Apple Is Aware Of iMac Graphic Anomalies, But No Fix Is Available Yet



Last week I reported that after the release of Mac OS X Lion iMac users were complaining about graphic or video problems. I was experiencing some of the reported problems too. My particular problem was akin to what others have seen on their 2011 27-inch iMacs configured with a 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 and AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. The problem is intermittent and it always disappears for a while after a restart.  See above for an example of how my problem manifested itself.

I contacted AppleCare about the problem, but no fix was available and they claimed that they had never seen this problem before. On the other hand after I submitted a bug report to Apple I got a completely different answer from Apple engineering.

According to information I received over the weekend Apple’s engineers are aware of the iMac graphic anomalies that I wrote about last week. The problem may not be isolated to the iMac model that I’m using since reader comments on last weeks post show the problem might be a bit more widespread. The good news is that it doesn’t look like my iMac is having a hardware problem and that the problem might be resolved later via Software Update.

Although Apple engineering is aware of the problem no information was available on when a fix would be released to prevent it from happening again. Therefore I recommend that you install any updates that Apple releases since those updates might resolve this problem.

  • sag23

    i am facing a similar problem on my imac (early 2009 model) and mac book pro (mid 2010 model.)
    in my case the desktop looks similar to your dock icons when i drag something on to the desktop.

  • imac pb

    Same pb here (iMac 27 i7 3.4 6970 2Gb).
    Few artifacts, menu glitches… Ok when restarting, but annoying.
    One example linked…

  • jutmac

    I have been having the same issue….!
    Really frustrating … and is only fixed with a restart. 
    Not sure if it’s a Lion issue, but it seems like it, as I never had the issue prior to installing lion on my new 2011 imac…. 

  • Steve Staffan

    I also have the problem, happens with the dock, and the top menu bar for me.

  • Mailjunky65

    I find it so frustrating when the Apple staff say ‘ we haven’t seen this issue before’ – I had a problem with the rubber bottom of my white Mac (which was the cheapest, crappiest thing Apple could have done) started to warp and separate from the laptop. I had already search the issue online and found that many owners had experienced the same issue – as the Mac aged, almost everyone had the same issue with that rubber bottom. There is no integrity is not telling owners that the product has an issue. They ended up replacing the bottom with a new one anyway – the Mac died a few weeks later. 

  • CharliK

    Apple staff don’t make a practice out of roaming around looking for reports of problems. Even the board on Apple’s own site for years had a warning that it was set up for users to talk to users and no actual Apple staff were involved in any way. 

    It is also Apple’s practice not to talk about bugs etc even to their own staff until they have a solution. Nothing is more frustrating than to give someone the run around with several attempts to fix a problem. So it is possible that the staff person one is talking to at that moment hasn’t seen a particular problem or heard of it because the official statement of what it is and how to fix it hasn’t come from Cupe at that point in time

  • Guest

    Apple’s quality is being affected by their exclusivity arrangement with Intel.  

    Why not use an AMD processor and GPU?  All problems go away, and the computer will run cooler, too.

  • David Anderson

    It’ll get fixed. Stop publishing whole articles about such trivial issues that only cause little issues to get exaggerated. After your stupid article about “light-bleeding” with the iPad, it became a huge “issue” with people irrationally returning their iPads multiple times with no success. 

    There was no issue. If you check, iMacs, Macbooks, even TVs have the “light bleed issue”

    So STOP blowing little things, like small slight graphics glitches, out proportion you anal freak. 

  • Wes

    It’s NOT small when your whole computers graphics freak out and then your computer freezes like mine does. So quit your degrading and go somewhere else if you don’t have anything positive to say. Sheesh!

  • jimmyjame

    Interesting to see this because people Swear! by Mac’s yet strangely enough Mac’s are no better then PC’s they have there issues the same as PC’s yet I am running a PC and never had this issue hmmmm Mac’s are better I don’t think so.

    I use Mac’s at work so I am use to Mac’s and there not impervious to having issues as well.

  • BrianVoll

    Well, Macs use generally the same internal hardware as PCs. Most of the problems on both Windows and OSX can usually be resolved with driver updates.

  • vigsz

    same had happened to me, i called applecare and was walked thru clearing my ram, haven’t seen the problem since then 

  • DavidWMartin

    Well said Wes well said. Here!! Here! Seriously the graphics issue has been an ongoing one since Lion was released. At least now everyone knows that Apple is aware of the issue and so hopefully we’ll see a fix for it soon.  

    Regarding the iPad light leaks – haven’t you seen the stories about manufacturing problems with the iPads display panels? Allegedly Apple found another supplier or fixed the problem with the original one. 

  • Deceres

    I have a new 3.4Ghz Imac…. crashed 3 times in the past week…. not as good as Mac used to be

  • AdamC

    It looks like finding faults with Apple’s product is huge in getting hits for bloggers.

  • aaziph

    Thanx for your this Greater Update man. Exactly Right Description. How you get that updates from the WOrld ??????/

  • Joe Barnickel

    I wish they would fix the Kernal panics that have started happening on my late 2009 iMac since upgrading to Lion.  

  • Joe Barnickel

    Just as I posted that last comment, and switched to a different web page, my Mac Kernel panicked.
    Not happy.

  • LauraTurner55656

    It looks like finding faults with Apple’s product is huge in getting hits for bloggers.

    Heyy Guys, I just got a $829.99 iPåd2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use “BïdsFïrst,com

  • VulpineMac

    So what you’re saying is that my 4-year-old laptop-on-a-stick is better than the new ones, eh?

    No problems here with my ’07 24″ iMac Extreme. Still working great, even with Lion.

  • Eric Lansaw

    I’m also having the same issue with my 3.4Ghz i7 iMac. It is very annoying especially with a secondary monitor. I have had everything clear on main monitor only to have secondary monitor show these same issues. Then 1 hour later just the opposite happens.

  • Oli Walsh

    Same issue with mine (3.4GHz Intel Core i7, 8GB, 2GB 6970) – glitches in menubar, halo’s around windows, restart normally resolves it – occurs mostly when viewing web videos it appears… 

    Mine is a refurb and came much better specced than expected so was reluctant to send it back – happy to see it could be software related rather than hardware! 

  • Dwayne_Chapman

    Never had this problem on my 2.7 GHz iMac. Looks like it’s just some of the 3.4 GHz ones maybe?

  • Jafu3457

    I’ve noticed choppy video when playing episodes of TV shows on my Spring 2011 iMac 21.5″ i5 machine and same problem also on my 2010 13″ MBP. The problem become noticed after installing Lion on both macs. It seems like a buffering problem, but I’m not sure.

  • Jafu3457

    Just to make sure it’s not a problem with my web connection or browser, I tried running the same video from my Windows desktop machine and it ran smoothly. I tried using three browsers; Safari, Firefox, and Chrome on both macs and the PC. Same result.

  • Moctavian

    In my case, the artifacts are tied to watching flash/html5 video on/off youtube in fullscreen (that includes Plex and other apps that have some sort of youtube/flash plugins). Logging out of the OS gets rid of the artifacts until I watch some more youtube videos.
    iMac i5 3.1 GHz Mid-2011
    6970M 1GB

  • Noel Kleinman

    I have a 3.4GHz iMac with 16GB of RAM and the 1TB video card.  I too have had this same problem since purchasing my iMac in July.  The problem arises when watching HD video and is only remedied by a restart.  Annoying issue that I hope is fixed with a software update sooner than later.

  • Bryce Kim

    I’ve had this problem since I got my new 27 incher last week. I kept calling support and they ran me through all the other “hardware” tests. They had no clue about apple knowing and working on a fix or not. Finally they told me to take it in and get a DOA which I might just do anyway to start fresh.

  • Paul McAllister

    After upgrading my Mid 2010 iMac to Lion, I have little dots during video playback.  I’ve noticed this with VLC and Quicktime, playing AVI and MOV files.  Is there a fix for this?  I’ve read that others are having issues after upgrading to Lion, but haven’t seen others with this exact issue.  Thanks!