There is Hope for iMac 27" Display - Black Spots/Smudges/Dust in the display fixed!

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Oggy, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Oggy macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010
    Hello everyone,

    I have some great news for everyone who owns iMac 27" with black spots/dust inside the display (not behind the glass) without warranty.

    I've disassembled it, cleaned it and put it back together successfully!

    It took some guts but it can be done, and it's not that hard.

    Does anybody want a guide to do it?

  2. Taylor C macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2007
    This issue just started manifesting itself in my quad core i7 27" iMac. While I'm covered under AppleCare and will be taking it to an Apple Store to be repaired in the near future, I'd be interested in your guide just to have a better understanding of the issue.
  3. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    I've never heard of this issue before. I'd like to think that the space in there is relatively airtight but I guess not.
  4. Deeya macrumors member

    May 14, 2010
    Removing the glass is really simple, suction cups and some patience are all you need. I've done it a few times to get the dust out of my screen, it's really not sealed very well.
  5. Jiten, Feb 23, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011

    Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008

    Yes please post a guide I would really appreciate it. I have opened mine but I found out that the gray smudges are behind the LCD itself and not the glass.

    Its quite a known issue. There are several rather big threads here and in the official Apple discussion board talking grey smudges and spots appearing on all Alu and Glass type iMacs.
  6. Oggy, Feb 24, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011

    Oggy thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010
    I will add some pictures later in the day but here is a step by step guide!

    1. Remove the glass, unscrew the 10 torx screws, disconnect the cables and put the panel on a clean flat surface facing up. Follow this guide

    2. Unscrew 8 screws holding the frame to the panel. Some of them are beneath the cushions. They are different sizes so keep track of that. This guy came to this part Watch the video!

    Now the hard part!

    3. Put it in vertical position sitting on the bottom cushions and facing away from you. Peal of the metal tape on the top. You will see the 3 places for "pry opening" the frame. There are two more that you don't see on the top side. They are beneath the frame on the sides. You have to remove the metal tape in the corners in order to see those places. Look closely from the side. They look like small dents in which you put a flat head screwdriver. Don't pry it yet.

    4. Now, you have to put the display face down so you see the tape that connects the frame to the panel on the sides and the bottom corners. On the bottom there is a black tape which you have to remove and you will see a prying place. Beneath the cushions are two more of them. In the bottom corners also, but you want see them - same as on the top side.

    5.You see that metal gluey tape on the sides? Ok. It kinda glues the frame to the panel so you cant open it yet. You have to gently cut it loose from the panel! Yes this is the "do you have-the-guts-to-do-it" part. Take a knife or a razor blade and cut it so you can see the black plastic from the panel and the metal from the frame. When you're done with that you will see some more prying places for releasing the frame. 5 on each side.

    6. Keep the display in vertical position. Pry open the frame on all sides. You need to pry between the black plastic and the metal frame. Don't pry under plastic. Try to find the prying dents it will be easier to release the frame. Rotate it if you need. Gently and slowly. On the top side be very careful! There are connections from the display glass to the logic board which are not to be harmed. I didn't even touch them so I don't know how careful you actually need to be, but try not to brake them. You can open the tin plate over the logic board. There are 4 screws and it comes off easily, but you don't have to do that. You can just unscrew 2 top screws so this plate releases the frame.

    7. Remove the frame and put the panel face up.

    8. You can open it now from the bottom side. The top side is connected to the logic board. Be gentle. Don't remove it all the way. Just crack it open.

    9. Remove the dust from inside with a soft cloth. I used apple's cloth. There will be dust on the backlight and on the display from the inside.

    10. Close it and put the frame back. Don't worry, it snaps back easily just be careful with the top where the connections are.

    11. Screw all the screws back and assemble your imac.

    That's it! Enjoy your, once again clear, imac 27" display.

  7. Oggy thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010

    This guide is for the dust inside the panel, not behind the glass. And actually you don't need suction cups. You can open the glass with just you fingernail. Pry it between the aluminium and the glass and pull gently. That's it!
  8. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
    The issues concerning the imac can only be solve through management, where it all started within several suppliers also. This would take a complete redesign of many hardware components and that will take some time.
  9. Oggy thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010
    I think it could be solved with just different tapes for sealing the panel, or no metal tapes at all. The problem in my opinion (since I am the only one who actually disassembled the panel) is that the display itself doesn't sit well on the backlight. On the sides of the backlight there are sealing/distance tapes that tight-seal the air between backlight and the display quite well on their own. The problem might be that when you screw the frame back on display gets twisted a little bit because apple put those metal sticky tapes between the frame and the panel - hence dust between the backlight and the display glass.

    After I removed all those metal tapes dust doesn't seem to go inside any more. It's been almost 2 weeks now since I opened it and cleaned it and still no dust.
  10. sotorious macrumors 6502a

    Aug 11, 2010
  11. thajeztah macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2003
    Thank you

    For this guide, do you have pictures of the process?
  12. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Wow, this has been an issue since the very first alu/mirror screen-iMacs from 2007, and it still has not been fixed by Apple.
  13. infidel69 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2011
    I don't recommend anyone remove the screen on their imac unless their warranty is up and they know what they're doing. You risk letting more dust inside and making the problem worse while voiding your warranty.
  14. Oggy thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010
    I promise I will make a picture tutorial as soon as I get some free time. Maybe this tuesday night!
  15. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    Thank you, although a picture guide is good, I suggest you do a video as well. Looking forward to the guide.
  16. CapitanoFL macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2011
    Same here,
    BIG THANKS Oggy for posting link to your guide on my thread!
    We have successfully cleaned our 27incher :D
    Just wait a couple of years and this thread will become one most visited on this forum ;-)
  17. Freaked macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2011
    Did you take some pictures while fixing it? My iMac is 4 days over its warranty, and I would like to fix it myself :)
  18. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    I'm wondering the same. Mine is still under warranty, but the thread over on the Apple Discussion site seems to indicate Apple is starting to deny warranty replacements on these now. Pretty soon it's going to be up to us to fix it.

    This is such a stupid issue. I have a cheap 24" LCD as part of a dual-display setup, and it's been perfect since before I even got the Mac. And yet this $2k machine's display looks like I pulled it out of the garbage.
  19. BikerAlley macrumors member


    Feb 3, 2011
    Shreveport LA
    It is a design flaw, no matter what they say!
    They do not seal the area between the backlight and the LCD.
    The fans suck up all the dust, cigarette smoke, scented candles, etc..
    Have you ever looked inside your PC tower and seen all the dust?? That is what you are seeing behind your LCD.
    Someone needs to inform Apple we don't run these things in clean rooms.

    I have found that the ones that use the SMC Fan control have most the trouble, Thats because there fans are spinning faster and moving more air.. JMHO
  20. lefterisgr macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2011
    It worked

    Not for the faint of heart, but not extremely difficult either.

    1) Remove the glass, remove the torx screws holding the frame.

    2) Tilt the screen slightly and locate the 4 cables that attach the LCD panel to the boards. Remove them, but be very careful, especially with the wide flat cable that's close to the middle of the screen - it's very easy to damage that connector if you're not careful.

    3) With the cables detached, you can remove the entire screen frame. Place it face down on a soft surface. Unscrew the torx screws holding the panel onto the frame. Note that 2 of them are shorter - keep track of that.

    4) Remove the black plastic tape from the bottom. Remove the metal tape from the corners. Using a razor slice the tape right next to the metal frame - between the black plastic and the external metal frame. It's easier than it sounds.

    5) Now locate the prying points. The display must be vertical for this part of the job and it helps if you have a second person holding it. Using a small flathead screwdriver, pry one point at a time, rotating the entire assembly as needed. You want to pry between the metal frame and the black plastic. There is no reason to open the tin plate that covers the board.

    6) Once it's loose, I put it back face down and tilted it from the bottom. The LCD's glass stayed on the bottom and you can squeeze a hand in to clean (using Apple's cloth) both the LCD's glass and the panel. There was dust on both.

    7) I found it easier to snap back the LCD to the frame while vertical.

    8) Put the screws back on the frame, place the frame onto the imac and carefully re-attach the cables. screw the frame back, clean your fingerprints off and snap the glass back on.

    Good as new.

    Oggy: Thanks for doing it first!


    Attached Files:

  21. bulli macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thank you so much Oggy and Lefterisgr for your instructions on how to disassemble a 27'' iMac display and to encourage people like me to open the iMac display!
    I've just got an 24'' iMac with a similar problem. Disassembling this display is similar to your instruction but a bit easier. The frame is not glued to the display. You just have to unscrew the frame and peel off the black and transparent tape plus the tape which covers the corners. After that you can pry it open on all sides. No need to mention to be very careful with connections from the display glass to the logic board. I could remove a lot of dust on the panel with a lint-free lens cleaning cloth. But the guy who was the previous owner of this iMac was a heavy smoker. Although the result is quite good now, there are still some shades of nicotine. I don't dare to clean the panel with isopropyl alcohol (which works fine on all plastic and aluminium parts), windex-stuff or even a damp cloth. Would humidity or alcohol harm the panel? Does anyone know that or has an idea on that?
  22. Jiten macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2008
    Have you tried using iKlear to clean the panel?
  23. bulli macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanks for your answer, Jiten. As I understand iKlear is for cleaning surfaces and perhaps the front glass. But I am talking about the backside of the front glass. The dust and nicotine is behind the front glass - it is really inside the display as Oggy described.
  24. MacHamster68, Mar 30, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    it is a great idea problem solved and its cheaper then a new $700 display ,as that seams so far the solution apple is offering...i now understand why less work for the genius and more profit for apple
  25. Suanmiao macrumors member

    May 3, 2008
    sticky this!

    I've just opened her up and done the cleaning, you won't believe how dusty it was between the panels!! I do keep my place pretty clean. It's clearly a design flaw.
    by the way, my iMac is a mid 2007 24", after the cleaning I sealed all the edges with clear tape, I hope that'll keep any dust from going in there!

    Thanks a million to the OP, my iMac is brought to life again!

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