Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors.

"Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states.

Apple's internal service documentation for this issue previously only mentioned MacBook Pro and discontinued 12-inch MacBook models with Retina displays, but the MacBook Air is now mentioned in at least two places. Apple added a Retina display to the MacBook Air in October 2018 and all models of the notebook have featured one since.


Apple has a free repair program for the anti-reflective coating issue in place internally, but it has yet to add any MacBook Air models to its list of eligible models, despite mentioning it elsewhere in the documentation. However, with Apple at least acknowledging that the MacBook Air can exhibit the issue, customers may have a valid argument for at least a free in-warranty repair.

The eligibility list remains the same as in December 2019 for now:
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook (12-inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (12-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (12-inch, Early 2017)

Apple began the repair program in October 2015 after some MacBook and MacBook Pro users experienced an issue with the anti-reflective coating wearing off or delaminating on Retina displays. Apple has never posted the repair program to its website, opting instead to handle the matter more quietly. For that reason, your mileage may vary.

Over the years, the issue led to an online petition with nearly 5,000 signatures, a Facebook group with over 17,000 members, and complaints across the Apple Support Communities, Reddit, and our own MacRumors forums. A so-called "Staingate" website was set up to share photos of affected Mac notebooks.

Apple Stores outside of China and many Apple Authorized Service Providers are closed right now, but customers can visit support.apple.com for service and support.

Update: Apple has informed us that the MacBook Air, Retina or otherwise, is not part of this program and does not exhibit this issue, adding that this was a mistake on an internal document that has since been fixed.

Update 2: A technician at an Apple Authorized Service Provider disagrees with Apple, informing us that they have serviced several 2018 MacBook Air units that exhibited anti-reflective coating issues.

Article Link: Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]
 
Last edited:

itsmilo

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2016
2,833
5,876
Europe
I had this even on my 2012 MacBook Pro. It was crazy and super annoying. You could basically see the whole trackpad and the space bar scratched into the screen.

They did replace it for free but I have been putting a soft mat on the keyboard before closing the laptop ever since. This shouldn’t be necessary on computers for that kind of money.

they should just leave it off, clearly it’s still not working 8 years later
 
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WannaGoMac

macrumors 68020
Feb 11, 2007
2,365
3,099
I had screen replaced due to this issue. Funny, I had no idea and was wondering why the screen looked so bad for a while. Of course, now I wonder how long until this replacement screen has the same issue.
 

triangletechie

Contributor
Apr 21, 2017
606
838
NC
I have the 2018 MBP w/ Touch Bar 4 TB. It's not on the list. I assumed it had the exact same screen as the 2017 version. Does this mean they used different coating for the 2018 models?
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,169
3,435
Twin Cities Minnesota
I had to take mine off of my mid 2015 pro. Apple didn’t honor my claim as they insisted it was caused by prior damage . Was a bit of labor but happy with the results and nice to know the problem won’t come back.

just a little more reflective (obviously) but not hardto manage.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2017
4,214
4,595
So this only affects older models? New models wouldn't be affected I'm assuming?
Any model with an antireflective coating, which is every MacBook Pro and Air since each line respectively introduced retina (2012- MBPs and 2018- MBAs).
 

Westside guy

macrumors 603
Oct 15, 2003
5,518
2,469
The soggy side of the Pacific NW
I have two 2015 MacBook Pros - one provided by my work, and one I purchased. The work one was bought first, and the screen has this issue - interestingly, the delamination clearly follows the pattern of where the keys contact the screen (although until I saw the original report here I didn't realize exactly what was going on).

I bought my personal laptop a year later, about the same time I started noticing the issue with the screen on my work machine. I decided I was going to keep a thin cloth in between the screen and the keys whenever I close it. So far, this screen hasn't exhibited any issues.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,704
14,316
Central U.S.
I can’t believe that, after 8 years of having this issue, they haven’t managed how to adress it 🤷🏻‍♂️

On the other hand, iPads have anti reflective coating as well, and those hold up pretty well... interesting.
It’s because Apple doesn’t really care about the Mac any more. But they will sell you one with a CPU with less than half the cores of a competing AMD PC for $50K.
 

mixel

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2006
1,686
886
Leeds, UK
This has happened on my early 2013 15" rMBP. Any idea if they would cover it?
They certainly used to.. I have the same model, there was a year or two where it was a recognised thing they'd definitely fix for free. I got my screen replaced, but it was way more recent and the previous owner had scratched the screen trying to remove the coating (lol) so the cosmetic damage wasn't just apple's fault.. They did massively discount the repair for me though..

Apple seem really hit and miss when it comes to screen issues.
 
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