5 possible culprits for the annoying Studio Display buzzing sound

A high-pitched Studio Display buzzing sound suggests Apple’s external monitor could be over-sensitive to electrical interference.

Apple's Studio Display and Mac Studio are featured sitting on a work desk in this lifestyle photograph
Any audible buzzes emanating from this thing? | Image credit: Iewek Gnos / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Studio Display owners are complaining of a high-pitched buzzing or humming sound emanating from the back of the monitor when it’s on.
  • Why care? Apple’s external display is a bit on the pricey side. You certainly don’t expect annoyances such as a buzzing sound from a $1,599 monitor.
  • What to do? If you’re affected by this issue, go to places like Reddit and Apple’s discussion forums to vent your frustration and share your experience with others.

Possible reasons for the Studio Display buzzing sound

Online reports summarized by MacRumors describe a subtle buzzing or humming sound coming from the back of the monitor when it’s on. The sound apparently intensifies when a Mac notebook is connected to Apple’s external monitor. Analyzing the reports, we’ve distilled the following five possible culprits to the buzzing.

1. The fans

When a MacBook Pro is plugged into the display, the Thunderbolt connection also delivers charging power. As a result, the monitor’s fans start spinning to keep the internal power unit cool, which may produce a high-pitched buzzing sound. This happens regardless of the notebook’s battery charging status.

Putting the notebook to sleep or shutting it down won’t make the buzzing sound go away. The fans only stop when you unplug the notebook from the display. If you have a Thunderbolt dock, try using it to charge your MacBook while the Studio Display is connected to the dock. Read: How to manage macOS external display settings

2. Software problems

We read suggestions that updating your Mac to macOS 12.3 may fix problems with the MacBook Pro and any connected external displays. This is probably tied to the fact that macOS Monterey 12.3 is required to update the Studio Display.

This certainly isn’t the first problem with the Studio display that owners have had to contend with. Early adopters, for example, were hit with several teething issues related to the web camera and intermittent speaker problems.

Apple soon after addressed both issues in software. You should bookmark a handy support document on Apple’s website, which provides a list of changes for the Studio Display firmware updates. Read: How to update your Studio Display

3. Faulty units

Though it seems very unlikely, there’s a distant possibility that all those people who are complaining of the buzzing problem might actually own a faulty unit. If you think you might be in the same boat, contact Apple’s support department and see what its specialists have to say about the buzzing sound problem.

If you recently purchased your display, you could try to have it replaced although people who did that say it’s still buzzing.

Another suggestion would be to send feedback at apple.com/feedback requesting that the fans only be switched on when the internals get hot.

4. The coil whine

Some people swear they hear the humming sound coming from the display’s left side, where the internal power unit is located. This suggests that a high-pitched electrical whine could be caused by the coil whine.

5. Good ol’ electrical interference

Some of the people reporting this problem might have positioned their monitor too close to another device which may be causing electrical interference. That could easily explain the buzzing. Your monitor could be picking up interference from home power circuits, light dimmers, air conditioners, electric car chargers, etc.

A band-aid solution would require connecting the very device that’s causing a Studio Display to produce an audible buzz on a different circuit.

Electrical power filters don’t seem to fix the problem. If it can be established that the Studio Display is picking up electrical interference and amplifying it, then the monitor most likely suffers from an electrical shielding issue.

Your experience with the Studio Display

We’re eager to hear from Studio Display owners who have experienced the buzzing sound or other problems with their $1,599 monitor.

Apple is apparently aware of the buzzing problem but did not say at the time of writing whether it might fix the issue in software. If you’ve come up with your own temporary fix for this problem, sound off in the commenting section down below!