Apple still hasn’t publicly acknowledged the so-called “Flexgate” issue affecting MacBook Pro models made in 2016 and later. But it may have tacitly admitted to the existence of the design flaw by using a slightly longer display cable in 2018 MacBook Pro models.
That’s according to a new report from iFixit, which explains that the 2018 MacBook Pro has a display cable that’s 2mm longer, potentially solving the problem because it’s under less strain as the laptop opens. iFixit engineer Taylor Dixon noted that he hadn’t experienced the issue for himself, so he couldn’t confirm the cause or whether it’s solved.
“This is significant because it gives the backlight cable more room to wrap around the board and not come into contact with the board as the laptop is opened past 90 degrees,” said Dixon.
“Since we have yet to experience the problem for ourselves, it’s hard to say for sure how much of the problem is the cable being in close proximity to the board and how much of it is the length of the cable,” Dixon continues. “The longer cable definitely gives more room to breathe around the board, but it’s still in such close contact with the board that it’s impossible to tell whether it’s rubbing on the board at any point.”
On older MacBook Pros, that was a problem because of the way the cable was integrated — the “thin, fragile flex” cable wraps around the hinge of the device, causing it to wear down as one uses the device more. That led to screens failing after a lot of use, causing problems with the backlight — from a “stage light” effect at the bottom to a completely dead backlight — in MacBook Pros
Here’s iFixit’s explanation as to why “Flexgate” happens:
There’s no confirmation from Apple that this is indeed a fix for “Flexgate.” The fact Apple won’t confirm there is a problem with older models is concerning enough, but to fix it quietly is worse as it suggests the problem is known about but Apple is choosing to ignore it, therefore forcing customers to spend $700 USD fixing a design fault they can’t avoid experiencing.
iFixit goes on to state that the fact that Apple lengthened the flex cable in the 2018 MacBook Pro before widespread backlash hit the internet means that it already internally knew about the problems, but did not institute a customer-facing program to address it.