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Macbook Pro LED Screen Discoloration/Spots (15″ 2017 Touch Bar)

Hi. You probably have orange spots on your beloved Mac screen and are wondering what to do right? The good news is you’re not alone. The bad news is that there is still no recall/extended warranty by Apple. I’ve been tracking the orange spots on my MacBook since August 2018. Since then over 64,000 people have viewed this page and more than 500 have left comments below sharing their screen issues. Have a read through the timeline, then be sure to add your voice to the ever growing comments section…

Table of Contents / Quick Jumps

June 12, 2019 – Lawyering Up!!! – READ THIS!!!

The Short Story: This is so important I moved it to the top. I met with a lawyer today that is serious about taking this issue up with Apple!!! The best way YOU CAN HELP build this case right now is to leave a comment below ensuring you use your proper email address, we need to be able to follow up with you. (Right now we are focused on MacBook Pro users who are experiencing the screen splotch symptoms elaborated on below.)

— IMPORTANT COMMENT INFO —

a. If you’re having problems leaving a comment below, please follow the link below to a Google survey that will collect the required info.


Link: http://bit.ly/MacBookPro-Spots (Link will open in a new tab/window)

b. Please note I manually approve comments so it may take up to a week before your comment shows up below.

c. Due to the volume of comments coming in these days and a lot going on in my life right now, I’m no longer able to reply personally to the vast majority of them. Sorry about that.

The Long Story: I like telling long stories so here’s one. A couple weeks ago I was hired to do corporate headshots / portraits for a local law firm in Seoul. The boss and I had a really causal pre-shoot meeting to discuss his needs and over a burrito and beer (just me because I’m freelance and that’s how I do at lunch). Our discussion meandered over to law. I said, “Mr. Law (not his real name, but wouldn’t that be great) can I ask you a question?” and proceeded to tell him the very short version of the events below:

“I paid a ton of money for my Macbook Pro, these orange spots appeared out of nowhere on my LCD screen, they meander around, gravity and heat seems to affect them, I decided to document the problem on my blog and now,  10 months later, over 300 people have left comments saying they’re having the same issue. I’m getting more comments with each passing day.”

Mr. Law picked up his phone and made a call to his contact. His contact was interested. My iMessage pinged with his contact’s contact info. I contacted him by text a week later, there was a lot of contacting:

“Hello Mr. Justice. My name is Greg. Mr. Law suggested I get in touch with you regarding a prospective class/group action vs Apple. About a year ago I took the time to blog about my issue with the 2016 MacBook Pro and since then I have had about 300 people report the same symptoms and problem. I have all their emails. Here’s the post if you care to look at it. The comment section is quite interesting!”

Maybe a week later, when I had forgotten all about it, Mr. Justice sent me this text:

Hi, Mr. Samborski.  Can we meet on Wednesday afternoon at my office?

For some reason I felt like I was in a movie. So we met! It was a really interesting conversation. Of course it would be foolish to reveal our strategy here. Details will be forthcoming so stay tuned! In the meantime we could really use your help:

1. PLEASE leave a comment here if you are experiencing this problem with your MacBook Pro and be sure to include the following:

a. Is your MacBook still under warranty / extended warranty / Apple Care?
b. Has Apple ever fixed this problem for you under warranty?
c. Have you ever been quoted a price to replace the screen, if so how much?
d. Have you already paid for a screen replacement, if so how much?
e. Have you had your screen replaced more than once due to the same problem? If so how many times?

We will soon be following up with individuals using the email address they left when commenting. The plan is to mail out a Google-forms survey to collect all relevant information, begin the litigation process and keep you updated. I will announce here when that email has gone out and link to the form as well.

Please note that there is no “payout” for consumers in this case. If you’re hoping to get a huge settlement and go on vacation that’s not going to happen. The best case scenario is that Apple creates an extended warranty program to replace screens of affected MacBook Pros for a free for the next few years and reimburses anyone who has paid to have their screen replaced when they shouldn’t have. The worst case scenario is that Apple does nothing, which is pretty much where we stand right now.

That’s all I have right now. Feels good to see something happening. Feels good to be fighting for justice!!! ✊✊✊

If you came to read all about the signs and symptoms from the start read on!

180805 – WTF is this???

180805 – The initial occurrence of purple orange discolouration on MacBook Pro Screen

Frankly I’m surprised more MacBook Pro users haven’t filled the internet with endless threads about their LED screens showing weird discolouration. From my experience with faulty logic boards, shoddily soldered GPUs and throttled iPhones these problems are rarely isolated instances.The closest I came to finding information about the problem was this article in the Apple Communities titled “Orange Discolouration from Bottom-Left corner of MBP Screen”. But get this, it was posted March 3rd 2011. It could very well be the same problem, Louis Rossmann has made a number of excellent videos detailing Apple’s repeated engineering flaws. This really isn’t intended to be a “let’s bash Apple” post, after being a die hard Apple evangelist for 15 years, having converted 20-30 PC users in that time, I’m just tired of the paying premium prices for underwhelming, underperforming hardware and the company that just hit a 1 TRILLION DOLLAR market cap  not even having the decency to admit when they’re f’d up and solve the problem. There, I needed to do my part and put that out there in the hopes of forcing some change. On to my issue… and probably yours.

Below you will find a log of containing all relevant details regarding the spotty screen issues and a timeline that will be updated as I work my way through this issue. If you have any info, suggestions, resources or comments please leave them below so that more people can find and fix this issue.

Computer: Apple MacBook Pro 15″ 2017 Touch Bar

Symptoms

-LED/LCD Screen has orang-y yellow-y spots/patches (looks the same as when you put pressure on an LCD or an oil drop on wet pavement)
-screen spots/patches occur along the very left site of the screen, from top to bottom
-screen spots/patches DISAPPEAR slowly and completely over a few hours when laptop is open!!!
-screen spots/patches REAPPEAR when laptop is closed for 30+ minutes and opened
-screen spot/patch size and intensity seems to correlate to duration that MacBook is closed

Hypothesis

-Heat and/or magnetic field

Timeline

180805 – WTF is This?
-10:54 Slid MacBook Pro out of computer sleeve of fully loaded LowePro camera backpack
-Noticed large orange-yellow faded spot on upper left corner of LED display immediately
-Assumed the only thing that could have caused it was excessive weight/force from camera gear sitting on computer (though this had never happed in the past 8 years)
-Searched for similar problems with MacBooks but found more faulty pixel and crack/break type issues than discoloration
-Confirmed I still have 2 years of Apple+ Care (Thank god!)
-12:36 Spots/discoloration on LED display has completely disappeared!

180805 – The initial occurrence of purple orange discoloration on MacBook Pro Screen
Discoloration/spot has completely faded. (Personal info censored)

180806 – Oh No, it Happened Again!

-08:40-Close MPB and load into the same LowePro camera backpack.
-This time the bag is almost completely empty, no camera gear, no magnets anywhere (I checked just incase), just some sun screen, business cards, small SSD etc.
-12:49 Take computer out to work at cafe, large orange-yellow spots along left side of screen
-This time there are more spots and they are larger than before
-Took a screen shot, no spot on screen shot which means likely not a software issue
-I decide to compile a blog post with all the info I have so far
-13:31 left corner spot has disappeared/dissolved/faded again, lower orangey band faded but still visible

180806 – Second instance of discoloration, this time multiple spots, more orange in color and larger.
1810806 – Screen shot to confirm it is not software related.
180806 – Orange spots on Macbook Display slowly fading away…

180807 – Unexpected Twist

-11:05 pulled laptop from camera bag after it had spent about 12 hours closed in there
-This time the orange discoloration is along the RIGHT edge of the screen!!!
-This is unexpected and interesting because I intentionally placed my computer the opposite way around in my camera bag…
-So now I’m stumped, I checked for magnets in my bag AGAIN and nothing, there’s nothing in there and nothing has changed from any other day during the last 6 months of use
-Is it GRAVITY? This is X-Files shit…

181007 – After inserting my Macbook Pro into my bag the opposite way the discoloration now appears on the right side of the screen.

180809 – System Optimization

I realized that this issue was not going to go away anytime soon so need to optimize this log book. From today I’m going to simply take photos of TextEdit with the date, time and details of the incident. If anything extraordinary happens I’ll put it in text here…

180927 – Momentum is Gathering

Today I replied to the second comment on my page from a user with the same problem. This article is now second from the bottom on the first page of google when you search “macbook pro screen discolouration”. I’ve gotten so used to living with this issue I stopped documenting it. I still get the whacky colors when my MacBook is closed. They still disappear over time when it’s open again. The best possible explanation I have thus far is that it’s gravity related. Read the comments below to see what others are saying and be sure to log your issue here so we can raise awareness.

As I mentioned in my reply to a comment below. I’m going to wait until my slow season before bringing my MacBook in under Apple Care. This is why I always get 3 years coverage now. Shit like this always happens to me with their products. Still, I love the OS, and some aspects of the hardware… Seems I need to have a backup MacBook if I really wanna be productive.

181209 – You’re not alone

I thought I’d share some stats today. I posted this article August 6th and since then there has been a steady increase in hits on the page. Now part of this certainly is the result of having reached top page rank for searches related to “orange smudges on screen”, the page is simply easier to find, but, there is no doubt instances of these spots are becoming more common. If you look at the comments below, you’ll note many Mac owners are saying the problem JUST started occurring (usually right after their apple care expired).

My plan was to wait until slow seasons to bring in my MacBook. I have three years of Apple Care so I wasn’t too concerned, until now. Sine this problem my MacBook has had a few minor accidents including a drop on the floor (someone tripped over the tether cable) and my iPhone dropping on it which caused a minor dent on the aluminum screen casing. I’m worried Apple may try and argue these accidents caused the screen symptoms and I really have no way to prove that this damage happened after the fact. I can only hope that this page will back me up should I encounter any pushback. I’ll post a photo of my current screen situation soon. It has pretty much stayed the same.

181220 – Learning to Live With Spots

I’ve been living with the yellow/orange/purple LCD spots for four months. Here are my longterm observations:
-The spots generally hang out at the bottom of my screen when my notebook is open on the desk for prolonged periods
-The spots never disappear they just migrate
-The spots don’t appear to be getting any better or worse over time
-The spots to still migrate when my laptop is carried/placed in a different orientation

The best theory I’ve heard so far (from the comments below) is that some of the liquid crystal has been smooshed out of the display and now drifts around freely. This would explain why the spots move and seem to be affected by gravity.

The LCD should not be so susceptible to pressure/popping. We have carried our MacBooks in our back packs and briefcases for years without issue… after all, isn’t mobility the very reason we fork out two to tree times more money on a laptop … so that we can carry it around?

Orange/purple discolouration bottom of MBP screen

190604 – Making Progress – LEGAL UPDATE

I’m super slammed with shooting, editing and a major family transition but I have some updates for you! I will share in point form:

1. Legal Progress – Mr. Kim, the lawyer looking into this case, has now shared with me the specific information we need to collect from each person who wants to be a part of this case. I had to redesign a lot of my initial Google form. Right now there are two groups:

a. People who have commented on this post below

b. People who couldn’t comment for some technical reason so they left their response on the Google Form.

c. Very likely people who responded in both places – please don’t do this yet!

I just contacted 10 of the 75 respondents on the form to see if they can go back in and add to their answers. I suspect this will not work since I turned on the edit answers part half way in and added more questions. If it doesn’t work I will likely have to create a new form and ask all respondents to resubmit 🙁 I’ll keep you posted.

2. Press Coverage Progress – I was contacted by a journalist who wanted more details. He’s written a story on the issue and says it will get wide coverage if released. I told him everything on the blog is public info but I can’t share any more details such as your personal info and the results from the Google Form firstly because of you privacy and secondly now that a lawyer is involved we need to run everything by him. Still, great to hear this may be getting some national/global coverage.

3. Personal Progress – The journalist above inspired me to make my own time lapse of how the orange smudges move about the scree. It took me three tries to get a production quality I was happy with lol. I hope to share it soon!

190809 – A Bunch of Updates: Class Action News, Seeking New Layer, Louis Rossman’s Take, Heat Problems & Mail Chimp

After 14 years of living abroad in South Korea I just moved my family, home, and business back Victoria, BC, Canada. It’s been a crazy two months and we’ve only scratched the surface of our todo list. I wanted to share some thoughts, observations and updates on this case.

1. Class Action Updates – The law firm I was so excited to be working with hasn’t been sharing any updates with me – because no progress has been made from the sounds of it. If I understand correctly, they need Korean consumers to come forward to pursue the case domestically. If they want to do anything on an international scale it would need to go through American/International courts and that requires different qualifications/certifications etc. I’m very happy I decided to create and host the form they wanted filled out on my own platform and that no personal details have been shared at this point.

2. Know Any Lawyers? – We are now 433 consumers strong and I’m seeing between 10-20 new incidents per week being logged between the comments and on the google form. Surely someone here has a connection to a lawyer who could help us get the ball rolling on this. If you know anyone who could assist us please put us in touch.

3. Louis Rossman’s Take – Remember Louis Rossman, the computer repair technician I linked to at the very start of this all? Well I contacted him to see if he had any interest in investigating the causes in one of his next videos. I got a short reply:

“It looks like a heat-mark. I have only see these when it fails to fall asleep in a bag while doing something CPU intensive. “

This comment made me reflect on the 433 comments I’ve received and here’s my revised theory…

4. Is Heat The Problem? – Many commenters have mentioned that the problem occurred when after they took their MacBook pro out of backpack, sleeve or case. Some have even noted the computer was hot/warm at the time.

I clearly recall a few occasions with my older MacBooks where I felt my back getting abnormally hot as I commuted by bus and subway through the city. When I slipped my MBP out of the laptop pocket of my backpack it was burning hot to the touch. The sleep function had failed to engage, the computer got hot, tried to cool itself and proceeded to get hotter because it was basically in a big insulated case. Surprisingly this never caused any noticeable damage on my older MacBooks, probably because they have an emergency overheating shutoff anyway.

I THINK my latest MacBook may have also gotten very hot in a case. Chances are it overheated and then the battery died or it shut down and that’s why I didn’t notice when I took it out of the case hours later. There have been some instances where my 2017 MBP hasn’t gone to sleep when the screen was shut and these days I pay special attention to this so it doesn’t happen as frequently.

Another repeating theme is that the orange spots occur near the bottom of the screen. Of course, gravity is one of the issues here but the heat vents are also located at the bottom of the screen so they could be contributing.

I would be interested to know if any of you can clearly recall some kind of heating issue just prior to discovering your orange splotches.

5. We’ve Outgrown Gmail – Gmail limits the number of recipients on emails so I’ll be using Mail Chimp now. The emails will be more than likely be a brief synopses of the topics covered here with links to the latest update.

Should I require more details from consumers the request will be made via email.

Once a law firm starts making progress on a case some of those updates might have to be limited to direct communications rather than posted on a public blog.

All that said, feel free to unsubscribe but please note that if you do I will assume you no longer wish to be a part of this case.

191101 – Stats, Legal & Press

I don’t feel like filling out the permanent residency forms for my wife, working on my interiors portfolio or deciding if I should drop 7k on a web designer so here I am with an update! Still feeling over whelmed by the move to Canada with so much to get organized. Sorry for the lack of action on this thing, I’ve basically been hitting “approve” on new comments for the last three months and let me tell you, a lot are coming in, especially in the last few weeks. Here’s some info:

1. Stats – I LOVE stats. So many people have filled in the questionnaire that I am hoping will lead to a successful recall, extended warranty or class action law suit if need be. I wanna share what I can:

661* – Number of comments now on this article! (Note this number includes multiple comments by the same person and replies so not entirely representative of people with the issue)

340 – Number of people who have responded to the Google Form I created to collect more information about their problem. THIS IS GREAT! This number is under representative as I started the form long after the blog so I’m sure many of the initial commenters didn’t fill it in yet.

2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Computer year and model most affected by the issue

MacBook Pro year and models most affected by orange spots on screen

11 – Number of commenters who had their screens replaced one or more times

Percentage of commenters who have paid to have their MBP screen repaired

11 – The number of commenters who have had the issue AGAIN after screen replacement

Commenters who have had to replace their screen once or more

40% – Number of commenters who have paid nothing for a screen repair. Note this MAY be because Apple took responsibility or they had extended Apple Care. 60% of people who brought their machine in ended up paying around $800 USD!!!

Average amount of money a commenter spent on a screen repair.

0 – Number of lawyers I have found willing to take on this case (Don’t despair, I’ve only asked two so far! 🙂

2. Lawyers – I need to reach out to more lawyers. I just did a search for class actions against Apple to see which firms do that kind of thing in Canada and the USA. My friends, this is where you could really HELP ME.

If everyone who commented here just took 10 minutes to send ONE EMAIL to a law firm with a link back to this page we would have reached over 400 lawyers!

You will have saved me 66.67 hours! That’s nearly two weeks of full time work!

3. Press– I’m surprised more of the tech and Apple news sites haven’t started writing about this issue. Let’s share this page with them and generate some press. Again, if you have leads or can simply send an email to the editor it would be a huge help. All you need to do is share a link to this page, the story is almost written for them already.

191215 – 61 New Cases In The Last 45 Days!

I just approved 61 comments since November 2nd 2019. That’s a NEW ISSUE EVERY DAY! I’m currently on a big job in NZ so I haven’t had time to do anything on the legal side 🙁

Everyone, I really need your help with the legal. I believe we have all the evidence we need here. Now how do we take action? Please leave advice in the comments!

I’ll leave you with a photo of the Tongariro crossing here in NZ 🙂

Tongariro Alpine Crossing – New Zealand – Dec 2019

200127 – Letter to Apple

I was looking though my google analytics today. I noticed a lot of referral traffic coming from these two Apple Discussions:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8569317
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8584952

It was the usual copy paste answer from some super keener volunteer using the standard help desk approach: Show Empathy, Restate Problem, Refer to Service Center / Help Forms / Feedback Link. So I decided to try it.
I followed this link Feedback – MacBook Pro – Apple
and wrote this…

Hello Apple,

My name is Greg. Me and 500+ other customers are experiencing a phenomenon where orange spots appear on our MacBook pro screens: gregsamborski.com/macbook-pro-led-screen-discoloration-spots-15-2017-touch-bar/

Being Apple, I’m sure your geniuses have alerted you the issue.

Today I’m asking that you please offer a recall, or, an extended warranty program on all affected devices. As a long time Mac user and evangelist I, like everyone else, am disappointed that a premium machine spent over 3k on suffers from this issue and that it has not been acknowledged. You would make a lot of people in my situation extremely happy, and maybe even earn back their loyalty, by doing the right thing and addressing the problem.

Please let me know what you can do! Thank you.

Greg S

200306 – Maybe we’re F@*ked…

I just approved 100 more comments on this post. That’s 100 new cases of botchy screens. That’s not why I’m feeling shitty though.

Emails to Apple Related Websites
An email I drafted and sent to six Apple related news sites.

A couple weeks ago I decided to reach out to finally take some action and reach out to the six most Mac-centric websites that came up on a google search. I wrote a brief but detailed email:

Hello Apple Insider,

I’m writing today in the hopes you can help me and at least 600 other loyal Apple users put some pressure on Apple to acknowledge they have a screen manufacturing defect in their 2016-2018 MacBook Pro line.

I have documented the “orange splotch” phenomenon meticulously on my website for over a year: https://gregsamborski.com/macbook-pro-led-screen-discoloration-spots-15-2017-touch-bar/

The page now gets over 5,000 hits a month and there are now 783 comments (new ones coming in every day) which I highly recommend reading to get a better understanding of the scope of the problem.

I also have a google form with 522 responses and counting where users have provided all their details including names, email addresses, serial numbers, country of origin… everything needed to prove there is an issue and maybe even get to the bottom of it.

I have raised the orange splotches issue with Apple via phone support and through their online forms but am getting no response. Perhaps with enough media attention they will do the right thing and offer a recall or extended warranty. If you don’t want to be associated I understand, perhaps then you can share some ideas about whom I could contact.

Please help me bring some accountability to Apple. Hundreds if not thousands of people will be most appreciative!

Sincerely,
Greg S

From six emails I got one single response and it was quite depressing:

This looks very much like an overheat of the LCD, which can be caused by a large number of factors internal and external.

I have a large amount of service data collated, and while it’s great you’ve got the 5000 hits a month and the 522 responses, there isn’t even one tenth of one report to Apple service of this per month, per service location. That doesn’t mean that’s all there are — but Apple doesn’t pay one whit of attention to online efforts

I see you’re speaking about a class action. What Apple will do is show the court this data, briefly discuss how many MBPs they sell per quarter (2 million plus) and point to maybe 100 of these a quarter, well under and kind of statistical probability, and lost in the noise of failure analysis.

And with that, ends your class action. Even with 100x the failure rate assuming you have 1000 responses coming soon, you won’t get a class certification.

So. What you need to do is get everybody who’s having the problem to get a case number, and a diagnosis. Maybe even a repair. And yes, that repair cost is going to hurt, considering that the same heat mark can be generated by user abuse. To be clear, certainly not all of these are user abuse, and I’m sure some are caused by a machine that hasn’t been rebooted recently not going to sleep properly.

But, unfortunately, this is the road. Keep in mind, that the failure rates on the 2016-2018 keyboard were much, much greater than your 1000 responses x100 for Apple to do anything about it. 

Good luck. Keep me informed!

-Mike Wuerthele
AppleInsider.com

I’m not giving up but I’m quite dissuaded right now. Come on people! How can we pull together and make something happen? What if we created a month of action were we all posted to Apple accounts across all social media platforms to try and get some attention? I dunno, I need some idea here!

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