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Eye strain - Returned my 2019 16" Macbook Pro

danwestbrook

macrumors regular
Oct 11, 2007
169
57
Surrey, UK
There were two 10.15.4 updates. I tried them both on my original MBP16. Updating to the first 10.15.4 version (from 24 March) from 10.15.3 correlated with the time when I discovered my eyes are getting strain. I tried to revert back to 10.15.3 in order to check if the update was the reason (drivers) but failed. It might be with the 10.15.3 I just didn't pay much attention to text during my first 2 days of using MBP16. Then there was another supplemental 10.15.4 update (from April 8) that I tried too. It didn't remove the flickering/haze effect.

Just out of interest have you tried a PRAM reset since 10.15.4? I’ve been able to use mine all week with very little strain or motion sickness. Before I could look at the screen for around 5 minutes and had to shutdown and revert to my 2016 TB MBP
 
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AlexNN

macrumors newbie
Sep 21, 2018
11
1
Hi, i dont read all the post but guys what resolution you use? When i get my MBP16 it was my first MBP so i cant compare to older models screens but first 3 days i use with default resolution 1792x1120 and yes i feel the eyes strain , then i decide to switch to half retina resolution that is 1536x960 and my eyes strain stoped. Did you try this?
 
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andrey16

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2020
18
11
Just out of interest have you tried a PRAM reset since 10.15.4? I’ve been able to use mine all week with very little strain or motion sickness. Before I could look at the screen for around 5 minutes and had to shutdown and revert to my 2016 TB MBP
Yes. I tried everything I found in the internet. Macbook geeks/bloggers recommend resetting a PRAM as a first thing you should always do with the new MacBook even if there is no any issues.
 
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Evilxardas

macrumors newbie
Dec 5, 2019
18
7
Update.

Did another order for MBP16. Interestingly, all the mentioned issues has gone with the new unit. No more eye strain. No haze effect (slightly yellowish) anymore. No flickering effect like before. No issues with focusing on text - letters look sharp again, no feeling that I'm wearing too strong glasses. On the first model I had to switch the TrueTone off and now the TrueTone brings more comfort, so I prefer the TrueTone enabled all the time. The white point is good. No need for all these gfxCardStatus/GammaControl/SwitchResX tools.

It's just first impression and need to test more days. Overall I'm glad I did a replacement not leaving my home. Thanks to Apple for this ability.

There were other comments in the thread who kept returning the unit until got a good one.

Really interesting. 2 years ago I bought an Ipad Pro 10.5" and it caused me eye strain (iPad air 2 is super fine instead) so I returned it. But I found many topics about that Ipad and many users tried to buy other units of the same device and with some units, they were sick and with others they were fines.

I would try too but I can't buy many times the same device :(
 
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Alexander William

macrumors 6502
Apr 18, 2020
288
129
im getting eye strain from the very very low black to white pixel response time, basically the panel leaves trails on text, etc when scrolling....very harsh on the eyes
 
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Texas_Toast

macrumors 68000
Feb 6, 2016
1,716
327
Texas
;TLDR

Looks like a fascinating read - I simply don't have the time.

Could someone please fill me in, and let me know if there is a FIX for the physical distress/nausea being caused by these latest Macs, or if you have some medical condition/physiology, are you screwed??

Right now I have a 2009 (?) MBP and a 2015 (?) rMBP, both 13" and I love them, but sooner or later I'll be forced to upgrade, and since it sounds like the new 2020 MBP's are pretty sweet - especially since they fixed the screens. (Would be perfect if you could remove the SSD amd RAM!!)

Anyway, it would be nice to know if there is a way to fix, or adapt to these new Macs or not.

Thanks!
 
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andrey16

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2020
18
11
distress/nausea being caused by these latest Macs

It's not really about "these latest" Macs. The latest Macs are really good. And displays are quite conformable. The issue (in the topic of the thread in the original post) is that some sporadic units/panels (probably defective ones or from different manufactures) might cause eye strain when looking at static text (hard to focus) for some people with sensitive eyes, while being ok for others. The only fix that worked for me was replacing the unit. For others their eyes might adapt after some time. Resetting PRAM sometimes works. It looks like for the vast majority of people there is no any issues.

If you're asking about the low black to white pixel response time - it's just a spec that you cannot fix. This is not an issue. It happens on dynamic pictures and doesn't relate to the first issue.
 
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petvas

macrumors 601
Jul 20, 2006
4,762
829
Munich, Germany
I have very sensitive eyes, that have undergone two operations (vor various reasons) and I love the display of my 16" MacBook Pro. No eye strain whatsoever. I actually prefer this display from the 13" MacBook Pro and even after hours of continuous usage I have no issues with it,
 
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Texas_Toast

macrumors 68000
Feb 6, 2016
1,716
327
Texas
It's not really about "these latest" Macs. The latest Macs are really good. And displays are quite conformable. The issue (in the topic of the thread in the original post) is that some sporadic units/panels (probably defective ones or from different manufactures) might cause eye strain when looking at static text (hard to focus) for some people with sensitive eyes, while being ok for others. The only fix that worked for me was replacing the unit. For others their eyes might adapt after some time. Resetting PRAM sometimes works. It looks like for the vast majority of people there is no any issues.

If you're asking about the low black to white pixel response time - it's just a spec that you cannot fix. This is not an issue. It happens on dynamic pictures and doesn't relate to the first issue.

So when did this issue first start happening with MacBook Pros?

(Fwiw, I've bookmarked this thread, and before I would ever buy a new MBP, I will read this thread start-to-end, but for now, I appreciate the help getting to the point!)

Sure sounds like an expensive proposition to have to drop 2-3 grand on a new laptop, take it home, try it out for a few days, then return it if you don't like it, and repeat?!
 
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garrel

macrumors member
Dec 9, 2019
70
32
So when did this issue first start happening with MacBook Pros?

(Fwiw, I've bookmarked this thread, and before I would ever buy a new MBP, I will read this thread start-to-end, but for now, I appreciate the help getting to the point!)

Sure sounds like an expensive proposition to have to drop 2-3 grand on a new laptop, take it home, try it out for a few days, then return it if you don't like it, and repeat?!

It's not macbook/apple only. People who experiment this issues are very sensitive and it seems it is related to Pwm, dither algorithm and stuff. Microsoft and linux machines often present the same issues, although there are more workarounds. It's just new tech.
I don't think you need to worry. If you feel some discomfort just return it.
There is an user above stating that after having returned it, a new one works fine for him. Hopefully this could be the case for many, but there is little evidence.
Just don't think about it. Brain could trick you sometimes if you're expecting or searching for stuff/problems.
 
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Texas_Toast

macrumors 68000
Feb 6, 2016
1,716
327
Texas
It's not macbook/apple only. People who experiment this issues are very sensitive and it seems it is related to Pwm, dither algorithm and stuff. Microsoft and linux machines often present the same issues, although there are more workarounds. It's just new tech.
I don't think you need to worry. If you feel some discomfort just return it.
There is an user above stating that after having returned it, a new one works fine for him. Hopefully this could be the case for many, but there is little evidence.
Just don't think about it. Brain could trick you sometimes if you're expecting or searching for stuff/problems.

Fortunately for me, I am out of work, financially broke, and under lockdown, so it'll be a while before I end up buying a new Mac! :)
 
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garrel

macrumors member
Dec 9, 2019
70
32
No strain on new MacBook Pro 13 2020 for me. Still very several eye strain on 16.
 
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Grimper

macrumors newbie
Oct 8, 2019
3
0
Does switching to one lower level of scaling below "Default" help? Then you're at true -2x resolution.

ps: I just got my MBP 16" yesterday and I'm struggling a bit too. It's better when I switch to 1536x920, but the text then is like reading a billboard :)

Also, for me, switch to Adobe RGB Color helped a lot.
 
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andrey16

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2020
18
11
ps: I just got my MBP 16" yesterday and I'm struggling a bit too. It's better when I switch to 1536x920, but the text then is like reading a billboard :)

Did you try resetting NVRAM & PRAM? Sometimes it works.
 
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hungryghosty

macrumors regular
May 14, 2020
124
58
Funny you mentioned this as I was wondering if there was something of fault with the display on my new 13" 2020 MacBook Pro?

As others have said it feeling almost like the display backlight is varying the brightness. I've been comparing it to my 2016 12" MacBook and I'm not seeing a similar effect on it ? I wondered if it could just be my eyesight but it definitely feels like something is "off" with the panel on my new 13" MBP?

I was wondering if my screen was faulty though. Is there a way to test for this issue?
 
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Moshimo Lam

macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2020
2
1
Am I glad to have run into this thread.

Exactly the same issues - Picked up a MBP 16" from Costco to upgrade from my 2012 MBP - My eyes are killing me. Drained, and tired at the end of the day, and headaches too.

Something definitely not right with the display. Wife has the same issues - saying it's super draining on the eyes and too bright even when dimmed.

(Sadly) will be returning it. Wondering if the MBP Air has the same issues.
 
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rowebot

macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2020
1
1
Same issues here. Out of the box the screen was very uncomfortable (much more so than the 2019 air or 13" Pro).

This is much more comfortable for me compared to the default:
- Full brightness (auto brightness off)
- Night shift on all the time set to the middle
- True Tone off
- Scaled to middle option (1536x960)

I have strain problems with all screens except e-ink, but they were particularly bad on with this laptop out of the box. Seems acceptable to me after these changes.
 
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Moshimo Lam

macrumors newbie
Jun 8, 2020
2
1
I have strain problems with all screens except e-ink, but they were particularly bad on with this laptop out of the box. Seems acceptable to me after these changes.

Thanks for the suggestions. Giving them a try and will see how it goes!
 
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andrey16

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2020
18
11
I was wondering if my screen was faulty though. Is there a way to test for this issue?

Here is a summary list of negative symptoms you might experience with such kind of panels. I experienced them all.
- Haze effect (slightly yellowish w/o TrueTone enabled comparing to normal panels),
- Noticeable flickering effect, especially when making brightness level lower,
- Feel difficulty focusing on text like wearing too strong glasses,
- Eyes strain when reading text. Eyes get relaxed after switching to normal panels of older MBP models. No eyes strain in dynamic scenes like movies or games
- Enabling TrueTone makes things worse for eyes strain.
- Enabling TrueTone adds strange reddish effect.
- Enabling Night Shift brings more eyes strain.
- Auto-brightness adds more eyes strain and difficulties focusing on text.

On normal panels the above symptoms do not appear. Enabling TrueTone makes eyes feel slightly more comfortable. True Tone doesn't add reddish effect but looks like a real white point.

What will help:
- Switching off auto-brightness, TrueTone and Night Shift.
- Switching to discrete graphics (on MBP 16'', is not an option for MBP 13''). You can make it by:
a) Settings -> Energy Saver -> Automatic graphics switching. Disabling the checkbox will use discrete graphics
b) Using gfxCardStatus utility that can switch between i/d graphics programmatically
- Keeping full brightness and working in bright lightning conditions
- Always keep full brightness level, but adjust gamma instead in dark conditions with "Gamma Control" utility to tune the brightness at software level
- resetting NVRAM & PRAM
- After two or three weeks your eyes might adapt getting all these negative effects away. Or might not.
- Using moisture eyes drops helps
- Rebooting to safe mode that theoretically disables graphic drivers (is not an option for work, just to compare the effect)
- Replacing your unit

For me the last options worked best of all.
 
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thedocbwarren

macrumors regular
Nov 10, 2017
193
88
San Francisco, CA
Something I did to make the text more legible for me was to turn on subpixel font rendering (using CLI.) I don't like the way the fonts changed and all my screens (including the 4K and internal monitor on the 16) look much much better.
 
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Vape Boxes

macrumors newbie
Jun 18, 2020
1
0
Sadly, my eyes are suffering terribly from the new 16" macbook. I've had this issue with the "higher end" Lenovo X1 displays as well. When I downgraded the Lenovo screen to a cheaper one, it no longer caused eye strain.

To me, the screen and text appears blotchy. I get double vision within seconds of looking at the screen. Photos and icons look great, but reading any text kills me.

Apparently, my eyes can't handle expensive screens.
 
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hungryghosty

macrumors regular
May 14, 2020
124
58
Here is a summary list of negative symptoms you might experience with such kind of panels. I experienced them all.
- Noticeable flickering effect, especially when making brightness level lower,
- Feel difficulty focusing on text like wearing too strong glasses,
- Eyes strain when reading text. Eyes get relaxed after switching to normal panels of older MBP models. No eyes strain in dynamic scenes like movies or games
- Enabling TrueTone makes things worse for eyes strain.
- Enabling TrueTone adds strange reddish effect.
- Enabling Night Shift brings more eyes strain.
- Auto-brightness adds more eyes strain and difficulties focusing on text.


Those are certainly the issues I experienced with the 2020 13" Macbook Pro unfortunately. Everything here does seem to suggest an issue with the Intel display driver rather than the panel itself though it could be a combination of things causing it I guess?

I'm sure I saw this text issue even on my external display (when my 2020 13" MBP was connected) and I've never noticed issues with it previously on my Windows PC or my old 2016 12" Macbook. I think there's definitely something funny going on with Intel's recent display drivers and the screens on Macbook Pro's appear to accentuate whatever the issue is for many users.

Does anyone know if the 2020 Macbook Air 13" has this issue as the 2020 Macbook Pro 13" and 2019 Macbook Pro 16" both appear to?
 
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