Oh No! iMac Screens Failing

There seems to be a defect with the screens of certain iMacs, says MacNN. More and more users are reporting an issue where weird pink lines appear on the LCD and get progressively worse as time goes on.

From MacNN:

“It started out a 1 pink line, Then about 2 weeks later another 2 lines appeared. Every now and then when I start up they are gone but seem to fade in after about 5 minutes.”

Sadly for these owners, the issues seem to start just after the 1 year warranty expires. Some of the affected users have started a petition. It reads:

We, the undersigned, request that Apple Inc. officially acknowledge and address the defect in their LCD Displays. The defect causes vertical lines (cyan/yellow/pink) to appear cutting through the screen and multiplying as time goes by. Unfortunately, the problem starts to appear right after the end of the one year warranty. This problem has been filling up the Apple’s online discussion forum and with no possible solution. We are the loyal Apple fans and would love to see Apple show its appreciation by stepping up to this issue.

Customers with this issue who consult an Apple are being quoted prices of “more than $700,” says MacNN.

If this happens to you, the first thing you should do is check to see if the credit card you used to purchase the computer has extended warranty protection. If it does, you may not have to wait around for Jobs to read this blog.

iMac LCD screens failing en masse [MacNN](Thanks, Mike!)

Comments

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  1. minn-eh-sota says:

    This happened to me about a year and a half ago. After a few weeks, the entire thing crashed and I had to replace my hard drive. So back up your info before it’s too late!

  2. ianmac47 says:

    Class Action Status.

  3. Draconianspark says:

    $700 to replace an LCD panel that size / resolution is reasonable. I hope Apple will cover this, though, even though I’m not a mac user.

  4. Trai_Dep says:

    Okay, in front of the 34,865 Mac vs PC posts that are incoming, I’ll bet that Apple does the right thing on this. One year out, and something this function-affecting? Yup. They’ve done it before (hey, tech industry: it happens), they’ll do it again.

  5. Trae says:

    And people wonder why Apple pushes the extended warranty. :P

    That sucks though, I hope Apple goes the extra mile and helps people… not just because I have a Macbook that’s still under warranty and I’m afraid something will happen to it once that expires. :P

  6. alfista says:

    The model pictured has only been out since august, so not sure how it could be just out of warranty.

  7. @alfista: That’s not the new iMac. Look closely and you’re see a clear plastic border around the edge of the computer. The new ones are all aluminum.

  8. wah wah…

    uh oh. is thi the aforementioned calm before the storm?

  9. this*

  10. mercnet says:

    When buying a computer I never expect the lcd to go so earlier. I had this dell laptop since 2004 and the only problems it had was the fan and hard drive dying. Apple better do something about this.

  11. DAK says:

    Wait, I’m confused – I thought Apple was infallible and could do no wrong?!?! For fuck’s sake, think of all the cool iPud commercials!

    Glad to see that people are finally beginning to realize that Apple is just as crappy as every other tech firm.

  12. dirtleg says:

    @thnkwhatyouthnk: That looks like a Cinema Display monitor (Apple’s stand alone monitor series) in the picture. If that is the case it is not even an iMac anyway. Not sure what to think about that. Why use a picture of the wrong product. Being a Mac user for many years, and having only recently upgraded to a new aluminum iMac, I try to keep up with what is happening in the world of Mac. This is the first time I have heard of this condition with the iMacs. I have heard of a plethora of other problems that have cropped up with new hardware and the new Leopard OS, but not this one. I have to wonder just how common this really is. I am going to start searching some of my online sources to see if I can come up with anything.
    By the way, I have been using my new iMac for over a month now and it has performed flawlessly for me and my family.

    Later.

  13. Parting says:

    Ok, so my PC isn’t that bad. It didn’t screw up on me, yet;)

  14. enzo says:

    @dirtleg: Wow, a whole month.

  15. saltmine says:

    @DAK: You’re obviously new to this. This happens pretty often with Apple products. The reason you rarely hear about it is because right before it becomes a huge issue and the press makes a big deal out of it, Apple turns around and offers a free extended replacement plan. They’ve done it with things that are much more expensive than LCD screens too – they were replacing logic boards ($1000-$1500 repair) long after the warranty expired on a number of G3 laptops.

  16. bilge says:

    Whoo! Time for yet another Apple Repair Extension Program!!!

  17. algodard says:

    That happened to my ibook 6 months after I bought it. i noticed that the problem was worse in cold weather. if i closed my ibook and held it against my chest for 5 minutes to warm it up, the problem would be solved temporarily. when i told that to the people at the genius bar they thought i was crazy. They replaced the screen and logic board and the problem was solved. good thing i had apple care.

  18. AT203 says:

    Well, it was a silly design to have the computer an monitor integrated anyways. With a modular design you can upgrade the two separately, or if one plonks out, you can replace it.

    With the integration, if one goes, the other goes by default…

  19. goodkitty says:

    @Draconianspark: I can buy a 28″ stand-alone LCD monitor right now for $560. How is paying $140 more for a smaller, less expensive part ‘reasonable’, especially when you overpaid for the Apple logo in the first place in the name of convenience and ease of use?

  20. blitzcat says:

    @goodkitty A graphic professional will pay a lot for a monitor that can be calibrated to a color space, so that screen and print output are very close to the same. Its not the same to try and calibrate some off the shelf lcd panel.

  21. outsdr says:

    This happened on my iMac at work, which was purchased in April of 2006. It was only one vertical line, but as the computer is used for graphic design, it was difficult to live with. When we bought the computer, we also got the 3-year Apple Care protection plan, and after a 30 minute phone call with support, running a few tests and whatnot, arrangements were made for a technician to come the next week to fix it, which wasn’t bad, as there is apparently only one company that services all of Wyoming for Apple, and they are based 300 miles away.

    The technician brought a new screen, a new logic board, and one other component, I believe, although I don’t remember what it was. He said that there was no way to tell beforehand which part was causing the problem, which is why there were that many parts. In this instance, I think it was the screen that was bad; the logic board was switched out first and the problem was still there, but he didn’t bother to put the old logic board back in. He installed the new screen, it tested out fine, and I haven’t had any trouble since. If it happens again, hopefully it will still be within the 3-year Apple Care coverage.

    One thing he did mention, however, is that apparently the new iMacs have a pane of glass covering the LCD screens, and the glass isn’t tempered, making it unexpectedly fragile for a computer part.

  22. tadowguy says:

    And Apple fan-boys will probably blame cosmic rays.

  23. new and troubling questions says:

    @DAK: It’s true!…I have (and love) several products from Apple, but I’m always petrified that something will go wrong, because they can be pretty weak where customer support is concerned. At least the iPhone/AT&T issues reminded people that though Apple’s products are cool and shiny, Apple the company isn’t so exceptional.

  24. Indecision says:

    This has been my biggest complaint against iMacs ever since they first came out: I would never buy a computer with an integrated monitor. If these people had a monitor they could replace themselves, they could have a 20″ Apple Cinema Display for $600 (or spend even less if they aren’t picky about precise color).

    But no…because it’s integrated, and the iMac has no port for an external monitor, now their entire computer is screwed just because of a problem with the screen.

    All the bad parts of a laptop (expensive, proprietary, non-user-serviceable parts) and none of the good parts (portability). Why bother?

  25. yg17 says:

    @Indecision: The iMac does have a port for an external monitor….

  26. Jon Parker says:

    @DAK: Apple is a company that is in business to make money. In my experience they will do the right thing, but they’ll take their own sweet time getting around to it. People who pay for repairs will more than likely get their money back eventually.

  27. MYMHM says:

    @dirtleg:
    How is that POSSIBLY a cinema display? It’s already been mentioned that the edges are plastic, and cinema displays are aluminum (the old plastic ADP displays had a fugly blobby shape).
    Also, since when have cinema displays had THAT much dead space for speakers at the bottom?

    And even if it WAS a cinema display, it would STILL be a defect with an APPLE DISPLAY, which I kinda figured was generally the point of this post.

    Whew, I’m cranky, off to bed…

  28. KJones says:

    @trai_dep:

    Okay, in front of the 34,865 Mac vs PC posts that are incoming, I’ll bet that Apple does the right thing on this. One year out, and something this function-affecting? Yup. They’ve done it before (hey, tech industry: it happens), they’ll do it again.

    Apple has twice had massive product failures with the ipod: the batteries that failed after the warranty ran out, and then the screens that cracked and failed without customer abuse. Both times Apple tried to ignore the problem until it was clear the consumer backlash would cost them more money than they saved by ignoring it.

    It would be nice if Apple has learned not to disrespect their customers or take them for granted, but don’t bet the farm on it. Just look at their attitude toward people who wanted an iphone without an AT&T contract.

  29. Maulleigh says:

    That sucks major a*s! Oh, I’d be livid.

  30. @DAK:

    it’s an iMac G5 or intel-based core duo or early core 2 duo. white, translucent body gave it away (and the cinema displays don’t have a camera built into them)

    progressive LCD death (1 line to start, followed by it getting a lot worse) is common with all manufacturers, since they basically buy from the lowest contract bid.

    If the computer’s under applecare, it will get repaired (granted there’s no sign of abuse)

  31. z1rdarryl says:

    I played around with Appel products a few years ago.
    My experiences were all bad.
    I Know that there is a lot of Appel Fanboys out that think the company can do no wrong, but I personally wold never buy an Appel product again.

  32. Rusted says:

    It’s probably a bad production run from a sub-vender. No hard data on how many going bad, so I’m taking this story with a lot of salt.

    The interesting bit is seeing how Apple handles the recall.

  33. shades_of_blue says:

    That’s what you get for buying a computer because it portrays an image of sophistication and elitism.

  34. jsnorcal says:

    “Okay, in front of the 34,865 Mac vs PC posts that are incoming…”

    I am always amazed at how much disdain there is for Mac’s in this forum! I mean it isn’t as if the owner of the thing was making a “Fanboy” video professing how wonderful his Mac is and as he is swinging it around in a field of daisies tripped, fell and caused this. That might actually be funny…but it would seem the poor guy has an issue and hopefully it will get fixed. Now here comes the obligatory “Fanboy” opinion…I have 20″iMac that is 2 years old, a Macbook Pro that is 1 1/2 y.o. and a 13″ Macbook that is 1 y.o. and none of them have had issues save a couple new batteries for the MBP & MB. I love them and would buy another…I might also buy a new PC someday =)

  35. DaveB says:

    There’s no way, Apple products are perfect and never break.

    Seriously though I’ve had 3 nanos and 2 shuffles stop working in one way or another. Just picked up a Zune and am free from those pretentious Apple scumbags.

  36. Bladefist says:

    @DaveB: I’m with you. Apple is 100% perfect. That image must be photoshopped. It’s a vista user trying create hype about something that could never happen. :-)

  37. RvLeshrac says:

    @trai_dep:

    Yeah, just like the recalled motherboards. And MacOS 3.3. And the “We only offer you a 90 day warranty, even though we charge you 3x the going rate for hardware. You should have bought AppleCare, bitch.” attitude you get whenever you have a problem. On top of that:

    Bad screen?
    [AppleCare] You must have broken it.
    [Apple] You must have broken it.

    MacBook’s screen cracks in two when you open the lid?
    [AppleCare] You must have broken it.
    [Apple] They aren’t defective!

    Bad motherboard?
    [AppleCare] You must have broken it.
    [Apple] It isn’t defective! No, wait, it is! We’ll recall them, but we won’t reimburse anyone who paid for repairs!

    Bad RAM?
    [AppleCare] You must have broken it.
    [Apple] How do you know it is bad if you didn’t open the case?!

    Keyboard doesn’t work?
    [AppleCare] You must have spilled something on it.
    [Apple] You must have spilled something on it.

    MacBook overheats?
    [Apple] There is nothing wrong with the MacBook.
    [OutragedConsumers] There’s OBVIOUSLY something wrong with it! The fan never cuts on!
    [Apple] OK, there’s something wrong. But it isn’t our fault, we’re not going to fix it.

  38. balthisar says:

    Regarding integrated computers/monitors, I myself always flip-flop between them. SE, Color Classic, Quadra 630, PowerMac 6400, iMac Graphite, Power Mac G4, and now two iMacs. That doesn’t count the PC’s or the PC laptops and PowerBooks.

    So far, I’m happiest with the current LCD iMacs, and it has everything to do with them being integrated. My work space at home has never been so clean and shiny. The cable channels I installed under the desk I built are all but empty. Just like the Macs, it’s all clean and elegant.

    One could argue that I’m an idiot for paying for clean and elegant, but I need a computer anyway, and despite what everyone says there’s not a significant price difference these days, so why not get clean and elegant if you can?

    Let’s also not forget that laptops are all integrated as well.

  39. RvLeshrac says:

    @blitzcat:

    No, actually, it is.

    They sell these devices called ‘spiders,’ see…

    That said, you obviously aren’t going to be using a $150 LCD for graphic design.

  40. RvLeshrac says:

    @balthisar:

    You shouldn’t go “clean and elegant if you can” because you’ll be paying the same price if *ANYTHING* bad happens to that LCD, *EVER*.

    I have never once seen a company cover an LCD under anything but the most expensive of extended warranties.

  41. RvLeshrac says:

    @RvLeshrac:

    [I suppose I should point out that the statement excludes LCD monitor manufacturers who expressly warrant the product. Viewsonic, etc.]

  42. Trai_Dep says:

    @KJones: in other words, “Waaaaah! Apple fixed my problem for free. Waaaah!”

    (/whining)

  43. Trai_Dep says:

    @z1rdarryl: Someone who is unable to spell “apple” really has no business owning any technology more complicated than a Speak-and-Spell. Really.

  44. Jon Parker says:

    @z1rdarryl: One really cool feature on the Mac is a spell checker that works interactively as you type in just about every program. You should really consider getting one.

  45. shaunirving says:

    Enough about the Apple Fanboy talk already.

    I buy only Apple products for two reasons: it’s a logical and much more stable OS and the company offers some of the best customer service out there.

    Last week, I took my iMac in for repairs for this same issue. It was out of warranty, but I had purchased AppleCare (I’m not a big fan of extended warranties, but two years’ extra coverage on a $1500 machine for 10% of that is a good investment in my eyes).

    What did I get? 30 minutes of hands-on, face-to-face service with a real tech guy… not some call center chump 12 time zones away. A guarantee that it’ll be ready by next week; my previous experience with them doesn’t doubt they’ll hold up their end of the bargain.

    Before that, I’d had an iBook from 2001. When the display went on it two weeks before the warranty ran out, they shipped it to CA, repaired it, and shipped it back to me in AR in THREE DAYS. After my AppleCare lapsed, I had more display issues… this time, the dreaded logic board failure. Even though I wasn’t under warranty and the service bulletin on that had been out two years prior, they still took it in for free repairs. Three days later, it was back in my hands.

    True, their hardware can be crappy. And lots of PC folk think I’m paying extra for a just pretty box with lots of clear plastic or brushed aluminum.

    But instead, I think I’m paying extra to not deal with the problems of a PC: a crummy OS, subpar customer service, and a week’s worth of headaches.

  46. Rusted says:

    @shaunirving:Some of us build our own PCs. We tend to have very few problems.

  47. cerbie says:

    I hope Apple gets their quality act together. They’ve grown a great bit recently, and I hope this is just a casualty of that, which can be remedied. Apple must prevent these problems, going forward.

    It used to be Dells were good. Precisions, Optiplexes, and Poweredges still are, and the high-end XPS. It looks like HP may once again be good. eMachines used to be nice (not super quality, but not bad for the money, and easy to fix and upgrade), but they’ve been made into Gateways, from the last couple I’ve seen :(.

    Apple could not have a better time to start making highly reliable hardware across the board, and/or making multiple year warranties standard (I’m sure they didn’t secretly know about these screens when they started shipping).

  48. balthisar says:

    @RvLeshrac: But why should I automatically assume that something will fail before I want to replace the computer anyway? I don’t think I’ve ever had a computer fail on me (other than hard drives) before I’ve upgraded, other than a PowerBook that had an unfortunate accident with a picture frame. I’m making your point for you with that example, but that’s an exception, an accident, and not a real failure.

    Sure, if I’m one of the unlucky people that have a failure, then I’ll have to cough up money for a repair or a new computer. We can’t go through our lives automatically assuming that everything we buy is going to fail right away.

  49. dirtleg says:

    @enzo:
    Yeah, a whole month.
    Plus the previous 20 some odd years with Apple products with no major complaints. Not that Apple products are perfect, or anywhere near perfection, but I have no gripes with them myself.
    My point was merely that the photo does not look like a current iMac and that this is the first time that I have seen or heard of this particular problem with Mac’s. I am just thinking that it is not very prevalent problem.

    I’m just sayin’, that’s all.

  50. someToast says:

    @DaveB: “Just picked up a Zune and am free from those pretentious Apple scumbags.”

    It’s rare that I read something online that makes me physically laugh out loud, but score one for Dave.

  51. rabiddachshund says:

    A petition? You mean there are intelligent mac users out there instead of just fanboys? Also,
    @RvLeshrac:

    [Apple] How do you know it is bad if you didn’t open the case?!

    lqtm.

  52. ionerox says:

    @DIRTLEG

    It’s not a cinema display, since they don’t have iSight camera’s built in. It’s either the last Intel model of the iMac, which was replaced with the aluminum iMac just a few months back, or a G5 iSight iMac (fall 2005)

  53. RvLeshrac says:

    @balthisar:

    You should assume the product will fail before you *want* to buy a new one for the same reasons you save money for retirement, gamble on health insurance, and make backups.

    Sure, the product will likely last a while. But what happens when it doesn’t? Are you going to have enough money to replace it in four months? Six months? Can you afford to lose the data?

    If it is a simple repair, can you fix it yourself? Can you take it to a local shop? Do you need to ship it across the country? What is the average cost to repair it?

    People ask questions like these when buying a car, why aren’t they asked when buying a PC?

  54. Rusted says:

    @RvLeshrac I simply asked the question a long time ago, why should I trust anyone but me to build my computer for me or do the maintenance?

  55. SJActress says:

    But…shouldn’t it “just work”?

  56. woogychuck says:

    I had similar problems with my iBook a few years ago. The screen died about a month after the warranty expired and I was quoted $825 to fix it. Since the laptop wasn’t worth that much, I decided to take it apart and attempt to fix it on my own.

    Sure enough, there was a Samsung sticker with a part number right on the screen. I ordered it direct from Samsung for $175 and it was identical to the original with the exception of the little Apple sticker.

    Hopefully some of the tech savvy users here may be able to do something similar with thier iMacs.

    I also wouldn’t plan on getting anything back from Apple. Keep in mind that this is a company that intentionally makes iPods expensive to fix, so people just buy new iPods.

  57. balthisar says:

    @RvLeshrac: I guess that’s where we see differently. It’s a pain to have to have replace things (like, the aforementioned PowerBook, I never bothered), but it’s not out of reach if I’ve got to.

    I guess I have good luck; I never have significant problems with things failing within their useful lifetime. Ball joints and tie rods are a fact of life, as are hard drives. Engines and LCD screens are not.

    My LCD TV failed prior to my expectations — you’re right — but Sam’s took it back even though it’d been 13 months. Could I have paid full price for another one? Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

    Rather than lucky, I now kind of feel that you shouldn’t buy anything you depend on if you can’t replace it. That is, only by a Chrysler if you’re prepared for a new transmission, otherwise stick to Honda/Ford/Toyota/etc.

  58. corthepirate says:

    The exact same thing happened to my HP pavilion laptop. I chalked it up to being a refurbished model or maybe leaving it on for too long. Looks like Apple computers aren’t much better than PCs after all…

  59. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Rusted: Me too. I build everything I can.