Newer Apple machines have a bug that may render your USB 2.0 audio interface unusable, so here’s how you can fix it

It has been widely reported that Apple’s new T2 security chip - found in Macs from 2018 onwards - has a bug that will cause some unwanted glitches for anyone running a USB 2.0 audio interface

The glitch seems to manifest as a dropout in audio playback, and the cause seems to be some conflict with date and time syncing. Some reports state that simply disabling ‘Set date and time automatically’ in System Preferences, won’t fully solve the issue.

There are, however, a few ways around the problem, though not official ones. In fact we’re yet to see an announcement from the Cupertino company on the matter, let alone a proper fix.

So, without further ado, here are a few tips on how you can circumvent the problem:

1. Don’t upgrade

OK, so it might sound a little obvious, but so far the cheapest and least painful course of action is to hold off from upgrading your machine to a 2018 model.

2. Buy a certified Thunderbolt 3 powered hub

This one will cost you quite a bit, but maybe not as much as a new interface (depending on the model). A Thunderbolt 3 powered hub creates an external USB 2.0 bus. [Note: bus-powered and third-party ones won’t work, only a certified TB3 powered hub.]

3. Get a new interface

Another obvious one, but the problem only exists with USB 2.0 interfaces, so if you were thinking of switching to Thunderbolt, or even USB 3.0, perhaps now is the time.

4. Jump ship

So this might be going overboard [sorry], but if you are in dire need of a new computer, then perhaps now is this time to consider picking up a PC-based machine instead?

5. Wait

If you are unlucky enough to own a 2018 machine and experiencing issues, you could always wait for Apple to come up with a solid solution to the problem. Although we don’t know how long that may take and, for some, halting music production activities is not an option.

What is the T2 chip?

Apple made quite a big deal out of the T2 chip when the 2018 generation of Macs was announced. The T2 is the latest generation coprocessor - designed to work alongside the main Intel chipsets - and handles not only the Touch Bar and Touch ID, but also processing for the camera, SSD control and audio control.

As we say, we’re still yet to hear anything official from Apple on the matter but fingers crossed there'll be a statement soon. More news when it lands.

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.

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