Repair experts report that a new display issue known as “Dustgate” is affecting a number of MacBook Pro models.
Repair experts have observed the problem on multiple MacBook models, which results in purple vertical lines showing on the screen when the MacBook lid is opened at a specific angle. “It’s a frequent issue; we receive multiple reports of it each week,” said Stephan Steins of NotebookNerds, a repair company.
The screen flex cable, which joins the laptop’s display to its body, seems to be the source of the issue. There is a space where dust and debris can become trapped at the hinge where the keyboard and screen meet. After that, debris gets onto the cable and gradually ruins it by opening and shutting the lid.
Repair experts claim that this is the root source of the purple lines issue, which can be costly and challenging to fix. View the image above and the iCorrect video for an example of the issue.
Below are pictures from a repair. The left image shows the damaged flex cable, while the picture on the right shows where the dust collects that leads to the fault.
According to Ricky Panesar, the creator of repair company iCorrect, the problem affects A1989, A2251, A2289, A2338, and A2141 units—the A2141 being the most severely impacted. Although Panesar states that MacBook Pro models sold between 2016 and 2020 have a similar design and may be prone to this issue, these models were released between 2018 and 2020.
Looking through forums, I found complaints about vertical purple lines on several MacBook models that seem to be related to the same problem on Reddit and Apple’s Community pages. According to Panesar, he has fixed more than 50 impacted MacBooks in the past year, and he fixes at least four of them every week. Although Panesar and Steins agree that this is a typical issue, fixing it is not simple.
The broken cables attach on the back of the screen itself, which presents a challenge. In order to fix it, we must solder in new flex cables and remove the screen from the outer shell without destroying it. There’s a significant chance of breaking, Panesar told me.
Both claim that replacing the display totally is the simpler option. Panesar claims that this is Apple’s standard fix for this issue and that doing so might cost customers up to $625 (£500) if they do not have Apple Care. I contacted Apple to find out how much it would cost to fix a MacBook display that was malfunctioning due to a broken flex cable, but they didn’t get back to me right away.
According to repair experts, Apple has discreetly fixed this issue in MacBook models 2021 and later, which offer increased protection for the flex cable. Panesar notes that consumers will need to thoroughly and frequently clean their computers if they purchase a device between 2018 and 2020 in order to avoid dust accumulation.
The “Flexgate” problem that impacted 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops sold between 2016 and 2018 is comparable to, but distinct from, dustgate. The flex cable beneath the touchbar that links the display to the controller board was also the source of that issue. After opening and closing the lid several times, the cable gradually deteriorated, which produced a spotlight effect on the display.
In the end, Apple acknowledged the issue and provided a free fix. However, the business has not yet made a public statement or provided the same free fix for the Mabook Pro machines that were harmed by dust on the flex cable.