How to restore a glossy laptop screen?
November 15, 2009 12:22 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way to restore the glossy coating on a Macbook Pro screen?

It seems that my keyboard has has transferred enough oil to my screen to permanently damage the glossy coating in spots (especially the line caused by the bottom edge of the keyboard). Is there any way to reapply some kind of coating, or restorative that will make the screen look new again?
posted by bashos_frog to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There are films that you can put over your screen that are meant to either reduce the angle of view (for more secure viewing in public areas), reduce glare or protect the screen (or a combination of these). 3m makes films, as do quite a few others. What have you tried cleaning the screen with? The oils (presumably from your skin) should come off without damaging the coating. Using the wrong cleaner (like windex or the like) is what will damage your screen. I would try cleaning with a camera lens cleaner first. if this doesn't help (or if the screen is irrevocably damaged) buy the film and try that. Good luck.
posted by chosemerveilleux at 12:58 PM on November 15, 2009

Response by poster: I've tried the standard screen cleaners bought in the apple store, as well as plain water, but it looks to me like the oils have damaged whatever coating was on the screen resulting (most annoyingly) in a line running across the screen horizontally where the screen hits the bottom edge of the keyboard when closed. This line resists all efforts to wipe/rub/buff it out.

As an aside, it seems like this is a pretty egregious design flaw - I shouldn't have to do a full wipe down of screen and keyboard every time I close the lid on this thing. My wife's Acer has a glossy screen, but it either doesn't contact the keyboard, or it has a tough enough coating to still be in great condition despite being a year older than this Mac.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:28 PM on November 15, 2009

I have a 15" MBP with a silicone keyboard protector and I have the same problem: the screen touches the protector when closed and it leaves permanent keyboard marks on the screen. I have tried wiping them down with various things but nothing works and I'm afraid to try something harsh. I suspect they are actually microscratches, not interactions with finger oil, but I don't know.

I'm not sure there is a fix for the marks but if there is, you would still need a way to prevent them from reoccurring.
posted by chairface at 1:43 PM on November 15, 2009

Yeah, I think it's little scratches from the keys touching the screen that accumulate over time, not a finger oil issue.
posted by 6550 at 6:01 PM on November 15, 2009

Are you talking about the unibody MBP with glass screen? I always thought it was bog-standard glass, no special coatings. It’s what I have and I treat it as if it’s indestructible. Water and a microfiber cloth get everything off.

What I’m getting at is that if your screen has developed markings from ordinary use, maybe it’s not a design flaw but a manufacturing defect. Even the product page calls the screen “durable.” Is it still under warranty?
posted by Garak at 6:06 PM on November 15, 2009

my MBP did the line-on-the-screen deal about a year into its life. Took it to the Apple store and the tech there replaced the screen for free (under Applecare 3 year extended warranty). They also recommended I get a marware pad/rest to help protect the screen. It happened again about 4 months later plus the screen developed some dark ghosting. Took it back (still under Applecare) and they replaced the entire lid/hinge assembly - turns out that either a mfg defect or my abusive nature (tossing the laptop in my messenger bag and riding around with it on my bike/not treating it very carefully) somehow created a hinge mis-alignment and/or physically damaged the screen.

The techs mentioned that this could happen sometimes and scratches and lines on the screen were typically signs of the hinges not being perfectly straight/aligned. The dark "ghosting" that developed on the LCD panel was diagnosed as a backlighting defect caused by pressure points (it corresponded roughly to the pattern of the keyboard).

tl:dr: ymmv, but if you have Applecare, just take it in to the Apple Store and they'll make it right.
posted by lonefrontranger at 8:34 PM on November 15, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, lonefrontranger - I will try my luck at the Apple Store, since I did shell out for Applecare.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:27 AM on November 16, 2009

Response by poster: Update - SoHo Apple store says it's considered normal wear and tear, and won't fix. I might try another store later since service seems to vary quite a bit from genius to genius.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:44 AM on November 20, 2009

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