Video Suggests Screws in iMac Pro's VESA Mounting Kit Are Prone to Break When Unfastened

Quinn Nelson, host of the popular YouTube channel Snazzy Labs, has shared a new video that appears to suggest the iMac Pro's user-installable VESA mounting kit uses cheap screws that are prone to break when unfastened.

For background, the kit enables users to replace an iMac Pro's stand with a VESA mount adapter, allowing the computer to be affixed to any VESA-compatible wall mount, desk mount, or articulating arm. Jason Snell of Six Colors provides a good overview of the installation process in the video below.

Nelson installed the adapter without issue, but ran into difficulties when he went to remove it a few months later:
When I was backing out one of the five screws, which was not overtightened by the way, the screw head just broke clean off from the screw body, and it left the screw stuck inside of the screw hole threads. The end result… I couldn’t remove the VESA adapter… ever.
Nelson acknowledges that the adapter is probably not designed to be taken on-and-off repeatedly, but Apple never warns against doing so, and switching back to the traditional stand at least once seems reasonable.

Unable to remove the adapter, Nelson said he contacted Apple by phone, explained the situation, and was told that Apple could not provide support because the adapter is manufactured by a licensed OEM, despite being sold by Apple with Apple-branded packaging and documentation.

The support representative then declined to provide the name of the OEM or their contact information, according to Nelson, who gave up on the phone call and decided to visit the Genius Bar at his local Apple Store.

Unfortunately, the Genius Bar was not very helpful, as apparently only the Head Genius at that store was trained to service the iMac Pro. Nearly two weeks and one failed repair later, the iMac Pro was finally fixed and ready for pickup, with a new VESA mount adapter installed and the saga seemingly over.

Upon leaving the store, however, Nelson discovered that his iMac Pro's stand had been significantly dented and scratched. The damage prompted him to carefully remove the VESA mount adapter yet again, to see if the iMac Pro itself was damaged, and he encountered similar scuffs on the chassis of the machine.

Moreover, while attempting to unscrew the Apple-installed replacement adapter, another screw broke off, suggesting that Nelson's experience wasn't a one-off situation, and that the screws are in fact prone to break.

All in all, there are two separate issues here: the fragile screws and the un-pro-like customer service that was provided by Apple. And, unlike his fellow YouTube creator Linus Sebastian, Nelson did not disassemble the iMac Pro or perform any other action that would appear to violate Apple's warranty.

Importantly, after the video, Nelson says the Apple Store has since offered to replace the entire iMac Pro free of charge. He was also contacted by Apple's Executive Relations team, which wanted to ensure everything was okay and requested that he send the VESA mounting kit to Apple for its engineers to examine.

While this doesn't appear to be a widespread problem, and might not ever be given the steps to reproduce it require mounting and demounting a minimum $5,000 computer, the simple solution could be stronger screws.

MacRumors has reached out to Apple for comment on the matter. We'll update this article if and when we hear anything back.

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Top Rated Comments

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22 months ago

What has happened to quality at Apple?

Tim Cook.
Rating: 97 Votes
22 months ago

Importantly, after the video, Nelson says the Apple Store has since offered to replace the entire iMac Pro free of charge.

Then this seems like a non-issue. If your mounting screws ever break, simply create a YouTube channel and build up a following similar in size to Nelson’s, upload a video detailing the issue, and wait for Apple to offer to replace the machine to avoid more bad press. Easy peasy.

Rating: 63 Votes
22 months ago
After Bendgate, Throttlegate, keyboardgate and now this. What has happened to quality at Apple?
Rating: 54 Votes
22 months ago
In 1995, Steve Jobs Explained Exactly How Apple Will Fail

Rating: 54 Votes
22 months ago
Even Apple can't justify the price, given that they're asking Quinn for his kit (despite the fact it's a widespread flaw).

In all seriousness, the support for the iMac Pro is beyond outrageous; it's unusual and shocking for both Apple support and support for a Pro-level $5000 machine in general. A popular YouTuber shouldn't have to make a video about this for it to be recognised by Apple, they should put aside their Pro workflow 'journey of self-discovery' and focus on the products and support for now.
Rating: 43 Votes
22 months ago
Using cheap screws is embarrassing enough. But the MOST embarrassing thing (for Apple) about Nelson's video is that Nelson felt the need to create it in the first place.

I've always had very good service from Apple. But I'd be pretty hopping mad if a screw broke off while installing or removing an $80 adapter on a $5,000 computer. It's something that should have NEVER happened, not at those prices. And Apple can blame its vendor all they want, the bottom line is APPLE is responsible for what it sells.

I'm glad Apple did the right thing in the end. But it should have NEVER gotten to the point that Nelson felt the need to create his video. A lot of people dropped the ball on this one, including AppleCare support and the geniuses at his Apple Store. The person most responsible for dropping the ball was the moron that decided cheap screws would be fine. An adapter that costs $80 and mounts to a $5,000+ computer should AUTOMATICALLY come with stainless steel screws. Nothing else should have ever been considered.

Rating: 40 Votes
22 months ago
Lack of quality permeates Apple these days, whether it's cheap screws not QA'd by Apple for some OEM deal for a mount of their top of the line iMac, Xcode, iPhone X display turning off, AW heart rate, phones bending, Apple Music widget half disappearing, home screen animations stuttering, etc.

We're the suckers if we keep paying for it though.
Rating: 30 Votes
22 months ago
I watched the video a few days ago and felt a little sick about it. I could just picture me going through this stuff, but I doubt Apple would offer to replace Mac with a new one.

There is a change at Apple, and not a good one. IMO there has been a decline in everything that Apple once prided themselves on, including the quality of their hardware, software, and their customer service.

Over my 25 years of purchasing Apple products, only recently have I started to have a lot of issues with them. I have had to call Apple support more in the past 3 years than the previous 20 years combined.

I was once excited to see new software updates on my Apple products, but now I am scared to do them, especially on my iOS devices, because I am not sure what the update will do to the device.
Rating: 27 Votes
22 months ago
Tim Cook just doing what he does best at cutting corners to increase profit.
Rating: 27 Votes
22 months ago
Apple used to pride itself on quality, today they pride themselves on how slim and flimsy they can make products even if it sacrifices quality as $ matters not the product.

I remember the days when the product mattered and $ came second, no more then days are long gone or that is how people are viewing Apple today, it is a cancer that Apple needs to eradicate before it’s too late.

Today’s MacBooks just feel cheep, they are light and weight is an indicator of quality, if they used steel to reinforce strength as in the hinges it would increase weight and more high quality metal over plastic or lighter softer metals like aluminium would also add weight but increases quality but Apple doesn’t seem to care and seems to think lighter is better, it’s not I like to feel I payed £££ for something than this feels so light and cheep why did I pay so much for something that feels so less
Rating: 26 Votes

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