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'Flexgate': 2016 and Newer MacBook Pro Users Report Display Issues Due to Fragile Flex Cables

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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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An increasing number of users have experienced backlight issues on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, particularly those with the Touch Bar, often resulting in a so-called "stage light effect" along the bottom of the display.

Image via MacRumors forum member SourceSunTom

According to the repair website iFixit, which highlighted the issue today, the underlying cause is Apple's use of thin, fragile flex cables that connect the display with the display controller board on 2016 and newer MacBook Pro models, as opposed to the more durable wire cables used in previous generations.

iFixit's Taylor Dixon explains:
When it first debuted, the design seemed fine. But as always, the devil is in the details. Apple opted for thin, fragile flex cables as opposed to the beefier wire cables used in previous designs that could be routed through the hinge instead of wrapped around it, helping mitigate the stress of repeated openings and closings.
In a nutshell, the normal, repeated opening and closing of the display lid can result in the thin flex cables becoming fragile and breaking over time. And since the issue takes time to manifest, the affected MacBook Pro models are often outside of Apple's one-year warranty period when they start exhibiting symptoms.


Many examples of the issue have been documented on the website Flexgate, in the Apple Support Communities, and in the MacRumors discussion forums. It's unclear how many users are affected, but the number continues to increase.

The problem gets worse when affected customers take their MacBook Pro to Apple for repair, as iFixit claims that the flex cables are integrated into the display and cannot be replaced individually. Instead, the entire display assembly needs to be replaced, turning a cheap repair into a costly $600-plus one.


While some customers without AppleCare+ have managed to get a free or reduced-cost repair, it appears many have been required to pay in full.

Apple has not launched a public-facing repair program for this issue, and we're not aware of any internal one either. A petition urging Apple to launch such a program has amassed over 2,200 signatures. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but we'll update this article if we hear back.

Article Link: 'Flexgate': 2016 and Newer MacBook Pro Users Report Display Issues Due to Fragile Flex Cables
 
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MakeAppleAwesomeAgain

macrumors regular
Nov 21, 2016
115
1,019
Amsterdam
It just never stops, I think even Apple at this point wishes a real Time Machine would exist so they could undo all this 2016 and later MBP crap. I can't imagine them refreshing the MBP this year with the same enclosure or sales would drop even further. I would love to replace my 2013 Air, don't care how much it would cost me but I just can't take a risk this high. It's a shame.
 

SecuritySteve

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2017
856
982
California
Well this is annoying. I hope I am gentle enough to my 2018 MBP to not see this until I am ready to replace it anyway. Luckily I always buy AppleCare +.

I might be in the minority here, but I like my 2018 MBP better than my 2015 MBP (model and design wise). I've started to evolve my setups to moving away from USB-A cables into USB-C, and now only one of my devices that I ever use on my MBP is USB-A.

Times change.
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,532
4,410
maybe people are opening it wrong


In this case I believe it to be true.
People opening and closing the lid too often and with too much force will eventually cause the problem. It's nothing to do with Apple cutting corners, it is people using the product improperly.
 

KPandian1

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2013
1,493
2,428
Apple's external cables were always fragile - designed to last about a year - especially the 30-pin and Lightning cables. And, overpriced.

Now, they have taken it inside the device.

From the time they soldered the SSD and memory onto the bother board, these laptops have not much second life, or repairability. Now they fuse the connector to the display! That is a loss for them when they repair under warranty - a loss to the shareholders. Add this to the keyboard-topcase mess.
 
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