Notebookcheck

iFixit: Apple MacBook Pro stage light issue turns "a $6 problem into a $600 disaster"

Several users have complained of MacBook Pros exhibiting the 'stage light' effect. (Source: Alex P. on Change.org)
Several users have complained of MacBook Pros exhibiting the 'stage light' effect. (Source: Alex P. on Change.org)
Several users have complained of a 'stage light' anomaly in their MacBook Pro displays. iFixit wrote in a blog post that it has identified the cause of the issue and attributes it to the manner in which the display cables connect to the display controller beneath the Touch Bar. This design causes the cables to tear overtime giving the uneven backlighting effect when the display is opened beyond a certain angle. More worrisome, however, is the fact that getting it repaired can prove to be a costly affair.

Apple's latest MacBook Pros are not new to incongruous design and technical choices and the latest complaint from many MacBook Pro users is being described as 'flexgate'. MacBook Pros suffering from flexgate are prone to several problems with the display, prominent of them being a 'stage light' issue that is seen at the bottom of the screen that often leads to a total shutdown of the display's backlight after opening the display at a certain angle.

iFixit took a look at the issue and attributed it to the fatiguing of the thin flexible ribbon cables that connect the display to the display controller board beneath the Touch Bar. Apparently, the manner in which the cables wrap around the controller board can subject them to stress everytime the laptop's lid is opened and closed resulting in their wear and tear including that of the backlight cable. This results in the 'stage light' effect and eventually the backlight stops working when the display is opened at more than a 40-degree angle.

Apple's quest for thinness has made them to opt for these fragile flexible cables instead of the traditional wire cables that were routed through the hinge in MacBook Pros prior to 2016. Compounding the problem is that these thin flex cables are part of the display assembly and cannot be repaired independent of a total display replacement that will burn a US$600 hole in the pocket for what is effectively a US$6 problem. 

A user, Alex, has started a petition on his site flexgate.me requesting Apple to announce an extended warranty program to address this issue. According to the site, the all MacBook Pros with Touch Bar from 2016 onwards are affected. These include —

Users who have experienced this issue after the warranty period say that they had to cough up the dough to get the display replaced at the local Genius Bar. The issue seems to be widespread, but Apple is yet to offer free service for what is clearly a QC issue on its part.

Alex's petition has currently gathered around 5,000 signatures so far. If you're one of those affected, we suggest you add your name to it as well. Here's hoping Apple yields to those who have spent quite a fortune on their MacBook Pro purchases.

Are you affected by backlight issues on your MacBook Pro? Let us know in the comments below.

The fragile flexible display cables around the display controller in the new MacBook Pros with Touch Bar can wear out overtime as they are pulled taut. (Source: iFixit)
The fragile flexible display cables around the display controller in the new MacBook Pros with Touch Bar can wear out overtime as they are pulled taut. (Source: iFixit)

Source(s)

Read all 1 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 01 > iFixit: Apple MacBook Pro stage light issue turns "a $6 problem into a $600 disaster"
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-01-23 (Update: 2019-01-23)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.