How to Fix Flexgate Issue in MacBook Pro Display || A Comprehensive Guide

Facing the Flexgate issue on your MacBook Pro? You’re certainly not alone. This frustrating display problem has been around for a while and often leads to a challenging repair journey.

Not to worry. We’ll get you through a step-by-step guide on how to fix the flexgate issue in MacBook Pro display and many other related things.

We dive into the topic one by one to help you navigate and resolve this common yet perplexing issue. So let’s start

Understanding the Flexgate Issue

Before discussing how to fix flexgate, it’s essential to know what Flexgate really is, and the specific models of Mac it affects.

What Is the Flexgate Issue in MacBook Pro Display?

A flex cable connects the screen to the main board of your MacBook Pro. When you regularly open and close the laptop to use it, that strains this cable.

So, the cable strains lead to problems like dim or flickering displays or even total screen failure. In short, that is called the flexgate issue.

Which MacBook Pro Models Experience Flexgate Issues

The good news is that Flexgate has been a notable concern, primarily for specific MacBook Pro models.

The bad news is it is experienced, particularly those released in a specific timeframe. Here’s a short list of particular MacBook Pro models most at risk.

2016 and 2017 MacBook Pros at the Forefront

The Flexgate issue prominently affects MacBook Pro models from 2016 and 2017. This encompasses both 13-inch and 15-inch variants. According to apple, the mostly impacted models are:

  • A1706 – 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016-17, with Touch Bar)
  • A1707 – 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016-17, with Touch Bar)
  • A1708 – 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016-17, without Touch Bar)

Subsequent Models Reduced but Not Eliminated Risks

Following these years, Apple made some design adjustments in later MacBook Pro models. These changes seem to have reduced the prevalence of Flexgate.

But, if you are unlucky, you may face the flexgate issue in post-2017 models too.

For example, Subashn faced flexgate issues on his 16 inch 2019 Macbook pro model, DanielDAD and Freddybetch faced with his MacBook Pro 2019.

So, any MacBook Pro user can face the problem.

Symptoms to Identify the Flexgate Issue

Spotting Flexgate in your MacBook Pro early is a must.

The earlier you can catch the signs, the faster you can take action. Thus, the possibility of leading to bigger issues gets reduced, eventually saving you from expensive fixes.

Here are the 4 common signs that your Macbook pro has Flexgate issue:

Display Turns Off at Angles

If you notice your mac screen blacks out when opened wide, this is a major hint of Flexgate. The display works partially opened (30-40 degree angle) but fails when fully extended. It’s a clear sign of flex cable issues.

Stage Light Effect

Stage light effect is a classic Flexgate sign. Your screen’s bottom lights up like a stage. bright and dim areas alternate. It happens when the flex cable is hurt but not completely broken. The cable’s uneven connection causes this effect.

Graphic Glitches

These are different from the stage light effect. Your screen might show odd colors or lines. Sometimes it’s negative colors or strange color tints. Vertical patches may vary in brightness and color, and these glitches mean partial cable damage.

Complete Blackout

If your laptop screen is completely blacked out, that means it is the worst stage of flexgate issue. The flex cable of your MacBook may have totally broken at this point.

However, if you can see blunt images by pointing a flashlight at the screen, the problem might also be with the backlight, not the screen itself.

What Are the Causes of the Flexgate Issue?

Understanding the causes helps you take informed repair decisions. Here’s what usually leads to the Flexgate issue in MacBook Pros:

2016 Redesign Impact

The Flexgate problem started after the 2016 MacBook Pro redesign. Before this, the display controller was safely housed inside the hinge cover. This design kept the connecting wire stationary and less prone to damage.

Changed Cable Mechanics

Post-2016, Apple’s design moved the logic board. It now sits inside the main chassis, and that shift leads to a major change in how the flex cable functions.

The cable now wraps around the hinge and under constant stress. That is also a reason for flexgate.

Constant Tension and Relaxation

Because of the new design, the cable bends and stretches a lot. Every time you open or close your MacBook, you stress the cable. Over time, this leads to wear and tear.

It’s different from the old design, where the cable-stayed put.

Dust Accumulation

Dust plays a surprisingly big role in exacerbating Flexgate.

The dust particles trapped between the display and the keyboard can cause friction. This friction wears down the already fragile flex cable.

Furthermore, dust on the cable itself can lead to overheating, speeding up its degradation.

Is Flexgate Issue In MacBook Pro Display Repairable?

 The Flexgate issue on any model of MacBook Pro is easily fixable. You can fix flexgate if you have simple knowledge and experience. Here are some DIY fixes for flexgate issue:

Gentle Cleaning

If your Mac’s flexgate issue triggers after turning the display off at 30-40° angles, dust accumulation is probably the enemy. It’s easy to solve by cleaning the hinge.

To clean your laptop’s hinge,

  • Take a small cotton ball or lint free clean cloth or a soft artist painting brush.
  • Moist that with 3–5 drops of alcohol.
  • Then gently wipe the hinge of your laptop with it.
  • Also, wipe the display and keyboard.

Hopefully, now your MacBook will be good to go.

Reducing Cable Stress Or Reconnect

If the reason for your flexgate issue is something internal, such as constant cable tension, or stage light effect, you should reduce cable tension.

Less tension means less chance of future damage.

The simplest way to do this is:

  • Open and close your laptop 5-6 times; it can reconnect the cable or shift some ‘crud’ that causes the problem.
  • If you are lucky enough, everything starts to work fine.

And if that doesn’t work, you might be going to have to open up the internal cable to reduce the tension. That’s not a DIY option for all.

How to Fix Flexgate Issue in MacBook Pro Display?

If the DIY solution don’t work, it’s time to dig deeper. There are mainly three methods to fix the Flexgate issue in a much severe cases.

They are:

  • By contacting the Apple support authority 100% free of cost.
  • Get it fixed from a third-party laptop repair service provider.
  • Do it at home, requiring technical knowledge and experience (step-by-step guide is below).

So, let’s start with the processes, one at a time.

Method 1: Fix MacBook flexgate issue contacting Apple support

First, you should know whether your MacBook Pro underlies the Apple Service Program or not, so you can claim their service. To do that,

Step 1: Visit Apple Support System

Visit the Apple support service program, you will see different service programs for the various Apple products.

Step 2: Go to your required page

From there, click “13-inch MacBook Pro Display Backlight Service Program”, because it’s the available Apple service for MacBook flexgate issues. It’ll take you to a new page.

Step 3: Know if the free service will be applicable

Apple will offer the free service for the MacBook Pro, which is sold between October 2016 to February 2018.

If you purchased your MacBook within this time and face vertical bright areas at the bottom of your screen, you are eligible for the program.

Step 4: Know the Eligible Models

You can know this service’s eligible MacBook Pro models in two ways.

Go to the “Apple menu” and click “About this Mac”. It’ll show you your MacBook model.

The MacBook eligible models for this program are…

  • 13-­inch MacBook Pro 2016 with Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • 13-­inch MacBook Pro 2016 with Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports

Note: No other laptops are included in this program Except for these models.

Step 5: Access your service

In this step, you should access the service if your MacBook Pro is eligible for this program.

It’s a three-step process.

  1. Find your nearest Apple Authorized Service Provider.
  2. Make an appointment for your service at an Apple Retail Store.
  3. Contact Apple Support to arrange mail-in service via the Apple Repair Center.

Things to keep in mind for MacBook Pro Flexgate Service

There are a few crucial points to keep in mind before claiming your Apple free service.

  • Refunds for Past Repairs: If you’ve already paid for a Flexgate-related repair, you can contact Apple about a refund.
  • Fix Other Damage First: Any existing damage on your MacBook Pro needs repairing before addressing Flexgate. Additional repair costs may apply for this.
  • Program Limits: The Apple Flexgate repair program does not extend your standard warranty.
  • Coverage Duration: The program covers eligible models for 5 years post-sale or 3 years from the program start, whichever is longer.
  • Precautions: Before handling the MacBook to the repair service, you must backup your data. Otherwise, they won’t take any liability for your missing data.

Method 2: Fix your MacBook flexgate issue at home (DIY solution)

Since Apple only provides free flexgate fixing service only for specific models, not everyone is eligible for the program.

If you’re up for a DIY solution, the fix can be done at home. Bare in mind that you’ll -how as Flexgate involves micro-soldering.

You’ll need a small replacement cable to fix the existing flex cable. It’s a delicate procedure but effective.

Here is our easy to follow step-by-step guide for you to replace the cable.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • P5 Pentalobe Screwdriver: to unscrew external screws
  • T5 Torx Screwdriver: to tackle the internal screws
  • Precision Tweezers: to handle delicate cables without causing damage
  • Spudger: for safely prying and disconnecting internal components.
  • Anti-static Wristband: to save yourself from static charge.
  • Replacement Flex Cable: choose according to your MacBook model
  • Flashlight: to dimly lit interiors of your MacBook.

Step 1: Set the workstation

Find a bright, clean workspace. A kitchen table or a well-lit desk is perfect. Spread out your tools within easy reach.

Step 2: Power Down and Unplug

Before diving in, shut down your MacBook Pro and disconnect it from any power source. This step is all about safety.

Step 3: Open the Laptop

Start with the P5 Pentalobe screwdriver. Gently unscrew each screw from the MacBook’s bottom cover.

Place these tiny screws in a container because they’re easy to lose and crucial for reassembly.

Step 4: Peek Inside

Once the screws are out, lift the bottom cover off. You’re now looking into the heart of your MacBook Pro. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate design.

Step 5: Spot the Culprit

Use your flashlight to illuminate the inside. You’re looking for the thin, delicate, and crucial flex cable. If it looks worn or damaged, it’s time for action.

Step 6: Cable Detective Work

Carefully identify the damaged cable. It’s typically located near the hinge and connects the screen to the motherboard. Make sure it matches the replacement cable you have.

Step 7: Gentle Unplugging

This is where your precision tweezers and spudger come in. Gently disconnect the faulty cable with a steady hand and patience.

Step 8: Connect the New cable

Align the new flex cable. Connect it just as the old one was. Double-check to make sure it’s secure and in the right position.

Step 9: Put It All Back Together

Time to reverse the disassembly. Place the bottom cover back on. Use the P5 screwdriver to put all the screws back in place. Remember, they’re tiny, so handle them with care.

Step 10: Final Checks

Before you power it up, make sure everything looks good and is in place. No loose screws, no tools left inside.

Step 11: The Moment of Truth

Power on your MacBook Pro. If the display lights up without the previous issues, congratulate yourself on a job well done!

Some Important Tips

  • Take your time because rushing might lead to mistakes. Be slow and methodical.
  • Taking pictures as you go can help with reassembly. So, photograph or record your progress.

Method 3: Fix Your MacBook Flexgate Issue With Third-Party Laptop Repair Service

Fixing Flexgate issues at home can be a rewarding experience. It requires patience, precision, and a bit of courage.

But for anything more serious, professional assistance is the best course of action.

For that,

  • Google to find out the best laptop service center near you.
  • Contact them and fix your laptop issue.
  • Or visit your nearest laptop repair center.

Cost Analysis Among These 3 Flexgate Fixing Methods

Your MacBook Pro is a huge investment not only in terms of money but also in terms of professional growth. Right?

So, deciding between DIY and professional repair for Flexgate needs cost analysis.

Here’s a cost breakdown as it helps you to guide your decision, especially when compared to the price of a new MacBook Pro.

Cost CategoryApple ServiceDIY RepairProfessional Repair
Tools    N/AP5 Pentalobe Screwdriver: $5 to $10 T5 Torx Screwdriver: $5 to $10 Precision Tweezers: $5 to $15 Spudger: $5 to $10 Anti-static Wristband: $5 to $15 Flashlight: $5 to $20 = $30 to $60  Included in service
Parts (Flex Cable)    N/A $20 to $50    Up to $100
Labor    N/AFree (Your time and effort)    $100 – $300
Service Guarantee    Often included    None    Often included
Total Cost    Free/Except repairing other issues$50 – $110    $250 – $400
Additional ConsiderationsQuality assurance, warranty on repair    Time investment, risk of further damage    Quality assurance, warranty on repair

Key Takeaways

  • Apple Free Service: It is the most effective and costs you nothing if your model is eligible for the program.
  • DIY Repair: Most cost-effective but requires skill and time. Risk of further damage if not done correctly.
  • Professional Repair: Higher cost but comes with expertise and often a service guarantee.

Note: The cost that showcases in the table is an average sum. It can vary based on your laptop condition and the repair shops.

Preventive Measures for Flexgate in MacBook Pros

Preventing Flexgate is about mindful usage and maintenance. Here’s how you can protect your MacBook Pro.

  • Gentle Lid Handling: Open and close the laptop lid gently. Avoid abrupt movements to reduce stress on the flex cable.
  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the keyboard and screen clean. Dust and debris can contribute to Flexgate. Use a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth for cleaning.
  • Avoid Overloading the Hinges: Don’t place heavy objects on your closed MacBook. Excess weight strains the hinges and the flex cable.
  • Controlled Opening Angle: Avoid opening the lid beyond the necessary angles. Overextending puts extra tension on the cable.
  • Use in Stable Environments: Operating your MacBook on unstable surfaces can lead to accidental drops or lid stress. Always use a stable, flat surface.
  • Routine Check-Ups: Periodically inspect your MacBook for any signs of wear. Early detection can prevent significant issues.
  • Limit External Pressure: Ensure it’s in a padded case when carrying your MacBook. Excessive pressure in a bag can affect the hinges and cable.
  • Professional Servicing: Consider getting your MacBook professionally serviced once in a while. They can spot potential issues early.
  • Awareness of Common Issues: Stay informed about common MacBook problems. Knowledge helps in early detection and prevention.
  • Balanced Usage: Regular breaks during use can reduce the strain on all components, including the flex cable.

If you’re experiencing MacBook screen flickering issues, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on “MacBook Screen Flickering” within this article to find helpful insights and solutions to common display problems.

FAQs

Does Apple fix Flexgate for free?

Apple has acknowledged the Flexgate issue in specific MacBook Pro models. They offer a repair program for particular models affected by this issue, typically at no cost if the device meets their criteria.

However, the coverage depends on the model and the purchase date. Check with Apple for your specific case.

Can you fix Flexgate MacBook?

Yes, Flexgate in a MacBook Pro can be fixed. The repair usually involves cleaning hinge, and keyword, or replacing or repairing the flex cable that connects the display to the motherboard. This can be done professionally or through a DIY approach for minor issues.

What is the cost of MacBook Flexgate?

The cost of fixing Flexgate varies. Apple service program is free of cost, DIY repairs can range from $50 to $110, depending on your needed tools and parts.

Professional repairs generally cost between $200 and $400, including labor and parts. These costs are significantly less than buying a new MacBook Pro, ranging from $1,299 to over $2,000.

When did Apple fix Flexgate?

After widespread reports and user complaints, Apple initiated a repair program addressing the Flexgate issue in May, 2019.

Conclusion

The complexities of fixing the Flexgate issue of the MacBook Pro display can be challenging. Still, with the proper knowledge and approach, it’s manageable.

We’ve explored the symptoms, causes, and repair options. Once you fix the issue, don’t again ignore it. Preventive measures are vital to avoiding such issues in the future.

Regular maintenance and mindful usage of your MacBook Pro can go a long way in preserving its longevity and functionality.

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