The Dell XPS 13 2016 (9350) is the third-generation model of the XPS 13 line. The laptop is available in both a standard edition with Windows installed as well as a Developer Edition which only differs in that it comes with Ubuntu installed as well as the Broadcom WiFi card replaced with an Intel WiFi card. Just like the older versions (Dell XPS 13 (9333) and Dell XPS 13 (9343)) it can be bought in different hardware configurations.
The installation process for Arch on the XPS 13 does not differ from any other PC. For installation help, please see the Installation guide and UEFI. This page covers the current status of hardware support on Arch, as well as post-installation recommendations.
Content adaptive brightness control
In the XPS 13 the display panels (both FHD and QHD+) come with adaptive brightness embedded in the panel firmware, this "content adaptive brightness control" (usually referred to as CABC or DBC) will adjust the screen brightness depending on the content displayed on the screen and will generally be found undesirable, especially for Linux users who are likely to be switching between dark and light screen content. Dell has issued a fix for this however it is only available to run in Windows and for the QHD+ model of the laptop so this precaution should be taken before installing Linux, the FHD model of the XPS 13 (9350) cannot be fixed. This is not a problem with the panel but rather a problem with the way the panels are configured for the XPS 13, as the same panel exists in the Dell's Latitude 13 7000 series (e7370) FHD model but with CABC disabled. The fix is available directly from Dell.
The most convenient way to install Arch Linux is by disabling "Secure Boot" (Secure Boot > Disable). However it is possible to self-sign your kernel and boot with it enabled. For further information have a look at the Secure Boot article.
Dell provides firmware updates via Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS). Refer to Flashing BIOS from Linux#fwupd for additional information. A package is readily available at .
Alternatively, you can manually update, e.g. to the BIOS update 1.13.0 which was released on 2020-10-06: store the update binary in the EFI system partition or on a USB flash drive (FAT32), reboot, and choose "BIOS Update" in the
F12 boot menu. This might also help if your machine will not resume after suspend.
Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1
The USB-C port supports Thunderbolt 3, Displayport-over-USB-C and USB power delivery as well as USB 3.1.
In the event of devices not working correctly, ensure that you have updated to the latest BIOS (above) and Thunderbolt firmware (below).
Dell is working on a fwupd extension (github repository) that allows updating Thunderbolt software from Linux.
Alternatively, the Thunderbolt 3 Firmware Update 4.26.11.001, A08 was released on 2018-04-05. Unlike the BIOS update and the Thunderbolt-nvm Linux update, this is a graphical application which must be run in a modern Windows environment (MS-DOS will not suffice) or you can attempt the procedure below (at your own risks).
Doing Thunderbolt firmware updates without or Windows
The thunderbolt updates are a bit more complicated to do than the UEFI updates. The following was tested on kernel 4.16.13. You need to download the Thunderbolt update executable then extract the files from it:
$ 7z x Intel_TBT3_FW_UPDATE_NVM26_FJJK7_A08_4.26.11.001.exe
If you do not have any thunderbolt device plugged in, you need to force the controller on
# echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/PNP0C14:00/wmi_bus/wmi_bus-PNP0C14:00/*/force_power
Check the controller current firmware version:
# cat /sys/bus/thunderbolt/devices/0-0/nvm_version
Then copy the file to the controller's memory and authenticate
# dd if=Intel/0x0704_secure.bin of=/sys/bus/thunderbolt/devices/0-0/nvm_non_active0/nvmem # echo 1 > /sys/bus/thunderbolt/devices/0-0/nvm_authenticate
The system may hang for a few seconds, and after a moment, if you read nvm_version again, it should show the new version number.
External sceens are working well with newer BIOS and Thunderbolt firmware versions applied, e.g. fully functional with the external dock Dell WD15.
Support for external screens either using an USB-C to HDMI or USB-C to Mini Display ports adapters may not be working properly in rare cases. Commonly the screen when plugged is reported to either:
- display an image for a few milliseconds then switch to a black screen;
- have no image at all;
- being flickering after a few minutes to the extent this is basically unusable.
In some cases intermittent external monitor connection may be caused by WiFi interference with the 9350's USB-C port--particularly when the lid is closed. Reducing WiFi power via iw or iwconfig may allow a steady external monitor connection.
When the SATA-controller is set to
RAID On in Bios, the hard disk (at least the SSD) is not recognized. Set to
AHCI is recommended) before attempting to install Arch.
Dual booting Linux and Windows
In order to boot into Windows properly without getting an
INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE error with disabled
RAID you must configure Windows to use the
AHCI-speaking SATA storage controller, assuming you used
AHCI for installing Linux. The driver is effectively disabled even though it is installed. Either of the following methods were reported to activate the drivers without re-installation (your mileage may vary):
- booting into safe mode and back
- Selecting "Microsoft Storage Spaces Controller" in Windows Device Manager
- Modifying registry entries
- Modifying other registry entries
Consult the Microsoft support page for additional information. Be aware that some manufactures propagate reinstalling Windows to be the only solution, which it is not.
NVM Express SSD
The location of the
nvme module for "NVM Express" SSD has changed between kernel version 4.3 and 4.4. If you experience
cannot find root device on boot, it may be due to the nvme module not being present in initramfs. In this case, the following may resolve your issue:
... MODULES=(... "nvme") ...
Then regenerate the initramfs.
Install to obtain the required firmware
The Broadcom adapter does not report its regulatory country and so, by default, the global settings for channels and frequencies will be set. See Wireless network configuration#Respecting the regulatory domain for more information about how this can be changed.
If your WiFi card supports Bluetooth, then the BT interface should be available out-of-the-box, as the required firmware is included in.
brcmfmac kernel module causes issues with Dell USB-C docks. Notably, the USB ports and ethernet connection will stop working when there are WiFi connection issues.
Wireless headset: strange bluetooth behavior
If your Bluetooth behaves unstable, such as connection loss, stuttering sound. being able to connect but not to listen through it, etc. you probably need the proprietary firmware.
The Broadcom Bluetooth firmware is not available in the kernel (the same as for the 2015 model source), therefore you will have to retrieve it from a Windows .exe. You need to extract the
.exe file with and then convert it to a
.hcd file with hex2hcd from :
$ 7z x 9350_Network_Driver_XMJK7_WN32_188.8.131.520_A00.EXE $ cp Win32/BCM4350C5_003.006.007.0095.1703.hex ./ $ hex2hcd BCM4350C5_003.006.007.0095.1703.hex # mv BCM4350C5_003.006.007.0095.1703.hcd /lib/firmware/brcm/BCM-0a5c-6412.hcd
Alternatively, you may simply installAUR.
After a reboot, the firmware should be available for your Bluetooth interface.
i915 module taint the kernel, use at your own risks!
i915.enable_rc6=1 seems to be stable, setting the value to a number higher than 1, will be ignored. The deeper GPU power states that this option enables (RC6p and RC6pp) do not exist on gen7+ hardware..
Panel Self Refresh
i915.enable_psr=1 allows for some really nice power savings by leaving the package longer in more efficient C-states. However, users experience freezes for a few seconds with this option fairly often, setting the value to 2 or 3 may yield to similar power savings but without the freezes.
i915.enable_psr=1 i915.enable_rc6=1 also seems to be a stable configuration for PSR.
Frame Buffer Compression
i915.enable_fbc=1 is stable but does not seem to yield significant power saving results.
The fans may remain on even at low temperatures, draining the battery and producing an unpleasant noise that will only stop on reboot. This is due to the fans being controlled by the BIOS by default.
To prevent this behavior, configure i8k as described in Fan speed control#Dell laptops and use AUR utility to disable BIOS control of fans which conflicts with i8k. You may also want to enable and start
dell-bios-fan-control.service to ensure BIOS control of fans is disabled at boot.
If i8kutils is installed it will show fan speed and temperature sensors with:
$ watch sensors
Alternatively you may want to install desktop environment. Restarting the X server might be required.as driver but "it is on maintenance mode and must be preferred over" (installation note from the package itself). Plus it may lack the ability to be easily adjustable within your
Remove psmouse errors from dmesg
dmesg | grep -i psmouse as root returns an error, but your touchpad still works, then it might be a good idea to disable
psmouse. First create:
Then add it to:
... FILES=("/etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf") ...
To finish, regenerate the initramfs.
Refer to libinput#Gestures for information about the current development state and available methods.
By default, the keyboard backlight turns off after 10 seconds of inactivity.
Some users might find this too short and annoying.
Since BIOS update 1.40 this timeout can be adjusted by writing into
/sys/devices/platform/dell-laptop/leds/dell\:\:kbd_backlight/stop_timeout like on other Dell XPS laptops.
Coil whine when using headphones
When using TLP and audio is not playing but headphones are plugged in you may experience extremely annoying whine when using the computer. This happens after the audio adapter power saving is enabled. By default TLP sets the timeout on battery to 1 second which will cause whining almost as soon as sound is paused. To remedy this you can edit
/etc/default/tlp to set a higher timeout or disable it:
High noise floor when using headphones
Some people reported white hissing/crackling noises when using headphones. To get rid of them you can run
alsamixer from .
Select your soundcard with F6 and set the headset-gain to 22 (3rd lever from the left) or use the
$ amixer -c 0 cset 'numid=10' 1 numid=10,iface=MIXER,name='Headphone Mic Boost Volume' ; type=INTEGER,access=rw---R--,values=2,min=0,max=3,step=0 : values=1,1 | dBscale-min=0.00dB,step=10.00dB,mute=0
Unfortunately PulseAudio will override the above setting every time you log in/out of your environment (or every time the PulseAudio service is restarted), even if the
alsa-restore.service is enabled at start up.
To work around this issue, edit
/usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-input-headphone-mic.conf and comment out the section
[Element Headphone Mic Boost]:
--- #[Element Headphone Mic Boost] #required-any = any #switch = select #volume = merge #override-map.1 = all #override-map.2 = all-left,all-right ---
/usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths/analog-input-internal-mic.conf, comment out the same section:
--- #[Element Headphone Mic Boost] #switch = off #volume = off ---
This will prevent PulseAudio to fiddle with the gain setting at all.
For ALSA, increase "Digital" channel for microphone to work.
No audio input through combo jack
The device is recognized when you plug in a headset, however there is no audio input when you speak into the microphone.
To solve this issue you have to pass
model=auto to the
snd-hda-intel kernel module. You can do this with a drop-in file:
options snd-hda-intel model=auto
As shipped the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) can be configured easily following the steps at Trusted Platform Module and requires no otherwise special configuration. Handy packages to use with the TPM are AUR and AUR.
Originally the Dell XPS 13 (9350) shipped with TPM 1.2 - the TPM chip was configured to support the TPM Standard version 1.2. However, Dell released a firmware update (internal version 184.108.40.206, A02) for the TPM chip that converts it to support the feature set of TPM Standard version 2.0. Unfortunately, as of this moment the update cannot be applied through Linux or the BIOS direct flashing capabilities. The only way to install it seems to be to apply it through a running Windows OS. The easiest method is to run a temporary Windows installation on a USB drive, boot into it and run the update from there.
- It should be noted that this update is reversible (i.e. back to TPM 1.2) by using a firmware update. It also requires that the TPM memory and configuration is completely cleared.
- As for BIOS updates, make sure the laptop is plugged in to a power source and that power source is stable.
To install the update one can follow the instructions on the above mentioned firmware update page to clear and reset the TPM chip and initiate the update. Users intending to later use the device in Linux, can skip the last steps 11 & 12 from section "Disable TPM Auto Provisioning in Windows". Another option is to just clear the TPM following this guide and just run the
.exe file from Windows.
Once the update succeeds, the Linux kernel should automatically recognise the newly configured TPM device and enable it automatically on next boot. To make use of the now TPM 2.0 chip a couple of packages are worth installing - here.AUR and AUR. To make the TSS resource manager work on boot, a handy systemd service is provided and its variants discussed
CPU slowdown after resume from suspend
If you are experiencing a very slow computer after resume from suspend, you may be subject to a bug where your CPU frequency is capped to a very low value. Use
cpupower frequency-info to check. If so, please read this forum thread for debug information, and a workaround.