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Eye strain - Returned my 2019 16" Macbook Pro

It's-ok-to-be-you

macrumors newbie
Sep 19, 2020
2
1
I have been fine using a Late 2008" with the updates I put in back in 2014 (which are being re-realized again online - the 8GB of RAM and the SSD), until I noticed some screen jitters and slowing down of programs like Microsoft Office. Yes, I know the routines, Safe Boot, SMC, Killall Dock... yada yada. So I took the vault and made the leap to try a new 16" Space Gray (or silver with a suntan ) with 4-hole-punched ports and one jack.

Don't get me wrong, I use updated Macs that are on Catalina, and I've used Windows 10 Pro PCs for work, training etc., but for my personal computer, I prefer to keep it "nice...and easy", while some others- well they just like it "rough".

Here's what I uncovered. After setting it up and being concerned from the get-go about the Touchbar that adds extra steps to simple tasks, and it feels more like I have a little robot child begging for attention on the computer doing whatever he/she wants: Oh I am watching a YouTube video, my little robot child wants to be the player controls - but the player controls are right in front of me on the screen, so Robie (I guess we have to name our children sometime or another) had to go back to his/her room forcefully by pressing and holding the Fn key every once and awhile.

Back to the 20/20 2020 experience. So having migraines from certain things, this monitor was a nightmare. I dimmed it on the desktop while trying to read the text on my icons and then (if you have migraines, you know what I am talking about) the geometric and fluffy dark spots came into view. I ripped open the medical cabinet and got some Excederin Migraine, and sat back down with my eyes closed chanting: "It's not that bad, it's not that bad. It's nearly $4,000, I am just worked up that is all. It's not that bad..."

Twenty minutes later, I get back to the computer and that damn thing is hot. Hello! I put my hands slowly on the keyboard sort of like carefully putting your hands into a paraffin wax bath, and I immediately went and got the fan cooling platform I use for the MacBook Pro.

Other complaints:

Thumpity-thump - that's the sound the keys make (though thankfully they are not butterfly keys). The Late "2008 has a much better keyboard.

My trackpad would not read two fingers, and yes my fingers are skinny but certainly not E.T.'s. I did a bunch of things ranging from the Behavior-2 on the Terminal, the advice on Stack Exchange, the usual SMC, and nothing did it. However, I found a way to fix my "2008 Trackpad - so all good in that department.

The trackpad feels too big and it's like Apple expects users to perform a finger ballet every once in awhile. The keyboard keys are smaller and pushed up near the screen. It's no wonder no laptops are getting hotter as we have to lean our wrists with our pulsating veins onto the aluminum and thereby suffocating those finely soldered boards.

----- BUT ... there is something for sore eyes that I need to mention:

My eyes are greenish-blue. The people I know who are fine with the new computers tend to have brown eyes.

Same thing for the outdoors: I need a hat and sunglasses, whereas some friends with brown eyes don't even squint while talking in an outside eating area.

I feel that Apple may be designing products for people with brown eyes more than the usual blue eyed mix.

--- And

From returning the "2019, I opened my ol'Maccy and it was quite a cooling a effect, and my entire body felt at rest.

If you are blue or green-eyed, or grey-eyed, you might want to buy an iMac instead as it is much easier on the eyes (but keep it a safe 1-2 feet away from you, too.)
 
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Evilxardas

macrumors newbie
Dec 5, 2019
18
7
Any news about mac os big sur? It's always the same or someone finds some benefit with the upgrade?
 
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TDDM

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2017
428
523
KA
Very curious if the new M1 chip will help with the eye strain, is anyone able to test one of the new macs out when they release?
 
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Evilxardas

macrumors newbie
Dec 5, 2019
18
7
Very curious if the new M1 chip will help with the eye strain, is anyone able to test one of the new macs out when they release?

I can’t test it because I need windows for my job.

Should get one of these.


I know that in my case it's a problem related to the interaction between software and hardware.
With my desktop PC I can use it 16 hours in a row with W10 1709 + AMD driver from 2017 and I literally die after 1 hour with W10 2004 and AMD driver 2020.
Same hardware just different software.

Now I am using a Dell Latitude E5550 with 0 issues with W10 1809 and intel driver from 2017, but I wasn't able to use it with W10 1909 (I don't remember if also the GPU driver were updated, probably yes!)!

I think it's not possible to understand what the real problem is because we need a team of engineers (software and hardware) and doctors. but we are a small number of people so we are just ****ed :)
 
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It's-ok-to-be-you

macrumors newbie
Sep 19, 2020
2
1
There is a solution everyone, and let me pre-warn all of you I do not have a PhD in Apple Products or in Solutions for Eye Strain, so take this lightly, and at best a step in the right direction:

What I found out and what a few before me have posted about is that when you buy a new Mac, for whatever reason, the "Yellow Tint" is turned way up. How do you know? Well go on a website that has yellow on it, and you will quickly see that the yellow usually looks like neon yellow garbage - or migraine fuel. In addition everything seems to have an apparent overheated-ness about it. "White" or bright colors seems to burn, and dark colors seem to be much darker than normal. What was navy on my older computer, was nearly dark gray on the new MacBook Pro.

Supposedly this "radioactive" yellow tint was Foxcon's solution to the blue light problem; by going the other direction on the RGB wheel - I guess.

However, the solution isn't just fix the color tint. It's more varied:

a) Set a Color Calibrated Starting Point for your Display:

System Preferences ✈ Displays ✈ Color - Choose (now out of all times to write this I am on a different computer) either the option with "2007" or the Adobe RGB 1998. On an iMac it seems like something along the lines of "Display P3" works as a good starting point, too. If these don't work as a starting point, you can always choose to Calibrate your screen. However, despite all of these starting points, the yellow tint will still be staring at you in the face.

b) Brightness Starting Point:

Choose Display (in this same Displays Window) and choose "Brightness", make it at least 3/4 of the way or just a bit higher. I know, it stings right now to look into, - so take some time to turn the other cheek and regain your normal vision again, and then return to this screen.

c) Making things more "Accessible" and "Tint-Friendly":

System Preferences ✈ Accessibility ✈ Display (left white window icon):

1. My recommendation unless you absolutely love the see-through effect, and you love gossamers, and somewhat transparent things on your screen is to check the box next to "Reduce Transparency". This will cause either a light or dark background (based off of your preferences) to appear on your top menu, and Dock... Zero surprises.

2. Change the Display Contrast to just a bit over the first notch, or a little more (maybe 2 notches max).

3. {Ka-Blue-ey!} Next up ( I know El Capitan does not have this) choose "Color Filters" in the same Accessibility - Display window. Click the check box to the left of "Enable Color Filters". Then click on the Filter Type dropdown menu (it starts off with "Grayscale" and change this to "Color Tint". This is tricky since I don't have the exact blue, but it should be a general dark blue color (lower left - 7:00 - on the rim). Right away, your eyes will feel a bit calmer- but not safe yet.

Once you have that general dark blue - change the Intensity on that drag bar ever so slightly and you will already see a drastic difference - and I mean drastic. To fix the intensity best, you're going to want to open a website with Yellow on it. Yes, you will be able to see a none-painful white, and a non-painful yellow again (and other bright colors). But the buck doesn't stop here.

d) Take it to the App Store

This next step might involve a small budget, and will cost less than 4 or 5 gallons of gas. Go to the App Store and get the following Apps:

- ResolutionTab (by Shpakovski) (with the "2x") on there.
- Screen Tint (by FIPLABS (FIPLABS has been making great Apple Apps for while))
- Screen Dimmer (by iiAtlas)

1) Resolution Tab:

After installing the apps, start Resolution Tab. This will give a little icon in your upper-right icon menu selection bar. I think there was another step to change the resolution in System Preferences - as that has Resolution Tab's Resolutions, there, too. Long story, short, what you're going to have to do is to click on the icon and change the screen resolution to ... 1440 x 900 (just like your MacBook / iMac used to be). It may make things look a bit bulkier, but the clarity is there. Resolution Tab has a High or "Hi-something" version which might be clearer, too. If you are doing film editing or gaming, you can always change the Resolution back. There is something about working simpler pixels or normal HD that is less intense for your eyes.

2) Screen Tint:

I don't have the instructions with me but with this app you're going to want to make a "Counter Tint" like Yellow or Green. Then, similar to the Mac Color Filters' Tint Intensity bar, you're going to want to change the intensity of this Tint - and you will see the blue tint dim to make the screen even clearer.

3) Screen Dimmer: This is the "icing" on the window.

When you work with this app, it has a sort of "cigarette smoke burn" for the screen. The point of this App is to lower the Brightness Intensity and give the screen a more "matte"-like appearance. Similar to the Screen Tint, you're going to have to adjust it to your liking.


e ) Future Adjustments:

After completing the previous steps, you might want to edit when Night Shift comes on as this could also improve your daily eye comfort, too.

In addition, your normal Brightness bar (in System Preferences - Displays) will become less intense, too. And for a sort-of collaborated app-to-Mac Brightness, you can adjust the brightness bar to your liking.

I hope this all helps as it helped for me. You will want to take eye breaks while doing each of the instructed steps above.
 
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Morglor

macrumors newbie
Oct 30, 2020
3
2
Very curious if the new M1 chip will help with the eye strain, is anyone able to test one of the new macs out when they release?
I got my M1 Macbook Air yesterday, and so far so good.

Have never had issues with my 2015 Pro, or any other laptop, however I could not look at the 2019 16" pro for more than a minute. Same thing (though to a lesser degree) with the 2020 13" Pro and Air.

Out of the theories floating around for why this happens, I guess this adds some weight to it being caused by the temporal dithering that Intel GPUs do. 🤷‍♂
 
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TDDM

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2017
428
523
KA
I got my M1 Macbook Air yesterday, and so far so good.

Have never had issues with my 2015 Pro, or any other laptop, however I could not look at the 2019 16" pro for more than a minute. Same thing (though to a lesser degree) with the 2020 13" Pro and Air.

Out of the theories floating around for why this happens, I guess this adds some weight to it being caused by the temporal dithering that Intel GPUs do. 🤷‍♂
Congrats! Did you have to change any graphics settings? Or was it all good out of the box?
 
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spencermfi

macrumors newbie
Jun 24, 2010
19
18
I got my M1 Macbook Air yesterday, and so far so good.

Have never had issues with my 2015 Pro, or any other laptop, however I could not look at the 2019 16" pro for more than a minute. Same thing (though to a lesser degree) with the 2020 13" Pro and Air.

Out of the theories floating around for why this happens, I guess this adds some weight to it being caused by the temporal dithering that Intel GPUs do. 🤷‍♂
This is great news. Did you ever try the 16" or 2020 Air with an external monitor and experience the same issues? And have you tried the new one with an external? I ask because both of those models were also unbearable for me with an external monitor (although less so with the Air).
 
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alex.e

macrumors newbie
Mar 9, 2020
11
0
I have been using the 2013 Retina MacBook Pro for years and I have a Dell laptop provided by work. I was very happy with MBP 2013 screen so last week I ordered MBP 2019 16".

I feel headache even the next day after using it for a couple of hours. I cannot explain my problem exactly but it is not comfortable at all. I tried many display settings. Disabling True Tone looks like helped a bit but still, I want to switch back to my 2013 MBP.

I am not sure if I should return it or I can find a solution.
 
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CRoebuck

macrumors member
May 16, 2014
73
46
I have been using the 2013 Retina MacBook Pro for years and I have a Dell laptop provided by work. I was very happy with MBP 2013 screen so last week I ordered MBP 2019 16".

I feel headache even the next day after using it for a couple of hours. I cannot explain my problem exactly but it is not comfortable at all. I tried many display settings. Disabling True Tone looks like helped a bit but still, I want to switch back to my 2013 MBP.

I am not sure if I should return it or I can find a solution.
Here’s the TLDR for the full thread.

only one person has found settings that made the machine usable for, the others returned their machines. Some found machines that were usable after multiple swaps. These were not perfect, just better.

Temporal dithering in Intels graphics drivers appears to be the issue as some (including me) have found older machines without issues become worse when upgrading and better when rolled back.

some have found the new M1 equipped machines are fine again lending weight to the dithering theory.

dithering can be disabled in Windows but not in Mac OS

most if not all also observed the issue when connected to an external display

long story short - the 2019 16” and 2020 13” are uncomfortable to use for some people who are sensitive to flicker effects such as PWM / Dithering. The slower response times of the 16” probably make things a little worse.

check out the LED Strain forums for more info on this topic
 
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alex.e

macrumors newbie
Mar 9, 2020
11
0
Here’s the TLDR for the full thread.

only one person has found settings that made the machine usable for, the others returned their machines. Some found machines that were usable after multiple swaps. These were not perfect, just better.

Temporal dithering in Intels graphics drivers appears to be the issue as some (including me) have found older machines without issues become worse when upgrading and better when rolled back.

some have found the new M1 equipped machines are fine again lending weight to the dithering theory.

dithering can be disabled in Windows but not in Mac OS

most if not all also observed the issue when connected to an external display

long story short - the 2019 16” and 2020 13” are uncomfortable to use for some people who are sensitive to flicker effects such as PWM / Dithering. The slower response times of the 16” probably make things a little worse.

check out the LED Strain forums for more info on this topic
Thank you very much @CRoebuck . TBH I could not read the whole topic with that tiring screen. This was very helpful. Cheers.
 
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greenmeanie

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2005
1,216
355
AmigaWarez
Very curious if the new M1 chip will help with the eye strain, is anyone able to test one of the new macs out when they release?
I had to Calibrate the screen and run brightness pretty low or mine was going back. It actually makes you think you are going blind lol. I looked it up and quite a few people have this problem so I m not alone.
 
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alex.e

macrumors newbie
Mar 9, 2020
11
0
I tried during the weekend. The screen caused headache and eye strain again.

Today I am using with with %100 brightness. I do not feel the strain very heavy but this is too bright to work with.

I am so sad to have this issue. I liked the computer and I do not know what to buy if I return it. My veteran 2013 rMBP 13" is going to feel even slower and smaller after this computer and probably next year it is not going to get the software update.
 
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TDDM

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2017
428
523
KA
Hey all,

I've been part of a few eye strain threads for the past few years regarding the iPhone X/11 Pro/12 and XR/11 due to some kind of flickering. We've noticed that there's a small subset of people who are having issues with newer Apple devices, such as the iPhone X, iPad Pro 3/4, various MacBooks, etc (Seems to vary between person, but it looks likely that something has changed recently with either the displays or graphics settings). For example, I personally have issues with every iPhone past 2018, every iPad past 2017 except the iPad 6th/7th gen, and every MacBook I've tried past 2015 (The 16" Pro, Mac mini 2018, Macbook Air M1, etc).

Anyway, I created a survey to help us catalog our issues and potentially identify some kind of pattern or solution. If you have the time, it'd be really helpful if you guys could fill it out. As soon as we have a good amount of responses, I can share the data with everyone on here.

I've also cross-posted this in a few other eye strain threads to see if there's some kind of common link. If we get enough data, perhaps we could share it with Apple directly?

 
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CRoebuck

macrumors member
May 16, 2014
73
46
Hey all,

I've been part of a few eye strain threads for the past few years regarding the iPhone X/11 Pro/12 and XR/11 due to some kind of flickering. We've noticed that there's a small subset of people who are having issues with newer Apple devices, such as the iPhone X........... Macbook Air M1, etc).
You've noticed the same effects on AS powered hardware? This would dispute the Intel temporal dithering theory then. That sucks because both my 2017 MBP and 2017 Surface Pro 5 are straining my eyes since the latest round of updates and was hoping AS might be a route out of this mess. (SP5 was great until 20H2 , reverting makes it better but that won't be a solution forever unless I disconnect from the internet)
 
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Evilxardas

macrumors newbie
Dec 5, 2019
18
7
You've noticed the same effects on AS powered hardware? This would dispute the Intel temporal dithering theory then. That sucks because both my 2017 MBP and 2017 Surface Pro 5 are straining my eyes since the latest round of updates and was hoping AS might be a route out of this mess. (SP5 was great until 20H2 , reverting makes it better but that won't be a solution forever unless I disconnect from the internet)

What version of W10 are you using now? I am not able to use the 2004 / 20H2 with my desktop (RX 480 + 240hz monitor) and also with the notebook of my father (intel HD 610 + bad 720P display with PWM).
So the problems seem related to the OS version in my case because the hardware is totally different!
 
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Jugg

macrumors newbie
Aug 11, 2020
7
2
Anyway, I created a survey to help us catalog our issues and potentially identify some kind of pattern or solution. If you have the time, it'd be really helpful if you guys could fill it out. As soon as we have a good amount of responses, I can share the data with everyone on here.

I've also cross-posted this in a few other eye strain threads to see if there's some kind of common link. If we get enough data, perhaps we could share it with Apple directly?


I think it's a great idea, we should really share it with Apple. Things are getting worst and worst and my feeling is that they just care about the wow effect in a store, otherwise they would (at least) provide a matte option for the display (as they used to do years ago).

If you haven't already, I think you should post on https://ledstrain.org/ too.
 
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TDDM

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2017
428
523
KA
You've noticed the same effects on AS powered hardware? This would dispute the Intel temporal dithering theory then. That sucks because both my 2017 MBP and 2017 Surface Pro 5 are straining my eyes since the latest round of updates and was hoping AS might be a route out of this mess. (SP5 was great until 20H2 , reverting makes it better but that won't be a solution forever unless I disconnect from the internet)
Yeah, although the eye strain is definitely not as bad with M1 models VS the intel models. For example, 30 mins with the 16" MacBook Pro would have my eyes watering and I'd have a terrible headache. The M1 MacBook usually just gives me a throbbing sensation around my eyes + a slight headache. Still unusable for daily work, but much better.

I think it's a great idea, we should really share it with Apple. Things are getting worst and worst and my feeling is that they just care about the wow effect in a store, otherwise they would (at least) provide a matte option for the display (as they used to do years ago).

If you haven't already, I think you should post on https://ledstrain.org/ too.
Unfortunately, I think the issue is that there's just not that many people affected by this. Or, at least, not enough people complaining to Apple. I bet there are a ton of people who regularly get similar symptoms, but would never think twice about their phone or computer being the issue.

Re: posting on led strain - Good idea, will do.
 
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CRoebuck

macrumors member
May 16, 2014
73
46
What version of W10 are you using now? I am not able to use the 2004 / 20H2 with my desktop (RX 480 + 240hz monitor) and also with the notebook of my father (intel HD 610 + bad 720P display with PWM).
So the problems seem related to the OS version in my case because the hardware is totally different!
Found that 1903 was usable on my Surface. Anything newer gives eye strain. I should note that the Surface is difficult when it comes to installing drivers as most intel apps are blocked by Microsoft.
 
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aruzhnikov

macrumors newbie
Apr 10, 2020
1
0
Hello everyone here! I'm so happy I found this forum because had the same problems when I bought MBP 16".
I had got my Macbook this April and initially couldn't understand what the problem is, why I can't watch at the screen for long time(not so long) without my eye strain. The most problematic was to read some text. It was caused eye pain almost immediately.
Finally I changed the laptop(fortunately I bought it on Apple's site) to the same model but problem didn't disappeared. So, ultimately I sent my laptop to Apple and got my money back.
So, what the point. I've ordered recently MacBook Air with M1 chip and will receive this one in about a month. And I really hope that it there will no problem using it. Keep my fingers crossed))
Just wanted to share my story.
 
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Evilxardas

macrumors newbie
Dec 5, 2019
18
7
Found that 1903 was usable on my Surface. Anything newer gives eye strain. I should note that the Surface is difficult when it comes to installing drivers as most intel apps are blocked by Microsoft.

You are like me. I can't use a newer version than 1903! The 1909 cause me eye strain instead, the 2004 / 20H2 brain problem and nausea.

Fortunately my IT department alow me to stay with W10 1809!
 
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