Reported 2016 MacBook Pro graphics issues likely caused by third-party software [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2016
An undetermined number of 2016 MacBook Pro models are suffering from disturbing graphical rendering issues, with owners reporting full screen artifacts, screen tearing, flashing, random "glitches" and even system crashes. The issue, however, is related to overzealous third-party software and is not indicative of a critical hardware flaw.


Screen distortion on a 2016 13" MacBook Pro without Touch Bar. | Source: Apple Support Communities member JPL007


Reports of graphics related issues first surfaced shortly after the new MacBook Pro lineup arrived in customers' hands last month and have only increased in recent days. Apple's Support Communities website, for example, contains multiple posts (1, 2, 3, 4) from concerned owners of both 13- and 15-inch 2016 MacBook Pro variants.

Initial reports were unable to pin down a root cause of the errors, but sources familiar with matter informed AppleInsider that overaggressive or otherwise sloppy code distributed in third-party software is to blame. That said, a small number of users report seeing similar problems with Apple's own Photos app.

In a serious case chronicled by a MacRumors forum member Jan Becker, a new 15-inch MacBook Pro configured with an optional AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU encountered trouble and ultimately crashed while transcoding video in Adobe Premiere Pro. Becker consequently took the machine into an Apple store for replacement.

The incident did not go unnoticed by Apple. Becker said he received a call from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where a team of engineers asked him to help replicate the glitch over the phone and requested access to the affected laptop for further investigation.

Circumstantial evidence suggests 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models equipped with the Radeon Pro 460 are most impacted by offending software, which makes sense considering Apple's top-end machines are commonly used for computationally intensive video and image editing tasks. Identical reports of graphical maladies are cropping up from owners of 15-inch MacBook Pro models running standard AMD Radeon Pro 450 and AMD Radeon Pro 455 GPUs.

Perhaps most telling are similar issues seen in 13-inch MacBook Pro models, both with and without Touch Bar. Since the 13-inch variants rely on a different graphics processing system than their larger siblings, specifically Intel's integrated Iris graphics chips, the problem can likely chalked up to faulty software.

Update: Apple has informed us that users experiencing the graphical distortions elsewhere than un-updated software should contact Apple support or make a Genius Bar appointment for case documentation.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    mobiusmobius Posts: 373member
    Other reports claim it may be related to File Vault 2. Couple that with your own mention of the Photos app, I'm not sure there's a strong enough case to be made (yet) to say it's "likely third party software" at fault.

    It does seem troubling that such an issue could strike these new models so soon after release, and especially after similar graphics problems had impacted some MBP 2011-13 models.

    One wonders just how much emphasis goes on Q and A these days. Perhaps they need to spend a bit more time and money on that. Otherwise it's going to cause damage to Apple's reputation at a time when patience is already wearing thin with many pro users.
    jdwirelandelijahgwigginavon b7dysamoriabaconstangasdasdduervo
  • Reply 2 of 71
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,735member
    mobius said:
    Other reports claim it may be related to File Vault 2. Couple that with your own mention of the Photos app, I'm not sure there's a strong enough case to be made (yet) to say it's "likely third party software" at fault.

    It does seem troubling that such an issue could strike these new models so soon after release, and especially after similar graphics problems had impacted some MBP 2011-13 models.

    One wonders just how much emphasis goes on Q and A these days. Perhaps they need to spend a bit more time and money on that. Otherwise it's going to cause damage to Apple's reputation at a time when patience is already wearing thin with many pro users.



    "In a serious case chronicled by a MacRumorsforum member Jan Becker, a new 15-inch MacBook Pro configured with an optional AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU encountered trouble and ultimately crashed while transcoding video in Adobe Premiere Pro. Becker consequently took the machine into an Apple store for replacement."

    "The incident did not go unnoticed by Apple. Becker said he received a call from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where a team of engineers asked him to help replicate the glitch over the phone and requested access to the affected laptop for further investigation."


    ^^^

    All part of that "Q and A" you thought smart to bring up. 

    Apple's is from cradle to grave. Good on them. 



    sphericjas99macxpressindyfxstantheman
  • Reply 3 of 71
    mobius said:
    Other reports claim it may be related to File Vault 2. Couple that with your own mention of the Photos app, I'm not sure there's a strong enough case to be made (yet) to say it's "likely third party software" at fault.

    It does seem troubling that such an issue could strike these new models so soon after release, and especially after similar graphics problems had impacted some MBP 2011-13 models.

    One wonders just how much emphasis goes on Q and A these days. Perhaps they need to spend a bit more time and money on that. Otherwise it's going to cause damage to Apple's reputation at a time when patience is already wearing thin with many pro users.
    The GPU issues in the older MBP's were of an entirely different category. There are three different styles of GPU involved here as well, AMD's Radeons, Intel's Iris with eDRAM, and Intel HD Graphics. Blaming this on hardware is more than a stretch. 
    irelandneo-techjas99indyfx
  • Reply 4 of 71
    jdwjdw Posts: 586member
    Third Party = Apple Photos?

    Badly written code = Apple Photos?

    Did the article author comprehend the implications of his own writing?

    Look, I've got a fully loaded 2016 MBP 15" on order with Adorama, scheduled to ship around Dec. 6th, and I will admit I am worried.  Any app could be vulnerable in light of Apple photos being affected.  It would be nice if Apple can fix it in software, but it's clearly a hardware issue insofar as the 2015 MBP does NOT have the same issue when running the same software and OS.  What's different between the 2015 and 2016 models?  The hardware!

    Another thing that worries me about Apple is their understanding of how to deal with video issues.  My 27" 2009 iMac i7 developed video issues just after the AppleCare expired.  An email to Tim Cook got the machine fixed for free, but only after they replaced the video card twice.  And then several months ago the same video problems started again, which means this "fixed" video card is toast. (Video artifacts appear and it will freeze and sometimes not boot for a long time.  It seems to go longer without artifacts and freezing if I never put it to sleep and keep it warm or even hot all the time.  It's strange, sad and troubling.  Yet I'm a Mac lover for life.  What to do.)


    mobiusdysamoriabaconstangduervo
  • Reply 5 of 71
    mobiusmobius Posts: 373member
    mobius said:
    Other reports claim it may be related to File Vault 2. Couple that with your own mention of the Photos app, I'm not sure there's a strong enough case to be made (yet) to say it's "likely third party software" at fault.

    It does seem troubling that such an issue could strike these new models so soon after release, and especially after similar graphics problems had impacted some MBP 2011-13 models.

    One wonders just how much emphasis goes on Q and A these days. Perhaps they need to spend a bit more time and money on that. Otherwise it's going to cause damage to Apple's reputation at a time when patience is already wearing thin with many pro users.



    "In a serious case chronicled by a MacRumorsforum member Jan Becker, a new 15-inch MacBook Pro configured with an optional AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU encountered trouble and ultimately crashed while transcoding video in Adobe Premiere Pro. Becker consequently took the machine into an Apple store for replacement."

    "The incident did not go unnoticed by Apple. Becker said he received a call from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where a team of engineers asked him to help replicate the glitch over the phone and requested access to the affected laptop for further investigation."


    ^^^

    All part of that "Q and A" you thought smart to bring up. 

    Apple's is from cradle to grave. Good on them. 


    After the fact.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 71
    Wondering about dropped laptops...
    jas99
  • Reply 7 of 71
    Anytime I have seen artifacts and stuff like that it was the card overheating.  Badly written software makes no sense to me, maybe video drivers.  Overheating or hardware seems more logical to me.
    edited December 2016 avon b7dysamoriaasdasdduervo
  • Reply 8 of 71
    cashxx said:
    Anytime I have seen artifacts and stuff like that it was the card overheating.  Badly written software makes no sense to me, maybe video drivers.  Overheating or hardware seems more logical to me.
    Faulty kernel extensions can cause such things, especially if the user has disabled Gatekeeper. 
    jas991stbaconstanghmmindyfx
  • Reply 9 of 71
    irelandireland Posts: 17,095member
    I fail to see how your story provides evidence that problem can be chalked up to faulty third party software.
    dysamoriaktappeasdasdduervo
  • Reply 10 of 71
    irelandireland Posts: 17,095member
    jdw said:
    Third Party = Apple Photos?

    Badly written code = Apple Photos?

    Did the article author comprehend the implications of his own writing?

    Look, I've got a fully loaded 2016 MBP 15" on order with Adorama, scheduled to ship around Dec. 6th, and I will admit I am worried.  Any app could be vulnerable in light of Apple photos being affected.  It would be nice if Apple can fix it in software, but it's clearly a hardware issue insofar as the 2015 MBP does NOT have the same issue when running the same software and OS.  What's different between the 2015 and 2016 models?  The hardware!

    Another thing that worries me about Apple is their understanding of how to deal with video issues.  My 27" 2009 iMac i7 developed video issues just after the AppleCare expired.  An email to Tim Cook got the machine fixed for free, but only after they replaced the video card twice.  And then several months ago the same video problems started again, which means this "fixed" video card is toast. (Video artifacts appear and it will freeze and sometimes not boot for a long time.  It seems to go longer without artifacts and freezing if I never put it to sleep and keep it warm or even hot all the time.  It's strange, sad and troubling.  Yet I'm a Mac lover for life.  What to do.)
    That doesn't mean it's a hardware issue. The are new machines and require special firmware for those machines. That it affects models with different graphics hardware suggests it may not be the hardware.
    jas99avon b7
  • Reply 11 of 71
    jdwjdw Posts: 586member
    ireland said:
    That doesn't mean it's a hardware issue. The are new machines and require special firmware for those machines. That it affects models with different graphics hardware suggests it may not be the hardware.
    It is the hardware insofar as the software and hardware work together to produce images on the display, and the article shows that the images in question present themselves as screen artifacts.  Now, whether it is a hardware flaw such as bad soldering, broken PCB traces, or even a bad cooling system that results in the GPU overheating is a matter that none of us know.  It may not be that.  But the fact remains that the software (call it firmware or apps, whatever), in combination with this new hardware is resulting in on screen artifacts not present in the 2015 MacBook Pro running the same OS and apps, albeit with different firmware.  So if this issue is indeed in the firmware, then I would expect to see Apple release a firmware fix rather than an OS fix.  Regardless, it is extremely unfortunate that Apple did not discover this issue prior to formally releasing the machine.  I guess they don't test Adobe apps or Apple photos prior to releasing new Macs -- apps that apparently trigger this problem.
    edited December 2016 dysamoriabaconstang
  • Reply 12 of 71
    mobius said:
    mobius said:
    Other reports claim it may be related to File Vault 2. Couple that with your own mention of the Photos app, I'm not sure there's a strong enough case to be made (yet) to say it's "likely third party software" at fault.

    It does seem troubling that such an issue could strike these new models so soon after release, and especially after similar graphics problems had impacted some MBP 2011-13 models.

    One wonders just how much emphasis goes on Q and A these days. Perhaps they need to spend a bit more time and money on that. Otherwise it's going to cause damage to Apple's reputation at a time when patience is already wearing thin with many pro users.



    "In a serious case chronicled by a MacRumorsforum member Jan Becker, a new 15-inch MacBook Pro configured with an optional AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU encountered trouble and ultimately crashed while transcoding video in Adobe Premiere Pro. Becker consequently took the machine into an Apple store for replacement."

    "The incident did not go unnoticed by Apple. Becker said he received a call from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where a team of engineers asked him to help replicate the glitch over the phone and requested access to the affected laptop for further investigation."


    ^^^

    All part of that "Q and A" you thought smart to bring up. 

    Apple's is from cradle to grave. Good on them. 


    After the fact.

    "After the fact" is just as critical. 

    Bad batches, manufacturing snafus, and whatever else of that nature are part of the realities of tech manufacture. Apple has never...  never ever ever been immune to this. Even under Jobs. Apple on average might have far fewer issues (and you bet when they DO have an issue it'll be reported and talked to death, unlike for the also-rans of the industry that don't actually matter), but when they do, THEN when happens? How does Apple generally react when they've already got your money?

    I can offer both general, reported evidence that is available to everyone, and I can also offer my anecdotal experiences. As to the latter... Every time (and the times have been twice since 2006 - once for an iPhone swap because I broke mine, and once for another iPhone that had a defective, bulging battery out of warranty), I was made to feel like I was their only customer. They were so interested in my satisfaction that THEY were calling ME to make sure I was happy.

    Cradle to grave.  

    jas99baconstangwatto_cobraindyfx
  • Reply 13 of 71
    jdw said:
    Look, I've got a fully loaded 2016 MBP 15" on order with Adorama, scheduled to ship around Dec. 6th, and I will admit I am worried.  Any app could be vulnerable in light of Apple photos being affected.  It would be nice if Apple can fix it in software, but it's clearly a hardware issue insofar as the 2015 MBP does NOT have the same issue when running the same software and OS.  What's different between the 2015 and 2016 models?  The hardware!
    Do you understand that there is hardware dependent software, like drivers? A 2015 MPB will not run the drivers for the 2016 MPB graphics hardware. Whether the problem is an application's improper use of the driver or an error in the driver itself, that's a software problem.
    jas991stbaconstanghmmindyfx
  • Reply 14 of 71
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,258member
    Even if the issue was related to 3rd party software, shouldn't the OS protect against that? It's not like the OS allows software direct access to the hardware. I thought Macs abstracted such direct hardware access (short of the user bypassing those OS protections).
    avon b7dysamoriafreethinking
  • Reply 15 of 71
    This is utter BS!
    I have a new MBP 2016 15" with Radeon 460 and get the glitches anywhere on the screen when running Windows 10 in Bootxamp.
    The last time it glitch was in Outlook 2016 in Windows, corrupting the whole area of my inbox.
  • Reply 16 of 71
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,447member
    I'm wondering if this is an issue with Sierra and code with the cards switching from discrete to integrated and back. Apple does have some track record of trouble here and the issues seem to pop up from time to time. I know Photos makes use of this ability as does FCP, iMovie, etc.
  • Reply 17 of 71
    mobius said:
    Other reports claim it may be related to File Vault 2. Couple that with your own mention of the Photos app, I'm not sure there's a strong enough case to be made (yet) to say it's "likely third party software" at fault.

    It does seem troubling that such an issue could strike these new models so soon after release, and especially after similar graphics problems had impacted some MBP 2011-13 models.

    One wonders just how much emphasis goes on Q and A these days. Perhaps they need to spend a bit more time and money on that. Otherwise it's going to cause damage to Apple's reputation at a time when patience is already wearing thin with many pro users.



    "In a serious case chronicled by a MacRumorsforum member Jan Becker, a new 15-inch MacBook Pro configured with an optional AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU encountered trouble and ultimately crashed while transcoding video in Adobe Premiere Pro. Becker consequently took the machine into an Apple store for replacement."

    "The incident did not go unnoticed by Apple. Becker said he received a call from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where a team of engineers asked him to help replicate the glitch over the phone and requested access to the affected laptop for further investigation."


    ^^^

    All part of that "Q and A" you thought smart to bring up. 

    Apple's is from cradle to grave. Good on them. 


    Yes, except if the patient is dead for 4 years it's probably a little late to consider revival. Many MBP's produced in 2011 had graphics problems related to hardware failure. It took Apple 4 years to offer a solution. Do you think the people who owned these defective units simply suspended their use of a laptop during this time? Or do you think they paid out of pocket for a repair? Or, and this is the one that really hurts, do you think they purchased another laptop?

    If they chose solution one, they simply lost time. Which is money if you're a professional using the MBP to accomplish work. You, at best, waited a week or so for your MBP to be repaired and returned.

    If you were on a project where you were time constrained and needed, as many do, to be up and running ASAP you probably backed up your material and went to the Apple store and purchased another MBP. Money that won't be returned now or ever.

    Four years later Apple offers to fix your broken MBP. Are you smiling and thinking 'cradle to grave'.  Or are thinking,  "Who cares I couldn't wait four weeks much less 4 years so I replaced/repaired on my own.  The lack of timeliness in your solution makes it barely qualify as a solution?" Hmm?

    All part of the 'cradle to grave' you thought smart to bring up. 

    If they would fix it if the customer paid, why did it take them 4 years to offer to fix it at their expense?

    dysamoriaduervo
  • Reply 18 of 71
    Hi, 

    2016 13" MBP, only this kinda  problem with safe mode, anyone else?
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 19 of 71
    My 2010 15" MBP intermittently had this problem for years. I had to live with it like that until finally the motherboard needed to be replaced. I was having constant kernel panics related to the same graphics issue.  It was a little known issue that even Genius Bar employees did not know about. I found it hidden in apple support pages, which was fortunate because the cost to repair was free instead of the ~$400 it would have been. Soon after mine was repaired, they took the article off their website and that was that.

     I need a new laptop but I don't trust these new MBPs yet. What is it with Apple and graphics issues?? Why can't they ever seem to get it right when it comes to the gpu? 
    dysamoriajdw
  • Reply 20 of 71
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,504member
    chasm22 said:
    mobius said:
    Other reports claim it may be related to File Vault 2. Couple that with your own mention of the Photos app, I'm not sure there's a strong enough case to be made (yet) to say it's "likely third party software" at fault.

    It does seem troubling that such an issue could strike these new models so soon after release, and especially after similar graphics problems had impacted some MBP 2011-13 models.

    One wonders just how much emphasis goes on Q and A these days. Perhaps they need to spend a bit more time and money on that. Otherwise it's going to cause damage to Apple's reputation at a time when patience is already wearing thin with many pro users.



    "In a serious case chronicled by a MacRumorsforum member Jan Becker, a new 15-inch MacBook Pro configured with an optional AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU encountered trouble and ultimately crashed while transcoding video in Adobe Premiere Pro. Becker consequently took the machine into an Apple store for replacement."

    "The incident did not go unnoticed by Apple. Becker said he received a call from the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., where a team of engineers asked him to help replicate the glitch over the phone and requested access to the affected laptop for further investigation."


    ^^^

    All part of that "Q and A" you thought smart to bring up. 

    Apple's is from cradle to grave. Good on them. 


    Yes, except if the patient is dead for 4 years it's probably a little late to consider revival. Many MBP's produced in 2011 had graphics problems related to hardware failure. It took Apple 4 years to offer a solution. Do you think the people who owned these defective units simply suspended their use of a laptop during this time? Or do you think they paid out of pocket for a repair? Or, and this is the one that really hurts, do you think they purchased another laptop?

    If they chose solution one, they simply lost time. Which is money if you're a professional using the MBP to accomplish work. You, at best, waited a week or so for your MBP to be repaired and returned.

    If you were on a project where you were time constrained and needed, as many do, to be up and running ASAP you probably backed up your material and went to the Apple store and purchased another MBP. Money that won't be returned now or ever.

    Four years later Apple offers to fix your broken MBP. Are you smiling and thinking 'cradle to grave'.  Or are thinking,  "Who cares I couldn't wait four weeks much less 4 years so I replaced/repaired on my own.  The lack of timeliness in your solution makes it barely qualify as a solution?" Hmm?

    All part of the 'cradle to grave' you thought smart to bring up. 

    If they would fix it if the customer paid, why did it take them 4 years to offer to fix it at their expense?

    FWIW, Apple reimbursed those who'd paid for repairs out of pocket. 

    Later. 
    edited December 2016 indyfx
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