MacBook Pro 2017 Flexgate : What It Is and How to Fix It

MacBook Pro 2017 Flexgate What It Is and How to Fix It

Some MacBook Pro owners from 2016 and 2017 have experienced a display issue that affects the backlight of the screen. This issue, known as the Flexgate issue, can cause various symptoms, such as a stage light effect, display turning off, graphic glitches, and complete display failure.

MacBook Pro 2017 Flexgate

In this blog post, we will tell you what the Flexgate issue is, what causes it, how to fix it, and what options are available for affected users.

What Causes the Flexgate Issue?

The Flexgate issue is caused by a design flaw in the flex cable that connects the display to the logic board. The flex cable is a thin and fragile ribbon that runs through the hinge of the laptop and carries the video signal and the power for the backlight from the logic board to the display. The backlight is a series of LEDs that light up the screen.

The problem is that the flex cable is not long enough to handle the full range of motion of the lid, and it gets stretched and strained every time the lid is opened or closed. This causes the flex cable to wear out and tear, resulting in a loss of connection between the display and the logic board. When this happens, the backlight of the display can malfunction, causing various display issues.

The Flexgate issue can show up in different ways, depending on the degree of the damage to the flex cable. Some of the common signs of the Flexgate issue are:

  • Stage light effect: The backlight of the display becomes uneven and shows bright and dark spots along the bottom edge of the screen. This looks like the effect of stage lights shining on a curtain.
  • Display turning off: The backlight of the display turns off completely when the lid is opened beyond a certain angle, usually around 40 degrees. The display can be turned back on by closing the lid slightly, but this is not a permanent solution.
  • Graphic glitches: The display shows distorted or corrupted images, such as lines, artifacts, or colors. This means that the video signal from the logic board is also affected by the flex cable damage.
  • Complete display failure: The display stops working altogether and shows a black screen. This means that the flex cable is completely broken and no signal or power can reach the display.

The Flexgate issue can affect any MacBook Pro model that uses a flex cable to connect the display to the logic board. However, some models are more susceptible to the issue than others, due to the design and thickness of the flex cable. According to [iFixit], a website that offers repair guides and parts for various devices, the MacBook Pro models that are most likely to have the Flexgate issue are:

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro (Late 2016)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro (Mid 2017)

How to Fix the Flexgate Issue?

If you have a MacBook Pro that has the Flexgate issue, you may be wondering how to fix it and restore your display to its normal function. There are different ways to fix the Flexgate issue, depending on your situation and budget. Here are some of the possible solutions for the Flexgate issue:

  • Micro-soldering the flex cable: This is a DIY solution that involves soldering a small replacement cable to the original flex cable to reduce the stress on the cable. This requires advanced skills and tools, such as a micro-soldering iron, a microscope, and a steady hand. The replacement cable can be bought online or salvaged from another device. The benefit of this solution is that it is cheap and effective, and it preserves the original display assembly. The drawback is that it is risky and difficult, and it may void the warranty of your laptop. You can find a detailed guide on how to micro-solder the flex cable on [iFixit].
  • Removing the Wi-Fi antenna: This is another DIY solution that involves removing a small part of the Wi-Fi antenna that runs along the hinge of the laptop. The Wi-Fi antenna adds extra tension to the flex cable, and removing it can decrease the tension and prevent further damage. This requires basic skills and tools, such as a screwdriver, a spudger, and a pair of tweezers. The benefit of this solution is that it is simple and quick, and it does not affect the display quality. The drawback is that it may affect the Wi-Fi performance and signal strength of your laptop. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to remove the Wi-Fi antenna on [iFixit].
  • Replacing the display assembly: This is the most reliable solution that involves replacing the entire display assembly with a new one or a compatible one from a different model. The display assembly includes the display panel, the backlight, the flex cable, the hinge, and the casing. This requires moderate skills and tools, such as a screwdriver, a spudger, and a suction cup. The benefit of this solution is that it is guaranteed to fix the Flexgate issue and restore the display to its original condition. The drawback is that it is expensive and may not be covered by Apple. You can buy a new or used display assembly online or from an authorized service provider. You can also find a comprehensive guide on how to replace the display assembly on [iFixit].

What is Apple’s Response to the Flexgate Issue?

Apple has acknowledged the Flexgate issue and launched a backlight repair program to service affected laptops free of charge. According to Apple’s website, the repair program covers the following MacBook Pro models:

  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

The repair program only applies to laptops that show the following symptom:

  • Display backlight continuously or intermittently shows vertical bright areas along the entire bottom of the screen

The repair program does not cover other symptoms or models that have the Flexgate issue. The repair program is valid for four years after the first retail sale of the laptop. This means that if you bought your laptop in 2016, you may not be eligible for the repair program anymore.

To check if your MacBook Pro is eligible for the repair program, you can do the following:

  • Check the serial number of your laptop on Apple’s website to see if it matches the models covered by the repair program.
  • Contact Apple support or visit an Apple store or an authorized service provider to have your laptop diagnosed and serviced.

Conclusion

The Flexgate issue is a display problem that affects some MacBook Pro models due to a design flaw in the flex cable that connects the display to the logic board. The Flexgate issue can cause various display issues, such as dim or flickering backlight, display turning off, graphic glitches, and complete display failure. The Flexgate issue can be fixed by micro-soldering the flex cable, removing the Wi-Fi antenna, or replacing the display assembly. Apple has launched a backlight repair program to service some affected laptops free of charge, but the program has some limitations and exclusions.

If you have a MacBook Pro that has the Flexgate issue, you should check if your laptop is eligible for the repair program and contact Apple as soon as possible. If your laptop is not eligible for the repair program or you prefer to fix the issue yourself, you should choose the best solution for your situation and budget. You should also take good care of your laptop and avoid excessive opening and closing of the lid to prevent further damage to the flex cable.

Title: MacBook Pro 2017 Flexgate