There's an insect beneath my iMac's display glass.

Starfia

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Original poster
Apr 11, 2011
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A quick video.

It's minuscule, and took a moment wondering whether it was a speck of dust or a malfunctioning pixel before noticing its slow changes of heading and movement. A quick search of the forums and YouTube reveal I'm not alone in this interesting experience. It's mesmerizingly odd, the way it appears to be at least two millimetres deeper than the displayed image. How does that work, physically?

By this point – maybe ten minutes later – it's managed to prospect from nearer the centre of the 27-inch display to the lower-left bezel, and I've just observed it attempting to head downward into the black border several times before heading back upward; apparently that's not working for it, or maybe the display's light is more attractive than the dark. Hopefully it's able to find its way out, for both our benefits.
 
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Starfia

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SaSaSushi: Wow. Thank you for sharing the relevant story – that insect has a much higher resolution than mine did.

I'm sure I'm out of AppleCare for this iMac, and I think mine did make it out of the display area during the day. What an interesting life; it will likely never understand its short relationship to human engineers and this human user.
 

WilliamG

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Mar 29, 2008
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This happened to me with my 2013 iMac 27". Quite annoying.

I don't have this issue with my 2015 5K tho.
Not really possible on newer iMacs as the LCD screen is fused to the glass. The older models were not, which is why stuff could get in between the glass and screen itself.
 

SaSaSushi

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Not really possible on newer iMacs as the LCD screen is fused to the glass. The older models were not, which is why stuff could get in between the glass and screen itself.
Both the OP in this thread and myself experienced the bugs between the glass and LCD panel on 2017 iMacs so that's not the case.

Ironically, I never had the problem on my Late 2009 or Late 2013 iMacs.
 

WilliamG

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Both the OP in this thread and myself experienced the bugs between the glass and LCD panel on 2017 iMacs so that's not the case.

Ironically, I never had the problem on my Late 2009 or Late 2013 iMacs.
It’s not possible for that to happen on a 2017 unless a seal was bad, surely? There’s no way in otherwise...
 

SaSaSushi

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It’s not possible for that to happen on a 2017 unless a seal was bad, surely? There’s no way in otherwise...
I've read that although the LCD panels are now one unit they aren't airtight. There are holes in the back of the unit for the camera and video cables through which an insect can enter. There are separate internal layers.

The video posted by the OP above clearly shows insects can move about freely. There are many such videos out there of 2015 and later iMacs.
 
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Starfia

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It’s not possible for that to happen on a 2017 unless a seal was bad, surely? There’s no way in otherwise...
I wish I knew, and I'd love to know. I haven't found the appearance of any entry points around the display. But again, this thing wasn't much wider than a (Retina) pixel.
 

SaSaSushi

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Aug 8, 2007
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No, there's no way an insect is getting in from the front or sides of the iMac. More than likely it entered through the vents at the bottom of the machine and then into the panel via openings on the back of the LCD assembly.
 
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Ledgem

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Jan 18, 2008
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Repliers, take note: I'm reviving a thread that's a few months old.

I've been away from home for a few months and when I came back, despite having covered my iMac (and my computer desk), I've found four extremely small objects that appear to be insects. They're not all the same, and they also don't all appear to be on the same "layer." The Apple store says that with the newer iMacs (anything that doesn't have an internal optical drive, they said... which means "new" extends pretty far back, at this point) they can no longer remove the glass without replacing the entire display. They didn't give me a price quote, just noted that it's really expensive. Looking online, even if you do it yourself, the display parts run about $500. I'd guess the official repairs are $600+.

Late 2015 iMac 5K, largely maxed out... really disappointing. The system still has a lot of life left it in, and while I won't replace it just over this, this is definitely going to grate on me for some time. This was my first iMac (was previously using MacBook Pros and also had a Mac Mini for my wife), and given this issue, I think it'll be my last. It's not just that I've never had an insect crawl behind any of my screens before, but it really drives home how even one failure (or just sub-optimal performance) in an all-in-one system can screw you over.

I know that probably nobody really cares, and I'm sure Apple doesn't either. I'm just venting some frustration.
 
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_Skyfire_

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Aug 16, 2017
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Having just bought a used 2017, this topic piqued my interest. Quite lamentable that a carefully crafted item like the iMac can fail due to such an innocuous reason. So far nobody has discussed of prevention techniques in the thread...I suppose all you can do is hope to have a valid AppleCare subscription. Or perhaps even AppleCare+ would be needed
 

Coconutcreampie

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Having just bought a used 2017, this topic piqued my interest. Quite lamentable that a carefully crafted item like the iMac can fail due to such an innocuous reason. So far nobody has discussed of prevention techniques in the thread...I suppose all you can do is hope to have a valid AppleCare subscription. Or perhaps even AppleCare+ would be needed
My iMac is a late 2012 and it is always running, and zero bugs. Maybe running all the time might help. The tiny vibrations of the fan running maybe scares them away? Kind of like cars. Cars that are used all the time rarely have mice issues, but those that sit without use for long tend to. I've had it since new.

The bugs are probably not getting in between the glass and LCD bonded seal, but behind the LCD and in front of the backlight assembly. If it were my computer and it had numerous bugs I would simply remove the back of the LCD display to get at them if possible. Nothing to lose.
 

Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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Isn't the panel laminated on retina models? How is it even possible for anything to get behind the display glass and in front of the screen?
 

Coconutcreampie

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Isn't the panel laminated on retina models? How is it even possible for anything to get behind the display glass and in front of the screen?
Yes but possible to get in behind LCD and Backlight assembly. Should be fully sealed on the backside, but maybe not for cooling.
[doublepost=1562267410][/doublepost]
Yes but possible to get in behind LCD and Backlight assembly. Should be fully sealed, but maybe not for cooling.
 
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redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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Apple should do a better job sealing these iMac panels. Dust spots are known to form inside the panel when the iMac is used in dustier environments, and the presence of gaps large enough that an insect can crawl through is a real cause for concern. The area between the pixel matrix and polarizer is where this happens, not between the front glass and panel as the two are glued together (unlike the older 2007-2011 iMacs).

Sure enough, this happened with my old Late 2014 Retina 5K iMac back in 2015. The insect was still alive inside the panel but never managed to crawl out. Luckily the iMac was still under warranty.

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