14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 3, 2014 10:12 PM by shilton
James-Birmingham Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



Bought a 15' Macbook Pro about eighteeen months ago. To the right hand side of the trackpad,  where you might rest the palm of your hand as if you were using the trackpad, there are some marks, like little chips on the edge of the body with very faint spidery lines working their way towards the keyboard.


At present I am disputing the situation with Apple, who are trying their utmost to persuade me that the problem is down to my misuse of the laptop.

If anybody else has the same problem could they let me know.



Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • chaznsc Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)

    18 months and you lodge a complaint? I see how they would argue with you about it. What happened to cause this?

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Are the rough places black?


    If so, you probably have skin chemistry that attacks the aluminum. A very small minority of users do. It tends to happen on edges and corners first, because normal usage and handling penetrates the anodized surface and exposes the bare aluminum there first.

  • James-Birmingham Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Eighteen Months describes the age of the laptop, not the duration of the problem.................


    I don't know what caused it, that's why I'm putting the question on here trying to see if other users could help me understand the situation.

  • James-Birmingham Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The rough marks are dark grey - could be Black.


    Skin chemistry that attcks the Aluminium.......Where did that come from - not that I don't believe you but.....

  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (30,635 points)

    Could have more to do with something you've got on your hands than skin chemistry.  Acids or strong bases can damage any kind of metal...  I'm always extremely careful to wash my hands very thoroughly after handling chemicals before I return to the computer.  Keep in mind that "chemicals" does not have to be something toxic...  acids can get onto your hands by doing something like squeezing lemons or limes or chopping onions, for example.

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    If it's distinctly darker than the adjacent material, that's what I meant by black. Aluminum is subject to corrosion just like other metals — it just looks different on aluminum, and different chemicals may cause it. Anyone who drives a car with aluminum alloy wheels in the northern USA in winter is well aware that aluminum is far from corrosion-proof.


    My son had an aluminum Powerbook G4 for about three years, and in that time the wrist rests on it became covered with tiny black pits: corrosion caused by chemicals in his sweat. This problem was complained about — not often, but often enough, and by a number of different posters — in the Aluminum Powerbook forums for all of the several years that I participated in them on a daily basis. I suspect it also must have come up from time to time in the original MBP forums, because those used the same case materials as the Powerbooks. When the unibody MacBook Pros appeared in late 2008 (which was when I got mine and began contributing in the MBP forums), I hoped their finish would be more durable than that on the Powerbooks — and indeed, the unibody MacBook I bought my son at that time hasn't yet shown any corrosion at all. But he doesn't use it as many hours a day as he did the Powerbook, either, so the jury is still out on whether the unibodies' finish resists his skin chemistry better. Still, there have been some posts here from unibody MBP owners who are experiencing the same thing you are, and at least one or two of them that I recall are seeing it on the flat surfaces of their wrist rests, too. My conclusion is that it's the same thing I saw on my son's Powerbook and read about on the surfaces of maybe two dozen other Powerbooks through the years. Even if we assume that for everyone who posts here about a given problem, there are 100 other people who have the same problem and never find their way here, 2400 Powerbooks with corrosion problems out of millions that were sold is way less than 1% of the total.


    I think the last poster here who reported this was lucky enough to have Apple replace his top case at no charge, even though the machine was out of warranty. Others haven't been as lucky. Try your luck — in person at the Genius Bar — and don't describe the problem as "chipping," which sounds like user-caused damage. Describe it as corrosion. Good luck!

  • James-Birmingham Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    What I should have said also is that there are spidery lines travelling away from the little rough marks on the edge, heading towards the keyboard that look like tiny scratches / veins, but the surface of the body is perfectly smooth to the touch. It's as if they are under the surface. You can see them, but you can't feel them?

  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Can you post a good sharp close-up picture?

  • James-Birmingham Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I don't think this photo is working - looks fine on my side, until I post it?


    The surface of the spidery veins making their way towards the keyboard, away from the edge are perfectly smooth, not a single surface mark, scratch or indentation to the touch. In other words if you were blind, you wouldn't have a hope of finding these marks.


    Just to let you know that my Laptop is immaculate...


    You might also let me know your thoughts based on your experience on how best to confront Apple


  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)

    Your photo is fine — I wish all the photos that people posted here were half as good. Just click the image in your post to see the full-size, full-resolution version.


    In my opinion, the dark pitting along the front edge is indeed corrosion, as I thought it might be. I've never seen or heard of anything like the "spidery veins" that are clearly visible in your picture. They look like microscopic cracking or crazing in the anodizing (an aluminum oxide deposit that is formed on the surface of the aluminum by passing an electrical current through it in the presence of the appropriate chemicals.) The anodized surface is integral with the underlying aluminum, not a coating applied to it, and my understanding is that it's extremly thin. So it's hard for me to understand what could make it craze the way yours appears to have done. There do appear to be two small scratches on the wrist wrest where the crazing is, but the crazing doesn't particularly appear to be related to them, nor to the pits along the edge. It's as though there are two entirely separate processes at work degrading the finish of your MBP, in addition to those two scratches.


    As for "confronting" Apple, don't. A confrontation is what you don't want. A partnership, mutually interested in making you a happy customer, is what you do want, and if you turn up on time for a Genius Bar appointment displaying an upbeat, positive expectation that Apple wants that as much as you do, you may find the expectation fulfilled. So don't go in loaded for bear. Stay calm, polite and friendly. If you get nowhere with the Genius, ask to speak with the store manager before you've displayed any sign of annoyance. Bear in mind that the Genius may not have the authority to promise you the resolution you hope for, but the store manager probably does, so save some of your friendliness and good manners for him or her. You will get much farther with a calm, sunny disposition than you ever will with anger or, god forbid, threats of legal action or whatever. If you're tempted to fly off the handle and say things that will be impossible to unsay later, just remember that you probably can't hurt Apple no matter what you do — you just aren't big enough or bad enough. And for heaven's sake, don't take my saying that as a challenge. It's just a fact.


    In short, don't be Apple's enemy. Make yourself part of a team with Apple to solve your problem.

  • James-Birmingham Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for that.


    You'll be happy to know that they have given me an exception and that I'll be getting a new keyboard on Tuesday.


    The whole thing was pain in the a*** - continually talking to people who go out of their way to persuade you that they are experts while you end up consistently pleading your case only to realise that they are not experts at all, but everyday people working to a procedure that has holes in it. And if you are happy to accept the blame because it suits them and their limited expertise, then you end up walking away. Surely you would think that Apple would want to know about imperfections like this so they can address the issue.


    I wonder how many other people have had to walk away from this type of issue accepting that perhaps it was their own fault?


    Oh well.........Thanks for your time.

  • majestic Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I have the same issue. I was patient and pleasant with Apple, and pointed them at several threads detailing the problem. However, they've confirmed that they won't cover it under my AppleCare warranty. They agreed it's a known issue in a small percentage of cases, but it's still classed as "cosmetic wear and tear".

  • shilton Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    SSame issue here. It's actually worse on mine and I'm worried I'll cut my hand. Apple told me on chat support they would replace it for free, but then the 'genius' went back on this and tried to charge me $500 to fix it... He basically said I was using my macbook incorrectly which is a joke. Disappointed in apple support for the first time in ten years.


    good luck to others with this problem, sounds like its luck if they'll help or not

  • shilton Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    Although the in store genius wasn't helpful at all, i called up phone support and they ok'd the repair and let the store know, and it got fixed under applecare. So it's worth pursuing if they say they won't fix it, as they should and the phone support was really good about it.