MacBookPro Flexgate problems with screen

(jcarter572) #1

I bought a MacBookPro September 23 for my grandson, and in December we noticed the screen was looking very strange. Lines thru it, and at the bottom, lights and flickering. If he pressed on the computer under the screen, it moved all around. Googled the problem and came up with “Flexgate” and StageLight information. We took it to a small independent Apple store, they had no clue, but my grandson thought it was the wires coming from the computer to the screen, and yes, indeed, thats the problem. He opens and closes it a lot, as he uses it in school and homework. Its getting worse.
I called AppleCare and they keep dodging the issue. Tho they say its under warranty, and it will cost only $600 to fix it.
We can take it to a real Apple Store up near Boston(long drive and he needs it daily for school).
There is a scratch sort of like a dent in the plastic on the computer itself, and they say its ‘cosmetic’ but said it probably voids the warranty.
This is very odd, as we know its the flexing of those wires, and they are HARD Wired from the computer to the display, so the entire screen would have to be replaced. Thus the $600. But how do we know that this engineering mistake would not be corrected with the replacement?
So we figured that somebody here might know what we need to do. Its very sad, as its a nice little computer, and I am surprised at this from Apple.

(Adam Engst) #2

Sorry to hear it, and I’m surprised that Apple would be saying that you have to pay for repair so soon after purchase. It’s possible that the independent Apple store could go to bat for you with Apple, or that you could push hard on Apple to get it fixed.

For what it’s worth at this point, I always recommend buying AppleCare for Mac laptops, and doubly so for anything used by a student. They’re hard on technology. Hmm, now that I say that, you might ask the local dealer about buying AppleCare now, which I think it possible within a certain time after purchase.

(jcarter572) #3

I keep calling Apple, and they still haven’t given any real advice. Still dodging this issue. The local store here hasn’t been a help, they wanted $600 plus a $150 fee to diagnose it.
I sure wish we had bought AppleCare for this machine, and its too late as it was September when we bought it.
My question is why are these vulnerable cables hard wired, as if anything is going to fail, they would be first. My husband just repaired a dishwasher with the same issue, flexing cables, but the new wire harness was $75 and it was RE-ENGINEERED, so that it would not fail again.
So this is why Im still calling Apple to see if they are going to do a fix for this, as if they replace the screen with the same old wire design, whats to say it wont just happen again.
We have many engineers in our family, so that is why Im a bit sad that Apple has not addressed this problem, as it sure is obvious what the problem is.
Thank you for your help, we will just keep working on it, and Ive sent this info to Mac|Life magazine too. They are aware of this, but it will be a while before we see anything in print.
Our family loves Apple products and we have vast amounts of devices, but the next laptop I buy will be a Dell, until this is fixed.

(Curtis Wilcox) #4

New Macs come with a 1-year hardware warranty included. If the problem is due to a manufacturing flaw, it should be covered and not cost you anything (“If he pressed on the computer under the screen, it moved all around” doesn’t sound like damage, which would not be covered). $600 sounds like what a repair would cost if it’s not covered by warranty. If the cosmetic damage is not near where the point of failure is, I would not expect it to void the warranty (BTW, I think all current Mac model bodies are made of metal, not plastic).

Historically, an AppleCare Protection Plan could be purchased anytime within a year of the Mac’s purchase. I can’t find a support page that confirms that in the U.S. AppleCare+, which includes other features, like cheap accidental damage coverage, needs to be purchased closer to the Mac’s purchase. I think the Check Coverage page can say what’s available for this Mac.

Why do they build their laptops this way? It might help them achieve the thinness Apple continually strives for. It could also be that a more easily replaceable component would also be one more likely to fail (more connection points, more potential points of failure). The problem also seems rare enough that it doesn’t screw up the economics of their warranty program.

(Simon) #5

It used to be you could buy AppleCare for a Mac up to one full year after purchase. Now with AppleCare+ it appears that window has been shortened to 60 days. :frowning:

(jcarter572) #6

I wondered about the 1 year warranty, but I keep getting the run-around. That scratch which is ‘cosmetic’ is where the little cards go in to be read, and he closed it with a card in, so its a little dent/scratch.
AppleCare has to be within 60 days.
They are so thin, but so beautiful! But its the Flexgate thing that is going on, its sad. We have one more option, to drive to a town near Boston, which is a real Mac store, and see what they say. The AppleCare person I talked with last recommend this. But it has to be when school is out, which is June. Still under the warranty. But Im nervous of having the same hardwired screen assembly being not re-engineered so that this wouldnt happen again.
I thank you all for your advice, as this is rather troubling for us, as we have had immense luck with all our Apple products until now.

(jcarter572) #7

I think the trip to Boston when school gets out, and my grandson can be without it, is the way to go. Thank you!

(Curtis Wilcox) #8

I don’t know what you mean, what kind of “card?” All the ports are on the sides so I don’t see how anything inserted could interfere with closing the MacBook. In any case, it still shouldn’t affect warranty coverage of a bad connection between the display and the main body.

I don’t think there’s any chance that an Apple Store is going to fix it in the store but I think you can make an appointment to let a store Genius look at it and hopefully confirm that the problem is what you think it is. That appointment could be on a weekend. I don’t know where you’re at but you don’t need to get that close to Boston to find an Apple Store, there are a number of them further out in Massachusetts (and in Providence).

The actual repair can be handled by shipping it to Apple and the turnaround can be quick. Last week I sent in my 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro because the battery indicator in the menu bar said “Service Battery.” When I called Apple, they sent a shipping box in one business day. I couldn’t ship it back immediately but when I did (by FedEx) in the morning, they fixed it the next day and I got it back the day after that (I’m in Cambridge, MA, BTW). Between call and resolution, it can be 4 business days and only 3 business days without the laptop.

(jcarter572) #9

These are the little SD memory cards for digital camera. They are about inch by .9 inches in size. It made a tiny dent or scratch, I would have to post a picture to show this. But the local Apple store confirmed that it was only ‘cosmetic’. But they came up with $750 to fix it, and were vague.
With the weather like this, and yes, we do have a list of where the real Apple stores are, we will wait till spring comes, and a moment when my grandson can be without it.

Ive looked into the shipping, that could be a way to do it also. Our daughter lives in Somerville, so that is also another option, once the weather gets better. 4 school days could be OK.
Its still making me wonder why Apple is not seeing the Flexgate problem, and its all over the web, they call it StageLight too. Ive never had a problem with Apple till this.

(Adam Engst) #10

iFixit just wrote about Flexgate:

(jcarter572) #11

Yes, my grandson found this article, and some others a while ago. One shows how to take it apart and fix it, and where to buy the parts. I said NO to that, even tho he might be able to do it, as he has built many PC machines, but not any laptops. I said, we have to wait, as sooner or later, Apple will recognize this and offer a fix for a fair price. Hope this happens within our warranty period, we have till September.

(jimblohm) #12

Re AppleCare+ when purchasing a Mac.

From date of purchase, Apple allows the purchase of AppleCare+ For 60 days, thereafter, for the balance of the year, if you call AppleCare support, they will offer the purchase of traditional AppleCare for your computer.

As In the past, it will only cover Mfg defects and phone support for three years from date of purchase.

(jcarter572) #13

Thank you, Its over 60 days, and the local Mac(independent) store said they could not do that. They wanted $600 plus a $150 fee to diagnose it. We said NO WAY!
But we do have the 1 year warranty to work with. First we have to take it to a real Mac/Apple store to get this working. We have till September 23 next fall.

(jimblohm) #14

If you are interested in covering your Mac with standard apple care for three years, (the local stores are unable to offer this, and not many employees are knowledgeable about this) but I know of at least one person who also was past the 60 day limit, who called AppleCare and was offered what I refer to as the older standard policy (no accidental coverage, which was introduced within the last two years or so, but still extended the mfg defect coverage for an additional two years. I don’t know the price, but typically the added premium for accidental coverage is about $20-30 dollars more than it used to be. So a 13” MacBook Pro AC was $249, now it’s $269 with AC+.

Keep in mind that any paid repair only has a 90 day warranty or one year which ever is longer.

Even the standard or regular AppleCare of years ago covered the machine for defects including those that might have been paid for for a full 3 years.

I think you may still consider AC a good investment, especially if the issue reoccurs after the first year.

It sounds as though the computer might have some evidence of accidental damage, which will take precedence over a mfg defect, as that paid repair is addressed first, and in some cases that repair “fixes” the issue.

Good luck,


(jimblohm) #15

One more observation, in rereading your comment, I would suggest a drive to the nearest apple store. The independent store is one I would not patronize based on a diagnosis fee.

Apple does not charge to diagnose an issue, ever, and if there is no physical damage, the issue will be covered by AC. It may be a long drive, but not paying $150 to diagnose may be worth it.

(jcarter572) #16

Yes, we wont touch the local store ever again. We told the guy what was wrong with it, he had not even heard of Flexgate.
Your advice to take it to the Real Apple store is what my husband said we will do during the next school vacation. We have till September on the warrantee. The ‘cosmetic’ damage wont effect anything, wish it could, but its just a ding in the plastic. If the store recommends the $270 for AC, and Flexgate gets fixed for nothing. It would be worth it, but we will have to get that for sure, as I dont want a $600 repair issue thrown at us. Im still upset with Apple for not recognizing this boo-boo with engineering. And would want to know if and when these are repaired, that the same screen and wire unit has been updated and just wouldnt happen all over again. (Ive got a 10 year old Dell which still is just totally fine. And 2, 25 year old trucks which still run fine.) I dont like planned obsolescence especially when a top of the line product is purchased. All our OLD Mac devices all still work fine. I tried to make an appointment with the store up near Boston, but was not able to reach them yet. Will keep trying.
And thank you for this advice.