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stauffere Level 1 Level 1
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I have a three week old Macbook. The plastic on the palm rest and on the screen bezel where you open the screen has begun to have a yellow discoloration. At first, I thought it was dirty so I cleaned it with the stuff that I used to clean my iBook with and it had no effect (tried several things, a damp cloth, Windex, Magic Eraser). I thought it was some dirt from touching it but then I noticed that it was starting to appear at the bottom of the screen, where I have never touched this thing. I am concerned that there is a problem with the plastic that they made the palm rests out of. It is a different material than what was used on the iBook, I think.

So, does anyone have any insight into what caused this or how to clean it off? I know it doesn't affect how it operates but I don't want a brand new laptop that looks like I chain-smoked three packs a day while using it.

PowerMac G5 2x2GHz, Macbook 1.83, Mac OS X (10.4.4)
Reply by White Rabbit on Jun 14, 2006 1:40 PM Helpful
I'm wading into this w/ a little trepidation, but here goes...

Before my current PowerBook, I had a TiBook - a Titanium PowerBook, for those too young or too new to Apple to know the "lingo." With that computer, there was a somewhat similiar problem, in that the hand rest areas, which were really painted carbon fiber and NOT titanium, had a tendancy to "bubble" and peel, revealing black underneath. This was well documented on these forums (although most of those posts have expired). I bring it up because it may serve as a cautionary tale...

It took a lot of effort, by a number of people, to get Apple to recognize and finally agree to correct the problem. Many of the same types of comments you see here were made, like "You must have toxic sweat, from eating/drinking/smoking X" or "it is your fault for doing X/not doing X/wearing X" etc. Some of the Apple faithful (I consider myself one; nothing but since the Apple II+!) get irrationally aggressive whenever someone so much as complains about their computer. The company's initial stance was that it was a "wear and tear" issue. Through persistance and documentation, users were able to change their point of view on this, and the company did eventually agree to fix the paint on computers under Apple Care.

So why do I bring this up? I think a few lessons learned then can apply to the current situation...

#1 - Apple will come around, but only if you keep the pressure on. W/ the TiBook paint issues, threats regarding lawsuits were made - I don't know if that made the difference or not. Relative to that problem, the MacBook discoloration one seems to develop more quickly, so more people should be able to document it. Moracity is right - you need to call Apple, bring your computer in, etc. BTW, some Apple employees will say, "This is the first I've heard of this," long after this could be true. Be polite, but be persistant.

#2 - MacAddicts will criticize you. Maybe it is from all the years of people saying, "Why in the world would you use a Mac?" but Mac users tend to be a fiercely loyal, even overprotective bunch. Posters will suggest it is your fault, or that it is all in your head. It isn't, of course. But trust me, the best thing to do is to just ignore them; don't waste time, as I did, comparing who has the bigger "Mac cred" and getting drawn into a flame war.

#3 - You have the right to have a computer that doesn't start to have problems right away. Sure it is a cosmetic problem, and the computer probably works just fine. But who wants to stare at pink/orange/gray computer all the time, especially if you just bought it? Furthermore, as an Apple consumer, you become a (potential) Apple spokesperson. If you open up your computer and people all say, "Gross!" that hurts Apple, too.

In short, once enough people complain, loudly but coherently, Apple should come around. It ***** having to mail in your computer for a fix, but you can always keep the stains if you don't want to part w/ the computer and they don't bother you. Hope this helps.

PowerBook G4   Mac OS X (10.3.9)  

PowerBook G4   Mac OS X (10.3.9)  
Reply by Joop1987 on Jun 14, 2006 2:30 PM Helpful
I called up apple support about my 4 week old macbook discolored on the palm area today.

Their expert (his name was "France") told me to bring it to a apple store so they can look at it. I told him I dont have any Apple stores near by, that's why I bought directly from Apple. He said he can't do anything for me. He also said "I can't even tell you what to clean it with".

I'm going to drive to the Apple store over the weekend and see what they can do. At this point, I wouldn't mind paying extra money for a black case.

All replies

  • Porkspeare Level 1 Level 1
    Yeah I have the same problem, I was convinced someone with grubby hands had been using it, now it appears not. The iKlear products I used on the PowerBook will not shift it.

    It looks like heat maybe causing the plastic on the palm rest to discolour. If Apple or anyone knows how to remove this or prevent it from becoming worse it would be good to hear.
  • Keith B. Level 1 Level 1
    I have exactly the same problem, too. I posted about it a week back - my MacBook was only two weeks old when it began to show. Everyone advised me to buy some cleaning products like iKlear, which I haven't got around to, so it's distressing to hear that these don't work (though at least it saves me £30). It is really annoying. My MacBook is three weeks old and looks as though I've been using it for three years and rubbing my hands in turmeric each day (okay, a slight exaggeration). Everything else about my MacBook has been fantastic, and I'm really, really happy with it; but I am apalled that it gets discoloured so easily. I have a two year-old iBook which has no yellow discolouration whatsoever, so I agree that they must be using a different material (and one that is nowhere near as good). I, too, feared that it might be the heat, but I don't quite see how it can be, as the affected areas are some of the coolest parts of the machine (and moreover, although my MacBook is hot, it's not one of the really hot ones judging by posts to this forum). So yeah, I too would be interested in how to sort this out. (And there's no way I want to go anywhere near the Regent Street store, which has deservedly been getting a bad press in the Guardian recently.)
  • PaulNYC Level 1 Level 1
    Here I am thinking that white is the way to go after having a black one and returning it for moo and adapter noise but also noticing how sensitive the surface seems. And, I went from a MBP to macbook because of whining, heat, fit and finish issues...this is all so depressing. Why don't other manufacturers have these stupid issues?

    Before we jump to any conclusions, though, let's see what others say about the yellow discoloration...
  • tswartz Level 1 Level 1
    Just posting to say I have the discoloration as well. I'm taking it into the Store tomorrow to be looked at for the coloring, the mooing, and some warping that is going on around the casing.
  • Porkspeare Level 1 Level 1
    I must point out mine is only a small patch on the left hand side of the palm rest and a slight discolouring on the mouse button.

    Also I am not dissapointed at all with the MacBook if anything I seem to be discovering how much more I like it each day. The discolouring just makes it look dirty, but hey its a laptop/notebook it portable and therefore prone to getting dirty, however it would be nice to clean it.
  • tswartz Level 1 Level 1
    Mine spot is roughly 2/3 of the "palm rest" to the right of the trackpad and then maybe 1/3 to the left of the trackpad. It seems to have even ventured into the space where they keyboard starts, right under the page down button.

    Weird thing is my iBook I had for 3 years never discolored, but this MacBook discolors in 2 weeks. Different plastic?
  • stauffere Level 1 Level 1
    I love the computer, no doubt about it. I just don't want it to look like i mistreat it or like it is really old when it is quite new. I hope that there is something that can remove this and that it doesn't get any worse.
  • Keith B. Level 1 Level 1
    I agree that it's relatively minor (especially when I love everything else about this machine). I don't normally care whether a laptop looks used or dirty at all - but I do when it's only three weeks old. If I'd been using it intensely for six months, I'd be mildly annoyed that it didn't hold up as well as my iBook, but not really bothered. But to turn yellow after only two weeks? That is surely an indicator of inferior plastic. I'd be interested to hear how the poster who is taking his to the Apple store gets on, and what Apple have to say about it - my guess is, given that it's a cosmetic issue, nothing will get done about it. But at least if people complain enough, Apple might start using a better plastic (ie. the iBook plastic) on a future revision, so that future customers don't suffer the same problem.
  • semicolon Level 1 Level 1
    I've had my white MacBook since May 22nd and there is no discoloration so far.

    The only thing I've noticed about the appearance is that the lettering of the B key is a little bit lighter than the others. It was always this way and doesn't seem to be fading.

    Mac mini G4 1.42GHz --- white MacBook 2GHz   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • Christiaan Level 3 Level 3
    Mac OS X
    I agree that it's relatively minor

    Minor? It's a 3 week old €1300 piece of a equipment. This looks like it could be a major design flaw.

    I'd be interested to hear how the
    poster who is taking his to the Apple store gets on,
    and what Apple have to say about it - my guess is,
    given that it's a cosmetic issue, nothing will get
    done about it. But at least if people complain
    enough, Apple might start using a better plastic (ie.
    the iBook plastic) on a future revision, so that
    future customers don't suffer the same problem.

    You don't work for Apple's customer relations (PR) department do you?
  • MuadDib420 Level 1 Level 1
    i've got the discoloration also. on the left palm rest right where my hand lies. strangely, not on the right on. you can only see it in very bright light (when the sun is shining in my living room). but it's definitely noticable, and somewhat annoying considering it's only a few weeks old.

    so far, i've tried 1) windex 2) chlorox (non-bleach) wipes 3) wettened soft cotton towel and 4) 3M magic eraser. with only some slight improvement. i was really freaked out to try the magic eraser, it seemed abrasive.

    this seems like more than just a surface "stain" and seems like a change in the plastic itself, which is worrisome. i wouldn't mind so much, but i'm just concerned how this will look months down the road.

    i think the next step, i will try some diluted bleach.
  • Technarch Level 1 Level 1
    I'd be curious to know if the people with the discoloration are smokers.

    Smokers sweat nicotine out of their pores and it's yellow. I know this because when I used to smoke I stained white shirts and pillows yellow.

    I don't smoke anymore, and I don't have yellow staining problems on fabric anymore.
  • Keith B. Level 1 Level 1
    You don't work for Apple's customer relations (PR) department do you?

    Hardly. I think you misunderstand me. Firstly, by "minor", I mean that a surface defect is far more preferable for me than the various other defects that I have seen reported here. I have no screen shadow artefacts, I have no whining, I have no "mooing", and my MacBook, whilst definitely hot, doesn't seem excessively so. But let me get this straight: I am well and truly not happy (to put it mildly) that my three week-old MacBook has yellow discolouration of the sort that I would expect on a product at least a couple of years old (especially when my two year-old iBook has no such problems). But on the other hand, I don't want to take it anywhere near the Regent Street store (I have had dealings with them before - the "geniuses" themselves are pretty good, but getting anywhere near them, and actually getting your computer back, is another thing), and I can't afford to be without my machine. I bought this machine so that I could ensure my shareware app is Intel-ready, and frankly I'm scared of trying to exchange this MacBook for one that turns out to have one of the other, worse, problems (and yes, of course it is not really acceptable that there are any such problems, but I need a working Intel machine right now). As for my comment about it being a cosmetic defect about which Apple are unlikely to do anything, I'm merely being realistic - I think it will be hard to get Apple to care about "cosmetic" issues now that they have your money. But like I say, if that's not the case, I would be interested in hearing about it, because I am going to get in touch with Apple Care about this myself...

    MacBook white 2Ghz, iBook 1Ghz, MacMini PPC   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • Keith B. Level 1 Level 1
    No, I'm not a smoker and neither is my partner; and we let no one smoke in our flat both because our contract forbids it and we have children. There is nothing with which I come into contact that should cause this; it seems just to be accelerated wear and tear. Some are hypothesising it could be the heat, and yet the palm-rest on my MacBook (where the discolouration is occurring) is a lot cooler than the palm-rest on my iBook used to be. I think there are going to be a lot more reports about this over the coming weeks.

    MacBook white 2Ghz, iBook 1Ghz, MacMini PPC   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
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