Class action lawsuit claims Apple failed to include dust filters in iMac and MacBooks causing display and performance issues

“Apple is getting taken to court in a class action lawsuit that alleges that the company is selling iMacs and MacBooks [2013-2018] without dust filters, and that this omission is causing display problems,” Matt Hanson reports for TechRadar. “It’s worth noting that these don’t appear to be widespread issues, and the lawsuit is being brought by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a law firm that’s notorious for bringing litigation against Apple.”

“The new class action lawsuit alleges that iMac and MacBook models sold since 2013 do not come with filters that prevent dust from entering the devices when cool air is brought in to keep the components from overheating,” Hanson reports. “According to the lawsuit, ‘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.'”

Hanson reports, “The lawsuit is demanding that Apple covers the costs of fixing the problem for users affected by these issues.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Is this a widespread issue? If so, we haven’t heard of it until now. Have you been affected?

Apple agrees to $450 million dollar settlement in e-book antitrust case, says it will continue to appeal – July 16, 2014
Hagens Berman investigating Apple Inc., others regarding tax-avoidance schemes; seeks whistleblower information – May 20, 2013
The truth behind the iPod nano ‘scratch’ class action suit – May 23, 2006
Pro-Microsoft attorney involved in anti-Apple iPod nano lawsuit – October 25, 2005


  1. We’ve had a number of iMacs here at home over the years, and that’s never been a problem.

    Many manufacturers don’t include filters for good reasons. The major one is that consumers, and even businesses don’t clean their machines, particularly the filters, when they’re there. This results in poor air flow and overheating, which slows the machine down, and can damage it.

    So whether to include filters or not is based on whether it’s better with, or without them. If a computer is on a desk, there shouldn’t be much of a problem with dust. My powerMacs and my Mac Pro always have been on the floor, and no problems resulted from that either, though they had (have) no filters.

    1. I want to build on your points, since you stated them so well.

      I have had many Macs (desktops and portables) collecting dust over the past few decades and I never encountered a dust-related problem.

      I have opened up a number of computers over the years, both Macs and PCs, and I always noticed significant interior dust build-up after months and years of use. When I opened computers up, I always blew off the dust before reassembly.

      I do not ever recall seeing a true “filter” on a computer air intake. As melgross states, a filter (foam, fabric) would quickly get clogged and reduce airflow, which would cause critical components to overheat and/or burn out the fan. I recall seeing coarse metallic meshes, but the appeared to be intended to prevent larger objects from jamming the fan rather than to filter the air.

      You do not have to open up a computer to clean its guts up a bit. Invest $5 in a can of “dust-off” spray rated for use on energized equipment. Occasionally apply it to both the intake and exhaust areas on your computers and you will help to keep the internal dust under control.

      I repeat, I have never encountered a performance issue on any computer, Mac or otherwise, that was driven by dust buildup.

      1. Without aiming to contribute to a new spree of “Dustgate”, I still remember several iMacs that I’ve owned, in particular a lampshade iMac, where the DVD drive quickly became dysfunctional (e.g., no more reading DVDs, but still working with CDs). The vacuum cleaner offered some relief, and opening up the machine revealed massive gathering of dust that got sucked in through the CD door (or slit). I always kept an external DVD drive around, with the added benefit of supporting more recent disk formats.

  2. “[T}hese don’t appear to be widespread issues” — hence the class action lawsuit. :-\

    I can just dee the new Macbook with a plastic clip allowing you to open it up and change the filter every six months!

  3. We had an iMac 27″ that developed artifacts in one corner. It looked like a dirty fingerprint on the inside of the glass.
    It might be the fat from an actual fingerprint that accumulated dust over time that made it visible.

  4. Stupid litigious culture in the USA.

    Of course, replace the name “Apple” with say “Ford”, and everyone on this forum would be gathering pitchforks. Tribalism has taken over rational thought.

    Wise design not only protects the hardware, it also alerts the user when to perform maintenance. If Apple and other hardware makers really cared about top performance and user experience, it would spend the 99 cents or whatever it takes to have a filter with an indicator when to change it. It might even design the product so it is easy for the customer to pop off the cover, clean it, and save a trip to the Apple Store.

    Unfortunately Apple hasn’t ever demonstrated much ability in design for maintainability of late. Perhaps Apple is tone deaf to the need because in its donut, Sir Jony designed very thin aloooooominyum filters which ensure that there can never be a speck of dust on his exciting curved glass. Then Apple went ahead and designed laptop keyboards that cannot tolerate the least amount of particulate debris.

    Genius, my ass. If there is technical merit to this suit, who knows, but a serious wake up call is needed in Cupertino. Apple’s thermal hardware design continues to get worse with each product release.

  5. I’m no fan of “classless act” lawsuits but the first Intel-iMac I bought in 2006 (20″ Core-Duo) had an issue with overheating the video card and melting the solder (I had two that did this, one used and also a couple of 17″ that took longer before the issue started) . I was on many threads a bout it even after Apple replaced the logic board under warranty because they tried for so long to deny it and wouldn’t do anything under AppleCare.

    The repair lasted about two years and started to go out again so I bought a 2010 27″ with 2 TB hard drive. It had a ghost issue that didn’t go away after TWO logic boards replaced so in the last week of its warranty they gave me a brand new Late 2013 27 iMac that was maxed out because they didn’t have any 2TB off the shelf.

    I told them I didn’t expect anything new (I just wanted mine repaired so I could sell it) but they insisted Apple had paid more to fix it than it was worth so I took it and still use it (3.5 Core i7, 3 TB Fusion, 24 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX w/ 4 gig RAM).

    One thing I would like to see is a ‘cleaning’ service. The compressed air may do the trick or it could just ball up deposits. At one point the genius Desk told me to bring it in regularly for this but when I tried they told me it wasn’t offered.

    Oh well….

  6. Most people never realized this problem because they use an iMac 27 for light to medium work, even if sometimes the iMac is at 100% utilization. Also, most people don’t have the iMac maxed with the top CPU, memory and GPU options. When the iMac fan spins constantly at 2300 rpm for a long period the interior accumulates a lot of dust. Mine did, I had to open the machine and clean it. Now I will never use an iMac again for heavy work.

    I discovered all this the hard way by myself and for the last 2-3 years I don’t recommend a top 27 iMac for heavy workloads. This is why so many Pro users needing a tough machine claim for a real Mac Pro.

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