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.
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.