Apple Knowingly Sold 2016-17 MacBook Pro Models With ‘Flexgate’ Display Defect, Judge Says


In 2019, some customers of 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models began to notice an odd “stage lighting” effect that would impact their screen, potentially causing the laptop to be unusable. The odd occurrence resulted from a weak and fragile flex cable that can experience wear and tear with repeated opening and closing of the computer.

macbook pro flexgate

Image via MacRumors reader SourceSunToM

Now, two years later, a judge who’s presiding over a case from a group of consumers accusing Apple of knowingly selling the laptops, despite the defect, says that Apple would have been alerted to the issue thanks to pre-release testing.

As reported in a paywalled report from Law360, Judge Edward Davila sided with the plaintiffs by agreeing that testing the laptops before their release would have informed Apple engineers of the issue. Hence, the company knowingly sold the laptops with the defect.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila determined that the consumers’ allegations of Apple conducting intensive pre-release testing, which the consumers say was conducted by a team of “reliability engineers” who carried out stress tests and other procedures that would have alerted Apple to defects behind the display failures, sufficiently demonstrate that Apple was aware of the alleged defect.

“The court finds that the allegations of pre-release testing in combination with the allegations of substantial customer complaints are sufficient to show that Apple had exclusive knowledge of the alleged defect,” the judge wrote in his opinion.

The plaintiff, Mahan Taleshpour, representing a larger group of consumers, says that Apple “continues to deny there was ever a defect in its display cables,” and goes further to say that Apple attempted to cover any evidence of “Flexgate.”

According to Talehspour, Apple deliberately deleted comments and threads from its Apple Support Community Forum, which often serves as a go-to place for crowdsourcing information on potential issues with Apple devices. Talehspour accues Apple of deleting comments that outlined “‌‌Flexgate‌‌” and the issues around the display. The judge says that if the accusation is true, it will act as further proof that Apple was aware of the issue.

If Apple deleted…

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