Bitter Apples - Retina stain problem is spreading, Apple is silent

Subject: Bitter Apples - Retina stain problem is spreading, Apple is silent
From: Joakim Larsen
Date: 19 Mar 2015
Apple Retina Stain Damage

Dear Apple,

Please react and replace our stain damaged Retina screens. For an increasing number of MBP Retina screens are loosing their AR or anti-glare coating.


Recently the number of people registering at the Apple Support discussion thread and the FB group (links below) have increased rapidly. Users from around the world are reporting stains on their Macbook Retina screens.

But Apple is brushing it off as "cosmetic", not covered by warranty. Furthermore they are blaming their customers for wrong cleaning, for having greasy and oily fingers and for carrying the laptops in bags.

We the affected users are angry and frustrated, not least after banking our heads agains the closed doors of Apple’s Executive Relations in Ireland to be referred back to Apple Support on their web site - only to find ourselves set right back to the starting point of our quest - or to one of their authorised dealers who will happily charge full market price, including labor, to change the entire screen case.


Apple refuses to acknowledge this as a manufacturing error but is blaming the affected users for wrong cleaning and handling.

Users are instructed to use Apple’s microfiber cloth, but this occurs whatever means of cleaning has been used.

Having greasy and oily fingers, the remains of which is transferred to the screen when closing the laptop is another argument for why the users are responsible for the problem.

Carrying the laptop in a bag (Apples portable flagship of a laptop) and thus adding pressure on the screen is a third.

Some users experience the problem already within the first 7-10 months, others after years of use.

There seems to be no clear pattern as to how it happens; on some screens it begins slowly in spots around the edge of the screen and spreads, for others it appears suddenly in patches around the centre. Afterwards some users have tried to remove the entire coating, but until now it has proved impossible, even when using strong solutions such as alcohol and terpentine.

Apple is rejecting this problem as "cosmetic". But the anti-glare coating is serving a specific purpose, namely diminishing the reflections and thus directly improving the quality of the screen. This specific purpose becomes even more obvious when you are looking at the differences in glare when up to around 25% of the coating has come off.

Since Apple uses carrying the laptop in a bag as an argument to why the coating comes off, how does Apply recommend carrying the laptop?

And how will Apple explain that the same has happened to laptops having been stationed on a desk, like some of the contributors to the discussion threads explain, while other laptops have the problem only in the peripheral parts of the screen, where pressure during transportation would be much smaller than in the centre of the screen?

For MOST (!) users, Apple refuses to change the screens under the one year limited warranty.

Affected users can reach as far as telephone calls from Relations Executive EMEIA in Ireland (no written answers are given...) after which they are referred to the authorised dealers or to the help desk on

There are, however examples of one or two, who probably because of their corporate positions without problems and further discussion pass right by the gate keeper and are being contacted directly by a technician from Apple Engineering.

There may be an interesting correlation between the two different types of keyboard (high and low) that one user has observed during his testing a larger number of MBP’s.

Apple provides a one year limited warranty. Several of the users are experiencing the problem within the first year, some as quickly as 7 months after purchase, and are told that the warranty does not cover “cosmetic” issues.

There is a remarkable connection between where the laptop is bought and the willingness of the respective authorised Apple dealer to replace the screen free of charge; some users do get their screens changed without discussion. But mostpart of us do not.

When you are referred to the authorised dealer, you may choose to pay $950 (the official price offered by Executive Relations in Ireland).

The entire screen case (upper part of the clam shell) needs to be changed, since the “glass” alone cannot be changed.

Apple refuses to let the affected users buy the new screen cheaper. Full price including labor must be paid.

Finally there appears to be no guarantee from Apple that this issue will not happen again, should you agree to pay for the change or be so lucky as to have it changed free of costs. And unfortunately some users report that the stains occur on the new screen quickly after the change...

Read more on the discussion threads

So far at least three experts in coating are supporting the affected users. They say independently, that this problem would be caused by insufficient cleaning during the coating process and that the responsibility lies with Apple.

This problem will keep growing. For while the number of affected users who manage to find their way to the fora is increasing almost daily and Apple is ignoring the problem, at least publicly, they are aggressively promoting the Retina screens. Apple may be facing a serious problem - having known about it at least since the initiation of the discussion thread on April 7, 2014.

Apple! You are bringing shame on your name, blaming your customers for your mistake. You have to acknowledge your responsibility and initiate a global programme to change all their stain damaged Retina screens, warranty or not.

With kind regards
Joakim Larsen, Denmark / Ethiopia

Attached a picture of my 10 month old $3000 15" MBP Retina.