Archive of Retina MacBook Pro Rumors

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.
2018 MacBook Pro models feature the biggest yearly CPU performance gains since 2011, according to Geekbench founder John Poole.


Geekbench 4 scores indicate the latest 15-inch models have a 12 to 15 percent increase in single-core performance, while multi-core performance is up 39 to 46 percent, compared to the equivalent 2017 models.

A new 15-inch MacBook Pro with the best-available 2.9GHz six-core Intel Core i9 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, has a multi-core score of 22,439, for example, a 44.3 percent increase versus a 2017 model with a then-best 3.1GHz quad-core Core i7 and Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz.


Likewise, for the latest 13-inch models, Geekbench scores show a 3 to 11 percent increase in single-core performance, and an impressive 81 to 86 percent increase in multi-core performance versus equivalent 2017 models.

A new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the best-available 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz, has a multi-core score of 17,557, for example, an 83.8 percent increase versus a 2017 model with a then-best 3.5GHz dual-core Core i7 and Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz.


Poole attributes the increases in performance to additional cores, higher Turbo Boost frequencies, and the switch to DDR4 memory.

2018 MacBook Pro models feature eighth-generation Intel Core processors, with up to six cores on 15-inch models and up to four cores on 13-inch models, both firsts. The refresh marked the first increase in cores since 2011, when the first quad-core 15-inch MacBook Pro models were released.

Interestingly, as Poole notes, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models are now competitive with 15-inch models from 2017 in both single-core and multi-core performance, essentially making it a smaller replacement.

Poole also notes that these Geekbench scores are preliminary, and likely to rise over the coming weeks, as on brand new machines, macOS completes several setup tasks in the background that can temporarily degrade performance. He says these tasks vary and can take up to several days to be completed.

Apple advertises the new 15-inch MacBook Pro as up to 70 percent faster, and the new 13-inch model as up to two times faster, than the equivalent 2017 models, but Poole told MacRumors that other benchmarks may show different results than Geekbench. Performance in real-world usage will also vary.

Geekbench 4 is a popular cross-platform CPU and GPU benchmark from Primate Labs, with apps available for Mac and iPhone and iPad.
Apple retail stores in the United States have received supplies of the new 2018 MacBook Pro models, which means stock configurations are available for in-store pickup and walk-in purchase as of today.

Both 13 and 15-inch models are available in many Apple retail stores around the country, but not all stores appear to have full stock at this time.


When the MacBook Pro was announced on Thursday, Apple said the new machines would be in retail stores later this week. The first orders placed on Thursday have also started arriving to customers, with Apple shipping some out as early as Friday.

In addition to the United States, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is also available for in-store pickup in the UK, Germany, and France, but retail locations don't yet appear to be stocking the 15-inch model. In-store pickup is not yet available in Canada, Australia, or countries in Asia.

Pricing on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro begins at $1,799 for the entry-level 13-inch model with a 2.3GHz 8th-generation quad-core Core i5 chip, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Pricing for the 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 for a 2.3GHz 6-core 8th-generation Core i7 chip, a Radeon Pro 555X graphics card, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Beyond the two stock 13 and 15-inch models, there are several customization options available for an additional price, with the top of the line 13-inch model priced at $3,699 for a 2.7GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 2TB SSD.

The ultimate 15-inch MacBook Pro is priced at $6,699 for a 2.9GHz Core i9 processor, a Radeon Pro 560X, 32GB RAM, and a 4TB SSD.

Custom configurations are not generally in stock at most Apple retail stores and will need to be custom ordered from Apple's website. Custom orders placed today will arrive in approximately 10 days.
Apple has outlined repair options and parts availability for the new 2018 MacBook Pro in an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers on Friday and obtained by MacRumors.


If a defective 2018 MacBook Pro is taken to an Apple Store, the Genius Bar will be able to mail it to an off-site Apple Repair Center, which will be able to repair minor components beginning in late July, and major components beginning in late September, according to the document, which doesn't specify the minor-major distinction.

Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will only be able to perform limited on-site repairs until service inventory of replacement parts becomes available, as is often the case with a new Apple product:
  • Apple says the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models have a "new" power adapter, with replacements available in late July. The adapter is still 61W, according to Apple's website, and its external design seems to remain the same, so any potential changes may be internal.
  • Keycap kits will be available in mid-August. Hopefully they will be needed less, as iFixit discovered the 2018 MacBook Pro has a thin, silicone barrier underneath each key, which they believe is to prevent dust and other particulates from causing keys to stick, repeat, or function inconsistently. Apple hasn't confirmed that theory, only saying the third-generation keyboards are quieter.
  • Other service parts will be available in late September.
MacRumors received this information from a reliable source, but repair options and service parts availability may vary based on store or repair shop, region, and so forth. These are only guidelines that are subject to change.

To initiate a repair, head to the Contact Apple Support portal, select Mac → Mac notebooks, select the category and type of issue, select Bring in for Repair, and book an appointment with an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider. There are also phone, chat, and email options for troubleshooting.