Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors.

"Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states.

Apple's internal service documentation for this issue previously only mentioned MacBook Pro and discontinued 12-inch MacBook models with Retina displays, but the MacBook Air is now mentioned in at least two places. Apple added a Retina display to the MacBook Air in October 2018 and all models of the notebook have featured one since.

MacBook Pro anti reflective wearing off
Apple has a free repair program for the anti-reflective coating issue in place internally, but it has yet to add any MacBook Air models to its list of eligible models, despite mentioning it elsewhere in the documentation. However, with Apple at least acknowledging that the MacBook Air can exhibit the issue, customers may have a valid argument for at least a free in-warranty repair.

The eligibility list remains the same as in December 2019 for now:

  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2015)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
  • MacBook (12-inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (12-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (12-inch, Early 2017)

Apple began the repair program in October 2015 after some MacBook and MacBook Pro users experienced an issue with the anti-reflective coating wearing off or delaminating on Retina displays. Apple has never posted the repair program to its website, opting instead to handle the matter more quietly. For that reason, your mileage may vary.

Over the years, the issue led to an online petition with nearly 5,000 signatures, a Facebook group with over 17,000 members, and complaints across the Apple Support Communities, Reddit, and our own MacRumors forums. A so-called "Staingate" website was set up to share photos of affected Mac notebooks.

Apple Stores outside of China and many Apple Authorized Service Providers are closed right now, but customers can visit support.apple.com for service and support.

Update: Apple has informed us that the MacBook Air, Retina or otherwise, is not part of this program and does not exhibit this issue, adding that this was a mistake on an internal document that has since been fixed.

Update 2: A technician at an Apple Authorized Service Provider disagrees with Apple, informing us that they have serviced several 2018 MacBook Air units that exhibited anti-reflective coating issues.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

MacFather Avatar
9 months ago
Deleted.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bollman Avatar
9 months ago
Apple, just skip that coating...
I've resorted to scrubbing it off completely on computers where Apple no longer wants to do screen replacements. Works just as fine, no real downsides except maybe if using it outside.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nvmls Avatar
9 months ago


I can’t believe that, after 8 years of having this issue, they haven’t managed how to adress it ??‍♂️

Why would they? It's not the only "issue" they've ignored.

Butterfly keyboard took them only 4 gens just to end up going back to the previous design, same thermal issues, old MB chargers always fried the same way until dongle-life a.k.a "the future" was imposed, some of their cables still fry anyways, magic mouse can't even be used while charging in 2020 since latest release, ipad still bendable, the touch bar is a joke, Catalina has been a mess, many of their stock apps fail to do the basic stuff they're supposed to, UI has gotten stagnant to a point almost any third party app looks better.

They don't care, Apple users buy blindly and they exploit that, which from a business perspective is just brilliant. Many people even think they are buying a "premium" device which is laughable considering they've been cutting corners, convoluting product lines & penny pinching more than ever since Cook.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scrapesleon Avatar
9 months ago
Can we get a proper functioning laptop Apple Without any issues is that so hard
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Populus Avatar
9 months ago
I can’t believe that, after 8 years of having this issue, they haven’t managed how to adress it ??‍♂️

On the other hand, iPads have anti reflective coating as well, and those hold up pretty well... interesting.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mi7chy Avatar
9 months ago
Apple should make the coating optional for people who don't want design for obsolescence and being charged for a costly display replacement down the road.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

0 Deals Hero

Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Deals to Plan For

Saturday November 21, 2020 10:00 am PST by
In the lead-up to Black Friday next week, we've been putting a spotlight on the best deals coming from various retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. In an effort to further prepare our readers for the best Black Friday deals, we're breaking down what we think should be on your radar for Black Friday in 2020. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
m1 mac mini vignette

Apple Lists M1-Based Mac Mini Logic Boards With 10 Gigabit Ethernet in Internal Parts Ordering System

Friday November 20, 2020 9:32 am PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M1 chip is only available with Gigabit Ethernet, Apple has listed multiple M1-based Mac mini logic boards with 10 Gigabit Ethernet in an internal parts list for Apple Authorized Service Providers. For every Mac mini logic board with Gigabit Ethernet in the parts list, obtained by MacRumors, there is a corresponding logic board with 10 Gigabit Ethernet:...
new m1 chip

Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is 'Really up to Microsoft'

Friday November 20, 2020 11:57 am PST by
Following the release of the M1 Macs Apple executives have been doing interviews with a range of publications, and today, Ars Technica published another interview with software engineering chief Craig Federighi, hardware technologies lead Johny Srouji, and marketing VP Greg Joswiak. Much of the interview focuses on topics that the three have already covered in prior discussions, but there is ...
14

Apple Releases iOS 14.2.1 With Fix for Text Message Bug and iPhone 12 Mini Lock Screen Issues

Thursday November 19, 2020 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 14.2.1, a bug fix update that comes two weeks after the launch of iOS 14.2 and is available for Apple's new iPhone 12 models. The iOS 14.2.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's release notes, iOS...
Walmart November Deals Hero

Black Friday Spotlight: Walmart Will Have AirPods Pro Down to Lowest Price of $169, and More Apple Deals

Thursday November 19, 2020 8:05 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Walmart. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. Next ...
apple leather sleeve

Leather Sleeve for iPhone 12 Models Now Available From Apple

Friday November 20, 2020 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the Leather Sleeve for the new iPhone 12 models, with the accessory having first been announced alongside the updated iPhones in October. Priced at $129, the Leather Sleeve is not a case and is designed to be removed when the iPhone is in use. It features a cutout at the front that displays the time, and it comes with a matching leather strap. According to Apple, it ...
iOS14AntitrackFacebookSadfeature

Apple Confirms Commitment to App Tracking Transparency in Letter Condemning Facebook's Data Collection [Updated]

Thursday November 19, 2020 11:58 am PST by
Apple in iOS 14 is planning to introduce a new App Tracking Transparency feature that will let users know when companies want to track them across apps and website. Following outcry from developers like Facebook and ad networks unprepared for the change, Apple delayed the implementation of the anti-tracking functionality until early 2021. Eight civil society organizations recently sent a...
maxresdefault

CrossOver Allows x86 Windows Apps to Run on Apple M1 Macs

Wednesday November 18, 2020 6:07 pm PST by
Codeweavers posted a blog post and video tonight showing off CrossOver running on an Apple M1 MacBook Air. This video shows Team Fortress 2 running on a new M1 MacBook Air: CrossOver is software (based on Wine Project) that runs Microsoft Windows apps on the Mac by translating Windows APIs into their Mac equivalents. The Codeweavers team was able to run the current version of CrossOver on...
macbookpro13large

Apple Offers Instructions on What to Do if macOS Big Sur Causes Installation Errors on 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro

Thursday November 19, 2020 6:12 pm PST by
Following the release of macOS Big Sur last week, a number of 2013 and 2014 MacBook Pro owners found that the update bricked their machines. Affected users saw their Macs get stuck displaying a black screen after attempting to install the new software. Apple has now addressed this issue in a new support document that provides instructions on what to do if macOS Big Sur can't be installed on...
128gb m1 macbook air education cropped

$799 M1 MacBook Air With 128GB Storage for Education Institutions Spotted Online

Friday November 20, 2020 5:15 am PST by
A new configuration of the M1 MacBook Air with 128GB of storage and a lower $799 price has today been spotted on Apple's U.S. Education Institution Hardware and Software Price List. The M1 MacBook Air is only available with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage. There is currently no 128GB configuration on the Apple Store. However, Reddit user "u/dduci97" noticed that Apple has listed...