Class action suit filed against Apple for 2011 MacBook Pro GPU defects

Washington DC-based law firm Whitfield, Bryson & Mason announced that it had filed a class action lawsuit against Apple over widespread graphical issues encountered on 2011 MacBook Pros with AMD GPUs.

The issue appears to stem from poor soldering between the GPU and logic board. According to the lawsuit:

When the lead-free solder cracks it degrades the data flow between the GPU and the logic board. A small crack can cause the laptop's graphics to become distorted on occasion. But as cracks in the lead-free solder propagate over time, the graphics issues worsen and system stability decreases, until eventually the computer is completely unusable. This defect related to the lead-free solder connecting the GPU to the logic board (the "Graphics Defect") limits all computers at the point of sale forward from performing as advertised and warranted.

The news comes after a petition calling for Apple to replace or fix all 2011 MacBook Pros that experienced the issue has reached over 20,000 signatures.

The lawsuit is currently being filed on behalf of customers in California and Florida, and is being considered for filing in other parts of the country as well.

If you want to take a look at the lawsuit, you can find it here (warning: it's a hefty read). Do you think this lawsuit will go anywhere? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Whitfield Bryson & Mason

Dan Thorp-Lancaster
  • boy this happens a lot. My HP laptop had the same issue with Nvidia cards. And HP had a class action against them for the exact same issue with a soldered nvidia card. Unfortunately my model wasn't involved in the suit or the recall. I just got screwed. Darn thing turned on, you could hear windows "bong" and it would load. Just no screen at all. sucks. They had all kinds of non permanent fixes from putting it in the oven, to letting it over heat and hoping the solder would get hot enough to reseat itself, to taking it apart and going at it with a heat gun. Nothing was permanent. Now it's a paperweight.
  • I have this issue on my MacBook Pro early 2011 but I'm outside the USA (Mexico), do you think there is any chance that costumers abroad will benefit from this suit.
    Thanks for the input.
  • My early 2011 macbook pro had the gpu issues as well. It made it all the way up until about 3 months ago when it failed. Had to do the repair through the apple store that was over $300. Honestly I was pleased with the service because they replaced my rubbed off keyboard and the aluminum chassis that was all chipped up and dinged in some areas with a brand new one. It was like a brand new computer when I got it back. Cheaper than buying a new one i guess. But i was still disappointed that the motherboard replacement wasn’t covered even though there had been lots of reports of similar issues with that same model.
  • Took mine in for analysis at the local Apple Store. I was able to capture images showing screen degradation (garbled images, horizontal lines, weird text...), and they believed me, but couldn't reproduce the issue. So went on using the system, but quit using an external monitor in hopes that the GPU wouldn't be used/taxed to the point where it would trigger the problems. Unfortunately like others have posted here, that workaround didn't last for long. Eventually the system wouldn't post beyond a white screen. We thought about getting it repaired, but decided not to invest in a 3+ year old system given that the investment may not have lasted much longer. Sold it for scrap recently.
  • My early 2011 MacBook Pro has been broken, with this problem, for a week or two. It also happened 6 months ago and was repaired then free of charge (after a little discussion) by swapping the topcase (basically, everything but the lid) It worries me that a) it won't be repaired free this time, AND b) the repair won't last. There are a LOT of people with this problem. In the UK we have consumer rights to expect around 5 years of service from a premium product. I'll have to see what they say this week.
  • Hope you get some resolution. The MBP 2011 was not inexpensive.
  • You guys are all just holding your laptops the wrong way.
  • I did a GPU reflow on a friends HP laptop with this problem.
  • Apple is generally great about supporting their products - fantastic compared to just about any other company out there. But over the years I've heard about and personally experienced these catastrophic defects that can render an otherwise perfectly functional computer utterly worthless and uneconomical to repair. This sort of premature obsolescence would be no surprise on a $400 HP, but it's infuriating on a $2500 MacBook Pro. I'm not generally a fan of class action lawsuits, but if Apple is prompted to provide more cost effective display, GPU, and logic board repairs for out of warranty products in the future (at least in cases where the defect rates demonstrate defective components or manufacturing), I think they will have served a public benefit.
  • I actually just brought my MBP into apple to get it repaired for a small issue that turned out to be alot more than small, come to find out it was this. I had no idea this was such a huge issue. Good thing I still had my AppleCare. Sent from the iMore App
  • I had the repair done. Wasn't aware it was a thing. Wonder if it will lead to refund in fee paid? Interesting. Sent from the iMore App
  • A lot of notebooks with discrete graphics chips seem to have this problem - I had it with a Dell about 8 years ago. HP has had it, and Apple too obviously. My answer is to avoid discrete graphics in notebooks. Why should I pay more for high end graphics and at the same time kill reliability?
  • My late 2010 MacBook Pro suffered the same fate, wonder if that's covered? I took it into the genius bar and was told the logic board was bad after a year and of course I didn't have Apple Care on it so its a big doorstop collecting dust.
  • The 2008 Macbook Pros had severe problems with Nvidia GPUs. Apple kept telling people to bring the machines to the Genius Bar instead of issuing a recall. The flaw causes rainbow effects and other distortions or green screens. I have one with this problem. The green screen is almost unusable and sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. I saw the rainbow effect on my other identical machine that has now passed on. These machines were time bombs. Apple would replace the faulty chips with faulty chips. It never replaced the GPUs with properly soldered parts. The other fun thing about those machines is that they were artificially limited to SATA-1 speeds because Apple never bothered to fix that either. read: