Apple appears to have removed optical audio output support from the headphone jack on its new 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys, suggesting it is unlikely to have made the transition in the Touch Bar equipped models either.

Optical audio output is used to link Macs to home theater setups and A/V systems capable of multi-channel surround sound, by way of a mini TOSlink adapter connected to the 3.5mm jack.

macbookpronotouchbar
The removal of optical audio was first noted by AppleInsider, after it was discovered that Apple's technical specifications for the headphone jack no longer mentions support for "audio line out (digital/analog)".

Removal of the standard was confirmed by comparing the System Profiler report on a new 13-inch MacBook Pro, which makes no mention of S/PDIF Optical Digital Audio Output, against reports on 2015 models, which do.

optical out system profiler

Support for optical audio out, as it appears on a 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro

When queried about the removal, Apple said the feature was dropped due to a lack of customers using the functionality, noting that "plenty of USB-C zero-latency professional peripherals are available now, or coming very soon" with optical audio out connectivity.

The phasing out of the standard from the new MacBook Pro models follows a trend that began with the Apple TV. Apple ditched the optical audio port on the fourth generation Apple TV in favor of a USB-C port, preventing users from connecting headphones directly to the device.

Top Rated Comments

Quu Avatar
77 months ago
Of course they lack optical out. I can't wait for the next revelation where there's no battery inside and that too must be connected by dongle.
Score: 95 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DTphonehome Avatar
77 months ago
It's becoming ever more apparent that this is just a beefed-up MacBook, and not a Pro machine. If I were a creative professional who was waiting for an update, I'd be pricing out a Windows laptop at this point.
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kulfon Avatar
77 months ago
And they are still surprised by the level of criticism.
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
azing Avatar
77 months ago
Another bad news story every day.

What next? It secretly runs Windows but not MacOS :eek:
Score: 59 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ginkobiloba Avatar
77 months ago
This is bordering on the comical.

To those who think no one uses this : Here is what Eric Persing of Spectrasonics , one of the leading developpers of pro virtual instruments in the audio world, and not exactly prone to tantrums, posted on his FB :
"APPLE HAS COMPLETELY LOST IT. I am absolutely FURIOUS about this news! This is literally a feature that our entire team at Spectrasonics utilizes EVERY DAY, dozens of times a day! The removal of optical out is INSANE! In our world of audio, this is a feature that made MacBook Pros truly a mobile/professional audio machine! Native core audio with simple digital audio output is one of the essential reasons that these laptops have always been the best for audio and music. NOW THEY'VE TAKEN IT AWAY SO THEY SAVE A PENNY!
I hate you apple! (Never thought I'd every say that)
"


When you align this to what Phil Shiller said, you can't not shake your head in disbelief:
"Is it inconsistent to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack as it’s no longer on the latest iPhone?
Not at all. These are pro machines. If it was just about headphones then it doesn’t need to be there, we believe that wireless is a great solution for headphones. But many users have setups with studio monitors, amps, and other pro audio gear that do not have wireless solutions and need the 3.5mm jack."

Whatever this machine is, it's certainly ain't pro.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gpat Avatar
77 months ago
... so this invalidates Phil Schiller's answer about the audio jack?
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
mx mechanical keyboard logitech

Logitech Launches New 'Designed for Mac' Mice and Keyboards

Wednesday September 28, 2022 12:01 am PDT by
Logitech today announced the launch of several new mice and keyboards that have been developed for use with Apple's Macs, including Logitech's first mechanical keyboard that has been optimized for the Mac. The MX Mechanical Mini for Mac Keyboard has a keyboard layout designed for Macs, with tools to customize shortcuts with Logi Options+. The keyboard uses Tactile Quiet low-profile switches...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...