Does Your Retina MacBook Pro Have A Screen Stain?

Does Your Retina MacBook Pro Have A Screen Stain?
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The “Retina” display on the MacBook Pro is one of its best features. What do you do, however, if the screen develops an ugly stain fault?

A group of disgruntled MacBook Pro users in the US are complaining at Apple with regards to the anti-reflective coating on MacBook Pro models that can come unstuck after some time, leading to screens that are variously either unsightly or outright unusable.

The group has dubbed itself “Staingate”. It’s an aside, but people, not every calamity needs a -gate suffix! Especially in this case, where it’s not even a stain, but a peeling coating. Peelgate, if anything, would be more appropriate — but I digress.

Staingate (sigh) claims to have a list of 2500 users affected by the staining issue and are looking into potential legal action against Apple. Apple, for its part, has either been unwilling to deal with the issue for MacBook Pro owners out of warranty, although online reports in this case do vary, with some users reporting Apple fixing the problem for them.

So if you’re an Australian MacBook Pro owner with a “stained” laptop, what should you do? The case in the US relies on US consumer law, but Australian consumer law is a little different, and this is something that Apple’s come unstuck with in the past. While it sells its own “AppleCare” extended warranty program, like any extended warranty that only supplements Australian law, rather than replacing it entirely.

Consumer law in this case states that a device must be fit for “reasonable” use without specifying a time period for that usage. Your first port of call should be Apple to see what’s said, but even if you haven’t purchased AppleCare, which “extends” your warranty from Apple’s one year to three, you may have a good argument that the MBP wasn’t fit for purpose given Apple’s usual insistence that its products provide premium quality.

Any Lifehacker readers out there with a “stained” MacBook Pro? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Possible class action suit in preparation as Retina MacBook owners report ‘staingate’ screen issues [9To5Mac]


  • I had this happen to me in February. Suddenly one day a spot appeared on the screen and when I rubbed it lightly (with the microfibre cloth that came with my Macbook) it spread to about 2cm wide. It was about 15 months old at the time, I took it to Apple and they replaced the whole assembly (which was thankfully covered under the consumer guarantee, otherwise it would have cost about $500 as an out of warranty repair)

  • ACC says phones should be good for a minimum of 2 years (no max given). I would say a computer would at least hit 3.

  • I had a dead motherboard couple of years ago in a 27″ iMac. The motherboard had failed 1 year and 3 months after purchase, the store refused to repair or replace, stating that AppleCare only lasts for a year. I argued (politely) that consumer law requires goods to be of suitable quality/fit for purpose…etc but I got no traction in store. The support hotline I was directed to also refused to repair/replace the iMac.

    I ended up writing a letter to Apple’s Australian Legal department explaining the situation, outlining my understanding of my rights under Australian Law and stating that if I did not receive a suitable resolution I would be filing at the local Small Claims Court (NSW – NCAT). About a week after they received it, I got a call from a Customer Service Representative stating that they’d reviewed my case and would replace the motherboard ‘gratis’.

    So whilst (imo) you’re entitled to repairs/replacements for faulty products, enforcing those rights can be time-consuming. Fortunately I haven’t seen this issue with my Retina MacBook Pro (yet, touch wood).

  • I recommend Apple Care with any Apple product – a good example is, my “old” iPhone 5 had the power button glitch – and low and behold it had just run out of extended warranty with Apple Care (2 years after purchase), but Apple were completely OK with it, I returned it, and low and behold – a brand new iPhone 5 replaced it, not a refurb, but a brand new one. Likewise my old 2012 iMac with a 3tb Fusion Drive -I got a message from Apple the other day saying that my 3tb drive would be replaced free of charge due to some drives malfunctioning, wether you had Apple Care or not – but my final word is – if you can afford an Apple product – you can afford the Apple Care – buy it and use it – when I bought my new 5K iMac – first thing I said was … “Apple Care is a must” – my 35 cents worth 😉

    • I accidentally dropped my iPhone onto my Macbook’s screen and took a chip out of it. Apple replaced it for free within 24 hours because I had Apple Care. It was certainly above and beyond NSW’s consumer protections.

  • I’ve also had the same problem last year, which I became fed up with a weird stain that smeared across my screen and pixels burnt on. Fortunately I had it replaced at Apple w no problems. Less than a few months later I had to go back ‘cos my hard drive failed.

  • Hasn’t happened to mine, I had a problem earlier this year on my 2011 MBP with a failed graphics card, apple replaced it for free, so I have had a good response from them so far.

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