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Keyboard Backlight Flicker and Wifi-Drops on MacBook 13" Retina Late 2013

2579 Views 22 Replies Latest reply: Apr 18, 2014 10:31 AM by zoftie RSS
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Joukoda Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 15, 2013 8:58 AM

Hello guys,

 

absolutely loving my new 13" rMBP (Late 2013). The only 2 problems i encountered were the following and maybe someone had the same experiences:

 

1. Keyboard Backlight Flicker: Backlights starts to flicker every now and again after turning the brightness of the backlight to a very low level.

 

2. Wifi-Dropouts: Also every now and again the Wifi seems to just become unresponsive and my Safari browser stops loading the sites. A deactivate/reactivate Wifi is solving the issue, so not that much of a hassle, still not nice though.

 

Anyone else having those issues?

 

Greeting from germany,

 

Joukoda

MacBook Pro with Retina display, OS X Mavericks (10.9)
  • jeremy_v Community Specialists Community Specialists (1,750 points)

    Hi Joukoda,

     

    Thanks for visiting Apple Support Communities.

     

    It sounds like you're experiencing some unexpected behavior with your MacBook Pro.

     

    I'd recommend resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) as a troubleshooting step that may help with these symptoms:

    Resetting the SMC on portables with a battery you should not remove on your own

    Note: Portable computers that have a battery you should not remove on your own include MacBook Pro (Early 2009) and later, all models of MacBook Air, and MacBook (Late 2009).

    1. Shut down the computer.

    2. Plug in the MagSafe power adapter to a power source, connecting it to the Mac if its not already connected.

    3. On the built-in keyboard, press the (left side) Shift-Control-Option keys and the power button at the same time.

    4. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.

    5. Press the power button to turn on the computer.

      Note
      : The LED on the MagSafe power adapter may change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

    This article has more information about resetting the SMC:

     

    Intel-based Macs: Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3964

     

    Additionally, the steps in this article can help if the Wi-Fi connectivity issues persist:

     

    Wi-Fi: How to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4628

     

    Best Regards,

     

    Jeremy

  • Mikko- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm experiencing this too. PRAM and SMC resets are not helping. I have narrowed it to only occur under these specific conditions:

     

    1) Battery power

    2) Keyboard backlight on low setting (1-3)

    3) Screen brightness on low setting (1-5)

     

    Flicker occurs approximately every 5 to 10 seconds.

     

    Keyboard is not flickering if I force the keyboard light using Lab Tick.

     

    Ambient light sensor seems to be otherwise functioning normally, adjusting keyboard and display brightness. I have the Late 2013 rMBP 2013.

     

    I've talked to Apple Support several times but they don't know if this is software or hardware related.

  • sk95 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    ok. so what is to be done next?

  • Mikko- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    In lack of better ideas I dropped an email to Tim Cook in hope that he or his staff would look into this. There are threads about this issue also on MacRumors and here in Apple's forums where other people are experiencing the same problem.

     

    If you have an Apple Store nearby you could take your MacBook there and bring to their attention this discussion here - maybe that would prompt someone at Apple to investigate this further and more thoroughly than simply recommending to swap the entire display panel to new one.

     

    Does your MacBook have the same symptoms under the exact same conditions as mine?

  • saadiiee Calculating status...

    I have the flickering keyboard issue on the same model and handed my laptop over to my Apple Store a little over a week ago to get it repaired. The laptop was sent to a dedicated repair center and I was told that would get a call in 3-5 days to come and pick it up. But after a week of not hearing anything, I called the Apple Store and found out that the repair was put on hold because it was a high level problem that the repair center wasn't equipped to deal with-- they had to escalate the issue and send it to the engineers to take a look at. The engineers found the keyboard flickering to be a result of a faulty graphics card and had it replaced.

     

    I should be able to pick up my laptop in a day or two and will report back on whether this fix worked or not.

  • Mikko- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi,

     

    thanks for sharing the information. I just left mine for service yesterday and the ETA was 2 weeks. I will post back when I hear the results.

  • saadiiee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It's me again, reporting back. Tomorrow is the two week mark for how long my laptop has been in repair. At first, I was told they were going to replace the graphics card, and later I was told they were going to replace the backlight itself. It's been a frustrating ride considering the laptop has been in repair longer than it has been in my hands and there was no end in sight.

     

    Today I was able to talk to a manager and find a solution. He decided to cancel the repair and give me a replacement, saying that it is very unusual for a laptop this young to have these kind of big/rare problems. So, tomorrow I pick up my brand new laptop.

     

    I don't think the cause of the flickering keyboard was definitively determined at that point. But from my experience, it seems like a big problem that not much is known about and therefore not easy to fix. I would recommend that anyone who has this issue and is still within the 14 day window of returning simply replaces their laptop. If you are outside of this window, definitely bring it in to your Apple Store for repair but expect a 2+ week wait for troubleshooting and new parts.

  • Mikko- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I left mine for service a week ago. ETA for repairs is 2 weeks. I should find out in a week if they were able to fix it or not.

     

    I've been talking with Apple's Executive Relations EMEIA person after my email to Tim Cook regarding the issue and raising my suspicions of this being a firmware or driver problem rather than a hardware problem. I will follow up with her once I receive my MacBook back from service and we hear if they found anything wrong with the hardware or not. If they don't, then I suppose she could have Apple firmware people investigate this further.

  • saadiiee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I got my new replacement laptop from the Apple Store today and checked it right out of the box, before completing the initial setup, to see if it has the flickering keyboard issue. It does.

     

    I called the Apple Store again and am going to go back tomorrow to get another replacement. I am not very hopeful. My first laptop was purchased online from the Apple website and shipped directly from China and the second one was picked up at a local Apple Store a few weeks later, so it's not like I got two laptops from the same bad batch.

     

    I wonder if all or most of the laptops of this model have this problem, but many people don't notice it because you have to be in a very dark or unlit room to see the flicker clearly.

     

    For further understanding, both of my laptops were the middle version with the 2.4GHz processor, 8gb memory, and 256gb of storage. What versions does everyone else have? Can we isolate the keyboard flckering to a certain set of specs?

  • Mirec1600 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello,

     

    The flicker seems not to happen in Windows 7 when running over bootcamp. That would mean that it is just a software or firmware issue. Every MB Pro is probably affected just very few people notice this as you mentioned. I have the 13 inch with 512GB SSD and i am from middle of Europe same issue. I think your finding that the new MB has the same issue just prooves that it is just a sw bug.

  • ocelot1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same issue here and I can confirm that the flickering stops when using win7. So I guess I should cancel my appointment at the apple Store regarding the flickering??

  • saadiiee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    During my last visit to the Apple Store, they said that the most probable cause of the flickering is a software issue, like you guys have been saying, and that the best course of action is to take back my laptop and hold tight for a future software update from Apple. They also said I should file a feedback form (http://www.apple.com/feedback/macbookpro.html) describing the problem so it gets more visibility internally. The Genius I was speaking to also filed a feedback form for this issue (his employee status adds priority status to his feedback form). So if you have a couple minutes to fill that form out, it may help a software update come along sooner.

  • ocelot1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    thanks I just send a bug report.

  • Mirec1600 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello All,

     

    Just updated to OS X 10.9.1 issue is still present

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