MacBook Air 11 inch Screen Story

The MacBook Air 11.6, which I’ve referenced in the last post, has arrived.

Just 10 minutes before we were to go out in the morning, the usual Kuroneko delivery guy was banging on the door. He seemed shocked when I opened the door almost immediately.

I guess he’s used to having to wait a minute or two until I put down the laptop I’m working on at the moment.

Last time he came during a particularly tricky screen replacement. It was a delicate balancing act holding the screen in two places to prevent damage by flex, and putting in the screws on the side. As you may imagine that takes 3 hands, ideally. I only have two, and the guy was banging on the door. He had to wait until I’ve secured the screen with one more screw. He seemed upset.

In any case, here’s my new experiment, a 5.8 inch MacBook Air. It’s not a new extra-tiny model, but the half of the 11.6 inch the current smaller model has.


MacBook Air 11 11.6 inch half screen garbled on start-up

Half a screen on start-up

MacBook Air 11 11.6 inch half screen garbled on welcome screen

Half a screen on welcome video

MacBook Air 11 11.6 inch half screen garbled on setup screen

Half a screen on 1st setup screen

I think I see a pattern emerging. 😉 This is typically a screen cable fault, however with the high level of integration and the super-thin screen in the Air I’m not expecting a walk in the park.

Apple does not service the display. If something goes wrong they just replace the whole lid, with the screen, hinges, bezel, inverter and cables inside. The whole kaboodle. That’s one of the reasons it costs $699 (in the US, I haven’t ventured to ask in Japan yet). One more is that it’s a ready made assembly that was not designed to be taken apart. However, as a unit, it’s easy to replace. The third reason is that they obviously want you to buy new stuff instead of repairing the old.

The bezel is glued on. No clips like in the standard MacBook, no screws, just glue. Glue requires heating to remove, and if any remains it can cause flex in the screen. The screen breaks notoriously easy on the Air. Here’s a video to give you an idea;

Now that I look at this video, I realize the hinges on mine are definitely tighter than they should be. No one-finger opening for me. That’s an other clue pointing in the screen cable direction. Over-tight hinges often wear out the cable passing through them.

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