What Does it Mean When a Screen Bleeds?

By Thomas McNish

Updated September 28, 2017

Backlight bleeding can occur on any type of LCD screen.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Many users who went out and purchased the iPad 2 the day it was released came home to find there was a problem with its screen. When darker Web pages were viewed, or darker apps were opened, there was screen bleeding. This issue can actually occur on any LCD screen device, and has caused many users to wonder what exactly is going on.

What It Looks Like

Some backlight bleeding can be subtle, while other backlight bleeding is a little more overt. Regardless, all backlight bleeding has the same characteristic, which is a bit of light that shines through around the edge of the screen. If you see light coming through in the middle of the screen, this isn't technically backlight bleeding, and it may even be a problem with the LCD screen itself. Screen bleeding is much more apparent when the device is viewing darker images. This is because the backlight is white, and it's more visible on a darker background. In fact, you may not even detect screen bleeding while viewing lighter images on your LCD device.

What Causes It

LCD screens have something behind them called a CCFL light. The entirety of the LCD screen is actually backlit by this CCFL light, which gives the LCD screen its bright appearance. When the LCD screen isn't completely blocking the backlight, some light leaks through, causing the screen bleeding. This can happen if the LCD screen isn't perfectly adhered to its frame. This allows light from the CCFL light to leak in between the crack, and appear on the front of the LCD screen.

Products Affected

Any product with an LCD screen can be affected by screen bleeding. This is because all LCD screens are backlit, and therefore, all LCD products can get light leaking through cracks. This includes LCD TVs, smartphones, and tablet PCs. In fact, the iPad 2 had a known issue (an issue that happened with many users to the point of it being a popular problem) with screen bleeding. Even after some users reported the problem, and exchanged their iPads, they still received iPads with screen bleeding.

Fixing It

Unfortunately, there's no simple way to fix a screen bleed. The only surefire way is to replace the LCD screen, and secure it to its frame more tightly. You may be able to make it slightly less noticeable by adjusting the brightness and contrast settings on your device. However, it may still appear to be fairly obvious when you're viewing darker images. If your device is still under warranty, take it back to the store from which you purchased it and explain the problem. You may be able to get a new replacement model free.