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In brief: When you turn on your MacBook Pro, does it look like your desktop is about to put on a vaudeville show? It could be caused by a display cable that is too short. Apple will now fix that problem for free on eligible laptops.
Apple launched a repair program for those who have fallen victim to the “flexgate” display problem. The free repairs only apply to 2016 MacBook Pros with or without the Touch Bar. The program only covers laptops for four years after they were purchased, so those who bought their 2016 Pro when they first launched in October 2016, have a little over a year to make a claim.
The issue was first noticed back in January. One MacBook Pro user started a petition reporting that his display's backlight was acting up. The symptoms included a “stage light” effect at the bottom of the screen or the display completely shutting off if the lid was opened more than halfway.
It turns out the cause of the issue is a cable that connects the display to the base of the laptop. The cable is a bit too short, and over time the stretching caused by opening and closing the MacBook creates a faulty connection.
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An iFixit breakdown of a 2018 MacBook showed that Apple quietly fixed the problem in newer models by using a longer cable. Of course, this did nothing to address the issue that 2016 users are having, so Apple initiated the repair program.
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It insists that the defect is only present in “a very small percentage of 13-inch MacBook Pro displays.” However, similar symptoms have also been reported occurring in 2016 and 2017 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros. If complaints continue, expect Cupertino to expand the repair program.
Affected users can drop off their defective unit at the closest Apple authorized service provider or Apple Store. Alternatively, they can contact Apple Support to set up a mail-in repair.