Addressing Component Failures & User Error


#1

Continuing the discussion from Most people never upgrade their Macs:

I’d like to start making some inroads to busting this myth that for an Apple product to fail, someone has to be doing something to it outside of the ordinary to cause that failure.

There are numerous examples of Apple products failing simply due to engineering, design, manufacturing or component issues. These are the examples I’m aware of, limited to cases from 2006 onward to avoid making this post too long…

MacBook Pro (2016-2017) Non-Touch Bar Battery Expansion. An internal component may fail, causing the battery cells to expand. https://www.apple.com/au/support/13inch-macbookpro-battery-replacement/

MacBook Pro (2016-2017) Stuck or Unresponsive Keys (Butterfly Mechanism). Cause Undetermined. Keys on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro keyboards with butterfly mechanisms may intermittently or permanently cease to function, become stuck or repeat keystrokes when presses. https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT205662

MacBook Pro Poor WiFi Connectivity with Connected USB-C Devices. Cause Undetermined. Some USB-C devices cause the MacBook Pro to exhibit a loss of WiFi or poor wireless network performance when connected.

MacBook & MacBook Pro (Retina Models) Anti-Reflective Coating. The Anti-Reflective display coating wears resulting in a patchwork appearance. Covered in some instances by a silent repair program.

MacBook Pro (15-inch Retina Mid 2012 / Early 2013) GeForce Graphics Issue. Solder connections around U8900 IC responsible for GPU Vcore corrode and soften over time, resulting in high resistance and poor electrical conductivity. https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

MacBook Pro (13-inch Mid 2012) Hard Drive Flex Cable Issue. Hard Drive cable electrically degrades over time, causing SATA data transfer signal to degrade. The computer performs slowly as read / write errors are encountered or the internal drive fails to be detected. Covered in some instances by a silent repair program.

MacBook Pro (15-inch and 17-inch Early / Late 2011) Radeon Graphics Issue. Limitations of thermal management in this model causes premature failure of the AMD Radeon graphics chip with repeated thermal cycling. While replacement of the Main Logic Board will temporarily resolve the issue, replacement boards are not guaranteed to contain new graphics chips and can fail again after replacement. https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

MacBook Pro (Mid 2010) Intermittent Black Screen and Loss of Video. A filtering capacitor at position C9560 fails prematurely with repeated thermal cycling, causing an electrical short on GPU Vcore. https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT203554 (Internet Archive)

MacBook Pro (17-inch Mid 2009) No Power or Intermittent Shutdown. A filtering capacitor at position C7771 fails prematurely with repeated thermal cycling, causing an electrical short on a MCP79 chipset power supply rail.

MacBook Pro (2.2/2.4GHz 2007 and Early 2008) Graphics Corruption and Loss of Video. A NVIDIA manufacturing issue causes solder connections under GeForce 8600M GT graphics accelerators to be significantly more susceptible to cracking with repeated thermal cycles. Affects all models containing the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics accelerator. https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT203254 (Internet Archive).

MacBook (2015) U4700 USB-C Controller Failure. The U4700 USB-C communication controller on the Logic Board fails, resulting in a low input voltage on the PP3V3R3V0_A0N (Always On) rail. The result is a computer that won’t charge or power on.

MacBook (Late 2009 / Mid 2010) Bottom Case Delamination. An adhesive bonding issue causes the rubber base to delaminate from the bottom case pan. http://www.apple.com/au/support/macbook-bottomcase/ (Internet Archive).

MacBook (2006-2009) Top Case Cracking Brittle plastics combined with raised bumps on the display bezel contact the Top Case assembly when the display is closed, causing stress fractures in the casing over time.

MacBook Air (Mid 2012) Flash Storage Issue. Defective controllers and firmware on Toshiba branded 64GB and 128GB SSDs with Sandforce controller eventually fail, resulting in slow read and write performance, an inability to detect or mount the volume, and the potential loss of customer data. http://www.apple.com/support/macbookair-flashdrive/ (Internet Archive).

MacBook Air (2008-2010) Hinge Cracking. Opening and closing the display clamshell eventually causes fractures from metal fatigue, causing the display to lose tension or separate from the body of the computer entirely.

iMac (27-inch Late 2012 - Present) Stand Mechanism Issue. Plastic spring retention washers crack under stress, causing the computer to suddenly drop and tilt downward. Covered in some instances by a silent repair program.

iMac (27-inch Late 2012) 3TB Hard Drive Replacement Program. A component issue leads to premature failure of the Seagate Barracuda 3TB (Grenada ST3000DM001) hard drive. http://www.apple.com/support/imac-harddrive-3tb/ (Internet Archive).

iMac (27-inch Mid 2011) Graphics Corruption and No Video. Limitations of thermal management in this model causes premature failure of the AMD Radeon graphics chip with repeated thermal cycling. Issue only affects 95W TDP Radeon 6970M cards, 35W TDP Radeon 6770M cards have lower thermal requirements and are not affected. http://support.apple.com/kb/TS5167 (Internet Archive).

iMac (21.5-inch and 27-inch Mid 2011) 1TB Hard Drive Replacement Program. A component issue leads to premature failure of the Seagate Barracuda 1TB (ST31000428AS/Q) hard drive. http://www.apple.com/support/imac-harddrive/ (Internet Archive).

iMac (24-inch Mid 2007 / Early 2008) Graphics Corruption and No Video. A NVIDIA manufacturing issue causes solder connections to be significantly more susceptible to cracking with repeated thermal cycles. Affects models containing the NVIDIA GeForce 8800GS graphics accelerator.

iMac (24-inch Late 2006) Graphics Corruption and No Video. Possible NVIDIA manufacturing issues with 7300GT and 7600GT series MXM cards.

Mac Pro (2013 - Present) AMD FirePro Graphics Issue. Suspected limitations of thermal management in this model, heatsink assembly (Thermal Core) does not adequately dissipate heat for the dual AMD FirePro D500 and D700 graphics processors. Repeated thermal cycling results in internal failure of the graphics hardware. Covered in some instances by a silent repair program.

Mac Pro (2006-2008) NVIDIA 8800 GT Graphics Issue. A NVIDIA manufacturing issue causes solder connections to be significantly more susceptible to cracking with repeated thermal cycles. Affects models containing the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT graphics card.

Mac Pro (2006) NVIDIA 7300 GT Graphics Issue. Possible NVIDIA manufacturing issues with 7300GT series graphics cards.

iPhone 7 “No Service” Issue. A component fails on the Logic Board, causing the iPhone to fail to detect or connect to cellular networks. Covered in some instances by a silent repair program.

iPhone 6, 6+, 6S, 6S+, 7 and 7+ Unexpected Shutdown A worn or depleted battery is unable to deliver the sustained voltage required when the iPhone CPU is under load, resulting in an unexpected shutdown. iOS version 10.2.1 throttles processor performance to prevent an unexpected shutdown, but limits the performance of the iPhone as a result. https://www.apple.com/au/support/iphone6s-unexpectedshutdown/ and https://www.apple.com/iphone-battery-and-performance/.

iPhone 6 Plus Multi-Touch Issue. Separation of solder bumps under the integrated touchscreen controller on the Logic Board as a result of board flexing or thermal cycling. Manifests as an unresponsive or intermittent touchscreen, sometimes with a flickering grey bar across the top of the display. https://www.apple.com/au/support/iphone6plus-multitouch/

iPhone 6 Plus iSight Camera Issue. Affected devices will have poor focus in images taken with the rear facing camera. https://www.apple.com/au/support/iphone6plus-isightcamera/

iPhone 5 Battery Issue. A manufacturing issue results in accelerated deterioration of the battery, causing shorter battery life and runtime than expected. https://ssl.apple.com/support/iphone5-battery/ (Internet Archive).

iPhone 5 Sleep / Wake Button Issue. A possible manufacturing issue results in a stuck Sleep / Wake button or no response when the button is pressed. https://ssl.apple.com/support/iphone5-sleepwakebutton/ (Internet Archive).

iPod Nano (First Generation) Battery Replacement Program. A manufacturing issue can cause the battery to overheat or ignite, presenting a possible fire hazard. http://www.apple.com/au/support/ipodnano_replacement/ (Internet Archive).

Apple Watch Series 2 (42mm) Battery Expansion and Screen Separation. The internal battery can expand, causing the screen to separate from the housing of the watch. Affected devices may not power on. Covered in some instances by a silent repair program.

Apple Watch (First Generation) Rear Cover Separation. The adhesive securing the back cover can fail, causing separation of the back cover from the metal body. Covered in some instances by a silent repair program.

Apple AC Wall Adapter Replacement Program. The housing of the adapter can separate, potentially exposing the contacts inside the adapter. If connected to power, this could potentially be a shock hazard. https://www.apple.com/au/support/ac-wallplug-adapter/.

Apple USB-C Charge Cable Replacement Program. A design issue may cause the USB-C charge cable to fail. MacBooks may not charge or only charge intermittently when it’s connected to a power adapter with an affected cable. https://www.apple.com/au/support/usbc-chargecable/

While a lot of devices and computers fail due to user error or misuse, there are many examples where they’ve failed without the user being to blame.

On the other hand, I’ve seen some ultra reliable models. The MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012) non-Retina for example.

I wanted to address this because in recent times, especially with talk of these Butterfly keyboards failing, it’s becoming more and more common for the user base to split into camps - “the product is faulty” and “it must be the user causing it” or “it’s clearly a vocal minority”. Perhaps it isn’t so clear cut, and in reality, there are instances where either case could be true. It certainly does lead to a lot of infighting within the community though, not so much on this forum thankfully, but it happens out there.

Products fail. Sometimes due to misuse, sometimes due to an inherent defect or problem across an entire model. Apple products are no exception to this rule, and I think it’s worth acknowledging them as a nod to those affected by these issues, to not just dismiss them but address the issues, to know how to prevent or service them, and to expect better from future models.

I’d recommend this from any manufacturer. Apple is simply the example in the context of this forum.


Most people never upgrade their Macs
#2

Yes, and I take umbrage with any suggestion I’ve mistreated my turd of a 2017 MBP. I am cautious to a fault with my stuff, I get teased over it. I got it in late 2017 and to compare it’s condition with the 2011 MBP I bought at launch leaves me very disappointed. I almost got a Surface Book (yes, premium Windows based laptops do exist now) and some days I regret not taking that path.


#3

Yep agree. I sold mine after Apple wouldn’t refund it (too long after purchase) and now have an early 2015 (thanks @iMic!) and LOVE it.