Apple Studio Display speaker issues confirmed — here's Apple's suggested fix

Apple Studio Display with MacBook Pro (2019) connected and playing music via Spotify
(Image credit: Future)

If you've noticed your Apple Studio Display is having speaker issues less than a year after you bought it, you're not alone — the problem is widespread, according to an internal Apple memo, and there isn't much of a fix yet beyond "try turning it off, then on again."

The news comes to us courtesy of MacRumors, who claims to have obtained a memo from Apple to its authorized service providers explaining what to do if someone brings an Apple Studio Display in complaining of audio issues. 

Evidently, this problem causes the speakers to produce either garbled sound or no sound at all, according to numerous complaints on Twitter, Apple's official support forum, and other online arenas. It's too bad, too, because in our Apple Studio Display review we gushed over the audio quality of the monitor's six-speaker sound system. 

Sadly, it sounds like some owners haven't been able to enjoy those speakers very much. One complaint on Reddit is more than 3 months old at this point, and the poster claims to have heard from Apple exactly what MacRumors reports: Apple is working on a software fix for the problem, stay tuned.

Of course, we've reached out to Apple directly to confirm whether a fix is in the works, and will update this story if we hear back. 

Here's Apple's solution for Studio Display speaker issues

In the meantime, Apple's memo includes some guidance for what technicians should tell folks whose Studio Displays develop audio issues.

According to MacRumors, Apple advises Studio Display owners to unplug the Display's power cable, disconnect any other devices connected to the Display, wait 10 seconds, then plug the Display back in and see if it works.

Apple Studio Display shown side on

Remember, you can't unplug the power cable from the Studio Display without a special tool -- so make sure to unplug it from the outlet end, not the monitor end! (Image credit: Future)

That's it! Just power-cycle the display and, according to Apple, all your audio trouble should be gone. However, it may not stay gone for long; MacRumors found some frustrated Twitter posts from folks who have had to power-cycle their Studio Display multiple times, as often as every five to six weeks. 

Apple Studio Display outlook

The fact that Apple Studio Display owners are now having to intermittently power-cycle their $1,500-plus monitors in order to keep them operational, less than year after release, is a bad sign. 

Even if it is just a software issue that can be easily patched once Apple releases a fix, it adds to the public perception of the Studio Display as an over-priced product cobbled together from spare parts left over from iPhones and iMacs. It doesn't help that shortly after the monitor's launch, Apple had to apologize for the poor quality of the Studio Display's webcam and issue a patch to fix it. At least the Apple Studio Display firmware update did improve camera quality in a meaningful way. 

Hopefully Apple will quickly release a similar update to fix these speaker issues and save some poor souls from the toil of endlessly unplugging their monitors and plugging them back in again.

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.