Mid 2013 MacBook Air update fixes Wi-Fi issues, volume fluctuations and screen flickering

July 19, 2013

MacBook Air mid 2013Apple has released a new software update for its new MacBook Air model (mid 2013) to fix a variety of issues that affected buyers, including Wi-Fi problem, volume fluctuations and a screen flickering that appeared during Adobe Photoshop usage.

Listed as “MacBook (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0,” the update measures just 3.35MB in size, and it’s available for download directly from Apple’s support pages. The company has not offered many details about it, posting a short description of the update on its website:

“This update fixes an issue that in rare instances may cause an intermittent loss in wireless connectivity, an issue with Adobe Photoshop which may cause occasional screen flickering, and an issue which may cause audio volume to fluctuate during video playback.”

The new MacBook Air models were unveiled during Apple’s June 10 WWDC 2013 keynote. While similar in design with their predecessors, both the 11- and 13-inch received some significant hardware updates including longer battery life, new Intel Haswell processors and 802.11ac Wi-Fi support, a wireless technology that offers faster data speeds.

The mid 2013 MacBook Airs started selling on June 12, with Apple offering the entry-level 11-inch model for $999 and the entry-level 13-inch version for $1,099.

The first new MacBook Air buyers immediately noticed an issue with Wi-Fi connectivity, with the new models not able to take advantage of the faster 802.11ac speeds.

While reviewing a 13-inch MacBook Air, site AnandTech was able to duplicate the issue and ultimately discovered that the poor 802.11ac performance was caused by the operating system, Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion that comes pre-loaded on every Mac laptop or tablet that’s sold by the company.

In addition to the Wi-Fi concerns, other MacBook Air buyers have experienced random volume fluctuations while watching video content using various programs on the newly released MacBook Air models. The phenomenon has been observed when using the default QuickTime video players, but also when using the popular Chrome browser to stream video. A cause for the problems has not been found.

Furthermore, Adobe Photoshop users experienced some serious screen flickering issues while using the software, with some YouTube videos showing the problem. An Adobe representative speculated that either it’s a graphics problem or an issue with the LCD of the affected MacBook Air models, but he also added that the company was not able to replicate it.

In late June, 9to5 Mac reported that Apple sent a memo to stores advising Geniuses and Advisors to replace mid 2013 MacBook Air models brought in for Wi-Fi issues, in order to use the faulty units for researching the cause of these problems.

Furthermore, the company has also released an update for AirPort Utility a few days ago – version 6.3.1 – that allows Mac owners to use AirPort Utility to “set up and manage [their] 801.11n and 802.11ac AirPort base stations.”

A major OS X refresh will be available latter this year for a variety of Mac desktops and laptops including the latest-generation MacBook Airs, OS X Mavericks (10.9), which was also announced during the same WWDC keynote.

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