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State of Linux on the MacBook Pro 2016 & 2017

The following document provides an overview about Linux support for Apple's MacBook Pro 2016 and MacBook Pro 2017 models.

The MacBook Pro 2016 shares surprisingly many components with the Retina MacBook (e.g. keyboard and touchpad controller, Wi-Fi and bluetooth chipsets, ...), so figuring out how things work on one device should benefit both device families.

The Apple MacBook Pro 2017 models are nearly identical to their 2016 counterparts, except for the use of newer Intels Kaby Lake processors instead of Intel Skylake processors, faster memory and updated AMD Radeon GPUs in the 15-inch models.

The checks if hardware works below were done with multiple Linux distributions. To state the obvious: The newer the kernel the better. The information below assume that you run Linux 4.13 or newer. If in doubt which kernel to use, the latest significant improvements are part of Linux 4.16.

If you don't know what the model identifier for your MacBook Pro is (as that identifier is used on several occasions below), check https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201300

Contribution

If you want to contribute to get Linux running smoothly on the MacBook Pro 2016, report all findings how to get devices working as pull requests! All help is appreciated.

There is also a chat available via gitter for discussions: Gitter chat

Current status

Device Status
Audio input & output all models not working
Battery all models working
Bluetooth all models working
FaceTime HD camera all models working
Graphics card (Intel) all models working
Graphics card (AMD) MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,3 working
Keyboard & Touchpad all models working
NVMe (internal SSD) all models working
Screen all models working
Suspend & Hibernation all models not working
System Management Controller all models working
Thunderbolt all models working
Touch Bar MacBookPro13,2 partially working MacBookPro13,3 partially working MacBookPro14,2 partially working MacBookPro14,3 partially working
Touch ID MacBookPro13,2 not working MacBookPro13,3 not working MacBookPro14,2 not working MacBookPro14,3 not working
USB all models working
Wi-Fi MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 not working MacBookPro13,3 not working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 not working MacBookPro14,3 not working

Audio input & output

MacBookPro13,1 not working MacBookPro13,2 not working MacBookPro13,3 not working MacBookPro14,1 not working MacBookPro14,2 not working MacBookPro14,3 not working

Not working, neither the internal speakers/microphone nor the headphone jack.

What's working is audio via HDMI or any USB-connected audio device, so that can act as a workaround until internal audio is working.

See also:

Battery

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Working fine, including the interface to get current capacity, temperature, etc.

Battery life is still suboptimal, because power saving modes for several devices, like display (panel self refresh), SSD or the Thunderbolt controllers, aren't working yet. You can expected a battery life of less than 4 hours.

Bluetooth

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Works out of the box with Linux 4.16 and above, except for the models without Touch Bar, which still suffer from a bug and need an additional patch as noted in https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/29#issuecomment-371370548

Transmitting audio using A2DP is still choppy for unknown reasons, maybe because the Bluetooth support is limited to lower bandwidth applications so far.

For older kernel versions you need to compile a custom kernel with an additional patch set. For details check https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/29

See also:

FaceTime HD camera

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

In the MacBookPro13,1 (without Touch Bar) the FaceTime HD camera is connected via PCIe, like in previous MacBook Pro's. It's working with the bcwc_pcie driver.

The models with Touch Bar have the FaceTime HD camera connected through the iBridge device via USB. They are exposed as regular USB video devices and are supported by the uvcvideo driver out of the box.

Graphics card

Intel

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Graphical output using the Intel GPU is working out of the box on the MacBookPro 13,1 and 13,2, without dedicated AMD GPU. For the MacBookPro 13,3 with dedicated AMD GPU, only the AMD GPU is enabled when booting a OS which isn't macOS, so you have to follow the instructions in the following link to enable the integrated Intel GPU, if you want to use it: https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux/issues/6#issuecomment-286168538

Connecting external displays via USB-C-to-DisplayPort cables works fine, including connections with daisy-chaining/MST. An actual tested and working setup includes concurrent output on the internal display and two external displays daisy-chained together with Full HD each.

AMD

MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Works out of the box.

Keyboard & Touchpad

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Basic keyboard and touchpad functionality is working with the out-of-tree driver developed for the Retina Macbook (https://github.com/cb22/macbook12-spi-driver).

The Esc and function keys are part of the Touch Bar in all Touch Bar-models, so follow the instructions for the Touch Bar to get it working.

Beside the actual keyboard the power button and the lid close event work out of the box.

Palm rejection based on touch-sizes and disable-touchpad-while-typing are working with this patch to libinput (master branch).

See also:

NVMe

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Works out of the box.

The SSDs used in the MacBook Pros don't seem to support APST. As it's currently unknown how power saving works for those SSDs it's likely they consume way more power than they need to, therefore reducing the battery life.

Screen

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Works out of the box.

Adjustable screen brightness only works out of the box for the models without additional AMD Radeon GPU (MacBookPro13,1 and MacBookPro13,2). For the MacBookPro13,3 with additional AMD Radeon GPU the following patch is necessary: https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=105051#c32

There is one odditiy in the EDID data of the 13" models, as it contains a 2800x1800 mode in addition to the correct 2560x1600 mode. In the end that doesn't matter, as Xorg probes and sets the correct resolution of 2560x1600.

Suspend & Hibernation

MacBookPro13,1 not working MacBookPro13,2 not working MacBookPro13,3 not working MacBookPro14,1 not working MacBookPro14,2 not working MacBookPro14,3 not working

Putting the MacBook Pro into suspend mode works, but it doesn't wake up again. @roadrunner2 did some work in this area. You'll find some details about it in https://github.com/cb22/macbook12-spi-driver/pull/30#issuecomment-306316034

System Management Controller

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

The System Management Controller (SMC) is responsible for interactions with sensors and fans.

Fans, temperature and voltage sensors work out of the box using the applesmc kernel module.

The ambient light sensor is working out of the box for the models without Touch Bar, using the applesmc module as well. In models with Touch Bar the ambient light sensor isn't connected to the traditional SMC, but to the iBridge instead. For it to function, you need the third-party apple-ib-als kernel module you can find in the following git repository: https://github.com/roadrunner2/macbook12-spi-driver

An accelerometer isn't available at all.

Thunderbolt

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Works out of the box.

Up to now power management support for the Thunderbolt controllers isn't complete yet, resulting in unnecessary battery drain when no devices are attached to the Thunderbolt ports.

Touch Bar

MacBookPro13,2 partially working MacBookPro13,3 partially working MacBookPro14,2 partially working MacBookPro14,3 partially working

Not working out of the box, but thanks to @roadrunner2 basic functionality is working using the apple-ib-tb kernel module you can find in the following git repository: https://github.com/roadrunner2/macbook12-spi-driver

Missing is as of now just the advanced functionality with custom graphics Apple offers in macOS.

Touch ID

MacBookPro13,2 not working MacBookPro13,3 not working MacBookPro14,2 not working MacBookPro14,3 not working

Not working.

USB

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 working MacBookPro13,3 working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 working MacBookPro14,3 working

Works out of the box.

Wi-Fi

MacBookPro13,1 working MacBookPro13,2 not working MacBookPro13,3 not working MacBookPro14,1 working MacBookPro14,2 not working MacBookPro14,3 not working

The MacBook Pro models without Touch Bar come with a Broadcom Limited BCM4350 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter which works fine out of the box using the brcmfmac driver (ensure you got the matching firmware package installed).

The MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar come with a Broadcom Limited BCM43602 802.11ac Wireless LAN SoC (rev 02) which is also supported by brcmfmac, but has several issues rendering it unusable, caused by the available firmware. The issues are caused by failing country detection and are:

  • Only 2.4Ghz APs are shown
  • Connecting to an AP barely works or fails directly

According to Broadcom releasing a fixed firmware would require verification to ensure that it complies with regulartory limits, which is very unlikely to happen as it wouldn't provide enough return on investment for them (see https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=193121 for details).

Misc

History of improvements per kernel version

4.9

  • Working AMD graphics of the MacBookPro13,3 (which is the only model with both Intel and AMD graphics).

4.10

  • intremap=nosid as kernel boot parameter not necessary anymore, although it's unclear why.

4.11

  • The NVMe controller in the MacBookPro13,1 and MacBookPro13,2 is now working out of the box (the one in the MacBookPro13,3 was already working before). (linux/commit/124298b)
  • When booting with kernel modesetting (KMS) the screen isn't scrambled during boot anymore.

4.13

  • On the Touch Bar models the FaceTime HD camera is working out of the box. (linux/commit/7b848ed)
  • Adds support for the Alpine Ridge 4C Thunderbolt Chip used in the MacBook Pro's (linux/commit/5e2781b)

4.14

4.16

4.20

  • Fixes a garbled screen issue with Intel graphics when using KMS, introduced with Linux 4.18. (linux/commit/d9a5158)
  • Fixes a black screen issue for models with AMD graphics, introduced with Linux 4.18. (linux/commit/07e3a1c)
  • Fixes a GPE storm, which caused unnecessary battery drain. (linux/commit/ca1721c)

iBridge

The models with Touch Bar feature an additional USB device, called iBridge (Bus 001 Device 002: ID 05ac:8600 Apple, Inc.). It's the interface to the embedded T1-chip running iOS and providing access to the ambient light sensor, the FaceTime HD camera, the Touch Bar and Touch ID.

A prerequisite for all devices connected to the iBridge to work is a firmware stored by macOS on the EFI system partition (ESP). For the time being the easiest way to keep this firmware available is to install Linux in addition to macOS and keeping the contents of the original ESP in place.

If the iBridge couldn't be initialized (e.g. because the firmware is missing), instead of the usual USB device, the following USB device is present: Apple Mobile Device [Recovery Mode] (Bus 001 Device 003: ID 05ac:1281 Apple, Inc.)

usb-devices shows that iBridge exposes four interfaces:

T:  Bus=01 Lev=01 Prnt=01 Port=02 Cnt=01 Dev#=  2 Spd=480 MxCh= 0
D:  Ver= 2.00 Cls=ef(misc ) Sub=02 Prot=01 MxPS=64 #Cfgs=  3
P:  Vendor=05ac ProdID=8600 Rev=01.01
S:  Manufacturer=Apple Inc.
S:  Product=iBridge
C:  #Ifs= 4 Cfg#= 1 Atr=e0 MxPwr=0mA
I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 0 Cls=0e(video) Sub=01 Prot=00 Driver=uvcvideo
I:  If#= 1 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=0e(video) Sub=02 Prot=00 Driver=uvcvideo
I:  If#= 2 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=03(HID  ) Sub=01 Prot=01 Driver=usbhid
I:  If#= 3 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=03(HID  ) Sub=00 Prot=01 Driver=usbhid

The two video interfaces could be the FaceTime HD camera and the Touch Bar, while the two HID interfaces could be the Touch Bar and the Touch ID button.

Booting macOS as a VM interestingly leads to the following changed output of usb-devices:

T:  Bus=01 Lev=01 Prnt=01 Port=02 Cnt=01 Dev#=  2 Spd=480 MxCh= 0
D:  Ver= 2.00 Cls=ef(misc ) Sub=02 Prot=01 MxPS=64 #Cfgs=  3
P:  Vendor=05ac ProdID=8600 Rev=01.01
S:  Manufacturer=Apple Inc.
S:  Product=iBridge
C:  #Ifs= 8 Cfg#= 2 Atr=e0 MxPwr=0mA
I:  If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 0 Cls=0e(video) Sub=01 Prot=00 Driver=usbfs
I:  If#= 1 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=0e(video) Sub=02 Prot=00 Driver=usbfs
I:  If#= 2 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=03(HID  ) Sub=00 Prot=01 Driver=usbfs
I:  If#= 3 Alt= 0 #EPs= 2 Cls=10() Sub=00 Prot=00 Driver=usbfs
I:  If#= 4 Alt= 0 #EPs= 0 Cls=02(commc) Sub=0d Prot=00 Driver=usbfs
I:  If#= 5 Alt= 1 #EPs= 2 Cls=0a(data ) Sub=00 Prot=01 Driver=usbfs
I:  If#= 6 Alt= 0 #EPs= 1 Cls=03(HID  ) Sub=00 Prot=01 Driver=usbfs
I:  If#= 7 Alt= 0 #EPs= 2 Cls=ff(vend.) Sub=f9 Prot=11 Driver=usbfs

macOS somehow initializes some additional capabilities of the iBridge. Those additional interfaces are likely responsible for Touch Id and the advanced graphical functionality of the Touch Bar. There might also be some kind of interface for iBridge-firmware updates.

Disable auto-boot

Apple introduced an "auto-boot" feature with the MacBook Pro 2016 causing the notebook to be switched on, whenever the screen lid is opened. By modifying a NVRAM variable this can be (luckily) disabled again.

How to do that from macOS as well as enabling the startup chime again is documented e.g. at http://www.idownloadblog.com/2016/10/31/how-to-stop-the-new-macbook-pro-from-automatically-turning-on-when-the-lid-is-open/

To disable auto boot from within Linux, ensure that efivarfs is mounted and run:

printf "\x07\x00\x00\x00\x00" > /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/AutoBoot-7c436110-ab2a-4bbb-a880-fe41995c9f82

If you get "No space left on device" errors, it's probably because of dump-type0-*-variables written by the Linux kernel taking up all space. Removing them solves the problem:

for i in $(find /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/ -name 'dump-type0*'); do chattr -i $i; rm $i; done

With disabled auto boot the MacBook Pro will show the battery percentage for a brief second as an image on the screen whenever you open the lid or plug in the power cord while the lid is open.

To reenable auto boot again run:

chattr -i /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/AutoBoot-7c436110-ab2a-4bbb-a880-fe41995c9f82
rm /sys/firmware/efi/efivars/AutoBoot-7c436110-ab2a-4bbb-a880-fe41995c9f82

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