Apple facing another class-action lawsuit over MacBook Pro ‘flexgate’ issue

Class-action lawsuits against Apple aren’t uncommon. The company has faced quite a few over the years, especially related to its hardware. And now it’s facing yet another related to some MacBook Pro models.

According to the new complaint against Apple (via AppleInsider), the company was aware of a design flaw in some MacBook Pro models that could cause a backlight issue. That problem quickly became known as the “stage light” issue, or, more commonly, “flexgate”. The issue cropped up in MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017.

Flexgate manifested itself in a couple of ways. First, and more commonly, dark spots would appear near the bottom edge of the screen once it was opened. In other instances, some MacBook Pro owners said their backlight would turn off altogether if the lid was opened beyond a certain angle. A hardware teardown by iFixit revealed that the flex cable Apple used in these models could wear out and fray.

This complaint against Apple alleges that, despite knowing about the issue, the company delayed a subsequent repair program. What’s more, that repair program only covered two MacBook Pro models: a pair of 13-inch models. The program did not cover the 15-inch MacBook Pro that suffered the same stage light issues.

The lawsuit reads, in part:

Apple was aware of the issues with the backlight screen and the defective flex cable, in light of the comments posted by consumers on Apple’s discussion forum and that those comments were deleted after they were posted.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages, court fees, and a declaration by Apple to which MacBook Pro models suffer from flexgate and define them as defective. In addition to that, as noted in the original report:

The class-action argues violation of unfair competition laws in various states, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and consumer fraud statutes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, fraudulent concealment and unjust enrichment are also asserted.

As a means to correct the issue, and quietly confirm it exists at all, Apple made some changes in its latest MacBook Pro models. In 2019 iFixit confirmed that the 16-inch MacBook Pro includes a “lid angle sensor“. This is a more sophisticated way to determine when the laptop’s lid is open, and appears to fix the flexgate issue.

Did you or anyone you know suffer from the flexgate issue?