New iMacs plagued with flickering screens

Last month, Apple announced the release of the new 27-inch iMac range, the largest all in one computer on the market. But, users are complaining in masses on Apples support forums about the new iMacs, reporting problems with flickering, tearing and screens going completely blank.

As of writing, there are more than 600 posts in a single thread alone about the new iMac 27-inches problem, and the problem has been reported around the world - even Youtube videos have been posted about the problem showing how bad and reproducible it is.

Apple Support user Jan reports that "Screen distortion/flicker somewhere random in the screen (feels like it is more in the lower part) that looks like a horizontal bar of about 2-3inches just popping in and out of the screen. Screen will go completely black for a second and then come back on. Sometimes 2-3 times in a row." and that "in the course of writing this post my screen has flickered 13 times and has gone black 2 times."

The forum is even influencing potential new iMac buyers, "Thanks. Just canceled my iMac order. I could have lived with a screen that is really a big mirror but if it also flickers that is a showstopper, sorry Apple." Another user is so frustrated that he asks "......should I be tempted by a windows 7 machine...?"

The problem isn't even confined to just screen problems - users are having their new iMacs showing up DOA (Dead on Arrival), according to Engadget - who received their new test i7 iMac which was a expensive paperweight.

Even though there seem to be so many problems with the new iMac's, users are reporting that Apple is willingly replacing them within 14-days of purchase, although one Australian user was charged US$70 for not being close enough to an Apple store.

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This is why the only apple proudct I will ever own is an iPhone, and even buying that made me feel like I was leaving the good side. Though I can say the iPhone is the best phone I have ever had period.

For $1499 I can get a core i7 laptop, with 4gb of ram, nvidia 260mobile card.... can I do that with macs?

Apple has let its quality go down hill fast. Possibly the fact that since their market share goes up they can't keep up with demand so they have cut so many corners that they are not shipping quality products anymore. And using the excuse of poor packaging and smokers as a cover up?

You smoked in the same house your mac was in, that caused the computer to fail. Oops, there was a pack of cigarettes by the computer that voided the warrany since it was exposed to cigarettes. FedEx miss handled hundreds of iMacs when this was never a problem in the past. Also remember the exploding iPods and screen issues with the Gen1 iPod touches. Apple paying a family off if they didn't release info on their product exploding. It is one thing after another. They need to change the I'm a Mac commercial where PC is putting all the money into advertising, and make it where Mac is putting all the money into advertising instead of quality. Or better yet the Spinner, 75% Chance of Huge Profits, 25% Chance of Quality Products.

The number of problems recorded in products sold will be proportional to the demand. So maybe Apple hasn't changed the quality, but the number of problems is proportional.

A company sells 1 defective product out of 1 000 products.
It will sell 100 defective products out of 100 000 products, if they don't change their quality & control department.

I think Apple has made a few improvements over the years in their "quality & control department", but it wasn't enough to compensate with the demand.

My friend said "if you buy a Mac, you will never have to worry about crashing or viruses ever again" and "it just works"; what a bunch of BS. And here I am running Windows 7 on Boot Camp most of the time.

But it's impossible for any company in the world (MS, Apple, Dell, HP, ...) to have 100% of their computers (or other products) without any problem or glitch at all. There's always something that shouldn't be exactly like you want it to, and electronics like computers are so incredibly advanced that what I described applies even more. You should know that.

Macs in overall "just work", you can't deny that. I don't know why you're always running Windows 7, but hey, it's your thing.

Photoshop and all the other CS4 programs crash on startup. Word crash on typing. iTunes and QuickTime suddenly crash when playing a video. Safari hang after 30 minutes of use.

How can Apple claim it "just works" when normal tasks result in a hang or a crash?

I've got to admit, while I am an expert on Windows, I am almost blind on the Mac side.

I call Apple and it said that what I am experiencing is cause by a fall install. - what ever that means. It recommended that I reinstall Snow Leopard. Unfortunately, reinstalling made no difference. He then insist, after I complain that it will be my last Mac, that Apple is aware of the issue and will be releasing fixes in the following months to address the issues.

First came 10.6.1 and 10.6.2, but I am still waiting!

Photoshop and all the other CS4 programs crash on startup. Word crash on typing. iTunes and QuickTime suddenly crash when playing a video. Safari hang after 30 minutes of use.

I've never seen that after nearly 4 years of intensive usage of OS X :-
Something somewhere is faulty with your Mac, and it can be hardware or software or anything at this point...

PsykX said,
I've never seen that after nearly 4 years of intensive usage of OS X :-
Something somewhere is faulty with your Mac, and it can be hardware or software or anything at this point...

I guess you haven't use Snow Leopard yet.

It just goes to show that people who buy macs thinking they will be problem free are kiddinging themselves. You are not paying extra for quality people. You are paying extra for white and shiny.

What a surprise a Rev A Apple product with problems, add it to the long list. It would be bigger news if a Rev A product actually worked. Anyone who knows anything about Macs would wait for Rev B.

its a fault and i think its not related due to build quality, a multi million dollar plane may have faulties. i dony like apples, but its just a fault. i think its a bad electronic or software design, not build quality

It's interesting to see that Apple are starting to lose build standards as their market share increases, even if it is a small increase.

They need to be careful about this, or their reputation for outstanding build quality will be tarnished badly.

It's all well and good being able to build reliable & well designed products in small numbers, but there's no point in the heavy design emphasis if they can't cope with a larger market share.

Their reputation is build in base of many advices,myths and gossips (and of course, some nice gadgets).

For example, most designers think that Photoshop works way better in OSX rather in Windows, and it is not true, in fact, it is the opposite.

Magallanes said,
Their reputation is build in base of many advices,myths and gossips (and of course, some nice gadgets).

For example, most designers think that Photoshop works way better in OSX rather in Windows, and it is not true, in fact, it is the opposite.

totally agree with you specially with the photoshop thing.

i feel sorry for new iMac owners. the older ones are lucky.

PhilUK said,
"Hello, I'm a M_ *flick* a_ *flick* c." "And I'm a PC... having problems there Mac?" :D

Somebody PLEASE with video editing software make a spoof! If you make it quick enough the timing will be PERFECT!

That's what happenes when Mac gets too popular, their quality check drops to a new low in order to shift a lot of stock out of their factory as fast as possible. I'm actually not surprised tbh.

So much hate on here. It's a product that has some flaws, most of these problems appear to happen due to inferior packaging causing the units to get damaged in shipping. Apple need to use a larger box with more protective insulation simple as that.

Vice said,
So much hate on here. It's a product that has some flaws, most of these problems appear to happen due to inferior packaging causing the units to get damaged in shipping. Apple need to use a larger box with more protective insulation simple as that.

Because it always happens with first few revisions of Macs its not like its an isolated incident. They charge the earth for a Mac its not like they cant afford to build it properly and do proper QA testing.

"If there is a problem with Apple hardware someone else is to blame"... hmm wonder where I have seen that before

"Think Differently" people, it's all part of the "Apple experience"

No hatred, just nice to see reality hit Apple (and its customers) in the face. Don't make excuses for Apple, it's their problem and they need to deal with it. Step 1 is to get that smug look off their face and come back down to reality with the rest of us. Step 2 is to build a quality product.

Jugalator said,
I'd wait with this comment until I know how common this is.

Does it occur to 5% of all new iMacs? That's very bad.
Does it occur to 0.04% of all new iMacs? That's not much of a worry.

let's wait until we have the facts, people.

macf13nd said,

let's wait until we have the facts, people.


Unless it is something Microsoft where you dont have to let a little thing like facts get in the way of your love for Steve Jobs.

REM2000 said,
you mean like Microsoft Xbox with the worst failure rate for any console released?


Hrm... Software company making a console, can kind of expect that, but a PC maker making shotty PC's and charging 2x for them?

Kelxin said,
Hrm... Software company making a console, can kind of expect that


Wait, what? They're both in the same boat. Just because one is allegedly a "software company" doesn't excuse them from design problems.

Enough with this justification nonsense. So long as the companies offer to fix defective hardware for free, and step up QC, it's all good.

Its not like they can blame someone else for this fault (sic Microsoft, its a problem with the 3rd party drivers).

My guess is that spiraling costs and cheaper parts are the main part to blame for this, cheap manufacturing and basically going against what the Apple was renowned for in the past, providing top notch kit that cost the top notch.
Now it seems they are keeping the price but lowering the standards, and its not as if they can blame anyone but themselves for this.

I thought they were number 1 in customer satisfaction according to their ads? Odd timing for these problems to come back to bite them. I guess it's true all of Apple's ads are just hyperbole.

So, we have Snow Leopard eating peoples files when they log into the guest account, DOA and damaged machines showing up for people, and now the new iFlicker feature built in? Let me guess, they're sending out letters saying they'll replace the unit as long as they don't reveal what happened to anyone else right?

Crappy software, crappy hardware, and bully tactics from a 50 pound gorilla, but as of late the 1000 pound gorilla (Microsoft) has ACTUALLY been putting out decent software for once (Windows 7).... What is the world coming too... really??? Are apple users THAT brain washed? (I'm in the "third party" district, so please, flame away it won't affect me)

Redestium said,
They won't replace it if the user was smoking though, as recent reports stated. Tar damage, can't fix, next!


Big capital LOL!!! I was just going to say that...

And if you don't smoke but if the guy from the post office or delivery company who worked your order is a smoker, than apple will sue him, 'cas nicote and tar are sooooooooooooooo evil that they can go through the box and infect the computer.

I love Apple and own Apple products, but I was hoping that the growing pains would come in a little slower for them, not as quickly as we're seeing. If Apple were human, these growing pains are what would be considered stretch marks. They're not pretty, but can be covered up.

donkeyman said,
I love Apple and own Apple products, but I was hoping that the growing pains would come in a little slower for them, not as quickly as we're seeing. If Apple were human, these growing pains are what would be considered stretch marks. They're not pretty, but can be covered up.

I used to feel the same way, but over the last couple of years I've been turning on Apple. Their attitude stinks and it's clear that last-minute design considerations are over-riding basic R&D methodology. That's why the first 2 or 3 releases of a product are always so problematic. I'd place the blame fairly equally between Jobs and rabid Apple fans who can't see the wood for the trees. Blindly following the leader and thinking they've bought into a better lifestyle than PC users. Jobs has been known to cut corners from day 1 and now he can get all his stuff built in China you can be sure he's still at it.

You don't understand, the flicker is a FEATURE.

It is designed to foil would-be epileptic thieves from pinching your nice shiny new over-priced mac.
If they get to close, the screen kicks in, and they are convulsing on the floor within seconds.

I'd wait with this comment until I know how common this is.

Does it occur to 5% of all new iMacs? That's very bad.
Does it occur to 0.04% of all new iMacs? That's not much of a worry.

I think the point is there are far too many issues with these iMac's and it looks like they're cutting corners everywhere. I agree the percentage is important to the overall picture but they're losing tons of credebility with multiple reports of failing components and production problems.

d4diesel said,
i really like "oh wait" jokes.

Especially when it's very rare Mac users claim this on Neowin. *sigh*

When did you last read here that "Macs are perfect, Windows is a joke"? Even if you did, please for the love of god, don't take these trolls seriously.

dead.cell said,
Looks like they're taking everyone's money and cutting back on quality assurance.

People have complaining about Apple's prices practically since day one. Now the iMacs are getting cheaper every revision with these huge high-res screens. There are bound to be cutbacks in the quality of the hardware. And let's not forget Steve Jobs obsession with eventually making the iMac as thin as a sheet of A4-paper.

From personal experience I know that since the introduction of the original aluminum iMac the line has been nothing but trouble. I owned a total of 4 iMacs (both A (2007) and B (2008) revisions) which were plagued by with poor backlight and burn-in issues. Not to mention the SuperDrive crapped out twice. Eventually I ended up demanding my money back. These new iMacs are no different. Everything is crammed together which makes me wonder about the actual lifespan of these computer in the first place.

I'm not saying all iMacs are having issues and that all users are unsatisfied with their product. But it is striking how many problems occurred since august 2007.

Currently I'm a happy Mac Pro + LED Cinema Display owner.

dead.cell said,
Looks like they're taking everyone's money and cutting back on quality assurance.
Last time I've checked 24" monitors Apple used exactly same Samsung LCD panels as on DELL. Difference was just in monitor plastic frame which cost about $2000 more for Apple users (despite missing memory card reader). Real price of that plastic frame probably was ~$100. I guess that rest price was for RDS field emitter which was installed by Steve Jobs himself. I am not sure why people think that same Samsung or LG.Philips display panels you can buy from other PC manufacturers have much better quality if they are wrapped inside Apple plastic and sold at double price.

I think the problem is not the LCD by himself but the distribution of the components. As @.Neo told you, Stevie is so focused about the size of the gadget, and this can cause the overheating of some components, for example the video card.

dead.cell said,
Looks like they're taking everyone's money and cutting back on quality assurance.


Hello, I'm a PC and my screen just works. It Isn't cracked and doesn't flicker

:)