Reports of failing MacBook Pros have been flooding in since 2013, with many owners of 2011 models with AMD graphics suffering from system crashes and hardware problems that have been described as "critical".
Since first publishing this story, we've had more than 660 readers get in touch to let us know that they're experiencing the same issue. The huge thread on Apple's Support Communities has now been viewed more than 3.6 million times and has more than 11,500 replies.
In August 2014, a petition started last year that urges Apple to recall the affected MacBook Pro laptops to fix the problem passed the 10,000-signature mark, and in October 2014 it soared past the 20,000 supporters mark, yet Apple still hasn't addressed the issue.
As a result of getting 20,000 signatures on the petition, at the end of October 2014 Apple was hit with a class action lawsuit about the defect in a California federal court.
The lawsuit claims that the defect in the 2011 MacBook Pro comes from the lead-free solder that's used to connect one of the processing chips to the main circuit board in the computer. According to the complaint, the frequent changes in temperature that occur while using the MacBook Pro cause the lead-free solder to crack, which in turn causes the graphics issues as described above.
A very similar lawsuit has been filed in Canada, against Apple Canada.
The case is expected to be heard before a judge in early April, so we should get a better idea of what the outcome of this class action lawsuit will be. It's definitely progress, that's for sure.
The problem, which first emerged in February last year, has escalated throughout 2014 as more and more owners of the affected models begin to experience issues. While playing games, watching HD video or performing another graphics-intensive task, users have witnessed their displays distorting, or sometimes going completely blank. Rebooting the machine temporarily resolves the issue, but it almost always returns.
Eventually, many users found that their MacBook boots to a blue or grey screen. Currently, the only permanent resolution is to get a replacement logic board, but that can prove quite costly without Apple Care. It's believed that overheating is to blame for the issue.
Some of the readers who've been in touch have said that Apple has replaced their 2011 MacBook Pro's logic board thanks to Apple Care, with some customers even claiming to have had their logic board replaced multiple times. However, most of those with the three year's of warranty provided by AppleCare will be approaching the end of the protection plan, so are understandably concerned about what will happen once they are no longer covered.
We've reached out to Apple for a comment about the situation, but the company has yet to respond. Customers are keeping their fingers crossed for a replacement programme. We'll update this article as soon as we find out more.
In the past, Apple has offered replacement hard drives for iMacs containing 1TB Seagate hard drives that have been known to fail, replacement MagSafe adapters, iBook logic board replacements back in 2004, and, most recently, a MacBook Air flash storage drive replacement programme for June 2012 to June 2013 models.
Are you a MacBook Pro owner experiencing the issue? Let us know in the comments section below.