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MacBook Pro delays could be due to COVID lockdown and factory riots

The MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch)
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

New MacBook Pro orders could take up to two months to arrive, with some users having to wait until mid-July to receive their new laptops, due to a nasty mix of a COVID lockdown and reported employee protests at the factories that build them.

Reporting by United News Network and DigiTimes (via Tom's Hardware) claim that coronavirus lockdown orders in China, and negative employee reaction to conditions resulting from them, have been causing production delays at Quanta Computer. Qanta is thought to be the exclusive builder of MacBook Pros, and operates eight factories with a total of 40,000 employees in Shanghai.

Because China's coronavirus lockdowns are much stricter than ones in the U.S. or U.K., manufacturers have seen disruptions since the end of March, with Qanta undergoing a full week-long closure in mid-April. 

Qanta says it was back to 5% capacity after this closure ended, and company vice chairman CC Leung claims it's now working at 30% of its full output, with the intention to scale up to 50%. However, the lockdown is still in effect, and is impacting component suppliers, too, particularly for plastic parts. This will have a knock-on effect on Qanta's assembly operations and others, although Apple is trying to work around this issue by moving some parts to its production partners by air rather than by the usual sea-based shipping methods.

As we reported last month, shoppers were already having trouble buying the latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, particularly if they wanted to order a non-standard version (such as with extra RAM, storage or an M1 Max chip). Now it seems very likely this will continue, or possibly get worse.

Apple is aware of the overall problem with Mac supplies, as it mentioned it during a recent investor call. The company said that it predicted these supply troubles could last until at least June, which is a realistic acknowledgment of a tricky situation but will be cold comfort to anyone waiting on a new MacBook or a Mac Studio.

 How to check your MacBook Pro order

If you want to see whereabouts your MacBook Pro is up to, you can do so by opening the Apple Store and logging in with your Apple ID, or by entering your email address and order number from your confirmation email. We hope that your new MacBook isn't going to take quite so long to arrive as these estimates are saying.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.