What do you do and where do you go for service when your Mac begins acting, well, wonky– or, won’t start up at all? I’m fortunate that I live within driving distance of three Apple Stores around Atlanta.
Yet, I suspect the process to fix a Mac is similar among experienced Mac users. First, restart. For me and members of the Mincey Plantation, about 90-percent of whatever goes wrong seems to get fixed with a restart. That process and method hasn’t changed since I started my computing career using CP/M back in the last century.
Here’s a good example. We have an older MacBook Pro that floats around the Mincey Palace; we consider it a multi-user Mac, and each family member has their own login rather than a generic login that works for everyone. Last week I was backing it up, and walked into the home office to check on status and noticed the MacBook Pro’s fan was louder than normal.
As I approached the front of the Mac I noticed the lid was slightly ajar. Uh oh. When I opened it up I could see the keyboard and case was swollen slightly. What was wrong? Bad battery. The Mac was working OK, but something caused the battery to swell and that cause both keyboard and inner case to swell, too.
Hey, wait. Didn’t Apple have a problem with battery swelling on older MacBook Pro models? Yes. A quick online check revealed that our Mac was not part of the group. So, I went online to Apple, signed in with my Apple ID, and went to Support. They, too, confirmed that the Mac was not eligible for free service and a new battery, but they were happy to create a Genius Bar visit.
It’s been awhile, but the next day we drove to the nearest Apple Store and walked in. A Store representative asked to help, and put us into the new roving Genius area. The Bar is gone. Now there are, well, multiple bars and more of a community setting. The Genius took one look at the Mac, announced the same problem I identified the day before, and said it would take a week to 10 days to repair, and the price would be $199.
I had already scoured Amazon and Mac Sales for battery replacements– all of which were less expensive– but Macs have become more complicated beasts in recent years and user repairs require more than an odd tork wrench. So, I bit the bullet, handed over the Mac, and wandered around the store for awhile– feeling good that my Mac’s keyboard was not of the butterfly genre, but feeling sad to be without the Mac for a week or so.
Apple is of the underpromise and overdeliver nature and five days later I received a call. My Mac was back and ready to be picked up.
I suspect that my store is reflective of most Mac problems. First, restart. Second, do some troubleshooting. Third, wander around online for a solution or two. Finally, give in and let Apple do the deed. For a price.
Times have changed. My father and grandfather changed the oil on their cars and trucks and performed their own tune ups. Back in the day I had no qualms about opening up a Mac or PC and tracking down the offending part, and doing the replacement myself.
Those days have gone and I find a need to rely on more, uh, professional solutions to fix a wonky Mac.
What about you?