iMac burn-in?
June 27, 2013 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Considering this desktop screenshot, am I right in thinking my iMac's screen has burned in? You can see the outline of Twitter and Mail. I have a 27" iMac (core i7). Kinda bent about it.
posted by xmutex to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Taking a screenshot is just going to get you a picture of what the computer thinks is displaying and won't reveal any burn-in. So, nobody can tell from that image. You'd have to take a photo.
posted by kindall at 5:12 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not seeing anything out of the ordinary in that screenshot, but if there's an issue with your screen it won't show up in a screenshot.
posted by brundlefly at 5:12 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sorry, of course, I'm an idiot. I've changed the linked image to a photograph. You can check again :)
posted by xmutex at 5:16 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Unless it's really bad, leaving the display powered off overnight often self-corrects burn in on LCDs. This has happened with a couple of TVs I've had after accidentally leaving them on screens with continuous elements.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:17 PM on June 27, 2013

If you can see the outline of Twitter and Mail and we can't (which we can't), then yeah, it's an issue with the display itself.

Apparently burn-in issues on LCD screens are frequently reversible. Apple has a support article on this. The comments here have some other suggestions to try if that doesn't work.
posted by aubilenon at 5:17 PM on June 27, 2013

I can't see anything obvious in your photo, but I had the same problem with my (presumably much earlier, 2005 G5) iMac. I used the iMac's built-in screen as my secondary screen, with a few windows always in the same positions. Their outlines were obviously visible as the machine booted up or when I closed the windows.

You could try running a "stuck pixel" removal program, which might clear up the problem temporarily - but if the LCD is prone to it, it'll happen again when you go back to leaving the same things on your screen for long periods.
posted by WasabiFlux at 5:33 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can see it in your photo (which is not a screenshot), so you're not crazy. It is subtle though. Match the pic up to the areas I marked in a copy of the OP's photo.

On an LCD, this effect is usually called image persistence, not burn-in. In addition to the Apple support article cited by aubilenon above, TUAW covered this topic a couple months ago.

If you can't get it to go away and your machine is still under warranty (or you have AppleCare), it's probably worth taking it in if this is bugging you. You may well be able to get them to replace the display.
posted by zachlipton at 5:49 PM on June 27, 2013

I have this problem with my older 24" iMac. The only fix for me was to turn it off for an extended period of time. I do have a screensaver and use the energy saver feature but they did nothing to prevent the problem from reoccurring unlike what Apple states in their support article. The all white background did absolutely nothing to help either.

If you're computer is still under AppleCare, demand that they exchange your machine for a new one. The "geniuses" at my local Apple Store convinced me that it was not a problem and I've been stuck with staring at a bad screen ever since.
posted by cazoo at 5:52 PM on June 27, 2013

Some of the LCD panels at the school I netadmin are prone to this, and so far using an all-white screensaver has been my 100% fix.

Setting an LCD pixel to white effectively turns off all voltage applied to it, so in theory simply turning the screen off altogether should work equally well. However, I've found that using an all-white screensaver works better; I'm guessing this may have something to do with slight warming from the backlight. Even so, it usually takes almost a week for the persistent image to fade completely.

Given that LCDs have almost completely replaced CRTs, I'm disappointed that all-white isn't a straightforward screensaver option to choose in any OS I've encountered so far. On Windows XP I use Marquee with the background colour set to white and empty scrolling text; Marquee is not supplied with Windows 7 but you can get it by copying C:\WINDOWS\system32\ssmarque.scr from an XP box. Failing that, the easiest way is to create an all-white PNG image and use it with an image display screensaver that can stretch it to cover the whole screen.
posted by flabdablet at 9:07 PM on June 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I just wanted to chime in to say that I can also see it, and can appreciate that this must be an annoying thing for you to be experiencing.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:02 PM on June 27, 2013

I've had this happen before, after a particularly LONG week working on a project (hooray for college final projects). If it's like mine then it's temporary. I just put my laptop to sleep at night and after a few days it went away.

In my experience it's not anywhere near as bad as the CRT burn in. And the level you have seems pretty faint (as my experience was), so I'll bet you caught it early.
posted by sbutler at 10:19 PM on June 27, 2013

Yep, looks like image persistence. I had it on my Retina MacBook Pro. The "ghost" image would fade away after a few minutes. It's most apparent with a gray background color, which you have. If you take it in to the Apple Store, they'll do an Image Persistence test on it where it'll put a checkerboard image on the screen for 4 minutes, then a plain background. If the checkerboard persists, they'll say your Mac failed the test and is eligible for a display replacement.
posted by zsazsa at 11:16 PM on June 27, 2013

N'thing that this is not that big a deal, and I would not consider exchanging the machine and all of that over it unless it's particularly severe. My lab has a bunch of 27" iMacs (ca. 2011 models) that do this. Leaving them off overnight or over the weekend clears the problem every time.
posted by spitbull at 8:43 AM on June 28, 2013

Yeah, I overreacted w/ a new machine. It was gone this morning. Phew.
posted by xmutex at 9:23 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older I want to start learning how to DJ digitally...   |   The reeducation of an English major Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.