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rjsounds

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 3, 2017
73
28
Hello,

Starting about two weeks ago my 2018 Mac Mini (bought refurbished) has been making this weird random popping noise. It doesn't happen every day, but when it does happen it's completely random. I was just browsing the web and it just happened a few minutes ago. It's usually just a single 'pop' sound, as if you were holding an empty plastic water bottle and give it a slight squeeze. I have an external SSD drive connected but it's on the other side of my monitor, so I've ruled that out.

I'm uncertain what it could be. I was thinking maybe the fan is scraping against something? But if that were the case it would be more than a pop. I'm hoping it's not the SSD or the battery or something more serious. The SSD has about 100GB free out of 250GB.

My Mac Mini does not have Apple care, and one other thing to mention is that over a year ago I opened it up and replaced the RAM with two 16GB sticks of Crucial memory. I have never had any issues or crashes since doing this.

Regular tasks I perform on this computer include rendering video from DaVinci Resolve and audio from Logic Pro X - but again, I've been doing so for well over a year without any issues.

Should I be worried about this click?
 

rjsounds

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 3, 2017
73
28
I don't believe so. I have an external audio interface connected via USB, so my sound comes out of two studio speakers.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
6,298
3,150
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Have never heard such a sound from my 2018 Mini. But are you sure it's really "random"? I mean, could it be happening after the computer was running at high temperature and then in the process of cooling down? Maybe some part inside is expanding/contracting? The SSD's in the new Mini's are really fast, but run very hot. Anything that causes a lot of disk access on mine will make it warm up quickly. I used to notice this happening and wondered why it would sometimes get hot when I wasn't really doing anything. Now I'm almost certain it is caused when Time Machine kicks off a backup.

Anyway, if that's what is happening then it probably isn't doing any harm. But I wonder, is it possible that you didn't fasten something down quite right when you added the RAM?
 
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MacCheetah3

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2003
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Have never heard such a sound from my 2018 Mini. But are you sure it's really "random"? I mean, could it be happening after the computer was running at high temperature and then in the process of cooling down? Maybe some part inside is expanding/contracting? The SSD's in the new Mini's are really fast, but run very hot. Anything that causes a lot of disk access on mine will make it warm up quickly. I used to notice this happening and wondered why it would sometimes get hot when I wasn't really doing anything. Now I'm almost certain it is caused when Time Machine kicks off a backup.

Anyway, if that's what is happening then it probably isn't doing any harm. But I wonder, is it possible that you didn't fasten something down quite right when you added the RAM?
Before reading yours, I came to the same probable conclusion. Perhaps a piece held by tabs isn't fully seated and shifts/bends just slightly out of position with the internal temperature changes. It's something very easy to overlook when disassembling/reassembling computers, gadgets, etc, which use a lot of tabs and adhesive nowadays for seamless appearances.

Is it that? 🤷‍♂️ However, certainly a theory @rjsounds should investigate further with notes and so on.
 
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brandair

macrumors member
Sep 6, 2010
69
32
Might also be accumulated dust inside the Mac Mini forming some kind of resistance?
 

MrMapple

macrumors newbie
Sep 18, 2020
7
9
The SSD in the Mac Mini makes sometimes noises like an old HDD (clicking / popping / scratcing), depending on what the device is currently doing (copying big files makes the noise, for example, but its sometimes hard to reproduce). No one believes me, but i googled a lot and its common and totally normal!

An extremely example is shown here:
(Most popular comment is "I bet you came here after purchasing your new Macbook Pro 16 😏"). I also returned my first Mac Mini and the second one is doing the same noises.

After i researched a bit, i became a little sensitive for this noises and my ThinkPad T590 (from work) is also doing the same sounds, but only noticable when the device was waken up some minutes ago, because otherwise the Fan is louder than the clicking). Background tasks like looking for updates via the AppStore, TimeMachine and other Jobs Apps in the Background are performing (Dropbox / OneDrive, iCloud Photo, FCPX-Background-Rendiner, etc.) can cause some SSD-Load.

I´m pretty sure that you are expecting some kind of this noise since its sometimes silent and when performing something, it just starts. Hearing your SSD seems to be normal with some manufacturers, but in most cases some fans are just louder ;).
 
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rjsounds

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 3, 2017
73
28
Have never heard such a sound from my 2018 Mini. But are you sure it's really "random"? I mean, could it be happening after the computer was running at high temperature and then in the process of cooling down? Maybe some part inside is expanding/contracting? The SSD's in the new Mini's are really fast, but run very hot. Anything that causes a lot of disk access on mine will make it warm up quickly. I used to notice this happening and wondered why it would sometimes get hot when I wasn't really doing anything. Now I'm almost certain it is caused when Time Machine kicks off a backup.

Anyway, if that's what is happening then it probably isn't doing any harm. But I wonder, is it possible that you didn't fasten something down quite right when you added the RAM?

It definitely appears to be random. It has happened while sitting at idle on the desktop when I'm not using the computer, and I've heard it when I'm in the same room. It happened just a few moments ago too actually when watching a YouTube video. It hasn't happened for the past 3 days. It just seems to be completely random.

If I hadn't fastened something down when changing the RAM I would have expected this issue to come up a lot sooner. I replaced the RAM about 18 months ago.

Before reading yours, I came to the same probable conclusion. Perhaps a piece held by tabs isn't fully seated and shifts/bends just slightly out of position with the internal temperature changes. It's something very easy to overlook when disassembling/reassembling computers, gadgets, etc, which use a lot of tabs and adhesive nowadays for seamless appearances.

Is it that? 🤷‍♂️ However, certainly a theory @rjsounds should investigate further with notes and so on.

Hi, Thanks for commenting. This is definitely a possibility but as I mentioned, I think it's unlikely since the RAM was installed about 18 months ago and the Mac Mini has been whisper silent ever since. It's my daily workhorse where I render video, edit large projects in Logic Pro X, watch videos, browse the web, write documents, etc. so many different things and have never heard this popping sound until a couple of weeks ago.


The SSD in the Mac Mini makes sometimes noises like an old HDD (clicking / popping / scratcing), depending on what the device is currently doing (copying big files makes the noise, for example, but its sometimes hard to reproduce). No one believes me, but i googled a lot and its common and totally normal!

An extremely example is shown here:
(Most popular comment is "I bet you came here after purchasing your new Macbook Pro 16 😏"). I also returned my first Mac Mini and the second one is doing the same noises.

After i researched a bit, i became a little sensitive for this noises and my ThinkPad T590 (from work) is also doing the same sounds, but only noticable when the device was waken up some minutes ago, because otherwise the Fan is louder than the clicking). Background tasks like looking for updates via the AppStore, TimeMachine and other Jobs Apps in the Background are performing (Dropbox / OneDrive, iCloud Photo, FCPX-Background-Rendiner, etc.) can cause some SSD-Load.

I´m pretty sure that you are expecting some kind of this noise since its sometimes silent and when performing something, it just starts. Hearing your SSD seems to be normal with some manufacturers, but in most cases some fans are just louder ;).

I listened to the sound in the video and it sounds nothing like the sound from my Mac Mini. I can't describe any clearer than taking an empty plastic water bottle and giving it a bit of a squeeze. It's that hollow / crinkly / pop kind of sound. It's so bizarre. I'm just worried it's the start of something that's about to die on the Mac Mini.
 
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vahla

macrumors newbie
Aug 29, 2019
19
2
I listened to the sound in the video and it sounds nothing like the sound from my Mac Mini. I can't describe any clearer than taking an empty plastic water bottle and giving it a bit of a squeeze. It's that hollow / crinkly / pop kind of sound. It's so bizarre. I'm just worried it's the start of something that's about to die on the Mac Mini.
The sound you said is almost the same as my Mac mini, I'm worried too, I do not know if there is a problem. If you find anything about this, please let me know.
 
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rjsounds

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 3, 2017
73
28
UPDATE!!!

I can confirm the clicking sound is NOT from the Mac Mini! It's a cheap 3rd party USB hub I have connected!

After testing for a week without using any USB peripherals, the sound mysteriously went away when I removed my USB hub and external hard drive. I then tested with only the external SSD for a few days and again, no clicking noises at all. Finally, I then plugged the USB hub back in and sure enough throughout the day, random clicks and pops started happening again.

So I think that's it. Maybe I have too many USB peripherals plugged into the cheapo USB hub I bought from amazon and it's having trouble distributing power to everything? Either way, I will remove this and invest in a better quality USB hub. I will update this thread if I make any other discoveries with the new USB hub.

Stay safe everyone!
 

vahla

macrumors newbie
Aug 29, 2019
19
2
UPDATE!!!

I can confirm the clicking sound is NOT from the Mac Mini! It's a cheap 3rd party USB hub I have connected!

After testing for a week without using any USB peripherals, the sound mysteriously went away when I removed my USB hub and external hard drive. I then tested with only the external SSD for a few days and again, no clicking noises at all. Finally, I then plugged the USB hub back in and sure enough throughout the day, random clicks and pops started happening again.

So I think that's it. Maybe I have too many USB peripherals plugged into the cheapo USB hub I bought from amazon and it's having trouble distributing power to everything? Either way, I will remove this and invest in a better quality USB hub. I will update this thread if I make any other discoveries with the new USB hub.

Stay safe everyone!
The SSD in the Mac Mini makes sometimes noises like an old HDD (clicking / popping / scratcing), depending on what the device is currently doing (copying big files makes the noise, for example, but its sometimes hard to reproduce). No one believes me, but i googled a lot and its common and totally normal!

An extremely example is shown here:
(Most popular comment is "I bet you came here after purchasing your new Macbook Pro 16 😏"). I also returned my first Mac Mini and the second one is doing the same noises.

After i researched a bit, i became a little sensitive for this noises and my ThinkPad T590 (from work) is also doing the same sounds, but only noticable when the device was waken up some minutes ago, because otherwise the Fan is louder than the clicking). Background tasks like looking for updates via the AppStore, TimeMachine and other Jobs Apps in the Background are performing (Dropbox / OneDrive, iCloud Photo, FCPX-Background-Rendiner, etc.) can cause some SSD-Load.

I´m pretty sure that you are expecting some kind of this noise since its sometimes silent and when performing something, it just starts. Hearing your SSD seems to be normal with some manufacturers, but in most cases some fans are just louder ;).
Before reading yours, I came to the same probable conclusion. Perhaps a piece held by tabs isn't fully seated and shifts/bends just slightly out of position with the internal temperature changes. It's something very easy to overlook when disassembling/reassembling computers, gadgets, etc, which use a lot of tabs and adhesive nowadays for seamless appearances.

Is it that? 🤷‍♂️ However, certainly a theory @rjsounds should investigate further with notes and so on.
The noise on my Mac mini is similar to the audio file I am attaching. Please listen loudly by increase volume.
As the fan speed increases This sound is sometimes heard. Does this sound indicate a problem on the Mac mini?
Is there a problem with the Mac mini that needs to be repaired?
My Mac model is 2018 and the noise sound that I attached is the sound of the Mac mini when increase speed of fan, in which the noise is heard briefly.
If you have experience in this field, please help me. Thank you.
 

Attachments

  • New Recording 2 (online-audio-converter.com).mp3
    23.2 KB · Views: 1

vahla

macrumors newbie
Aug 29, 2019
19
2
@vahla Nothing obvious comes to mind. WHat's the frequency/interval of the 'tick'? Once? Every few seconds? Every minute?
If I work with the Mac mini for more than eight hours a day, it happens between four and six times, and it mostly happens when the fan is running at high speed or the internal speaker of the Mac mini is playing audio.
Also, this tick is sometimes a little louder.
 
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