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Several days after purchasing a MBP M1 Pro I noticed that the screen is not perfectly smooth. I wasn't able to capture this on camera.

If I turn off the screen, and then look from the side so something reflects off the screen, like a light from a window, I notice that the screen is kind of wavy, having little vertical things and it reminds of the pattern that a plastic screen protector would show.

I wonder, is this normal?

2 Answers 2

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This is totally normal - the screen should be mostly smooth and not a perfect plane.

If you can’t photograph the minor wobble, it’s likely inconsequential but you would need someone who has seen dozens of these to confirm my understanding that you’re reporting a normal manufacturing tolerance and not a defect in assembly is precisely what you’re onserving.

The screen components and assembly are engineered to present light to your eyes correctly and not be perfectly flat. If you place a ruler or other straight edge it should be mostly smooth but not perfectly smooth when you inspect it from an acute angle (say less than 10 degrees from parallel to the hinge) while off.

To check this, turn on your Mac, open numbers (or excel) and reduce the zoom so that a large table looks like a checkerboard and closely inspect the visible straightness of the lines from 90 degrees to the plane of the screen (sitting normally in front of the Mac). You should be able to snap a photo of that - being sure to correct for the specific lens disortion of your camera if you want to measure things and be sure your eyes are correctly observing the light put out is straight.

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  • Thanks for the answer. Just to confirm my understanding of the answer. So when you completely turn off a MacBook, you still will see those vertical little lines when you look on the screen from the side, is this correct? Because I see those on turned off screen. And I checked my pc laptop, it does not have this
    – VextoR
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 13:09
  • No, I wouldn’t worry when it is off. Just is it normal looking when your Mac is on @VextoR the surface of the display doesn’t have to be flat for the screen to be correct. Can you upload photos of what you see on the screen while running and a second photo when it’s off?
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 14:44
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I couldn't catch those ripples on camera but found a similar one on some forums (not my picture)

Photo of a MacBook screen with ripples on the surface

Then I just went to Apple Store and checked if those have the same ripples. Apparently, every laptop without an exception did have those ripples. Then I checked another store and the same story.

Looks like, this is as designed. And now Apple laptop screens do have those ripples. They are not that noticeable, you really need to look from the side and catch the correct lighting to see it

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  • This marches 100% my expectations and experience for a normal screen. Great photograph.
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 26, 2022 at 19:53
  • Looks like it's just the anti-reflective film coat they put on their screens? So, that is totally expected. I think a bigger and more pressing issue is stain-gate, which Apple has unofficially acknowledged as an issue on several MBP models from 2013-2017. I have no clue if this has affected more recent models though.
    – AVelj
    Commented Aug 27, 2022 at 4:09

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