10 Replies Latest reply: Jun 25, 2013 11:38 AM by Ron Frankel
m la rose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I've had my 2011 13" MacBook Pro for just under a year.  I've used about 70 GB / 320 on the HD, and I don't use any memory hogging software or games.  Basically, I use my laptop to browse the web and do work-related assignements.  That's it.


About a week ago I was watching a video on YouTube and my MacBook froze up.  The 'beach ball of death' started spinning, and there was a chirping / squeaking noise coming from the right side of the keyboard... it sounded like the optic disc drive was trying to read something, but there was no disc in the drive and all I was doing was watching YouTube.  The computer was completley frozen and, disturbed by the noise, I opted for a manual restart.  All was fine after the restart, but tonight the same thing happened again!


I can't figure out what could be wrong with my laptop, because it gets so little usage.  Any ideas or suggestions?

MacBook Pro (13-inch Early 2011), Mac OS X (10.7.3)
  • 1. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,470 points)

    If it were only the chirping noise, I'd vote for a bad fan. But since the system froze up, this may mean the hard disk drive is failing. And given it is an early 2011 model, this means the 1-year base warranty is soon coming to an end (if you are in an EU country, this may not apply).


    First off, start up Disk Utility, found in the Utilities folder. On the left column of its window, select the HDD by clicking on it. It is labeled XXX GB Apple HDD blablabla...  On the bottom of the window you will see information about it. What you want to look for is the S.M.A.R.T. Status. If it says anything different from Verified, immediately make an appointment with your nearest Apple Store or Service Provider: the HDD needs to be replaced ASAP. If it is Verified, click on the Verify Disk button and let it run. Report back any error message that may appear. Next, select the disk volume underneath  the disk device. Will be called Macintosh HD unless you renamed it. Then click Verify Disk again; the test will take awhile and the Mac will be slow and unresponsive, as stated on the warning message that popped up and you clicked Verify Disk on. Again, report any error messages that appear.

  • 2. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    m la rose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for your response.   There were no error messages after either process.  At the end of the second verify procedure, I got the message that "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be ok."

  • 3. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,470 points)

    Excellent, that is good news. I also take it that the HDD S.M.A.R.T. status shows up as Verified (geekspeak for "hasn't given a hint of failure yet"). Time to determine the source of the squeak, whether it is mechanical or merely one of the speakers.


    For the mechanical, note that there are three motors inside your Mac: the hard disk drive, the optical drive and the cooling fan. We'll use an Old Mechanic's Trick to pinpoint the culprit. Take a capped pen or short stick to use as a makeshift sthetoscope: place one end against the bony area in front of your good ear while the other end against the Mac, this will enable you to hear all the sounds from within. Move the stick about to determine the source of the noise. The HDD is located under the right palmrest. The optical drive, as expected, right under its slot. And the single fan on a 13"er is just to the left of the optical drive, meaning the edge of the case above the 7 or 8 keys. Whomever is the squeaker, if any of these, will need to be replaced under warranty.


    What about the right speaker/subwoofer? That's a tricky one to distinguish from the optical drive, since it is placed just above and flush to the optical drive slot. Maybe place your "sthetoscope" more inboard, to the left of the Return key and where its spindle motor lies, in order to distinguish? If it does turn out to be the speaker, the problem is software related; something from the browser caused the OS to panic and freeze, leaving the speaker squawking. Not much to do here, except installing all outstanding security patches on Software Update and not visiting that particular page anymore.

  • 4. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    MittWaffen Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    This squeak is from the battery ground connection, if you take the bottom case off you'll see where it meets the bottom panel and the battery. This causes the squeaking but only when physcally pressed, if it was audio from a speaker out consistant sound then it wasnt this.

  • 5. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    Courcoul Level 6 Level 6 (11,470 points)

    Wow, care to show us where in these pics? Cause I can't see any "ground connection", besides the main plug.


    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing-MacBook-Pro-13-Inch-Unibody-Early-2011-Ba ttery-Replacement/5116/1

  • 6. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    m la rose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for your continued help, Courcoul.  The noise isn't constant, but I distinctly associated it with the right side of the keyboard.  You know the sounds made when you insert a DVD, and the optical drive reads it?  The noise seemed to be coming from that exact location, and even sounded like the MacBook was trying to handle a disc... though there was no disc in the drive at the time.  Of course that's just my naked ear, and I will be trying your trick the next time this problem presents itself.  Until then, should I just cut to the chase and bring my laptop in before my warranty runs out next month?

  • 7. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    aniyamay Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just got a new MBP (15", running 10.7.3), and opened it about 4 days ago. As I was watching a youtube video full screen, I observed what seems to be the exact problem that you described. I have only used my optical drive once, to import a CD. This behavior did not occur watching videos that were not fullscreen, but started almost immediately when I started to watch with the larger screen.


    I don't know why that would make a difference. My battery is fully charged, I have nearly 350GB free, and it's a brand new computer. It's not the more common "squeaking" noise that happened to older laptops when they were physically pressed; this happens by itself, when I'm not touching the computer at all.


    Anyway, interesting that we both observed it. I'll let you know if I find a solution...

  • 8. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    MittWaffen Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)



    You dont see it because you haven't opened up a macbook and looked ever apparently, dont rely on the internet man you gotta look first hand to know if you're 100% sure or not.


    What I say, are first hand facts.

    There is in a ground connection since the non-removable batteries were used. Its located on the battery and is usually known due to its close location to the RAM. Its a plastic removable ground connection with two gold conduction points, these push onto the bottom panel of your macbook.

    What I noticed is that when the system is expanding thermally you can hear these creeks and growns because of the different expansion rates of the ground connectors and the aluminum, this can cause more pressure at different times, which also can cause noise. This also happens when you put pressure on the unit or use the trackpad aswell i've noticed.






    I used carbon paper to see where pressure, if any was being emitted. The battery ground connections shown above do infact cause this. Its also easily correctable if it bugs you, using thermal grease (nonconductive/conductive) has solved this noise for other users, some have removed the ground all together (since these units have ALOT of different grounds) users reported no ill effects but do this at your own risk. I personally live with it and did not risk trying any of the above.


    If this was the noise you heard, then it could be your solution.

  • 9. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    fevoice Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I started noticing a squeak from my speakers after downloading Mtn Lion. Turns out it is the "Bottle" audio effect built into the Mac when I get a new email. This wasn't happening until I installed Mtn Lion. You can turn this off or change the sound. Open Email. Click on Mail - Preferences - General - New Messge Sound. Ta Da! 

  • 10. Re: Chirping / squeaking MacBook Pro
    Ron Frankel Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    If you hav an app called Weatherbug installled, it can make a chirping sound when there is a weather alert in your area.