Retina MacBook Anti-Reflective Coating ‘Staingate’ Problem Explained: Here’s What You Should Do

Image credit: Staingate

Owners of a retina MacBook Pro or 12-inch MacBook may be frustrated to see that over time, display issues could accumulate. A number of people have reported that the anti-reflective coating on these MacBook models starts to chip away or peel off entirely, affecting display quality.

The problem dates back to March 2015 when some owners first noticed the issues. A group of customers even started a website called staingate.org sharing photos of the damage and requesting Apple’s health. Finally, in late 2015 Apple launched a program for affected customers to fix the screens.

If you have a retina MacBook Pro or 12-inch MacBook that you think may have this problem, check out the signs and symptoms and follow our steps to hopefully receive support.

Identifying Staingate

Staingate is much like a snowflake in that it seems no two scenarios look exactly identical. Some customers started noticing spots on the edge, others have larger streaks and patches, some have a combination of both. These are signs that the anti-reflective coating is wearing off.

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Images credit: Staingate

Users with issues submitted photos to the Staingate website. It’s a good idea to compare your MacBook to these photos to see if your display issues fit the bill. Note that the peeling of the anti-reflective coating shouldn’t distort the contents on the display, it should just be the distracting withering away of a top layer.

Finding Out if You’re Eligible for Support

Once you identify that you are in fact having issues with your MacBook’s anti-reflective coating, a.k.a. staingate, check to see if you’re covered.

Apple’s repair program for the issue covers 12-inch MacBooks and retina MacBook Pros purchased as far back as June 2012 or all up until October 16, 2017. It also covers any eligible model within three years of the date of purchase — whichever one is longer.

Owning one of those MacBooks and being within the given timeframe should qualify you for a replacement display. Don’t go looking around for an official page on Apple’s website about the problem though, it’s nowhere to be found. You’ll have to take the traditional route to get Apple support.

Get Apple Support

There are two main ways to get in touch with Apple support for your display concerns. First is to find the phone number of your local Apple store and give them a call. Explain you’re part of the customers affected by a faulty anti-reflective coating on your MacBook. They should be able to pencil you in for a Genius Bar appointment for inspection and coverage.

Alternatively, visit apple.com/support.

Choose Mac under the product selection, your type of MacBook, then click Contact Support at the top right.

Click Hardware Issues, then Display Issue, and lastly “Bring in for Repair.”

Now you’ll have to follow the steps here to schedule a Genius Bar appointment or find a local authorized Apple reseller, which I don’t recommend.

Since this is a fairly widespread problem, it should be painless for Apple to figure out what’s wrong with your display and offer a replacement. Best of luck.