Lack of in-built dust filters damages Macs, claims class action suit

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macOS high sierra
Class action lawsuit says Macs should come with built-in dust filters.
Photo: Apple

A growing class action lawsuit is seeking more plaintiffs to take Apple to court over its iMacs and MacBooks.

The accusation? That by selling computers without dust filters, Apple is willfully ignoring something which can interfere with the “functionality and use” of the high-end displays.

“iMac and MacBook owners have reported dark smudges and spots on the interior of the screens of their desktop computers, as well as excessive slowness and break downs of their computers related to the lack of filter on Apple computers,” an overview of the apparent defect notes. “The computer intakes air to cool its components, but with no filter, dust gets trapped inside. This affects the screen and logic board of the computer, leading to dust stuck behind the screen and gummed up motherboards, causing the computer to run slow and/or overheat.”

This smudging affect supposedly impacts most on people using their Macs for activities including illustration, photo editing, and other predominantly visual applications. It apparently kicks in relatively soon after purchase, “but after Apple’s standard warranty period has expired.”

The suit alleges that Apple knows about this problem, but does nothing about it. Instead, users have pay “more than $500” to fix the screen issue. This can rise even more if they need to replace other parts affected due to the issue.

Hagens Berman, the law firm behind the class action suit, previously took Apple to court in 2016 for its role in the alleged price-fixing ebook scandal. The lawyers haven’t named a proposed figure in terms of damages in this case. However, it notes that it hopes the court will decide a “reasonable fee to be awarded.” No class member will have to pay out-of-pocket in any scenario.

Built-in obsolescence

Whether or not you think that Macs should come with in-built dust filters, this lawsuit ties into a much larger issue leveled against Apple. That’s the idea that Apple makes premium devices which are designed with obsolescence in mind.

This accusation has been raised based on “evidence” like Apple slowing down older devices with software updates and its tendency to glue components in place, thereby making repairs or upgrades for certain products difficult. Apple has additionally Right to Repair legislation, and introduced new software measures which mean that only authorized Apple repair shops can fix newer Macs with the T2 chip.

Apple, for its part, has good arguments to suggest why these decisions have been made — and it’s not about screwing over the end user. However, these continued suggestions likely play into class action lawsuits such as this one.

Have you experienced the particular “smudging” issue alleged in this lawsuit? Let us know in the comments below.