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Pixel Problems: Little Dots That Just Won't Change

written by: Michael Dougherty•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/2/2010

Dead pixel on your shiny new MacBook Pro? Here are the proper troubleshooting steps to take before taking your MacBook Pro into the Apple Store for service.

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    MacBook Pro Nothing is more frustrating than a dead pixel on your MacBook Pro's LCD screen. Regardless of the age of your MacBook Pro, dead pixels (or stuck pixels) on a MacBook Pro are a fact of life. I have had some experience with dead (or stuck) pixels on a variety of products from a wide range of manufacturers. Please keep in mind that most pixels are simply "stuck" and not dead. Apple laptops are not immune but in my experience they tend to have less dead pixels. The geniuses at the Apple store are generally very helpful when you encounter dead pixel problems with your MacBook Pro. Below you will find some preliminary steps to take before you resort to taking your MacBook Pro in for service.

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    Massage the Dead Pixel with a Clean Dry Cloth

    The first step you will want to take should you find a "stuck" pixel on your MacBook Pro is to gently massage the affected pixel with a clean dry cloth, being very careful to not apply too much pressure. This has been known to help with stuck pixels, but if the pixel is actually a "dead" pixel you will not have any success with this method.

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    JScreenFix The next step you will want to take should massaging the pixel not fix it is to run JScreenFix on the affected area of the screen. Again, this will only make a difference if you have a stuck pixel as opposed to a completely dead pixel. Simply load up the JScreenFix applet and let it run for 20 minutes or more. This is the applet I've had the most success with when it comes to stuck pixels on my Apple screens but there is no guarantee it will "unstick" the pixel(s).

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    Apple Store for Repairs

    If none of the above troubleshooting steps helped with your MacBook Pro dead (or stuck) pixel you will have to take your MacBook Pro in to the Apple Store for repairs. If your MacBook Pro is still under warranty or an AppleCare plan there is a good chance the screen will be repaired or replaced free of charge. If your MacBook Pro is suffering from a dead pixel and is less than 90 days old you should be able to get a replacement MacBook Pro with a little persistence. One thing to remember when taking your MacBook Pro into the genius bar for service is to be polite but firm, explaining exactly what is happening as well as what you expect in terms of repair or replacement.

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    Small White Spot on Screen

    One other problem that some users experience with their MacBook or MacBook Pro is a small white spot on the screen. In these cases a small white spot appears on the screen, sometimes as large as a fingerprint and is generally not caused by dead or stuck pixels. There is no solid information as to why this happens but it does appear to be a warranty repair. Some users speculate that this is caused by a heat issue, physical stress to the actual screen or a design flaw in a small amount of MacBook and MacBook Pro's. Regardless of the exact cause of this MacBook or MacBook Pro screen problem, if you see a small white spot on the screen you should take your laptop in for repairs immediately.

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    It can be very frustrating when you get a dead or stuck pixel on your MacBook Pro's LCD display. This can be especially frustrating if the dead pixel is in the middle of the screen where it causes a distraction while using the MacBook Pro. If you find a dead (or stuck) pixel on your MacBook Pro, don't panic. Follow the above troubleshooting steps and if none of them fix the problem schedule a visit to your local Apple Store.