Edward Lai Harner, Edward Harner
Andrea Harner
andreaharnerblog AT gmail
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December 14, 2006

Do you also have MacBook static noise problems??

Updated update: This problem can't be fixed because I'm on my second new laptop with the same problem and other people have the same issue. I think it's clearly a manufacturing defect.

Update: Jason heard the noise - I'm not crazy in case you thought I was!


I recently purchased a cute little black MacBook. It was great except for one thing: the static noise that invariably sounded every time I opened the laptop and woke it from sleep. A second or two after opening it I could hear a static sound and then another static sound and that's it. It wasn't the most annoying thing in the world but considering how much laptops cost it was worth trying to fix the problem. But first, I had to make sure someone other than me and Jonah heard it (you never know, he could just be humoring his high-strung wife) so I had my IT friend Jorge listen for the noise and thank god he heard it. Being the no-nonsense guy that he is (that's why we're friends - that and our love of Bette Davis movies) he suggested I take the laptop to the "Genius" Bar and since I had just gotten it it was likely they'd give me a new one. The next day I showed up for my appointment at the "Genius" Bar and the guy took the laptop away from the crowd assuring me he would go to a very quiet room to listen for the problem. Of course he heard nothing. After a few more unsuccessful auditory tries and a checking of the hard drive which turned out to be ok, I left with my tail and MacBook between my legs.

Ok but that couldn't be the ending. A few days went by and I was pissed. I have to get the "geniuses" on my side! I made another appointment and trekked back there determined to make this work. I insisted that I accompany the guy to the quietest room available and we entered a top-secret back room with two guys working hard (on a new purple MacBook which comes with an operating system called Mac Paisley Park and it's main feature is that all your operations and commands are narrated by Prince's voice - sorry, I digress and fantasize). We all became intently quiet as I opened my laptop and thank god they all heard it. My genius led me back to the bar and ran the disk to check the hard drive (again) to make sure everything was working properly and of course it was. The genius/guy with working ears who was a little stand-offish in the beginning was now interested in the freshmen chicks he was simultaneously helping so he flexed his authority muscle (yay! flex! flex!) and got me a new laptop. After a few hours of transferring all my files onto this new laptop, I was good to go! Thank you Apple, thank you! And I don't mean you, Apple Martin.

I came home, opened my brand brand new laptop and...static, static. SAME STATIC NOISES.

Geniuses! I give up!!! I can't take it anymore! I'm tired from oscillating between hating Apple, loving Apple, hating Apple....I've been taken for a ride. I'm just tired. I want a laptop without defects. Is that possible? Genius? Genius?? Genius???


Andrea, I think that's just the CD/DVD-ROM drive, yeah? Or the hard drive. I've pretty sure mine makes the same noise...my old Powerbook did too.

Posted by: jkottke at December 14, 2006 10:44 AM

my 'windows' sony SZ is silent as the grave...

Posted by: kuzo machita at December 14, 2006 12:12 PM

Try downloading and running this:


Also see if the problem persists when inserting a DVD.

Posted by: Agulator at December 14, 2006 3:34 PM

Static noises? Like crackling? Or more like a whine?

Posted by: Agulator at December 14, 2006 3:36 PM

The sound is definitely a crackle and it sounds after the usual sounds of everything waking up. It's like 2-3 full seconds after that that the crackle comes in.


Posted by: Andrea at December 14, 2006 3:53 PM

Does it happen if the power supply ISN'T plugged in?

Is the serial number of your new macbook above 4H624?

Posted by: Agulator at December 14, 2006 5:19 PM

Prince to headline the super bowl halftime show.

as an avid reader of your blog, i know of your love for the man, so i thought i'd share the info.

Posted by: lk at December 14, 2006 6:57 PM

Hi Andrea, I have a powerbook and mine does the exact same thing when it wakes up. I thought it was just me hearing things though..

Posted by: Jody at December 14, 2006 10:51 PM


I don't hear any crackling noises on my MacBook because I do not have one. I want one so much and I've been trying to get my students to hand over one of theirs but no one has taken me up on that --- seems that everyone has one but me.

I am jealous of all of your noises.

Posted by: MnL at December 15, 2006 2:33 AM


I don't hear any crackling noises on my MacBook because I do not have one. I want one so much and I've been trying to get my students to hand over one of theirs but no one has taken me up on that --- seems that everyone has one but me.

I am jealous of all of your noises.

Posted by: MnL at December 15, 2006 2:33 AM

Also, Apple may not have given you a 'new' MacBook, it might have been a reconditioned / refurbished one. Can you either post or send the serial numbers to your current/old machine?

Posted by: Agulator at December 15, 2006 1:03 PM

I heard this on my MacBook Pro, and complained, and they gave me a new one. It's a known issue.

Posted by: David Jacobs at December 15, 2006 7:53 PM

I got a black MacBook four weeks ago and it's 'crackle crackle' just like you. Can't wait for my new one?

Posted by: Christie at December 17, 2006 12:35 AM

Did you ever get this fixed?

Posted by: Agulator at December 20, 2006 10:31 AM

Apple is overpriced boutique, dude. I use both platforms, but prefer my quiet Dell w/XP, which has run for two years and counting without a hitch (no viruses, no overhauls).

Meanwhile my brand new iMac Intel has the spinning rainbow disc of doom at least once a day and iTunes is a bloated proprietary piece of doo doo.

But, hey, I just discovered you can make funny faces with Mac's "Photo Booth" so all is good.

Posted by: angelo at December 21, 2006 1:29 PM

try sound control options(LINE IN or WAVE) in your soundcard software,it may help~

Posted by: Alex Yang at December 23, 2006 2:28 AM

I just got a black Macbook and same static crackle crackle. Only when mine crackles, everything stops. It's like the computer is having a little seizure. It runs for a while and then eventually freezes. If many computers have this defect, what are our options?

Posted by: Shannon at December 25, 2006 12:57 PM

i'm entering college in august, and i'm strongly considering getting a macbook.
should i be worried about this noise?
does it effect the computer so much that some programs don't run correctly, or does it just make noise?

Posted by: Ashley at December 28, 2006 4:14 PM

I am having this "static" problem now (MacBook), and it is driving me nuts. It happens randomly and regardless of power source or presence of CD/DVD. The "mute" button does not take care of the problem. The fellow I spoke with at Apple said he had never heard of such a problem before and advised I run the diagnostic on the Install Disk (which is currently crossing the Atlantic along with my belongings). I ordered another install disk, will run the diagnostic, and will get back to you as to what happens.

Posted by: Stef at January 4, 2007 10:55 AM

MBP 17" core duo, not the core2duo, but brand new. At first I thought the audio sources were crap, but now it is clear that this sytem has a problem.
When I play a clip in itunes, the crackle starts, low volume is particularly bad. I changed to line in with no relief. Power supply disconnected has no effect on eliminating crackle/static.

This all happens with no media in drive. Any audio played seems to trigger static. Sometimes it persists and sometimes it stops. Extremely annoying and frustrating.

Posted by: Anita at January 8, 2007 2:43 PM

I just got a new MacBook and the sound doesn't work at all!! If I want it to work I have to plug it in to an out source. It makes me so mad, I've been going without complete meals because I spent so much on the damn thing....

Posted by: Jewell at January 8, 2007 9:46 PM

My new black MacBook does the same thing. Every time I open it from sleep, it has static. Twice. I looked it up on google and came up with your website. No explanaiton yet?

Posted by: carolyn at January 11, 2007 3:17 PM

Hi Andrea!! Im from Argentina and my macbook does the same thing!!!every time too!!but I love it, its just is so hard to change!!in our minds we still have maybe Pc's?

Posted by: Paulette. at January 11, 2007 7:26 PM

This problem definitely exists - I just observed it in a brand new MacBook Core 2 Duo without a CD/DVD in the drive and without power being connected. It sounds either like some electrical component or possibly the speaker and it emanates from the grille at the back around where the F9 key is. I've recorded it with another MacBook using Audacity and the file is:


This file is also linked from my name.

Posted by: Sam J at January 17, 2007 4:10 PM

I have it too - definitely comes from the left-hand speaker as you look at the screen. It disappeared after a restart and hasn't come back.

Noticed it only happened when I woke from sleep by opening the lid, it doesn't happen if I sleep by using the menu and then wake it with a key press.

It's very odd, I'll say that.

Posted by: Mike at January 21, 2007 6:11 PM
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