iMac LCD problems continue to grow

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MacNN reports that there are a growing number of iMac users that are having some pretty serious LCD screen trouble. The trouble seems to be that the iMacs are “showing a number of artifacts that include single-pixel lines spanning the length of the screen.”

This discussion thread features over 80 posts about the issue, and since most of these iMacs are over a year old and have just come out of warranty, users are being quoted prices of $700 or more for the problem to be corrected at Apple stores.

If this issue continues, you can surely expect a class action suit of some kind to be filed (update: Let me be clear here that I don’t think anyone SHOULD file a lawsuit over this – just that I won’t be surprised if it happens.) , but hopefully, Apple will address the issue before it comes to that.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

57 thoughts on “iMac LCD problems continue to grow

  1. This isn’t the first time that Apple’s products have had serious issues re: LCD longevity. Remember Bridget Riley, anyone?

    If this new LCD issue is as grounded as the 17″ Powerbook complaints have been, then Apple really should fix these things for free, else be sued for the damages incurred. I’m not a fan of baseless lawsuits, but the Bridget Riley problem is well-documented, and Apple’s reaction to it has been piss-poor.

  2. Yeah. A friend of mine has G5 iMac that falls just outside of the serial number range listed in the repair extension.

    It really saddens me that Apple repeatedly has done this. They will cover some machines, but many fall outside the serial number range and still have the problem, so they won’t fix them. iBooks, PowerBooks, and previous iMacs all had problems where they did extension programs but they didn’t cover all the effected machines.

  3. Oooooooo! “over 80 posts”. Not 80 individual users reporting the problem, just 80 reports about the problem. Could be 80 posts by the same po’d user, or maybe not.

    But there you have it, 80 posts about the problem. This evidently PROVES without a doubt that every single iMac user has the problem and that it is definitely a design ‘flaw’ that the evil Apple Inc. knew about all along and purposely hid from unsuspecting victims. It just has to be true, no?

    “If this issue continues, you can surely expect a class action suit of some kind to be filed, but hopefully, Apple will address the issue before it comes to that.”

    Apple’s worst problem continues to be irresponsible blogs, like this one, extrapolating facts from thin air. And the courts now recognize this crap as ‘journalism’. Apple is doomed by its own irrational fanbois ever ready to pounce on anything negative to get mouse clicks.

  4. @Lawrence –

    Gee Lawrence, over react much?

    Apple isn’t perfect – there is a problem with these iMacs and it needs to be fixed.

    Apple gets sued everyday, over a variety of really stupid things – this could very well be next in line. I mean, COME ON, how many lawsuits were filed over the battery in the iPhone?

    I’m all for being a fan of Apple, but lets not pretend that the company is incapable of making something that has a problem – it happens.

  5. I’ve noticed when using CoverFlow lately, my screen will show artifacts, but it will eventually go away if I leave.

  6. Lawrence. The problem is real!

    It happened to my iMac G5 17″ 1.9 GHz(isight) about 1 and a half year. Its a 1″ white band from top to bottom.

  7. I am an ex-MacGenius and what this blog points out is a problem that may or may not be widespread. 80 posts, even if they all represent individual instances, is not a lot when compared to the thousands upon thousands of these units that are in use.
    Having said that, when Apple completes a repair they hang on to the defective parts and many of them go to engineering for analysis. If this is truly a design defect it will be addressed. It is possible, though, that this is not a design defect, but rather something that several users happen to have experienced in common.

    Example: in a car I used to own the air deflector which sends air to the heater core to be warmed failed. Result? No heat in a very cold winter. Research showed that I was not the only one to experience this failure, in fact it was “well known” for this car. Apparently, though, the percentage of effected cars was well below 1% so once out of warranty the manufacturer would not cover the repair, as you expect in a car. If I had an extended warranty I would have saved $1500 in labor costs for a $50 part.

    The same thing appears to apply here. This is, from the data presented, a very small number of effected units. Apple offers everyone a protection plan that would cover this repair assuming there is no accidental damage involved. I think of this as a 3 year insurance policy. The $249 (I think) I spent on my Macbook just paid for itself. For an iMac this plan costs something like $170 and covers the unit for 3 years. Cheap insurance for a complex product. I wouldn’t blame anyone for not getting the insurance but if Apple covered every repair like this then those of us who do protect ourselves would be suffering a serious dis-service. I usually decline service plans on electronics, but if I wouldn’t want to replace it within the service agreement time frame I do consider it strongly. The point is that you have the choice and if you choose not to insure, you take a chance no matter how small that chance is. Personally, I almost always replace my Macs in less than 3 years, but everyone gets “insured”.

    As for the Bridget Reilly “defect”? I saw a (very) few of these amongst the thousands of portables brought to me at the Genius Bar. In nearly every single case the computer had been obviously dropped, as attested to by dents, cracks, etc. Of the few that were not obviously dropped one customer admitted to dropping his machine despite there being no visible damage. It was under AppleCare and Apple paid for his repair.


  8. A colleague of mine bought his 17″ iMac about 3 months later than me. It is the first generation Intel core duo. The panel has to be replaced. Fortunately it happened within the warrantee period.

    I live with the problem by having a second monitor in mirror mode using third party software. This mode is not supported in my G5 iMacs .(iSight). Interestingly, this mode is directly supported in Intel iMacs.

  9. @macadam

    You cannot seriously be implying that the Bridget Reilly issue is caused by respective Powerbook owners all dropping their computers. This would imply that owners of 17″ Powerbooks, whose computers were manufactured in the same country, in the same timeframe, at the same factory, with similar serial numbers, are more likely to drop their computers than other laptop owners. I’m sorry, but that notion is purely ridiculous.

    As for AppleCare, yes, it’s a great insurance, but shouldn’t be necessary when a group of affected people have a legitimate complaint who all own computers with so many similarities. If the complainants all had different computer, with different size LCDs, manufactured in different factories, etc, then certainly it’s AppleCare alone that places the cost of repair on Apple, but that’s not the situation people are looking at.

  10. I’ve been getting some weird screen flickers on my 24″ iMac. It only happens when I have the iMac turned on for a long time. The computer is a bit over 1 year old, but warranty here is for 2 years. (thank god!). When it gets worse I’ll take it to the reseller!

  11. Why do some commentators ridicule reports of common defects. I have no axe to grind on this subject but a friend of mine reported the coloured vertical line problem and I googled it.

    imac screen g5 vertical line
    gives 9660 hits so it cannot be imaginary.

    Presumably the actual LCD unit is a standard component and so replaceable at no great expense and without too much difficulty, so if anyone has a lead on this it would be useful.

  12. This problem is true. My iMac suffered the same fate. What’s worse, Apple doesn’t have the replacement parts. it’s been 6 months since I reported the problem to my local dealer, but the replacement LCD is still unavailable. I don’t mind paying for the replacement LCD, but it sucks that it isn’t available, given that many 17″ iMac G5s are affected.

  13. Let me start out that I’m am and will always be an Apple fan but I am one of those unfortunate victims who bought a 17″ iMac Intel Core 2 Duo where just 2 months after the 1 year warranty expired, the screen displayed a single yellow line (1 pixel) down the screen. Firstly let me add that in South Africa, they DO NOT offer the extended warranty…I phoned every conceivable Apple (authorized and unauthorized supplier) for this info. Secondly, I treat my iMac basically with silk gloves as I paid R12,500.00 for this machine therefore I look after it…no bumps, no scratches…not even pirated software graces the machine. Thirdly I was disappointed when I first heard of this “rumor” to the point that I got it insured for this likely event (which thank God is now paying off to have insurance) but to the fact that I have to consider these things which apparently are becoming “common” to a specific serial number (W860****). I seriously think that Apple should have and still should do a recall on these specific LCD screens bearing in mind that people pay a huge amount of money for a computer that they have confidence in. I can understand criteria can be placed on recall but for a replacement screen that will cost the equivalent of a new machine doesn’t justify the end-user taking this risk of repairing or even buying a new machine if they don’t have that kind of money to spare.

  14. Yep it has happened to me too, being new to Mac I have considered going back to PC Im having just as many difficulties with Intel Mac as I was on my 4yr old PC I have a line through my 17 intel machine and I cant find a fix 18month old machine very dissatisfied customer especially after reading all these bloody forums.

  15. Hi – yep I am also one of the unfortunate ones in this boat – 18 month old Imac – serial number W860…. it seems that quite a lot of the imacs with this serial number are having the same problem. Apple keeps on ignoring the issue even though there are hundreds of reports of imac owners with exact the same problem all of which seem to quote the same serial number. Have you guys started threads in the imac support page at The only way to get this problem acknowledged seems to be increase the awareness. This seems far beyond the occasional problematic system but more like a serious design flaw affecting the core duo systems. Very disappointing.

  16. I have a hundred-and-counting vertical lines on my PowerBook G4 display. Apple ignores my reports. I heard it was PowerBooks with W85 serial numbers (manufactured in Shanghai ) with the problem, but I see it’s growing to more serial numbers and models. I’ve been a loyal Mac user since 1988, but Mac has not been so loyal to me. 🙁
    Very disappointing indeed!

  17. I have the same problem with my iMac 17″ right now…there is a pink line from top to bottom. I’m looking for a quick fix for it but they said I have to send it back to where i bought it. Luckily, my iMac is still on warranty. Some of my co-workers have Mac books and almost all of them have problems with the hard disk. I’m a very big fan of Mac…hopefully they will resolve this problem as soon as possible.

  18. Wow no kidding! This is a serious problem. I have a 2Ghz Intel Core II Duo that’s out of warranty and the right third of the screen is gone. It started as vertical lines and got progressively worse. I hope that something is done about this. Apple should stand behind these machines. Too many to be a coincidence. Most likely it is a vendor issue where the parts supplied to Apple from a specific vendor was faulty. The used value of one of these iMacs sure makes paying for a replacement kind of crazy. I’ll keep trying to get Apple to come through on this one!

  19. One Cyan vertical line, right side of LCD, 17″ iMac G5 “iSight” on May 4th 2008 … iMac is 2.4 years young… Very Disappointed …

  20. I have a 2Ghz Intel Core II Duo also. Had it for about 18 months of trouble free use. Turned it on tonight and within 10 seconds of the desktop appearing after start up vertical white lines 1 pixel apart started to appear very rapidly. Within 5 seconds they had all joined together leaving an inch wide vertical white band down the screen. Great!!

    After a bit of research I have found similar reports. My serial number also starts W863?

    What do you recommend the best course of action to fix this? Is it just a call to an Apple Store for a fix?

  21. I too have one of those first I Macs with the intel chip—the computer is a little over 2 years old. The problem started with one line but has grown to 12 lines. Apple has said that it will cost approximately $600 to repair. As a loyal Mac fan, I too am very disappointed that they won’t fix this problem for free. In my local Apple store the “genius” let slip that a lot of people were having the same problem so it is not a coincidence it seems to me

  22. Question: Does anyone have an e-mail address where I can send my complaint about this problem- I have scoured the Apple site but they make it very hard for you to lodge a complaint—I couldn’t find anything. Thanks

  23. Our office purchased 7 imac intel 17″ a little over a year ago. So far 3 have needed repair and now today 1 has infamous white line issue. Of course we are 2 months out of warranty.

  24. @Land

    Even if you’re out of warranty by a few months, you should still contact Apple. They helped me even after my warranty had expired.

  25. This problem is looking to be very universal.I faced this issue last week and contacted apple care.
    I am out of warranty period by 3 months. I have asked for a concession as i can’t imagine spending $600 odd immediately.He said he will let me know by Monday.
    I am having a miserable weekend waiting for the answer and primarily dejected as i just loved the thing when i had got it .

  26. I’ve been using macs since the early 90’s and am now pretty fed up, Bought a G5 I mac in Canada and after moving to Bangkok have the same problem of (now) 8 lines on the LCD. Unit about two years old and no warranty of course. Took it to Mac repair store and it will be $700 to replace. A newer version is $1200 but I’m not about to by another Apple product after this. A screen should last more than two years and even though it’s out of warranty it’s obviously a design flaw and should be replaced for free. This is my 8th and final Apple computer unless the problem is addressed.

  27. Got a 24” iMac (2.8GHz) yesterday. Initial switch on itself shows this group of 3 vertical lines at the right edge of the screen. Since it is a new product, the local rep will be replacing the unit. It’s serial number does start with W8 – perhaps all these share the same LCD source?

    I have a 17” G5 as well (pre-iSight) and that had developed a few lines but a software (firmware?) update seems to have fixed it (happened an year or so ago).

  28. I’m having the same problem with my iMac folks – G5 17″ 2GHz,bought Feb 2006 – now half of my monitor is now unusable due to vertcal lines on the right of the screen – this was after less than 2 years of use! I didn’t buy Applecare as I thought the Mac was a quality product and shouldn’t need any major servicing within the first 3/4 years if i looked after it well and was careful with anti-viruses etc…(i.e. thought that it was a progressive company making sustainable, beautifully designed products)
    My boyfriend had a first generation Mac which had to be repaired under the extended warranty programme, but i thought that was one off. Obviously not. Doh!

    Please sign the online petition and get Apple to formally recognize this problem and offer support!

  29. This problem seems more widespread than apple support has lead me to believe. Is there any recourse?

  30. Add us to the list—-two year old 17″ iMac Intel Core Duo with a serial number in the same range as others are listing. We are sporting just three vertical lines on our monitor, but I expect that number to rise based on other posts.

    I called Apple today and was told essentially that it’s too bad I didn’t buy an extended warranty… disappointing, based on the number of people I have convinced to make the switch to Mac. What happened to customer service? What happened to doing right by your customers? I hate to say it, but this may be our last Apple.

  31. Hi. My Wife has an 18 month old 17″ iMac C2D which, over a period of about three months, has developed 51 vertical lines.

    I called Applecare today ( It’s out of warranty ) and after describing all the symptoms they have agreed to fix it. For free. One of the key questions was ‘do the lines appear before the Apple logo on startup?’ – Yes, they do. I guess this shows that it’s a hardware fault and not software related.

    Don’t give up.

    I’m so, so pleased with Apple for doing this and didn’t expect it at all, though I did hope.

  32. I Bought a 20″ 1mac from COMPU USA in 2006. 6 months later I notice that one or two pixels were dead. In a month the whole display was dead. I try to contact COMPU USA in Puerto Rico, but the Store was gone.Then I went to Best Buy to check the computer and after their charge me 70 bucks for and estimated their told me that the problem was the display and that I have to spend $800 dollars for fixed(the new imac cost me $999 dollars. Now I”m using an outside monitor with a mini converter for be able to use the computer. I Know a hundres of cases like mine in the Island. Here more people dont trust anymore the (bad) Apple Company. Their are acting outside of their principles, and that is the starting point point of the crash down of the best of the best.

    Wilfredo Figueroa
    Box 275 Juncos, PR. 00777

  33. Add another one to the list! My 17″ iMac ( serial W854.. made in Shanghai and despatched from there 9th November 2005) exhibited one single thin line from top to bottom for the first time a couple of days ago but reading other comments it looks as though it’s likely to get worse. Not good enough – particularly as this Imac was a replacement for a previous faulty one! Perhaps separates are a better option than a single unit?

  34. Yep I got an 18 month old 17″ intel imac with this problem, vertical lines 1 pixel wide growing in number by the day and as henry posted above my serial number is also W860. Spoke to Apple who told me it was a video ram failure and that I should have the video board replaced also spoke again to apple who told me it would be cheaper to buy a new machine and tried to sell me another. Not impressed!

  35. Same problem here. Not only horizontal line glitches or artifacts across windows (seldom across full screen – most actively appearing in long website scrolls like this one). Also looks like my damn screen is melting – weird discolorations where the menubar is (like a physical melt-in), and slightly browned edges near the lower right and left sides. Seems to be too hot for the screen! This is accompanied by constant crashes of the OS, freeze-ups, etc. especially while using Second Life, Need For Speed Carbon, and a few other 3-D programs. Unreal Tournament does not seem to be affected (yet, thank gawd). I’ve done all the diagnostics, repaired permissions, checked disk, did an overnight looping hardware test – all came out positive. I finally reinstalled OSX, updated (repairing permissions as recommended along the way) and the problems STILL persist! I have NEVER owned a computer this lame. Hopefully I can put my humanity aside and sell it to an unsuspecting person and wash my hands of my life as a Mac Evangelist since 1984. This will be THE VERY LAST Apple product I ever purchase. It has been the worst experience ever, and at least 4 other people that I had “switched” and convinced to purchase a Mac instead of a peecee are now wishing they never, ever took my advice. So much for that crap. It has ruined my credulity and the trust others had in my advice. Thanks a lot Apple, you suck.

  36. I’m discouraged with Apple’s attitude. I bought a 24″ IMac that came with a fogged screen. It was exchanged for a new one. I traveled for 2 weeks and found my new IMac fogged. The problem resolved itself temporarily while I used the computer. Then there were the lines accros the screen, looking as though someone had ran his nails across the screen. They changed my lcd again. Then there was a problem of spots and different colors on two sides of the screen. They changed my video card. Now I have lines again! They don’t seem to know what the problem is. I would be willing to get my money back or exchange it for a MacPro and I would buy an Eizo or La Cie monitor, but it seems impossible to be heard! I hate to sue- most of the times it’s the lawyer who gets it all, but I think we should do something about it before we think of sueing and damaging Apple’s reputation widespreading the news by email and on the media.
    I love the Operating System and would not go back to Windows, but it’s becoming an ordeal to work with a Mac.

  37. Now I have this problem to. 2 years and 6 months after I bought it (in belgium there’s a warranty of 2 years)
    So the only thing I can do is by a new one.

  38. Had the same probleim in my 17inch iMac…..

    Luckily I bought the extended warranty and got it fixed…otherwise it will cost me in the reguion of USD600 to replace the LCD.

  39. If some of the early posters want to Google “iMac LCD lines” now, I think there will be no doubt that it’s more than just 80 iMacs with this LCD issue. A lawsuit has been filed in January 2009 and, to date, Apple has not informed owners what the issue is, what can be done to prevent the problem or whether they will take any action to correct a design or manufacturing defect.

    Remember iPod batteries? The company had to deal with that. Most recently, the Nano’s scratch prone LCD lawsuit has been settled.

    Perhaps Apple could take a lesson from Dell, when their laptops and SFF motherboards developed leaking capacitors (the board builder used capacitors that were defective because it utilized a design that was the result of industrial espionage), they did a one time warranty extension and replaced the system boards for one year.

  40. Tengo una Imac17 y el problema es igual, empezaron a salir rayas verticales y ahora no se puede trabajar, todo esto ocurrió despues de expirar la garantia (1 año y medio), en Guayaquil (Ecuados) somos muchos los afectados y esperamos una pronta solución de Apple pues no quisieramos llegar a algún tipo de demanda por defectos y por perjuicios de trabajo
    Guayaquil – Ecuador

  41. iMac G5 Insight – 1″ wide white vertical bar down center of screen.

    Genius at AppleStore said video card – repair $1100+. Given the next line: Is Apple trying to hide a problem with their LCDs?

    Bought VGA adapter and hooked up LCD monitor – works perfectly. Genius wrong – not video card.

    LCD is bad – frustrating as this is the only Mac i’ve owned that did not require repair under AppleCare which ran out about last October (2008).

    (1) SE/30 – mother board and two other repairs I can’t remember. Last repair may have been out of warranty but the tech looked really upset and he repaired it and did not charge.
    (2) iMacDV400 – 3 or 4 hard drives under AppleCare. Warranty ran out and I had someone drop in a 30 gig HD (non-Apple) – machine has worked fine ever since.
    (3) iMac G5 20″ – hard drive and mother board and possibly a power supply under AppleCare. I repaired it last time out of warranty at AppleStore (power supply). Still running.
    (4) iMac G5 17″ Insight – not one problem during AC coverage. Now 1″ vertical white band in center of screen. Bad LCD.

  42. 3 weeks ago I got the smame problem with my 17” iMac that I bough 3 years ago, an of course it is no longer under waranty. The computer is fine and works just as well as it did when I first got it but can’t use it since the LCD screen does not work. So I was told by the authorised Mac technitian that a new screen is $590 + labour + tax so over $750 to repair.

    This is just so frustrating to say the least.

  43. I have a 3+ year, out of warranty, LaCie Photon 19 Vision monitor which has screen streaking and visual distortions. After much contact with these people out in Oregon, LaCie neither provides repair service nor do they indicate from where any replacement part(s) may be obtained! Therefore, do not buy LaCie monitors. Period. End of this discussion. Don Saar,

  44. I have an iMac with the same problem. My computer is approx 4 years old. It started with one vertical blue line and then another and so on. This morning I now have a 5 inch band of solid stripes which take up the the majority of the left side of my screen. So discouraging. I love my Mac and had pcs in the past that lasted double the time that this one did. I know, that’s a long time, but I don’t even use my computer that much. It’s not even worth spending the $700+ to fix. Will probably buy another LCD monitor and use both. Ugh.

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