If you own a recent MacBook Pro model from 2016 and onward, you’re in for a new controversy. The repair experts at iFixit have recently uncovered a new “Flexgate” issue with MacBook Pros after some consumers reported a “stage light” effect, where the backlighting on the device would fail and cause the bottom of the display to become slightly distorted.
Though it’s not clear if the problem is widespread, according to iFixit, the stage light effect is caused by flaws with a cabling system that Apple uses to attach each MacBook display to the internals of the laptop. In MacBook models from 2016 and newer, Apple switched to a new flexible and thin ribbon cable, which over a long period of time can face fatigue and eventually tear as the lid is repeatedly opened and closed on the laptop. Even worse, the cables are part of the display, so it cannot be replaced easily, and a fix would cost upward of $600. Continued use of MacBooks with the damaged cables would also eventually cause full backlight shutdown if held open more than 40 degrees, eventually causing complete failure of the display.
“But as always, the devil is in the details,” iFixIt explains. “Apple opted for thin, fragile flex cables as opposed to the beefier wire cables used in previous designs that could be routed through the hinge instead of wrapped around it, helping mitigate the stress of repeated openings and closings. But the bigger problem is that, in an apparent effort to make the display as thin as possible, Apple designed the cables as part of the display.”
A website dedicated to Flexgate provides more details on the stage light effect, and a call to action for MacBook owners to sign a petition so Apple can fix the problem under an extended warranty program. At the time of press, it has gathered more than 4,900 signatures. Apple has yet to acknowledge this latest issue, but this wouldn’t be the first controversy it has faced. Previously, the second-generation butterfly keyboards on MacBook Pro models suffered failures if dirt or debris were lodged under the keys caps. Apple addressed that issue with an updated design and offered extended warranties for consumers complaining of the issue.