MacEbook Pro Diary: A 3rd failure, and a doubtlessly radical answer

To add to the faulty keyboard and swollen battery, it seems my MacBook Pro has a 3rd failure: a logic board fault.

There was some excellent news once I went to gather my MacEbook Pro as we speak: the top-case alternative had been achieved. It had a shiny new keyboard, and non-swollen battery.

The unhealthy information, nevertheless, was that the machine nonetheless instantly shutdown when run on battery energy…


My fast response was frustration at the truth that it appeared no person had carried out a real-life take a look at of the machine. The data confirmed that it had been put via all of the automated checks, and had handed all of them. It additionally confirmed {that a} ‘functional test’ had been carried out. This is what is meant to be a real-life take a look at: beginning up after which working some software program to make sure that trackpad, keyboard, microphone, audio system, and so forth, had been all working.

However, what hadn’t been achieved was to startup or wake the machine on battery, as that’s what resulted instantly shutdown when the machine was introduced in and nonetheless resulted instantly shutdown once I examined it on assortment.

The technician accountable got here out, and we had been capable of remedy the thriller.

Why the issue was not correctly identified

Not unreasonably, when you might have a visibly swollen battery and a machine that shuts down if you try and wake it or restart it on battery energy, the plain suspect is a failed battery. The top-case alternative features a new battery, so that ought to have solved it.

All of which meant that the technician who booked it in for restore didn’t log detailed notes. He additionally reasonably understated the extent of the battery downside. Under Issue, he wrote this, and solely this:

Unresponsive keys. Battery run time too brief. Intermittent shutdown.

And there was a weird habits too. Although the machine would immediately shutdown in case you woke it or restarted it on battery energy, that wouldn’t occur in case you did both of these issues on energy after which disconnected the ability. It would nonetheless shutdown randomly, however not instantly. The technician didn’t observe these issues.

So, the second technician, who carried out the restore, ran the usual checks afterward – which embody disconnecting from energy and making certain all is effectively. However, he hadn’t examined waking or beginning on battery as that isn’t within the guidelines.

A brand new plan for the restore

He plugged the Mac right into a community drive and booted from a identified good system, discovering the identical downside occurred, ruling out software program. That left just one suspect.

As he stated, the modular design of those machines means there are primarily solely three elements now: the top-case, which had been changed; the display screen, which couldn’t be concerned; and the logic board. So that meant it needed to be a logic board fault.

They do preserve the base-level logic boards in inventory, however not maxed-out ones, in order that meant ordering one in, which is anticipated to reach on Thursday.

Since the machine is working high-quality on energy, I’ve taken it again for now, and am penning this on it. That offers me my regular working setting for the subsequent couple of days. I’ll then drop it again to Apple on Thursday night once I’m within the space anyway and will have the ability to accumulate it Friday night – or over the weekend worst-case, which implies just one extra working day with out it.

It will imply setting it up as a brand new machine

One large disadvantage of Apple’s modular design is that the SSD is soldered to the logic board, so that may successfully imply setting it up from scratch, precisely as if it had been a brand new Mac. Which, apart from the display screen and outer casing, it is going to be.

I’m meticulous about backups, in order that isn’t a priority, although it is going to be a problem. There are all the time numerous bits and items that don’t get restored, so I’m making ready myself to do battle with these. In the meantime, to speed-up the restore, I’ve briefly repurposed a 2TB SSD as an extra Time Machine backup so I can migrate from that.

A 3rd failure additional dents my religion in Apple high quality

A 3rd failure in a three-year-old machine. Put one other method, the MacEbook Pro has three modular elements, and two of them have failed. Additionally, the keyboard is liable to take action once more because it’s been changed with an similar one which has the same inherent design flaw.

After a swollen battery in my iPhone X and two HomePod faults, I’ve to say that my religion in Apple’s high quality management is at an all-time low.

There’s not a lot I can truly do about that. The advantages of the Apple ecosystem are such that I wouldn’t ever wish to give them up, and that’s maybe why Apple isn’t as involved appropriately over high quality points: it has a largely captive buyer base.

A possible radical response

But I’m contemplating pretty radical motion in response: taking the recommendation of 1 reader (sorry, I can’t discover the remark now; please remark right here so I can credit score you) to all the time purchase AppleCare, then exchange the machine each three years so it’s all the time below guarantee.

(Aside: I might argue that EU regulation offers me this already. It says that merchandise have to be lined in opposition to manufacturing faults for ‘a reasonable period,’ and that what is affordable relies on the kind and value of the product. I’d argue that 4-5 years is affordable for a high-end laptop computer, however (a) that might seemingly contain a battle every time (having to take Apple to court docket because the worst-case situation) and (b) Brexit. I stay optimistic about getting a second referendum, but it surely’s removed from sure. If we do go away, the plan is to include all present EU regulation into UK regulation as a stopgap, however we reside in a world through which politicians can’t be trusted to do even the factor they stated they’d do half an hour in the past…)

If I purchase a decrease spec as mentioned final time, then three-yearly upgrades may not work out to value very rather more by way of annual working prices.

It does, nevertheless, have two downsides. First, I’d be subjecting myself to the dangers of extra first-generation machines. If I promote my repaired machine now, for instance, I’d be buying the first-gen 16-inch MacBook Pro. Granted this technique would take away the monetary dangers of this, however not the potential hassles of repairs.

Second, and of larger concern, upgrading on a hard and fast three-year schedule would imply dropping the chance to purchase a brand new Mac when a compelling new function arrives. What occurs if I purchase now, and subsequent 12 months’s 16-inch MBP gives one thing I really need?

But maybe it’s time to be prepared to forgo the gadget issue and give attention to the truth that my Mac is a working device, and that not having to fret concerning the expense of repairs is the extra vital issue.

It’s one thing I’ll mull over, and meantime I’ll spend extra time enjoying with the 16-inch machine once I take mine again to the Apple Store. Watch this area.

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