My MacBook Pro 2016 isn't working properly! How do I fix these hardware problems?
Last year's MacBook Pro 2016 hardly had the most auspicious launch. On top of folk complaining about everything from USB-C limitations to a paltry 16GB memory ceiling, several hardware issues have come to light since actual end-users got hold of the machines.
Below we take a look at the biggest, strangest and most awkward problems that have been reported with the MacBook Pro 2016, explaining how to tell if you're affected, and what to do if you are.
MacBook Pro 2016 hardware problems: Keyboard not working
Several reviewers have already pointed out that the new MacBook Pro's butterfly mechanism keys are noisy, akin to old-school mechanical keyboards, but users in community forums are reporting issues with keys not working on their fresh-from-the-box 2016 MacBook Pros. Even worse, the fault can be intermittent. Also see: How to fix a Mac
What's causing the fault with MacBook Pro keyboards?
This is likely to be a manufacturing and/or design issue. Still, developers have reported since the release of macOS Sierra that Apple reworked the input subsystem, so there's a small chance it might be a software issue.
How to tell if your MacBook Pro 2016 has a keyboard fault
You'll know immediately if you have this issue because certain keys will either not work at all, or will register twice when you hit then (so tapping P will type PP, for example).
Other users have reported problems including keys feeling 'spongy' rather than 'clicky', and some keys making a high-pitched clicking noise when pressed, as seen in the video below. The problems seem to occur when the MacBooks get hot, but some users have reported having issues at any temperature.
How to fix a MacBook Pro 2016 with a faulty keyboard
Some users report being a little heavy-handed when typing, or even hammering the faulty key many times with your finger, can cure the issues. Alternatively, if this does turn out to be a software issue then a future macOS Sierra update might provide the fix - although you'll obviously have to sit on your hands until then!
Instead of potentially damaging the keyboard even further by heavy-handed typing, or waiting for a software fix that might not materialise, we would advise returning the machine to Apple for a replacement. (Here's how to book an appointment at an Apple Store.)
Read more: Inside the new 2016 MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro 2016 hardware problems: USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 incompatibility issues
The fact that the new 2016 MacBook Pro models feature only USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, and therefore require adapters to connect just about any external hardware, is old news. However, there are reports that not all USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 adapters work correctly with the new 2016 MacBook Pro models.
For example, unauthorised Mac repair guy and YouTube star Louis Rossmann noted in a hands-on review (warning: includes significant bad language!) that some USB-C adapters not only slowed down his 13in non-Touch Bar 2016 MacBook Pro but also appeared to slow or entirely kill the MacBook Pro's Wi-Fi connection. The adapters worked perfectly with a Dell laptop.
Meanwhile, Mac developer Khaos Tian has not only discovered that some third-party Thunderbolt 3 docks don't work with the new 2016 MacBook Pro but even got a response from somebody at Apple implying that non-Apple certified models are unlikely ever to be supported.
How to fix MacBook Pro 2016 USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 incompatibility issues
Buying only Apple's own USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 adapters is the obvious solution. Buying third-party adaptors or docks will probably be cheaper but, as Apple says, only those certified by Apple are guaranteed to work - and there's still relatively few of those.
If you have a Thunderbolt 3 dock that's incompatible then Khaos Tian has detailed a hack that might fix it but it's very technical in nature and not for beginners.
Apple might provide a future update to macOS Sierra to include support for non-compatible USB-C/Thunderbolt hardware but knowing Apple like we do - and coupled to the fact they have their own range of adapters - we wouldn't hold our breath waiting for a fix. To be honest, if you're affected then we reckon it's best to bite the bullet and get new Apple-approved adapters.
Read next: Best USB-C adapters and cables
MacBook Pro 2016 hardware problems: Speakers popping
Shortly after the MacBook Pro got into users' sweaty hands, reports of loud crackling and popping noises through the speakers started to appear on community forums. However, the noises only occur if the user boots into Microsoft Windows using Boot Camp. It does not happen if the user is booted into macOS Sierra.
However, some users even reported that their MacBook Pro speakers were permanently damaged by the noises when Windows was booted, which subsequently meant the speakers no longer worked then they booted back into macOS. The right speaker in particular seems to be affected in this way.
What is causing the problem with MacBook Pro speakers?
It's not yet clear if the crackles and pops are caused by a logic board issue or perhaps just poor audio drivers within Windows. The latter seems the most likely.
How to tell if your MacBook Pro 2016 has a popping speakers fault
You'll know if you're affected by this issue because, obviously, you'll hear the noises described above should you boot into Windows. Interestingly, if you access Windows via virtualisation software like VMware Fusion or Parallels then the issue does not arise.
How to fix MacBook Pro 2016 with popping speakers
It might sound glib, but the best way to avoid this issue is not to use Boot Camp to boot into Windows, at least for the moment! Virtualise instead. However, if you simply have to use Boot Camp then ensure headphones are attached via the 3.5mm audio jack when you do so. This will avoid the MacBook Pro's speakers being used. The crackling/pops will not be heard in the headphones. Notably, users affected by the issue report that simply turning the volume control down has no effect; the loud crackling and pops continue.
Apple will probably update the Boot Camp drivers at some point in the future, which will hopefully provide a fix for this issue. If your MacBook Pro has been damaged by the crackles and pops then there's obviously no other choice than to make a warranty claim with Apple.
Read next: How to install & run Windows on Mac
MacBook Pro 2016 hardware problems: Overcharging via USB-C
This is a report from one individual, so very far from conclusive, and it's also something nobody else is likely to be foolish enough to try: YouTube star EverythingApplePro wondered what would happen if you attached more than one Apple USB-C charger to both a 13-in and 15-in 2016 MacBook Pro.
The spec sheet of the new MacBook Pro models says you can charge the computer from any of its USB-C ports, and while nobody is likely to deliberately attach four separate power adapters, as EverythingApplePro ended up doing, a user might attach their regular USB-C charger while also attaching something like a Thunderbolt 3 monitor containing a USB-C hub that's designed to provide charge to attached devices.
What happened to EverythingApplePro's computers? Both the MacBook Pros made the acknowledgement sound that accompanies a charger being attached, and the menu bar icon changed to indicate charging was happening, but the charging menu said the battery wasn't being charged. Rather worryingly, this state of affairs persisted even after EverythingApplePro dropped back to just a single charger, and even after he then rebooted his 15-in model (he had identical results for both the 13 and 15in models, although the YouTube video doesn't detail him attempting to reboot the 13in model; no, we've no idea how these YouTube stars can afford all this hardware only to then destroy it).
Read next: Tips for better MacBook battery life
How to tell if your MacBook Pro is 'overcharging' or has been overcharged
You'll know if you're affected by this issue because your MacBook Pro won't charge if you have something attached to more than one USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port.
How to fix MacBook Pro 2016 overcharging problems
With the scarcity of information provided by the video it's hard to know what the charging issue actually is, and whether it persisted. Therefore we can only guess at a fix. If the issue happened with us we'd start by resetting the SMC. If the MacBook Pro still refuses to charge then a return to Apple is the only solution.
It's possible this issue could be fixed by Apple in a future firmware upgrade for the 2016 MacBook Pro range. Until then, we advise you to unplug the USB-C charger if attaching any hardware likely to also provide a charge, such as a Thunderbolt 3 dock or a monitor with a built-in hub.
MacBook Pro 2016 hardware problems: Trackpad three-finger drag not working
When Apple introduced multitouch trackpads they also introduced three-finger drag, which is a gesture whereby dragging three fingers across the trackpad had the effect of instantly clicking and then dragging whatever was under the mouse cursor. Drag with three fingers across text, for example, and it would be instantly highlighted.
In more recent releases of macOS/OS X Apple has moved this feature to the Accessibility section of System Preferences, but it still works in the same way - unless you have a new 2016 MacBook Pro, that is. In particular, users report that it only works in the centre of the trackpad, or that it works with some apps but not others.
How to tell if your MacBook Pro 2016 has a faulty trackpad
You'll know if you're affected by this because, assuming you use three-finger drag, it simply won't function reliably.
What's causing the problem with three-finger drag?
macOS includes clever software to detect if the user's palm accidentally touches the trackpad while typing and with the increased size of the trackpad in the new MacBook Pro range there's been speculation the problem might be caused by this palm detection going awry.
How to fix MacBook Pro 2016 trackpad
As with many issues here this will probably be fixed by Apple with either a firmware update, or a future macOS update (or possibly both). Until then, all you can do is either live with the issue, or turn off three-finger drag.