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Backlight Issue: Apple Extends MacBook Pro Free Repair Program

MacBook Pro

Apple will continue to repair faulty MacBook Pro models (13-inch) from 2016 free of charge if the display backlight fails. The manufacturer extended the service program by a year but lacks an extension.

The problem that emerged under the name “Flexgate” at the beginning of 2019 describes the susceptibility of short ribbon cables that connect the mainboard of the MacBook Pro (Late 2016) to the respective screens. If this is damaged by wear and tear over time, the background lighting of the displays may appear uneven or fail completely. For affected 13-inch devices in the variants with two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Apple has been offering an exchange program for some time now and is now extending it for another year.

Free repairs even five years after the initial purchase

Previously, the program was “for eligible MacBook Pro models for four years from the initial retail purchase or three years from the program start date, whichever is longer.” However, the period from the first purchase is now specified on the manufacturer’s support websites as five years, which is why Apple and authorized service providers continue to offer free repairs. Although owners of younger MacBooks also complain about the same problems, the service program has not yet been expanded.

In January 2019, several reports showed that various MacBook Pro models from 2017 and 2018 could also be affected. In addition, the “Flexgate” seems to have been found not only in the more compact 13-inch displays but also in the larger 15-inch models of the same series. It was only later in 2018 that Apple is said to have lengthened the ribbon cables by two millimetres to counteract the problem. The company itself, however, only speaks of a “very small percentage” of devices that exhibit the above behaviour.