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Apple will repair 2016 MacBook Pros with ‘flexgate’ display issues for free

Apple will repair 2016 MacBook Pros with ‘flexgate’ display issues for free

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The Flexgate issue causes the display’s backlight to malfunction, dimming at regular intervals near the bottom of the screen.
Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Apple will offer free repairs to owners of 2016 MacBook Pros with backlight issues — a problem that’s increasingly started to appear on the laptops as they age. The repair program, announced this afternoon, covers only the 13-inch MacBook Pro model that debuted in 2016, though both the Touch Bar and non-Touch Bar versions are eligible. Repairs will be covered for four years after a laptop was first purchased.

In recent months, some owners of 2016 MacBook Pros have started to encounter an issue with their laptops’ displays, where the lighting will appear uneven on the bottom, as though stage lights are illuminating some areas but not others. The issue, dubbed “flexgate,” seems to be due to a cable that connects the base of the laptop to the display getting stretched more than it can handle over months of opening and closing the lid. If the cable is damaged enough, the entire display can shut off.

Apple appears to have fixed the issue on more recent MacBook Pro models by lengthening the cable. iFixit discovered the longer cable was present on a 2018 MacBook Pro, though it didn’t check whether Apple fixed the issue on 2017 models as well. Apple says the issue affects “a very small percentage” of 2016 models.

This is the second repair program that Apple has announced for MacBook Pros today. The company also expanded which laptops are eligible for keyboard repairs, to fix its notoriously sticky butterfly keys. Put together, the issues paint a less-than-perfect picture of Apple’s high-end and high-priced hardware. But after enough prodding, at least, Apple’s offering repairs to customers who need them.