2010 MacBook Pro 13" Ambient Light Sensor Sensitivity Problem

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Amasashi, May 20, 2010.

  1. Amasashi macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    #1
    Yesterday, my girlfriend bought a 2010 MacBook Pro 13". One of the features she was excited about was the backlit keyboard because she enjoys working in low-light settings. This feature on my 2009 MacBook Pro 13" worked flawlessly, seamlessly turning on and off as needed.

    However, on her MacBook Pro 13", the keyboard backlight is always on, even in a brightly lit room, even when she's using the computer right next to a desk lamp. I have to literally shine a flashlight at the ambient light sensor for it to register and turn off the keyboard backlight. Anything short of that and the backlight stays on.

    Anyone else experiencing this problem? The guy at the Apple Store said that the ambient light sensor is working fine because the screen brightness does in fact respond to subtle chances in ambient lighting, but the keyboard is not. Is this a hardware problem or a firmware one?
     
  2. Matthew Yohe macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
  3. Amasashi thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    #3
    At the tiny circle to the left of the iSight camera.
     
  4. EstrlM3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    #4
    turn it down it starts off at highest, after i adjusted mine once it started adjusting on its own
     
  5. cotasm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    #5
    I picked up a 17" MBP yesterday, and I'm having the exact same problem with my keyboard (though my problem is compounded by the screen being very wavy with the auto-dimming). I know that I can turn off the auto-dimming for the screen and I could adjust the keyboard lighting manually, but dammit I didn't pay $2500+ so that the sensors could have a mind of their own. With my screen, I'm sitting still with no light changes and the auto-dimming is wavy. With the keyboard, just like your girlfriend's, the backlighting is always on unless I hold the sensor directly under a very, very bright light source.

    It's almost like my keyboard is not sensitive enough while the screen is overly sensitive. Anyone know if they work off of the same sensor? I already talked to Apple support, and they suggested waiting for a while to see if the problem is more widespread (since these have been out less than 2 months).
     
  6. Amasashi thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    #6
    In the end, we exchanged it for 2 others, but they also had the same problem. Maybe the batch at that particular Apple Store was bad, I don't know.

    The guy at the Apple Store suggested to wait until more complaints arise and Apple acknowledges this problem and release a firmware update. Or, if Apple never does, I should just send it back for repair and be firm about wanting to get it fixed right. Even if they can't fix it, they'll probably give me a new machine that doesn't have this defect.

    I think I'm going to wait maybe 3 months. After that I'm sending it in. Like you said, I'm not paying top dollar to manually adjust a supposedly automatic keyboard backlighting.
     
  7. dsprimal macrumors 6502a

    dsprimal

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
  8. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000

    wirelessmacuser

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Location:
    Planet.Earth
    #8
    It's unclear what you mean when you say "wavy" ?

    We have about 35 new 13", 15" & 17" MBP's in our office. I just walked around to check them out of curiosity. Like mine, none of them display what you seem to be describing. Since the replacements you got are alike I wonder if it's normal.
     
  9. cotasm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    #9
    By wavy, I mean I can sit there motionless in a room that does not have changing light and the brightness will fluctuate.

    Hey, all... I found this fantastic discussion on Apple's website covering this problem... WE ARE NOT ALONE: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2407559

    Good advice in that thread... the consensus is to wait for a fix which is almost certainly doable via driver or firmware update, but NOT to wait beyond your warranty. One Genius said to definitely insist on sending it back to be fixed if you're nearing your warranty end and no fix has come out yet.
     
  10. cotasm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    #10
    Perhaps I spoke too soon... This doesn't sound good:

     
  11. oyebto macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 26, 2008
    Location:
    Singapore
  12. Amasashi thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    #12
    This really ruins the Apple experience for first-timers. And in all honestly, I doubt Apple's going to acknowledge this problem anytime soon. Apparently we are a very small minority.
     
  13. cotasm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    #13
    I agree. This is my first MacBook Pro purchase (my first Mac was a MacBook about 4 years ago). I was so looking forward to these lighting sensitivity features -- and now it looks like I won't get to enjoy them due to a stupid design flaw.

    I wouldn't be so sure. From what I've read, ALL MBP's that are designed this way (beginning April 2010) have this problem. People are going in to Apple stores to have them file technical reports and also people are logging their complaints directly with Apple HERE. Join in! Maybe we can get them to offer us a swap if they make this a short cycle and do a design change.
     
  14. SonicBoom1981 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    #14
    The ambient light sensor is a poor design. The screen going up and down as it feels like it, even on the previous gen, was annoying.... I happily turn the automated screen brightness feature off.
     
  15. cotasm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    #15
    I agree with the screen auto-adjusting being annoying -- I finally decided to turn mine off, too. But, I REALLY wanted the keyboard ambient lighting feature to work properly... It did in previous models because the sensor is mounted under the speakers. But, the new models have them next to the iSight camera, so it doesn't pick up lighting as well and therefore leaves the keyboard lighting on even in well lit rooms; only VERY bright rooms shut it off. That sucks.
     
  16. SonicBoom1981 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    #16
    You'd think the designers would have a bit more sense than move it to a place that has nothing much to do with the keyboard. Maybe they were thinking it makes for a better position for the screen's ambient light changing.
     
  17. drew0020 macrumors 68000

    drew0020

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #17
    My 2010 15" Macbook Pro backlight is always on as well. I purchased through Amazon. I just noticed it the other day. Im guessing a firmware update will fix it. Otherwise I just manaully adjust it for the time being.
     
  18. SonicBoom1981 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    #18
    Somewhere in a thread above they say it's a hardware issue, due to where the sensor is placed.
     
  19. cotasm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    #19
    Highly unlikely that this is fixable via firmware. This is a design flaw that we probably can't overcome. See the quote that I posted above (about 8 msgs back) that came from a discussion on the Apple site. :(
     
  20. drew0020 macrumors 68000

    drew0020

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #20
    I should have read the thread more closely. Oh well guess ill have to live with it.
     

Share This Page