace second-generation keyboards on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with the new third-generation keyboards, if necessary, Apple said, no, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro.

Hopefully, in that case, it means that Apple has quietly tweaked the second-generation keyboard to be more reliable. It wouldn't really make sense for Apple to replace keyboards with ones that are just as prone to break again, especially if the third-generation keyboards offer a fix.

One possibility is that the third-generation keyboards aren't backwards compatible with 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models to begin with. The keyboard is actually one part of a larger component called the "top case," which also has a glued-in battery, and the internal design could be tweaked in 2018 models.

To initiate a repair, head to the Contact Apple Support portal, select Mac → Mac notebooks → Hardware Issues → Keyboard not working as expected → Bring in for Repair and book an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. Remember to back up your Mac before any servicing.