Major Widespread Flaw in Apple Retina Macbook Pro Causes Flicker- No Recall Plans yet

If you’re reading this any time after we’ve published this, you’re probably one of the proud owners of the new Retina Macbook Pro, and you’re probably wondering why the fuck heck your several thousand dollar computer has flickering bars across the screen. It’s not just you. The article we wrote about this in October is one of our most popular recent articles, and forums are full of people complaining about it.

Here at the App Store Chronicle, we’ve done extensive testing and research and we can tell you that for the majority of users affected, it’s a hardware problem, not a software problem. We tested it thoroughly, reseting the PRAM, trying every fix known to man, and even completely reinstalling clean the Operating System (OSX Mountain Lion). The problem did not go away, so it’s a hardware issue.

We reached out to Apple, but they currently have no plans for a recall or replacement program of any kind… as we know from the iPod nano which wasn’t recalled until five years after they stopped selling them, Apple can be a bit stubborn on these matters.

So what does this mean for you? What should you do? Here’s my advice. If you’re having this issue, use your phone or camera to capture the issue on video, and bring it in to an Apple store. It’s tempting to call Applecare, but they’ll make you jump through hoops trying every test again before they replace it. At the Apple store, if you show them evidence, they’ll repair or replace it, because the employees are USUALLY nice. Normally, since the RMBP is so unrepairable, they’ll replace it. Or, go buy yourself a sexy Chromebook. I did, and I love it more than my mac.

Michael Sitver

Michael Sitver is a technology insider who has been blogging about technology since 2011. Along the way, he's interviewed founders of innovative startups, and executives from fortune 500 companies, and he's tried dozens or hundreds of gadgets. Michael has also contributed to works featured in Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the associated press. Michael also occasionally consults, and writes for Seeking Alpha and Yahoo News.

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86 Responses

  1. Marc-Antoine Huet says:

    I got the problem. I have a meeting with a senior thursday, but i think I will just lose my time. 🙁 What ca I do ?

  2. Victor says:

    This problem is due to the wifi, turn off the wifi of your Mac and you will. See how this problem disappears .
    But, why would you want a computer like this one without an internet connection? The problem is not the fact that you are using wifi, the problem is that you are connected to a wifi network too saturated. The best solution to this problem is changing the channel of your router to another one with less people. You can look in Google for tutorials on how to change this.

    • Michael Sitver says:

      I’m doubtful that’s the case, but I appreciate your commenting anyway, and encourage users still experiencing this problem to give it a try. Just based on how graphics work, and what applications this manifests itself in, I don’t think that’s the case.

      • Ian H. says:

        Actually, I think it is related to WiFi. I’ve had the issue as well and it happens while my Wifi is searching/connecting. Touching the black hinge seems to ground a connection and stops the flicker immediately.

  3. Vadim Iablokov says:

    Victor is right. My Macbook Pro flickers when only on busy wifi channels. As soon as you turn the wifi off, the problem disappears. There must be some interference between the wifi antenna and the screen/graphics card. I have been “dealing” with this problem ever since I bought the laptop in 2012. Now, my applecare is long gone and I don’t think the apple store would do anything for me, even if I brought in a video. I guess I’ll have to deal with this problem for a while longer.

  4. Adam says:

    What Victor and Vadim said doesn’t make sense but it is 100% TRUE.

    Issue occurs with wifi/internet sharing on; stops when I turn it off. Gonna have to go ethernet from now on

  5. Johnny says:

    I took mine in the the Apple store at the mall and they fixed it for $300, but they waved the fee. Applecare is $250, so you might save some with it depending on which problem you had. Mine had the flicker, no video play/or lagging video, sleep/startup and screen problems. All the Apple people were really nice and helpful. Busy store.

  6. Victor I. says:

    Guys – I’m not on WiFi (WiFi off) and still getting the flicker.

  7. John says:

    Curious how new these comments are. I just bought a new, latest model, Retina Macbook Pro at the Apple Store and been seeing intermittent bright, white, flashes. This original post appears to be from 2012 so curious if any of this still applies. (Date: October 5, 2015)

  8. jamie says:

    I have a Macbook Pro mid 2012 and it also flickers, but also has strange coloured flickering bars along the menubar and sometime on the edges of window. I took it to Apple and they said my computer was FINE! because they couldnt duplicate the problem. I did take a video of the issue, but they didn’t seem interested. Changing wifi doesn’t work and also restarting the computer holding down command/option P R doesn’t work. I reinstalled operating system and apple tested for harddrive and hardware/software logic board, and all apparently okay. HELP

  9. Drew France says:

    I have had my laptop fixed twice now and am still having the issue. Not using wifi is not an option.

  10. Same problem. Control-Option-P-R didn't work, wifi is not the issue (flicker remains even when wifi is OFF), second monitor has no flicker, reimaging the drive re-installing the OS did not help, upgrading the OS did not help, changing the logic board made no difference, resetting the EMC did nothing. What next?
    MBPr 15 mid-2014

  11. joe says:

    Similar symptom, some screen items jump up briefly especially on the user login screen (laptop is set to require login after like 15 min of no activity). Text at top right shows up bottom right and the ‘cancel’ button jumps up, but oddly the login box doesn’t appear to move at all. The jump first happens at about 5 sec and now lasts maybe 1 sec, then repeats every 4 secs, decreasing in size and duration, until not visible at all after 15-30 seconds. I think it is getting worse, bigger jumps lasting longer. I was able to take a pic of one. The laptop screen also has a bleed problem such that bright white areas in a window bleed up when the brightness is high, and this also cycles on the 4 second clock, 2 on 2 off. sharing and wifi off doesn’t change anything.

  12. Gina Fuchs says:

    This doesn't bother me as much as worry me– will this just continue or will the laptop shut down completly? that's what is worrying me– is this a serious issue? I have macbook pro retina 13-in

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  1. November 17

    […] UPDATE: It’s Most likely a hardware issue. See our solution, and latest update on this emerging issue here. […]

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