Friday, Jul 23, 2021, 20:36 Mac: Hardware

iMac M1: High Frequency "Squealing" Annoys Customers

On April 20th 2021, Apple presented the first iMac with M1 – and with completely new housing. The new iMac utilized the same processor as the one already present in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13", and the Mac mini. However, customers ended up having to wait until the 20th of May until Apple delivered the first devices. The delivery situation is still tight – orders placed now won't be shipped until at least 2-4 weeks. With such long wait times, it can be quite problematic when the new computer presents flaws or defects. Current reports from some customers indicate that the iMac can begin making a high pitched squealing noise during the completion of some tasks. For some users, this problem begins when the display brightness is increased – for others, only when the CPU or GPU are placed under a heavy load.

The Cause? "Coil Whine"
Such squealing noises during the usage of electronic devices are caused by the high-frequency vibration of electricity flowing to and from components of the device. Users often perceive this noise as a sort of squealing, whirring, or clicking. Nothing can be done on the part of the device owner to remedy "coil whine" – as it's officially termed, however, it's not harmful to the device nor indicative of problems with the device, although it can be very annoying depending on intensity and frequency.



Extent Of Issue Unclear
Thus far, customers have reported the "flaw" in several Apple Discussions and over social media. However, the extent of the issue and the number of users affected is difficult to estimate. However, it's certain that it doesn't affect all iMacs, otherwise there would certainly be far more reports concerning the issue.

What To Do?
If the noises are simply too annoying, customers are recommended to contact Apple Support. A number of users have had success with this approach and had their device swapped out – however, there's no guarantee that the new device won't exhibit the same issue. From a legal perspective, it's unclear as to whether or not "coil whine" constitutes a device "flaw" or defect. Normally, it depends on how the product is advertised.

Coil Whine – A Longstanding Tradition At Apple
The new iMac's coil whine is actually nothing new – coil whine has been an issue with Apple products since 2003's PowerMac G5 – turning off energy-saving mode helped the issue. There were also complaints of coil whine with 2006's first Intel processor MacBook.

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