It has been reported in some circles that Apple has a serious, unresolved bug that causes issues with all audio performance with external devices across all its latest Macs, thanks to the company’s own software and custom security chip. The only good news: there is a workaround.
Following bug reports online, the impacted machines are all the newest computers – those with Apple’s own T2 security chip:
Mac mini models introduced in 2018
MacBook Air models introduced in 2018
MacBook Pro models introduced in 2018
The T2 in Apple’s words “is Apple’s second-generation, custom silicon for Mac. By redesigning and integrating several controllers found in other Mac computers—such as the System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller—the T2 chip delivers new capabilities to your Mac.”
The problem is, it appears that this new chip has introduced glitches on a wide variety of external audio hardware from across the pro audio industry, thanks to a bug in Apple’s software. When your Mac updates its system clock, dropouts and glitches appear in the audio stream. (Any hardware with a non-default clock source appears to be impacted. It’s a good bet that any popular external audio interface may exhibit the problem.)
However, when it is being much more frequent, it renders some machines pretty much useless for any professional audio work when connected to some interfaces by manufacturers such as:
However, the workaround is fairly easy: switch off “Set date and time automatically” in System Preferences.
Before Windows users start gloating, of course, PCs can have reliability issues of their own. They’re just distributed across a wider range of vendors – which is part of the reason some musicians sought out Apple in the first place.
Anyway, if you do have one of these machines, let’s hope this workaround solves your problem.