Anti-reflective coating coming off your MacBook? You'll need to mail it off for repair

AR coating defect on MacBook
AR coating defect on MacBook (Image credit:

What you need to know

  • Apple is still repairing faulty MacBook screen coatings.
  • Stores must now mail them to a depot for repair rather than carrying out the work in-store

A few years ago Apple admitted that some of its MacBook and MacBook Pro devices were suffering from an issue that caused their anti-reflective coatings to fail. A free repair program has been in effect ever since and, as surprising as it might seem, it's still running today. But there's a twist – Apple Stores can no longer carry out the work.

According to an internal memo picked up by MacRumors, Apple has told its Authorized Service Providers that they can no longer repair these machines themselves. Instead, they must be mailed to a central hub. As you can imagine, that's going to take a little longer than waltzing into a local store.

The new policy went into effect January 4, 2021 and means that customers who take an eligible 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro exhibiting this issue to an Apple Authorized Service Provider will have their notebook mailed to a centralized Apple depot for the repair to be completed, likely resulting in longer waiting times in most cases. It is unclear if the policy applies to any countries outside of the United States at this time.

Given the fact so many stores around the globe are opening and closing with alarming regularity, there's a case to be made that this won't make all that much difference to a lot of people. That's unlikely to be any consolation to those left without their Mac while the work is carried out, however.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.