View Full Version : Easily damaged retina display on MacBook

24th April 2013, 02:45 PM
First time poster but just wanted to give a heads up since I can't find any other info on this...

I just had the retina display on my 15" MacBook replaced under warranty after some pixels went white. The Mac store told me that it's just coming to their technicians' attention that a pixel can be taken out by the pressure that's exerted on the screen by even the smallest amount of grit,dirt,food, insect caught between the screen and the keyboard when closed. I'm told that they've found a minute indentation above every dead pixel on every retina display that's come in with this problem. They said it probably has to do with the glass screen being so thin.
I'm also told head office is looking into it..

Even though I take great care of my Mac, anal even, I'll now keep a piece of felt between the screen and the keyboard when the computer's closed....hardly ideal...but it just took a few unseen pieces of something and the display was damaged.
As it currently is, I reckon the retina display is nowhere near robust enough for a portable computer..
But until Mac can suggest a fix, felt it is...I just hope it works

Just thought this post might save other people's screens from potential damage..and give a gentle warning to those thinking of buying this otherwise beautiful machine that the screen's finicky, and maybe hold off buying till Apple comes up with a solution...that's what the person in the Mac store said they'd be doing...after all it's a few thousand dollar investment.

24th April 2013, 06:56 PM
Think you've been fed some bad info by this genius. I've jammed headphones between the base and screen, thrown it around, put reasonable amounts of pressure on the top of the case and mine hasn't had any problems at all. I won't even mention how my girlfriend treats hers, no issues there either.

24th April 2013, 09:16 PM
it was at the 'genius bar' :-) ...but, I've had the Mac for 5 months and 2 screens have needed replacing cause of bung pixels...

24th April 2013, 11:01 PM
No way the screen is that sensitive. Apple laptops are designed to take a beating. Try finding out who manufactured the screen before you take it back next time. Dead pixels are sort of a fact of life but if you get more than a couple and it bothers you and you're under warranty by all means take it back to be replaced.

I have a dead pixel in my cinema display but it doesn't bother me any more...I think I got it after one of my moves when the monitor fell over in the back of a truck. I'll upgrade to a retina cinema display eventually so I can live with it.

25th April 2013, 07:43 AM
Normally I'd readily assumed the same thing, simonm. My last black Macbook was a warhorse and neither it or any of the macs my friends have had have ever had a dud pixel, or any probs for that matter, except with the power supply…all had standard mac screens

But in separate conversations 2 people at the genius bar said they'd received a memo saying that it was on Apple's radar as a potential issue with the Macbook's retina display. One person scan read the memo to me, so, I have no cause to doubt them...and after 2 screens, I guess I'm wary.

Whether if I'd read the whole memo I'd of gotten a different impression, that it wasn't a question of their design but of the owner's neglect, I don't know…maybe this thread can shed some light on it.
Maybe someone on here who's got connections within Apple can ask whether it's an issue ..even if only an occasional one?…maybe I've just been 'lucky'

first screen had around 10 die, second 3-prominent...unsure screen manufacturer, I would have thought they'd all be standardized and done by one company... but I'm out of my field here.

25th April 2013, 01:21 PM
No there've been lots of problems with the retina displays manufactured by LG. I have a Samsung in mine and I don't think I have any dead or stuck pixels (though at this DPI they'd be pretty small and easy to miss). I'm hardly super gentle with it (though I take care to avoid getting it scratched) and it's got a fair bit of dust and I've not had any problems.

25th April 2013, 03:04 PM
Thanks simonm..
I googled about LG and Samsung and it appears from one, rather damning, article MacBook Pro with Retina display: Problems in every dimension | 9to5Mac (http://9to5mac.com/2013/03/20/macbook-pro-with-retina-display-problems-in-every-dimension/)
that the store doesn't know whether they're replacing the damaged screen with an LG or Samsung...it's pot luck.

it says, if I enter

ioreg -lw0 | grep \"EDID\" | sed "/[^<]*</s///" | xxd -p -r | strings -6

into the Terminal, that would tell me..

but that's beyond me..even though I found Terminal in apps, I'm concerned I might f something up...I'll look for a youtube vid and see how I go

Thanks again :-)

25th April 2013, 04:29 PM
I know it looks scary (UNIX is about as far removed from natural language as you can get) but that command is perfectly safe.

Simply copy it and paste into Terminal and press return, or if you want it to save the text file for later add "> ~/Desktop/mydisplay.txt" to the end like such:

ioreg -lw0 | grep \"EDID\" | sed "/[^<]*</s///" | xxd -p -r | strings -6 > ~/Desktop/mydisplay.txt

Which will dump the text to a file called mydisplay.txt on your Desktop.

Then type "exit" when you're done, press return and quit Terminal.

25th April 2013, 08:04 PM
you're a champ, Simonm...thanks for that..I have a Samsung.

I'll never know whether the last 2 were LG and whether that was the problem, and not a dirty keypad as I was lead to believe...but, regardless, I have the better screen now (I was staggered to read one guy has been through 9 screens !!) and hope I have no further problems.

It seems, from the linked article in my last post, that Apple is trying to be secretive about problems with the retina macbook.

" It is possible Apple could have aimed to address some of the issues with components in a minor refresh of the device last month, but that’s certainly not something that is clear to consumers purchasing the device. Apple upgraded a lot more than the CPUs it announced publicly, including tweaks to the SSD, I/O Board, Logic Board, and more."

Do you know whether Apple retrospectively provides the "minor refresh" (lol) to those who purchased the earlier model retina macbook ? or is it simply the luck of the draw by being amongst the first...and if anything goes wrong, hope you're still under warranty ?.

Thanks again again

25th April 2013, 09:24 PM
Yes I read those threads and agonised over the purchase of my rMBP but I've been very happy with it. Maybe I was lucky but mine has been flawless.

Hopefully you have better luck with this screen.

26th April 2013, 07:33 AM
Cheers s, and thanks for making my first thread a positive experience

26th April 2013, 01:21 PM
Not to make light of your problems - and I agree that having problems with a computer is incredibly frustrating, but...

Apple isn't trying to hide anything in particular.

Not publicising potential hardware issues is par for the course in the IT industry. Most manufacturers issue advisories to their service networks that aren't made public.

Sometimes, it's as simple as the fact that a manufacturer has noticed a higher than average repair rate (which might mean a 1.2% failure rate where a 0.8% failure rate was expected) on some particular model (or part) and is trying to find out more information. Keep in mind that many faults experienced on computers may have no warranty implications at all - e.g. software issues, configuration issues, mistreatment, external factors, and so on.

On top of this, the Internet is an incredibly effective confirmation bias (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias) engine. You can search for pretty much any computer problem you might be having and find "plenty of people" who have the "exact same problem".

Unfortunately, there's one or two flaws to this.

It might not be the "exact same problem" even though the symptoms might appear similar. Any working computer tech can tell you stories about this. A person having a computer problem talked to their friend who had the "exact same problem" only it turns out one has a corrupted operating system and the other has a failed hard drive (for example).

Then there's "plenty of people". How many is plenty? Five? A thousand? Such numbers only really mean something when you know the total user count.

Five people having problems out of five people using a computer is pretty damning. A thousand people having a problem out of five million users is a comparative drop in the ocean. Many forums that have these complaints, while they may run to many pages, may only have a relatively small number of actual participants so it's not always a good guide to how widespread any particular problem might be.

Finally, there's a huge difference between populations of averages and individuals. The failure rate on a particular model of computer may be so low that there's little chance that any one person will have problems. But that also means that some people WILL have problems. No matter how good the product.

None of this is to make light of your problems. They're frustrating. Particularly in such an expensive piece of kit. I feel for you.

It's at these times that it's hardest to keep perspective on things and, in some ways, when it's most important to try to keep that perspective.


26th April 2013, 01:25 PM

This man speaks the truth and we should all listen.

26th April 2013, 06:56 PM
Cheers s, and thanks for making my first thread a positive experience

You're very welcome. It's a pretty good community here. If you're not familiar with UNIX it's certainly a good idea to double-check before running commands in the Terminal.

I'm quite sure that as far as replacements go the components are new.

Feel free to ask anything else, are you new to Macs or just upgraded?

26th April 2013, 08:32 PM
makes clear sense, David...thanks for taking the time to remind me.

When the first screen went I thought "them's the breaks ". I checked to see whether anyone else had had a problem and looked for blogs/threads on 'pixel problems on the retina' and found none...fine
But when the 2nd one went a few weeks later I wondered what the f is going on. Two in a row sorta knocks the random chance mindset about.. and I was left with a big question mark in an, as far as I could find, info vacuum. All I had to go by was the memo the Apple guy had read me.....and I was left with the absurd proposition of treating my silver baby even more carefully than my already cautious handling.

Hence the post, and as it's turned out other posters treat their computer like one'd expect to be able to. So, whether it was random that I had 2 screens that had pixel probs or whether it was because the screens were LG..I'm not sure. But even though there's no other people writing about pixel problems with their LG retina screens (or samsung, even) I'm still hoping that was the case with mine (and for good measure hope that it was two randoms in a row as well :-)). The fella in at Apple said they wouldn't replace any more screens, with the inference being, I suspect, that I was being less than careful...this gives me some concern but I suspect that if the machine is still under warranty they would legally have to.

As to the other 'problems', I happily take your point...the uncertainty of the above, feed into the other..

thanks again, David


26th April 2013, 09:24 PM
Thanks heaps for that, s, much appreciated.

I'm a computer's workings novice and can't see myself going into Terminal again...I reckon I'll stop with my 100% success rate

I've had macs for years and this is the first problem I've had (the dog pissing on the power supply and shorting it doesn't count lol)

I'll happily ask any other queries on here again though :-)

28th April 2013, 01:28 PM
That's a shame, but I understand Terminal isn't for everyone. I live in Terminal and depend on it for my work. Try editing a 25 Gb text file or doing batch processing of huge data sets in things other than sed for example (which was used in that command). Its efficiency never ceases to amaze me. You have to be careful when scripting and I've made mistakes in the past that's for sure, but fortunately those are rarer now. If worst comes to worst there's always Time Machine.

Being UNIX-based is by far OS X's best feature and it's the best decision Jobs and Apple ever made, which goes back to the NextStep days when Jobs was ousted from Apple. It's as if Jobs foresaw the inadequacy of Classic MacOS and was planning OS X from when he first left.

The designers of UNIX were increadibly forward thinking because it contained the fundamentals of what most people think of as advanced operating system features from the very beginning, and it tends to be far more consistent than DOS.

I actually wish there was a Terminal lovers group on here!