Dark Month for Apple Repairs


That Apple is dead. It Woz dead the day Steve Jobs came back and killed the clonees.


Jobs’ return and the killing of the clones did wonders for Apple. Without NeXT taking over, Apple would have languished with no decent operating system to replace the classic macOS.


Not at all. But the software updates shouldn’t stop those devices from working when they worked previously, based on the presence (or non-presence) of a specific display EDID).

It’s beside the point though, whether this should or shouldn’t be the case is another discussion, but it’s one of those situations that turned at least a few average joe customers on the street off Apple products. Perhaps it wasn’t many when compared to some other issues Apple’s had in recent times, but its one example.

If there’s one Apple process that seems to be grating on a large number of customers, at least in Adelaide, is the availability of service for iPhones.

It’s become increasingly difficult to make appointments with the Apple Store, with appointments often booked out around a week in advance. Because the online booking system caps advance bookings at one week, it’s often not possible to book an appointment at all. According to one Apple retail employee, in 2015 the Genius Bar was booked around 900 appointments in advance at any given time.

So AppleCare has resorted to sending iPhone repairs out to authorised service providers. However Apple hasn’t provided the tooling or parts necessary to service iPhones to service providers. All iPhone repairs are a mail-in to depot repair with an average turnaround of around one week. Of course AppleCare doesn’t tell customers this over the phone either, so customers arrive expecting same-day service.

Without a prompt service option for their device, customers feel let down. It dampens that Apple experience they bought into the product family for. And that’s before the device is assessed and actually serviced, where the customer experience can either be a positive one, or an extremely negative one depending on issue and cost.

It becomes enough to make some iPhone owners reconsider their purchasing decisions, especially if they bought into the iPhone platform based on Apple’s reputation for excellent customer service. It’s a poor experience from a brand that touts their customer experience as being better than anyone else, and that’s not something any company wants their brand to become synonymous with over time.

Personally I dislike the Error 53 and iPhone 8 examples, because as I mentioned in my above post, we’ll never determine whether they were intentional or the result of a software bug. Both were also corrected with subsequent software updates. Unlike some other issues like Touch Disease, I didn’t see many of these come in for service.

But it did inconvenience some customers who had otherwise working devices, perhaps having turned to independent repair to service their device when the Genius Bar wasn’t available, and I can certainly see how that would have contributed to their dissatisfaction with the product.


shaking head

Sheesh, I was just going to give an example - My dad had to take his iMac to Ballarat, from Horsham, to get a new hard drive installed by an Authorised Apple Repairer. First, I thought - I’ll verify this statement by using Apple’s website to check if Horsham does have an Authorised Apple Repairer. But I’d forgotten that first Apple’s website makes you give an ounce of blood before giving you such information as where to go to get your device repaired… So… Based purely on what my dad did…

If you live in non capital cities, you’re screwed if you want Authorised Repairs done locally, because chances are those non-Authorised repairers are using non authorised parts…


It’s been like this for years. I had to order a battery for my “vintage” 2011 MacBook Pro. They said parts were available, but there’s no guarantee Apple Will deliver upon them if they find out what they’re trying to do, and there’s no warranty on the parts anymore either.

With 16GB of RAM it males light work of 4GB (80megapixel) Photoshop documents as a background task. If anything, the machine is still too good for most peoples needs. The problem is. if anything does go wrong I’ll have to scrap it.

A rogue browser process will lock it, but thats the same as with every computer.


Facebook will lock anything.


Facebook, ebay, Flash.


The neat thing about the 2011 machines is that apart from the Display and Logic Board, just about everything else is directly interchangeable with the 2012 model. Assuming we’re talking about the 13-inch, those were discontinued in 2016 so parts should remain available for some time. The 2011 13" boards and displays were quite reliable, but the 15" / 17" boards were the opposite, with notoriously poor reliability over the long term.

Also the 2011 and 2012 MacBook Pro share a common battery part. They even use the same part number. So parts are most certainly available. (Of course Apple will cancel the order if they found out it was being used to service a vintage machine.)


Yes, the 13" 2011 model is parts interchangeable with the 2012 one. But if you lose a part on the logic board or something then good luck to you. I’m smart enough to keep it running, but its well and truly on life support by now. If something more serious happens I’ll have to consider scrapping it.

To be honest I don’t want to go beyond the 2012 MacBook because that was the last one I could put parts in myself. I’ve even thought about getting a good 2012 Core I7 machine as a backup if this one goes down.


What the fuck?

Sorry - I did kind of read that into your previous comment, but - Apple will DENY you the ability to repair an old machine, even if they HAVE the parts??


Yes, and this indeed is the height of arrogance from a company. One of the most reported on occurrences of this can be seen here

This article makes interesting reading regarding the “rules” around repair/replacement or refusal.


Yes. AASPs are meant to decline service for any products in Vintage Product status, even if replacement parts are available. This includes standardised parts like hard disk drives. It’s possibly considered a breach of contract if they do, and the service centre could be shut down for non-compliance.

Of course the independent repairers thankfully now have that market covered. The explanation that a machine is not repairable because Apple no longer supplies parts shouldn’t fly with consumers anymore.

Thankfully the 2011 13" machines were quite robust units if cared for, and other than wear items such as batteries and the occasional hard drive cable failure, they’re quite easy to keep running.

The 2012 series was certainly a nice machine, especially in 15" Non-Retina form. That machine had no notable reliability issues to speak of. The 13" unfortunately wasn’t quite as reliable, with hard drive cable failures being common and occasional broken memory slots that didn’t seem to plague its larger screen counterpart. For 13" machines, apart from cases where USB 3.0 is required, I’d still recommend the 2011 model for this reason.

I maintain two machines myself, a reconditioned 15" Mid 2012 Non-Retina with 16GB Crucial Memory and 500GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, and the 17" 2009 MacBook Pro I repaired in May 2016 with a Logic Board modification. That machine is my first successful board component level repair, and I’ll continue servicing it as long as I have a screwdriver set and rework station. (I also have numerous spare boards, screens, cases, keyboards and trackpads stored away for each so I’m covered into the foreseeable future.)


Ok - to be fair - I do not (heavily) begrudge Apple for refusing to repair that guy’s iMac Pro, when he pulled it apart for his vlog, then broke it in the process. I think there’s a difference between “My machine stopped working”, and “I opened my machine up to show the world what’s inside, and broke it in the process, now want you to remedy the situation”.

But if I take my 2011 MacBookPro to an Apple tech for repair, and Apple have the parts required in stock, but refuse to supply them because my machine is deemed too old - in other words - “Buy a new one instead” - :rage:


I suspect there’s a reason they do this. They manufacture a certain quantity of parts to stock the supply chain, then when machines are a few years old and the supplies are starting to run down a bit, they cut off supply of parts for older models to keep the stock levels high enough to maintain service availability for the newer, still supported models. Who knows what happens when a line is discontinued and the parts aren’t compatible with a newer model though.

Not saying I necessarily agree with it, but that’s what I suspect is happening.


Apple generally has other ways of dealing with this though. They’re not unfamiliar with giving consumers a whole new machine when there is a parts shortage.


Yep!! My cousin’s Late 2011 is the same - Apple won’t repair it even though they have the part. I’ve had to order in a third party replacement. Absolute crap.


I’m guessing that’s because the stock they have left they want to save to use for warranty repairs of units still in warranty (i.e. paid Battery replacements done after warranty ended but before Vintage status was activated).


They’d have to still be making batteries for the 13 inch MacBook Pro - there will be units still in warranty for another 1.5 years or so and support will run for another 4 years, so there wouldn’t be a lack of parts.


I just had a thought, the 2011 MacBook has hard drive cable issues also. It happened wen they changed from cables to the cheaper ribbon type cables that can break even when people know what they’re doing.

They would be producing parts. Apple also canibalises machines that didn’t sell and towards the end they had lots of 2012 MacBook Pros that didn’t sell.


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