back to article Stop using that MacBook Pro RIGHT NOW, says Uncle Sam: Loyalists suffer burns, smoke inhalation and worse – those crappy keyboards

As Apple's MacBook Pro recall is entering its second week, new details are starting to emerge about the extent of the danger posed by its notebook batteries – and just how irritating the repair process is proving to be. In a warning issued Thursday, the US government's independent Consumer Products Safety Commission urged Mac …

  1. HildyJ

    Customer service?

    While I've never been tempted to enter the walled garden (I read too many fantasy novels - bad things happen in walled gardens) this seems absurd, even for Apple.

    My car was recently subject to a recall. They contacted me - I didn't have to search to see if my car was affected. They told me the part would be in stock. They offered me a loaner car when I scheduled my appointment. That is how a recall should work.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Customer service?

      And here you see why major design flaws common throughout the car industry lead to their lack of Apple sized profit margins. I can access the engine compartment of my car by pulling one lever inside the car, another outside and lifting the hood. No specials tools required at all. Changing that battery requires only a screw driver. It is not even glued down. It is a reasonably standard part and I can get a replacement from a different manufacturer. Sometimes even that is not necessary and topping up with distilled water will do the trick. Topping up oil, cooling water and windscreen wash can all be done without manufacturer supplied tooling. It is even possible to put air in the tyres without visiting a Genius Garage. Changing a tyre does require tools many people do not have lying around at home - but they were supplied with the vehicle. At the very least these should be sold separately along with the fuel pump adaptor.

      Clearly the automotive industry has a great deal of work to do. They are not going to get anywhere until customers expect that a manufacturing defect means the car has to be thrown away and replaced with a new one from the same manufacturer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Customer service?

        @Flocke - Audi would like to charge me ~£100 to flip the headlights for driving on the wrong side of the road because it requires the plug-in diagnostics system to do it. They'd like to charge me the same again to flip them back when I return.

        1. The Original Steve

          Re: Customer service?

          You can do that yourself for half the price of one Audi-flip. Buy an ODBII connector from Amazon and the appropriate app.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Customer service?

            I looked into the software and decided against it. The SW is Chinese knock off and it opens up access to lots of stuff that can be configured (e.g. trail braking). A combination of knowing what I'm like when there's an option button to press together with the risk of the insurance problems put me off. I went down the hardware route.

            1. Da Weezil

              Re: Customer service?

              What you really need is VCDS from Gendan, comes in a kit with a decent OBD connector, but it iasnt cheap, however it does all of the Diagnostic stuff with VAG cars, and you can make tweaks to your car depending on the model, for example on the Seat Leon 1P (aka the mk2) you can set up the auto park mirrors, reset the digital speedo from Kph to Mph or vici verki, turn off that annoying "second fob press required to unlock all the doors... and other stuff.

              The licence can be pruchased for a limited number of vins registered or fully unlimited (you wouldnt want that). It wasnt cheap but... buy cheap buy twice as they say.

              We got it for the Leon FR and my Octavia VRS, I think its pretty much paid for itself so far, and as licenced users we get updates to both the program and the obd connector drivers.

              1. fruitoftheloon
                Thumb Up

                @Da Weezil: Re: Customer service?


                thanks for the heads-up on that, apparently it should permit me to enable bluetooth phone stuff on our Q7.



              2. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

                Re: Customer service?

                Did you enable the indicators?

                1. Nolveys Silver badge

                  Re: Customer service?

                  No option to enable them, ghey are just painted on.

              3. Hans 1 Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Customer service?

                turn off that annoying "second fob press required to unlock all the doors... and other stuff.

                annoying ? Brain-dead! I want^H^H^H^Hneed that thingy! Have an upvote!

        2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: Don't look up...

          How much an oil change costs for a Veyron! XD

        3. John Doe 6

          Re: Customer service?

          On my Skoda Superb I do this from the car setup menu... don't buy Audi when You can get more for less (from the same VAG) buying Skoda, Seat or VW.

          1. Lord Schwindratzheim

            Re: Customer service?

            On my Mk2 Octavia, thers is a blind in the unit that can be moved to flatten the beam - as in a lot of the "projector" style headlights.

            Even if you're not very dexterous around the back of headlmp units, and can't do it in situ, it's one nylon nut and a catch away from removing the whole unit. I can change my lights this way in less than 5 minutes.

            Damn fine engineers the Czechs - which is probaby why Dr Porsche nicked the design of the Beetle from them in the first place...

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. teknopaul Silver badge

          Re: Customer service?

          Which is clearly proposterous because audi drivers drive down the middle of the road no matter what country they are in!

        6. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Customer service?

          That explains why they never have indicators!

        7. Mongrel

          Re: Customer service?

          Not forgetting how expensive it is to update the onboard Sat-Nav. Which. to be clear, is just as hard as you think it may be (Stick USB stick in, select correct option from menu, have a cuppa)

        8. Carma

          Re: Customer service?

          Most of the current Audi models have the ability to activate / deactivate 'touring lights' mode from the MMI

          Whatever you do, don't put the stick-on beam adapters on polycarbonate light covers....

        9. kipwoo

          Re: Customer service?

          On my Ford, you can just change it in the menu.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Customer service?

            Yeah but how many UK winters will a Ford get through before it's rusted to bits and ready for the scrap yard (Hint: not many)

            1. keith_w

              Re: Customer service?

              My Canadian Ford has been through 7 Canadian winters which I am sure are much tougher on cars than UK winters without rusting out. I am sure it will be good for another several years before succumbing to rust.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Customer service?

                Does Canada salt the roads in winter?

        10. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Customer service?

          You drive an Audi. You deserve to be charged more to do that tbh.

        11. 9Rune5

          Re: Customer service?

          Wow. In my Saab, switching the headlights to other-side-of-the-road-driving, is a selection in its configuration menu. (9-5 MY11) Cost: Having to read the manual or simply look around in the configuration menu.

          The Saab dealer in Kiel, Germany, received a call from Audi shortly after Saab went bankrupt. Audi's engineers wanted to study Saab's tailgate design. The 9-4X's design is apparently quite good. "Nah, you guys will just have to work it out for yourself" was his rather short answer.

          "Vorsprung durch technik" apparently means blatant copying and fiddling with emission reports.

        12. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Customer service?

          Flip the headlights? really? What's wrong with the traditional stick-on converters which block the wrong-sided beam, which you simply pull off when you get home ...

          ...or have modern LED headlights got so complicated that this doesn't work any more with all the fancy lenses they use?

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Customer service?

            "traditional stick-on converters"

            I believe the polycarbonate headlight covers used these days (not because they are cheaper, Oh No!) bond to the glue on the stickers, or something, thus voiding the warranty for every mechanical and non mechanical part in the vehicle.

            Or possibly they simply don't work - one or the other.

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Customer service?

        I went to check the spark plug on my wife’s car and couldn’t. My standard plug spanner no longer works. They are deeply recessed and require a completely different tool to get them out.

        It used to be possible to tune an engine by yourself. Now you need to plug a laptop running the company’s bespoke software only availalbe to registered mechanics to even approach that.

        Oh and doing a wheel swap? with no spare in most modern cars (it’s an optional extra) expect the wheels to be put on with a special ‘tamper proof’ fixing ‘for safety’ so you can forget making your tyres last longer by rotating them.

        And I’m just waiting until all the tyre inflation fittings I have are made reduntant by a redesign.

        I was taught to maintain a car as a teenager by my engineer father. With my 9month pregnant wife in our car breaking down in the boondocks I was able to determine we needed a new starter motor. A farmer helpfully took me to a tractor dealer who had the right part and we were off again.

        Now starter motors are integrated into the engine with other tech and swapping them is a major operation requiring new gaskets etc.

        Cars have become less and less accessible over time. I can understand people who take old bangers and restore them. They are the only cars they can work on now without a mechanic’s qualifications, experience, proprietary training and a fully equipped shop with all the tech.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Customer service?

          It used to be possible to tune an engine by yourself. Now you need to plug a laptop running the company’s bespoke software only availalbe to registered mechanics to even approach that.

          Perhaps you should be thankful that the tuning app is not MacOS only.

        3. Graham Dawson

          Re: Customer service?

          And people wonder why I stick to pre-2010 cars.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Customer service?

          I assume by "tamper proof" fixing you mean locking wheel nuts, in which case you just need the key that came with your car. No problem.

          They're also completely useless as you can remove them easily without the key (as long as you're willing to replace the nut).

        5. renniks

          Re: Customer service?

          Next time try hitting the starter with something heavy, while someone else tries to start the engine with the ignition - sometimes the starter solenoid can get stuck, and a tap or two will free it up

          1. uccsoundman

            Re: Customer service?

            I had a Ford Pinto (1974) that had the opposite problem. The starter solenoid often stuck closed and the starter motor wouldn't turn off. Even new solenoids didn't help; they would stick too. I ended up carrying a ball-peen hammer with me in the car. When it stuck, I'd open the hood and beat the solenoid until the starter shut off. Then it would be fine for 6 months or so. Despite this, and the exploding gas tank, it was one of the most reliable cars I owned.

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: hitting the starter with something heavy

            .... but don't try that on a Lancia, because the engine will fall out.

        6. 9Rune5

          Re: Customer service?

          I went to check the spark plug on my wife’s car and couldn’t. My standard plug spanner no longer works.

          Sure, but how often do you need to change a spark plug these days?

        7. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: Customer service?

          I don't know why I upvoted you. I understand the sentiment, but the last time I tried anything even remotely mechanical on a car was over 45 years ago when I tried to remove the spark plugs and after around 4 hours of minor personal injury and major personal swearing, admitted myself stumped after managing to remove one (1972 Simca 1100 Special - transverse mounted engine, canted 45 o forwards, putting the spark plugs almost flush against the radiator fan. When I asked a mechanic the best way to remove the spark plugs, he shrugged and said "engine hoist, maybe?")

        8. Freddellmeister

          Re: Customer service?

          "With my 9month pregnant wife in our car breaking down in the boondocks I was able to determine we needed a new starter motor."

          Presumably the engine was running at the time hence I fail to see how the starter could be the reason for the break down unless it doubled as a generator?

      3. Jove Bronze badge

        Re: Customer service?

        Do you actually own a modern car?

        1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

          Re: Customer service?

          @Jove - good call. It's been a long time since you could top up a battery with DI water. You aren't even allowed to put the acid in yourself now when you buy a new battery. It has to be done in the shop due to acid attacks.

          1. Da Weezil

            Re: Customer service?

            For some time now most batteries have been moving toward sealed for life. A battery should not need topping up if the charging system is working correctly.

            Its been a while since it only took a screwdriver to swap a battery the old lead cap with the centre screw died out years ago, and there is the retainer to loosen, usually a Hex or Torx bolt involved in that

            Theres a new type of spark plug coming too... ACIS works without the need for a coil pack... or what was an ignition coil on older cars... it wont be a retrofit... but cars will get ever more complicated and user unfriendly as manufactirers struggle to proptect the revenue stream for thier dealer workshops.

            1. KSM-AZ

              Re: Customer service?

              It's not greed. It's emissions anf fuel economy. An adaptive spark plug controlled by your ecu/obc can adjust on the fly to conditions, and optimize spark. And all this emission and economy improvement is incremental, for exponential cost. Over time it gets refined and improved and cheaper, but it's still complicated and more expensive. Then again I like getting over 40mpg in my sonata and frankly the reliability of modern cars in general is amazing. My grandfather laughed at me several years ago before he died, when I said it was a shame modern cars were not as reliable as the older ones. Something about putting an absurd 200k miles on his caddy and it still ran great afer 15 years, and old cars coming with tool kits because you had to use them all the time. Memory is often convienient.

          2. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: Customer service?

            I don't know how it is in the UK, but the vast majority of car batteries here in the states can still be topped up, and that includes most of the batteries installed in brand new cars. They call them maintenance-free, but you can (and should) pop the cap off (there are two of them, having three cells each) and check the electrolyte level periodically despite the name. Some batteries are truly sealed, like AC Delco batteries, but most are not.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Customer service?

              It's the same in the UK.

            2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

              Re: Customer service?

              All batteries I have ever had for my cars have been fully sealed, no way to top them up.

              You have an indicator that tells you if the battery is bad but thats it. I have never seen any batteries that can be topped up by I do go for the cheap end of the scale.

      4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Customer service?

        A few years ago I needed to change a headlight bulb in a Mazda 6. I had the spare bulb, as legally required, but the official instructions for changing it started with "remove the front bumper assembly". With some fiddling and a pair of forceps I was able to do it without dismantling the car, but some designers need serious reeducation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Customer service?

          A Chevrolet Malibu is the same way - which I discovered to my dismay the first time I had to change a bulb. It was the last GM product I ever bought - and with 4 daughters and the poor rural roads around here I have had to buy a LOT of vehicles. I did keep one GM vehicle though -- my 1994 GMC CK 1500 Pickup. There may be a bit of rust through on the body and the headliner is shot, but the way it is running I may end up passing it on to one of my grandsons one day.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Customer service?

          "some designers need serious reeducation."

          And have for some time. It was just possible to change a headlight bulb on my '90s Legacy but the clearance between the back of the headlight and the windscreen washer bottle - or was it the coolant bottle? - made it very awkward. Designers of any piece of machinery should be required to do a strip and rebuild of the prototypes of their products.

          1. sofaspud

            Re: Customer service?

            If that's a Subaru Legacy you're referring to there, the trick I've found for headlamp replacement is to go in through the wheel well.

            Which should not, repeat not not not, be necessary, mind you, but there it is.

            I bought a pack of those little plastic pressure clips to reattach the wheel well cover, rather than trying to re-use the existing ones, and I can replace the headlamps in about 5 minutes these days. Seriously, though, you should not have to do this, there's no reason other than laziness in design (or protecting dealership mechanics) why you shouldn't be able to access the back of the lamp shrouds by just lifting the hood.

      5. Amentheist

        Re: Customer service?

        @Flocke Imagine if the opposite becomes the norm with modern hybrids and we end up in the same situation though..

        (disclaimer: I've only driven one car and it burns refined fossilised dinosours)

      6. EBG

        erm ...

        Yes they have "a great deal of work to do". But what do you think self-drving cars is all about ? Taking over Ford's rust belt business ?

    2. Tromos

      Re: Customer service?

      I had a Dyson Hot/Cold fan that failed after just over 5 years service. I decided to get it serviced, so went to the website where the first step was registering the device as I hadn't bothered to fill in and send off the card that came with it. As soon as I completed registration I was taken to a product recall page where I discovered that my model had been recalled several years ago. I got on the freephone number and was told to stop using it and unplug it and asked when would I like a replacement delivered. On saying ASAP, they checked my address on the registration details and said to have the broken one ready for collection next morning when the courier would deliver a new replacement unit. As the model I had was no longer made, the new unit was one that had extra functions and retailed for about £100 more. And I got a new warranty from the date of delivery. OK, so Dyson charge a bit for their stuff, but Apple have even more of a premium. Eleven out of ten for Dyson customer service.

      1. Slx

        Re: Customer service?

        I'd an issue with a MacBook Pro a few years ago, GPU failure and Apple did similar.

        In general Apple's customer care's fairly good in my experience of it anyway.

        I don't think we'll be back to user replaceable batteries again until they stop making batteries out of explodium, I mean lithium ion. The technology's ridiculously dangerous when you think about it.

        1. cutterman

          Re: Customer service?

          My old black MacBook wouldn't update beyond Snow Leopard so since there was room for another drive I put in an SSD as the System drive and a new 1TB drive for ./ users.

          Runs Linux Mint like a scared cat without having to search for drivers or anything.



    3. eionmac

      Re: Customer service?

      My car has had to have two recalls to fix 'bad safety components' supplied by an OEM supplier to car manufacturer. They scheduled each one on the date when the new supplies would be in their local workshop. I could either wait in showroom, for an hour to an hour and half while they fixed the problem, or leave car and take courtesy car and collect later or next day. While it was a potential major safety problem, making a few million new parts is not a one day job. The fault and fix being notified by letter and dates times by email or text. I respect their method and it makes sure I remain a customer.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Customer service?

      "bad things happen in walled gardens" - I thought bad things happened outside...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Customer service?

      "My car was recently subject to a recall. ... That is how a recall should work."

      A few years ago I had a Skoda at a time where many VW group models had an issue over a batch of coil packs from Bosch ..... when mine failed (car went into limp mode relying on the 2 remaining cylinders on the 3 cylinder engine with ECU imposing a speed limit of 20mph) I doscovered via googling that it appeared that when VW found the problem they recalled affected Audi's for a "precautionary replacement of coil packs", VW's got all coil packs replaced on first failure, while, from my experience, at the Skoda level you got each coil pack replaced after it had failed (so over ~2years I had 3 "limp mode" experiences follwoed by a visit for a coil pack replacement). That said, given the price of MacBook Pro's you'd assume that they would be in the "immeidate recall for precautionary replacement" segment!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

    If you are a pro who needs their machine 24/7 you have to have a Plan 'B' for when that device fails.

    How easy is it to spill coffee over the laptop in the morning? Come on now hands up.... Don't be shy...

    Be the machine a MacBook or some generic device running Windows or Linux you really need a backup machine.

    Plus a very recent backup naturally.

    How old is your most recent full backup eh? You know the one that can allow you to restore all your work plus apps on a new machine...?

    I had an issue with a 2012 MBP a couple of years ago. It needed a new Motherboard. At the time it was my main device so I pulled out my even older 2009 one and got it going again. Then I rolled a time machine backup onto it and carried on all be it a lot slower and with a smaller screen but it did the job and I was able to carry on working until my main machine was repaired.

    I recently bought a new 2019 MBP. The 2012 machine is now the backup and the 2009 model went to a good cause.

    but if you are anal about backups and have a plan B there would be no story now would there.

    All of the above applies equally to Windows and Linux users.

    In one job we were issued with HP laptops. These too were prone to having expanding batteries so after a while out manage found the money so that he could by two spares that would be used when HP was repairing the duff ones. It does not take many hours of sitting twiddling your thumbs at £80/hour (or more) for the costs to outweigh even the cost of a MacBook Pro.

    Be prepared. You never know when that coffee is going to go where it shouldn't...

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

      I'm a freelancer. I've just had to write a business relience/continuity plan to keep a new customer happy.

      I have regular, tested backups, plus no single piece of equipment that can't be swapped out in less than an hour. For power cuts, I have a generator. All data is stored in both cloud and locally.

      I was pretty chuffed at how well I had unwittingly planned.

      Only single point of failure is the landline needed for broadband. Even my mobile signal needs broadband as our mobile signal is too poor to use. Solution - alternative working location (my parents' house!).

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge

          Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

          The desktop is a working alternative to the laptop. Has the same material on it (modulo some dispensable fluff). Connects to the same network. Etc.

          If the laptop suddenly dies, working exclusively at the desktop could get me through the couple of days needed to find a new laptop, install software and transfer data. But if I don't get a new laptop, a couple of weeks for product recall is a whole different ballgame.

          1. 0laf Silver badge

            Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

            'Apple Superfan' but seems to be in a non-technical profession. Really one with many of the general population who consider IT equipment to be white goods that should just work forever. Which might be true, it's certainly how they are sold. Why have a backup plan, it's an Apple therefore super reliable.

            I'd only consider myself a minor nerd but I must have 5-6 bits of kit to being into play if my main machine went titsup. I could rejig up a Raspberry Pi as a desktop given a hour or so.

            I've also got multiple generations of backups from seeing so many fuck-ups over the years.

            I'd worry more about the washing machine breaking than a computer. I can't fix that fast

            and with no laundrette there is no easy plan B

        2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

          Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

          See also the 5/6(?) Ps - Proper Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance

          1. msknight Silver badge

            Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

            7 P's


            Planning and






            I believe it came from the UK military.

            1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

              Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

              It does, the RN are fond of it.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness


          (1) Only becomes an issue when Apple decides to make a business variant of the MacBook which is exclusively sold to business, otherwise it remains a consumer good. It's the sales class that applies, not who buys it.

          (2) Even then, Apple would have a reputation problem which it apparently already is moving towards, and we know it's sensitive to that because it costs them money. Remember the iPhone 6 battery problem?

          As for not having a spare, give the guy a break. If you're just starting in your business, having a spare is expensive, good backups are cheaper. I'm heading towards a point where I have two, but that's because I need to isolate information for security reasons, not because I like to have a machine idle in a drawer. I rather make sure I have the reserves to go into a shop when I need a replacement - the benefit of Apple is that it's very reasy to restore a backup on a new machine, assuming you make one.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

          Unless he’s a sole trader in which case he has the same protections and rights..... (unless removed by a specific contract). Mostly business purchases don’t need have the right to withdraw in the first 14 days

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

        Hmmm sounds fishy to me how about fuel for your generator, got a backup

        supplier? And a backup backup supplier? got redundant cabling in case of lighting strike or other cabling problem? Got a rack of parts just in case something fails out of hours and your 1 hour parts supplier can’t swap it in for a backup for the backup? Got fire suppression system in place? I call hooey on most of what you say but it’s on the inter webs so must be true....

        You sound more like a preper than a freelancer....Lol!

    2. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

      Totally agree. I have once installed a new machine from backup, I lost 8 hours work including the time to buy it.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

        Last time I had to restore from backup (dd can be a bitch after a few pints!) it took me 3 hrs to restore but 3 days to install all the bloody apps I use from time to time. Some of them I've never worked out how I got them to compile in the first place!

    3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

      Agreed - I might go over the top a bit, but it's saved my bacon once when I had a PSU failure. I run a normal TimeMachine backup plus a fortnightly TimeMachine to a USB disc which I keep in the shed. I also run a fortnightly plain file-synch of files to a USB disc so if I needed to restore to an non-Mac OS I could and this lives in the shed too. Then, every month or so, I dig out my old MBA (from the shed), update the OS, apps and files to the latest state of my working machine. As long as my shed and house don't burn down together I'm sort of covered.

      Really important personal stuff - photos, music, etc., is also stored on a USB disc at my folks' in a different county and I swap it out with an updated one when I visit.

      I might be going over the top, but it's not much of a pain once it's all up and running.

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

      “How old is your most recent full backup eh? You know the one that can allow you to restore all your work plus apps on a new machine...?”

      If you are using a mac, probably about an hour ago if you have set up time machine. It is one of the things Apple definitely does a lot better than Windows, and there is an option in the UEFI menu to restore from it, which I’ve had to use a few times.

      1. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

        Err, in this case he did not have anything to restore it to.

        In the Windows world Macrium Reflect is seriously cool and can do out of place restores to different hardware, including virtual. As with all these things you need to have the backups, take them on a regular basis and have somewhere to restore them if the original hardware is beyond repair.

        The limitation with all these things is the amount of space on the disks. With 1TB SSDs now becoming mainstream in posh latops you need some serious storage to take even two fulls and weeks worth of incremental images.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness


          2nd vote for Macrium !!! :)

          Works very well, have used it for years without any problem.

          The free version can be a 'life saver' and in fact is the reason I purchased the license.

          (I support companies that are generous with 'Free' products that both work and are not crippled to the point of being useless. Also they are a UK Company so it supports our 'home grown' IT Industries.)

    5. Robert Sneddon

      Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

      Do you have a Plan C? Sometimes when you try to resort to Plan B under fire it turns out you forgot something important or a piece of hardware doesn't survive the transition or...

    6. TTY

      Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

      On Windows, using a disk imaging software like Acronis True Image will let you image your entire disk, fast enough to use as daily incremental backup.

      And it will restore to any recent hardware! Lock stock and barrel. no need to reinstall Windows or apps. Hardware died? Drive to store, buy a desktop. Run the restore, wait, and you are back up and running exactly where you left off.

      Does the Time Machine restore to any Mac? Or does it only do the exact same Mac? Does it image the entire disk with OS and apps? Or just your files?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not having a 'Plan B' is madness

        Yup, for the odd Windows machines we still use Acronis too. Never ever let us down in our full Windows days.

        Now most Apple machines run a nightly Chronosync to server for backup (VPN for mobile gear), and the travelling laptops also run Carbon Copy Cloner onto an encrypted external HDD - USB3, but now switching to USB-C. The latter is, like Acronis, for local file support but can also act as startup disk for bare metal recovery.

        We've been thinking about external SSDs, but the restore tends to happen at a reasonable speed so there's no real financial case to make yet - full recovery from backup is rarely needed.

  3. Jamesit

    Why not take the battery out, it won't be portable but you'll still be able to use it? :-D

    1. Trollslayer Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Because there are models where the battery is built in..

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Not just built in, but intentionally difficult to remove. Apple uses proprietary screws to keep people from using tools they already have to open the things, for a start. Why should you have to buy special tools to get into your own computer just because Apple wants to keep you out?

        Ya know, I don't think Apple gets this whole "selling" thing... when you buy a computer from them, it stops being their property and starts being the property of the buyer. It's not like what the courts have allowed vendors to get away with claiming for software, where you buy it but don't ever actually own anything. The customer still buys and owns hardware, in keeping with the same concept of "buying" that has been understood for thousands of years of human history.

        Apple's wishes for the device cease to matter the moment the thing becomes the property of the customer. If he wants to open it, it's his right to open it. If he wants to repair it, or to try to repair it, or to hire someone else to repair it, he has the right to do that too, and performing such a repair should not be thwarted by the company that no longer has any ownership of that item. A simple addition of a jumper wire to bypass a ruined PCB trace (instead of the Apple-approved method of replacing the entire motherboard, including the CPU, RAM, GPU, and SSD, which are all soldered on, at which point the "genius" tells the owner it would be better just to buy a new one) doesn't turn a Mac into a PC and make running MacOS on an actual Mac into piracy (since MacOS is only allowed on actual Macs, and a Mac repaired by !Apple makes it into !Mac, in what passes for logic in Cupertino). That's not to say that certain actions taken by the new owner of the machine won't invalidate the warranty, but again, that is the choice left to the owner of the machine.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "when you buy a computer from them, it stops being their property and starts being the property of the buyer"

          Any tech vendor will tell you this view is a hangover from a primitive economy. In Industrial Economy 2.0 what's yours is theirs. Come to that, you are also theirs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hahahaha it’d probably take him 2-3 weeks

  4. macjules Silver badge

    Galaxy Note7 anyone?

    Perhaps all MacBook Pro laptops should now be banned from air travel, given the somewhat precarious nature of the battery.

    I bought an older model 15" MBP in 2016 so I should probably get it checked over yet again - it has already been back once under warranty for an issue with the screen. I also have a 15" MBP bought this year for yet another extortionate sum, which still has the keyboard problem because I just can not be arsed to take it to Apple since I am using it on a daily basis, so I have the much nicer external Apple "Magic" Keyboard to accompany it. I believe it is called "Magic" because £129 miraculously disappears from your credit card when you buy one.

    Now, having looked at this link I see that I also have to take in both my wife's and my children's laptops as well, since their 2016/2017 13" MBP screens need replacement. Oh, and it turns out that some of those 13" MBP laptops ALSO have to have their battery changed as well.

    And it started out such a lovely Saturday ...

    * Fanboi icon since I still am a fan of the fruity company, and have been since I got my first Apple in 1980, but even I must admit that this is pushing it too far.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Galaxy Note7 anyone?

      MacBooks released since 2015 aren't all that great as you've found out.

      1. slartybartfast

        Re: Galaxy Note7 anyone?

        I had a 2011 MacBook Pro that suffered the notorious GPU failure. Never got it fixed. Apple wanted to charge me £400 to replace the logicboard which wouldn’t eliminate the GPU problem and also helpfully suggested I ‘would be better off buying a new laptop’. Seems Mac laptop problems have been happening before 2015.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Galaxy Note7 anyone?

          Yes, the 2011 dual graphics MBP was a lemon too. If you've still got it at the back of the cupboard, this can help.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Galaxy Note7 anyone?

        Thanks. I also read Louis' video article at which is well worth watching.

    2. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge

      Re: Galaxy Note7 anyone?

      Why do you continue to allow yourself to be punished by Apple?

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        from the FAQ

        A: Stockholm Syndrome

    3. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: Galaxy Note7 anyone?

      Thats one thing I never got with Dell, their service totally sucks but for example their XPS ultrabook my wife bought is really nice piece of kit, shame it took 3 hours to get their service centre to concede it wasn't a software issue and to actually send an engineer (who unlike the next business day warranty had stated took 5 days to appear - did get it fixed but the pile of screws to replace the motherboard due to a failed USB port was......extensive)

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

    You can, they just don't need to be MacBook Pros.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

      Why the downvote? They're right.

      Cheapest Macbook Pro is £1100 (13")

      Equivalent Dell laptop is £520

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

        The cheapest option is rarely what you need to do he job - that’s why manufacturers do different models.

        1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

          Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

          Which is why ideally you'd have a backup of similar specs. However, if you can't afford one, a cheap backup that can slog through at least some of the work is a better option than none at all.

        2. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

          Do note that he specified "equivalent" - he's not talking some cheap tat.

    2. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

      I am assuming the individual is reliant on xCode or other macOS product.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

        If he really needs xCode on a real machine for two weeks, there's always the Mini. Almost upgradable and repairable (apart from the on-board SSD).

        1. Jove Bronze badge

          Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

          But the articles states that he did not have access to an alternative device.

          1. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

            Right before it said that he went ahead and bought a new one. From Apple, of course. Mhmm, I am sure that will have Apple reconsidering their business practices!

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

              Perhaps he should have bought one online, then after 14 days factory reset and returned it...

    3. Andronnicus Block

      Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

      A bit of lateral thinking would go an awful long way.

      When I was working I had several laptops -all refurbished Lenovos, a couple of T60s and also X201s - none of them cost me more than £150 each and all ran for years.

      The real saver? I was using Linux and would use rsync as my go to back up tool to copy new or changed files across to ext formatted usb drives. This ensured that no machine was ever more than a few days behind. To be brought fully up to date was just a few seconds work, plug in the most recently updated usb drive and rsync from that to the laptop drive.

      And because backing up was so easy, when I was using whatever I had chosen as my work machine for that day I would keep a usb drive plugged in and back up using rsync, usually several times a day. I also always checked that the files written to the usb drive were readable before ejecting.

      Moral of the story: a laptop failing was absolutely of no concern to me - if it happened, just go and pickup one of the others, update it and crack on with my work.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

      If he’s working with Xcode then he would.

    5. jason 7 Silver badge

      Re: "I have a small business where it is just me, I can't afford two laptops."

      From what I have seen of Macbook Pro users...most would do fine with a £200 Chromebook.

      Amazon Renewed Lenovo T430's with 8GB/250GB SSD/Core i5 - £230 for the win!!!

  6. DoctorNine

    A crazy idea

    With all of their billions, how expensive would it be to hire a couple engineers, and return to the actual aluminum cased MacBook pro, and the old key design from 2012, but just update the processor, motherboard, and memory to current speed standards. That's all people want. Why not just give people what they want?

    Jony Ives is gone. Steve Jobs is dead. The irrational tyranny of faux style has been cast down. Think Different Apple.

    1. Solviva

      Re: A crazy idea

      7 years, 3 screens (all replaced under warranty), 1 battery (+ 'free' keyboard, touchpad, upper chassis), 2 speakers and an upgraded SSD later, my 2012 MBP retina is stil going strong.

      Company policy is we can get a new laptop every 3 years so I'm well overdue a refresh, but there's nothing I would touch from Apple currently and unlikely in the near future unless they change direction and realise there's more to a laptop than thinness and aesthetics. I'm perfectly happy to go back to a non Apple with the caveat I don't wont a 'widescreen' a.k.a. short screen, which narrows done choices somewhat.

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: A crazy idea

        Saying that, burning through 3 screens in 7 years doesn't exactly scream quality to me...

        1. jason 7 Silver badge

          Re: A crazy idea

          Yeah that number of parts fail

        2. Solviva

          Re: A crazy idea

          Two of the screens had the anti-reflective coating self destruct after about a year and a half, which they had a recall program for. The second replacement had a bright spot which got immediately sent back for the third screen... This one seems to be lasting though, touch silicon.

      2. Adair

        Re: A crazy idea

        Just like the lumberjack's axe: "I've had it for ten years; three new heads and seven new handles. Best axe I've ever owned."

        1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

          Re: A crazy idea

          See also Trigger's broom

      3. Aussie Doc

        Re: A crazy idea

        Yeah, I have an old hammer like than - has had four new handles and the head's been replaced three times.

        Great tool - they don't make them like that any more.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: A crazy idea

      All the glued up nonsense took off after Jobs stepped down. Cook has decided it's more profitable to have them unrepairable and unupgradable, so that's what he does.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A crazy idea

        "Cook has decided it's more profitable to have them unrepairable and unupgradable, so that's what he does."

        But is it more profitable in the long run? These recalls must be eating into the margin that was made on the original sales.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But is it more profitable in the long run?

          Why would Apple HQ care?

          This is a corporate HQ that borrows big money in the US so that it can pay for dividends and share buybacks and such without having to bring the revenue from overseas subsdiaries back into their US operation.

          The eyes of the faithful are blind to this, and to the various other corporate shenanigans.

    3. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: A crazy idea

      Look on it as an opportunity - there must be a market out there for glossy, over-priced fire-proof mats, and oxygen masks with rounded corners.

      Actually - that might be what Johnny (Jony ???) has in mind for his new venture. Watch this space.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: A crazy idea


        He's an Essex boy and probably can't spell.

        Or, it's a designer's affectation. He has made a hell of a lot of money and gained famed from not doing/designing much.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A crazy idea

          I was born in Essex due to a mix up with the ambulance, but when I graduated from U they moved that bit of Essex into London so as not to damage the Essex stereotype.

          (No troll icon when posting AC)

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: A crazy idea

            No troll icon when posting AC

            Whyever not?

        2. jgarbo
          Paris Hilton

          Re: A crazy idea

          Hey! Who else could do "Rounded Corners"? He's a genius.

        3. Benson's Cycle

          Re: A crazy idea

          IIRC he did the fruity coloured laptops and a number of other things which were very good for their day.

          But once you have the capacitive touchscreen and the hardware is Good Enough, there really are not many places to go. You've basically got four materials for cases - metal, plastic, glass, ceramic. Every design element you stick on the front eats into usable space. Every button or key increases potential warranty costs. You really don't even have the range of options of a plate or fork designer. Currently all people really seem able to do is add more cameras and make the phone longer.

          The 21st century has achieved the remarkable feat, in many fields, of allowing a smallish number of people to become very rich while consuming the thing that made them start getting rich in the first place.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: A crazy idea

      "Jony Ives is gone."


  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

    Well how about going "back" to Linux ? Try Mint, it's a rather easy start for an ex-Windows user.

    I should know, I'm transitioning at the moment.

    However, the problem is the the OS in itself, the problem is the applications you need to use. If you're in the graphics industry you use Apple and there is nothing comparable AFAIK either on Windows or on Linux, so you have to stick with Apple.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

      Now that hasn't been true for years.

      Every professional graphics and video application is either available on both Windows and Mac or has a Windows equivalent. The Windows version is often more powerful because Windows supports OpenCL, CUDA and Vulkan, while macOS has an old, now deprecated version or never supported it at all. (MoltenVK notwithstanding. Metal is very poor with worse tooling.)

      A few of them are available on Linux as well, though not very many yet.

      There are a small number of Mac-only highly specialist applications, mostly in live video (VJ stuff) because they rely on Syphon, but otherwise, you do not need a Mac unless your business is developing for iOS or macOS.

      1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

        Heck even QuarkExpress is on Windows, Adobe is on Windows and Mac etc, to the extent the local universities art college staff are throwing a strop as ICT declined to shell out for a MAC 3D render lab and rumours abound that once the current macs are toast all the replacements will be windows as per the rest of the university....its only taken them 20 years to integrate the art college and even yet the art college staff and students still act like they are an independent art college being coerced by the big bad uni next door.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

          You're not in Dundee are you? ;-)

          1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

            Re: "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

            No but I'm very familiar with the place and the Uni (I was a student there many moons ago) and I still hear rumours that often turn out to be true

      2. Stuart Castle

        Re: "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

        "Every professional graphics and video application is either available on both Windows and Mac or has a Windows equivalent"

        Not quite. Apple do a very heavily used range of professional level editing software (final cut, Logic etc) that is not available on any other platform. Theoretically, changing to another package may be an option, but importing old projects to a new application is not always as straightforward as it would appear as there can be unexpected incompatibilities that may cause the project to render incorrectly. Add to that the fact they may well have years worth of projects, they may be unwilling to risk losing them.

    2. TTY

      Re: "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

      "If you're in the graphics industry you use Apple and there is nothing comparable AFAIK either on Windows or on Linux, so you have to stick with Apple."

      Sorry no. I am in the creative industry and knows many who do. We all run Windows cos Macs are too expensive and unreliable (Apple can change ports, models, and software like FCPro at their whim; limited lifespan support for hardware parts, and price. The same priced hardware on Windows is always more powerful than that on Mac.)

      All relevant industry-standard graphics, video, animation software can be found on Mac and Windows. There are platform specifics like Final Cut and Garage Band. But equivalent and often more feature rich options exist on Windows. Believe it or not, real creative professionals actually make a decent living running only on Windows. Mac is irrelevant, unless you need it as an ego boost.

      1. Louis Schreurs

        Re: "I could not imagine going back to Windows"

        I completely and utterly agree. I have my iThingies to look at and make me feel good. iThingies for me are fashion/design thingies, Other hardware for other purposes.

        Pornhub runs on either.

  8. Jove Bronze badge

    Design flaw ...

    ... and there was me thinking that the portable hot-plate in the MacBook Pro was an intrinsic design feature for field workers to cook their breakfast each morning. You learn something new every day.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Design flaw ...

      Smashed avocados do not need cooking.

      However, I do remember a Dell where the palm rests allowed you to toast two pieces of bread at once.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge

    People are people

    My team manages upwards of 1000 Apples, iMacs, Macbook airs, both 13 and 11", and have been doing so for over 10 years. We manage repairs w\external company. I can say from experience it comes down to the user or misuser when it comes to physical damage, Apple is a superior hardware. We purposely stay away from the gimmicky looking releases, touch bar? NO thanks. Our repair partner notifies us if any of our fleet is in recall, and if repairs are under warranty. When it comes to buggy OS, I feel when it happens now, as the new OS is much more buckled down and work arounds are not always easy.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: People are people

      No one, IMO, dispels the myth about Apple making decent hardware better than Louis Rossmann, an individual who makes a living repairing Macbooks at the component level, and who makes videos to teach people to do what he does.

      He lays out many examples of terrible engineering by Apple, and explains exactly how that makes the things fail. It's one of those things "everyone knows" that just isn't true... Apple designs crap, then hires someone like Foxconn or Quanta to manufacture it for them. They should have let Quanta or Foxconn do the design too... might end up being a better product. I doubt they would have had butterfly keyboards that could be destroyed by a speck of dust, and that required replacing half the laptop case, the touchpad, and the battery along with the keyboard, because they're all glued and/or riveted together. Only Apple could come up with something that stupid.

      Apple's customer support is no better than their hardware. Their hardware is meant to be unrepairable and to screw you over, and the company itself will try to screw you over (you know this is happening when the genius tells you it would be cheaper to buy a new one, which of course is only true because Apple wanted it to be cheaper to buy a new one) if given half a chance. They only offer recalls of their faulty crap when they're forced to... otherwise, you get a "you're holding it wrong" kind of answer, and if you're an Apple fanatic, you'll believe it. Not all Apple users are fanatics, but enough are to allow Apple to get away with producing products that are insanely bad, and with treating their customers in the same way.

      It's been quite a trick for Apple to sell bad hardware for premium prices and to support it badly, and all the while managing to keep people thinking it's premium hardware with premium support. They've managed to create an emperor's new clothes scenario, where none of the Apple fans want to be the only one who doesn't get how great Apple is and how everything about Apple is flawless. Apple has managed to get people to disbelieve their own experiences and to believe the myth instead. That's Apple's biggest and most profitable creation... the myth of Apple superiority.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: People are people

        With all due respect, I have worked with electronics from age 10, and that was more than 4 decades ago. I have built everything from an Apple II to my own PCs until I got bored with it. In that process I have used probably every form of *nix from Xenix onwards, and every version of MS-DOS and Windows until Windows Vista at which point I gave up and switched to Apple. I have used Panasonic, Sony, many, many IBM ThinkPads, Dell and a few Toshiba's before that happened, and in between some servers from Sun Microsystems as well (still love the engineering of their pizza boxes).

        I also know how to incorporate everything into a realistic TCO figure - including the effort it costs to keep a machine up to date, and how to support international users that travel a *lot*.

        Here's the fun news: in a full TCO model, Apple's stuff comes out on top. It's irrelevant if the hardware alone is "better" or "worse" (relative terms to begin with), long term you're winning, especially if you're dealing with volume. We've dealt with spare laptop stocks which is a %^$# pain every time a new model comes out or a different brand is introduced, and that's not mentioning the f*cktastic driver mess you're always dealing with (or you have a loadset that takes several GBs extra) or you have an OS version change, and fat chance doing a rebuild or replace on remote.

        Those problems don't exist with Apple, and the very time you save is where the numbers become very interesting for even the most pernickety bookkeeper. The amount of time you do NOT waste on fighting problems that the PC world should have addressed years ago is where the motivation hides to stick with Apple. That management likes their shiny, fine, but from a CAPEX and OPEX perspective they're cheap.

        From a global support perspective you have every Apple shop plus authorised affiliate dealers, and if recovery is not possible we can authorise a local purchase (the only variable is the keyboard layout) and provide a local loadset or have the portable, encrypted backup disk be pushed back onto the machine - no driver fights, no "extra" software to zap - we can get people fully on their feet on remote. Add to that better usability and less exposure to malware (not "no", "less", I don't believe in miracles, nor count on them) and they save us a lot of time.

        Time is where the money sits. Not hardware or software costs, but time.

      2. Graham 32

        Re: People are people

        > No one, IMO, dispels the myth about Apple making decent hardware better than Louis Rossmann, an individual who makes a living repairing Macbooks

        Quality is relative. He does Macbook repairs so is unlikely to know if other laptops have better or worse designs. A repair shop that repairs multiple brands would give much better and balanced advice. Rossmann will know what the biggest problems are with Macbooks which could help Apple be better but it doesn't mean Apple are bad.

        Example: Backblaze releasing data about multiple hard drive manufacturers and models so you can really compare. If they only used Seagate drives you wouldn't know if Seagate were good or bad.

    2. TTY

      Re: People are people

      Even if Apple's hardware is of better quality, and that is dubious in my books (personal exp reinforced by Louis Rossmann) you are still hitching your cart to one single manufacturer. You will be subject to their design whims - touchbars, no touch on MacOS, arbitrary changing/removal of ports, changing software like FCPro for their own reasons.

      What is of even more concern is Apple's move to becoming a Fashion Brand. Super profitable for them and absolutely an unfilled niche. But if you rely on Apple equipment for serious business, you are exposing yourself to huge risk as they trim and focus their hardware on the fashion market.

      Remember when they summarily removed the xServer line and suggested businesses use a stack of Mac minis as their servers? That shows Apple's lack of interest in the business market. I dont blame them at all.

  10. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Don't go back to Windows!

    '"It has kind of become a matter of principle now," Bridges said. "I accept I have bought into the Apple ecosystem. I love the products, I love the OS, I could not imagine going back to Windows, but that is the direction this is pushing me in."'

    Or, go back to using a PC (or Chromebook) and just keep Windows the hell off it. I've had a pleasant time computing for years buying cheap cheap PCs and throwing Linux onto them (my last notebook computer cost $60 used, due to seller somehow missing the Win10 upgrade time period and not wanting to be stuck with Windows 8). You may well want to spend for a nice and thin brand new machine, but still you'll be able to get two for less than you spent for one of your machines. Ubuntu + "gnome flashback" is quite nice (so is Linux Mint.) I'm no zealot here -- if you're running Adobe suite or some video editing suite or the like -- sorry, don't know if they run in Wine and I won't presume to suggest some bunch of open source programs are an equivalent, you may be stuck with Windows or Mac then.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Don't go back to Windows!

      Talking of thinness am I the only one that noticed people putting their thin machines on books or other risers to prevent RSI.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Don't go back to Windows!

      "due to seller somehow missing the Win10 upgrade time period and not wanting to be stuck with Windows 8"

      AKA dodging the bullet.

      But Linux is, of course, the right way to go.

    3. CountCadaver Bronze badge

      Re: Don't go back to Windows!

      Now if Mint could only get Optimus graphics working out of the box reliably (even taking advice and doing verious terminal commands, it just wouldn't work and as soon as I enabled the Nvidia driver, instead of a GUI I would get a black screen...

      (also the most recent driver is 3.90 for that laptops chipset but even with a more recent PPA enabled, mint instead kept offering 3.40)

      Frustrating as I really like it.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Don't go back to Windows!

        Not 3.90, it's 390. Anything that works with 390 should work with something newer, and 390 by now is pretty old. The newest driver in the graphics-drivers ppa is 430 now, and that may help to get it working. You need to use the modesetting driver for the Intel portion, as far as I know (it works for me).

        Prime (they call the dual-GPU technology Optimus in Windows and Prime in Linux... I guess they're insinuating that the graphics are more than meets the eye?) worked out of the box for my laptop with the 415+ drivers (I used KDE Neon, which is Ubuntu-based like Mint), but there was tearing all over the place when using the nVidia GPU, and none of the usual tricks fixed it. I found that Prime sync is needed to eliminate the tearing. It's a software thing, built into the later nVidia drivers. You just need to enable it.

        It was a little fiddly to get it working properly, but now that I have, my Linux with Prime Sync is by far the best in graphical stuff "just working" of any of my Linux PCs. There's no need for turning on composition pipeline or full composition pipeline, sync to vblank, or any other such option in nvidia-settings or xorg.conf, nor turning on vsync in the compositor. There just isn't any tearing.

        My single-GPU nVidia PCs aren't as robust. KDE doesn't tear at all when it first boots just using the vsync options in the compositor and an environment variable, and that works great unless I run a game that turns the compositor off (via Kwin rule). The tearing without the compositor is expected, but it persists even after the compositor is turned back on again. I can get rid of it for the rest of that session by temporarily enabling composition pipeline in nvidia-settings (the full option isn't necessary), but I have resisted setting that permanently as it is supposed to cause stuttering in some circumstances.

    4. TTY

      Re: Don't go back to Windows!

      Windows 10 is very good. You owe it to yourself to have a serious go at trying to work with it for a few weeks or months. You may be surprised. I know enough people (who rely on Adobe for their livelihood) switch to Windows 10 from Mac and were astounded by the other side.

  11. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Good point about the sale of goods act.

    I've often wondered how crApple manage to avoid their legal requirements. They simply ignore the law.

    This is why I am glad I do not own apple products. I'd likely have been arrested for simply taking a new laptop from their store as a loaner.

  12. tempemeaty

    I'm glad to see that people have found the Camp Stove feature.

  13. Aussie Doc

    No spare?

    Not really meant to be a criticism but as somebody who is self employed, I find it strange that the chap didn't have some sort of backup plan like maybe another older laptop or something lying around given the 'criticalness' of the situation.

    Sure, you might not be able to afford another 'top of the range' jobby but in the end you bought pretty much that anyway <shrug>

    It's the old thing about backups - how much time and money can you afford to lose if your main machine goes down.

    1. TTY

      Re: No spare?

      Could not agree more.

      For the price of 1 MacBook these days, you can almost buy 2 Windows laptops. Or 1 good Windows laptop and a basic but decent desktop. I am still surprised many small business owners don't realize this.

      You have instant redundancy.

      Run Macrium Reflect or Acronis True Image regularly, and you can restore an entire setup instantly to any recent hardware. No reinstallation of anything.

      But of course, you'll have to suffer the humiliation of not having an Apple logo on the back of your laptop at Starbucks.

  14. Boohoo4u

    This article should be titled: How Apple lost a stupid customer! But, didn’t...

    1. Assuming the batteries are exploding like popcorn

    2. Not contacting Apple to make sure that his machine has a faulty battery

    3. At the same time, scheduling an appointment at the Apple Store (or other authorized repair center... Best Buy) and asking how long the repair would take

    In my experience most repairs take 2 hours (with an appointment).

    Assuming hundreds of thousands of replacements could be completed immediately is idiotic. Ignoring that, buying another MacBook when you’re not satisfied is even more so.

    If the laptop is bulging due to the battery, yep turn that sucker off. Otherwise remain calm and rational...

    1. TTY

      Re: This article should be titled: How Apple lost a stupid customer! But, didn’t...

      Assuming hundreds of thousands of replacements could be completed immediately is idiotic. Ignoring that, buying another MacBook when you’re not satisfied is even more so.

      A business that sells and supports machines for critical business work would be set up to turn around these repairs quickly (or provide instant loans etc) - because they could be sued for causing loss of sales.

      Apple is a fashion brand not set up to support critical business needs. They expect their users to wait for periods of time that would be acceptable to non-critical use, but that real businesses would not accept. Imagine if Dell, Lenovo, IBM etc telling their fleets of business users that their laptops will be out of commission for weeks or months. Or that out of the blue they have stopped manufacturing parts or supporting certain ports, or whole server lines... No sensible business would rely on a hardware manufacturer that does this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This article should be titled: How Apple lost a stupid customer! But, didn’t...

        A business that sells and supports machines for critical business work would be set up to turn around these repairs quickly (or provide instant loans etc) - because they could be sued for causing loss of sales.

        You'd be laughed out of court if you took a company to court for being a bit tardy with repairs (for one thing, the loss experienced would have paid for another machine after about a day or so, and it's not the supplier's problem you didn't buy two if it was that critical - Apple or not), but aside from that, with respect, you appear to have never had a few machines in repair.

        Even if, then at most locally, but not for a business spanning a few cities or even countries. It's clear you don't like Apple, but IBM came closest with its Thinkpads for a similar global coverage and that costed a lot of money. With Apple it's kind of how they are set up.

        Apple's benefit isn't just good usability, decent hardware and a slightly more robust OS, it's also the framework around it. I know it's much easier to hate than to actually think, but I also work with private banks and trust me, not only do they look at the numbers, they also know how to check them.

        If that equation changed for any reason, they would ditch Apple in a heartbeat. So far, they have not.

  15. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    What goes around, comes around ... with a wallop!

    Apple made the product difficult to repair as to dissuade DiY &/or non-authorized repairs being done.

    Apple never realized that they themselves might, one day, have to do the repair themselves. En masse.

    Talking about shooting yourself in the foot.

  16. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  17. Steve 114

    Hot Pies

    When I started, the office girls used 'Comptometers', large mechanical adding machines. Then the more senior girls were given Marchants (which could multiply) but had a huge moving register, and were very noisy on steel desks. So the factory sent up thick felt pads to put them on, very much a status symbol. Finally the supervisor was given a big electronic machine, with a splendid row of Nixie tubes along the top (and probably thermionics inside). But she could not be persuaded to dispense with her precious felt pad. The result was a lovely warm calculator - we worked out that if you put cold pies on the plastic top when the morning tea-trolley came round, they would be ready by lunchtime.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Hot Pies

      "Then the more senior girls were given Marchants (which could multiply) but had a huge moving register,"

      They could also divide which, with the moving register, was even more fun. We used those for statistics when I was a student (yes,it was a long time ago). They shuffled themselves along the bench doing division.

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: Hot Pies

        Marchants...a voice from the past. And Brunsvigas. I remember using them in 6th form statistics. It was kind of having a big geek secret. Working out square roots (for standard deviations) using Newton's method.

        At university there was a 4-function electronic calculator. Chained to the desk.

        Ten years later, working with a small rack containing 3 16 bit microprocessors and high speed interconnects.

        And you know what?

        None of them had failed keyboards or overheating batteries.

      2. PhilBuk

        Re: Hot Pies

        The other thing to know was the location of the only key that stopped it from whirring itself to death when you divided by zero (come on - everybody did that at least once).

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Problem solved

    Don't buy Apple.

    Buy two generic Windoze or Linux laptops and keep one for a rainy day

    Keep the change for some backup hardware.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What will hipsters do all day in coffee shops now? They’re too tight to buy any actual coffee.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: OMG

      May be all those stickers interfere with the heat transfer properties of the casing thus contributing to overheating...

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Fire Suppression System

    A laptop with its own fire suppression system?

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Fire Suppression System

      Nah, the BOFH'll just modify the fire suppression system to add more fuel to the flames, so to say.

      And make sure it'll spontaneously self-combust in a boredroom full of self-important people, with the door locked unfortunately, oh dear.

  22. Cenk

    Fixing the car analogy

    Hi HildyJ, to make your car analogy more accurate, imagine that your car was recalled due to a bad battery, but the manufacturer had designed that battery to fit within the tubular framing of the car structure, and it was welded shut with no access port. Then *thats* a closer comparison to what's required of Apple repair personnel. (I would not want the job of repairing any modern Apple product. They should make form-over-function obsessionist Jony Ive work at the repair center until this fiasco is over. Oops, he's quitting... How conveniently timed.) Of course your car is probably very thin -- although not quite as thin as competitors -- and so that's worth the hassle of repairs, right? ;-p

    I was an Apple "switcher" back in 2005 (Mac Pros, laptops, iPhones, accessories, etc.). I'm down to one last Apple laptop now... Yes, a fateful Macbook Pro. But no more. Almost free of that "ecosystem" trap.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    2 to 3 weeks to replace a battery?! Sounds like an Apple problem with resources to me

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Consumer rights and sole traders

    Consumer rights do apply to sole traders, I’ve been through this kind of thing myself.

    Just because someone is in business doesn’t automatically mean they’re an incorporated business.

  25. SVV Silver badge

    Fanboi - Career - Cost Triangle

    Apple Super Fan. Freelance Developer. Can't afford spare laptop.

    Pick any two.

  26. allansimonsen

    Humidity and heat

    I've had two MBPs inflate the batteries on me, so this goes back a lot further (and is more endemic) than the recall suggests.

    The first time, I noticed that the keyboard was failing and the entire MBP was bulging at the bottom. When I took it to a local repair-agent (not an apple certified place), he cheerfully started unscrewing one of those damn star-screws Apple uses. The screw was about 1/2 unscrewed when it just popped from the pressure inside, bouncing a meter off the bench with a ping.

    From that point on, the repair man treated it much like you would unexploded ordnance; he was very carefully removing the remaining screws, with his face away from any potential blast . The battery was about 2x the width it normally should be, and was bulging at the seams as whatever toxic-hellstew they use to drive it was struggling to get out.

    This happened with a 2011 MBP and with a 2016 MBP (I sadly make apps for iOS, so... no choice). I live in a hot and humid country, so that's likely a contributing factor. If there's no bulging, or pressure on the keyboard, you're likely safe for now. If you start seeing any curvature on the bottom, run don't walk, to the nearest Apple facility.

  27. TTY

    This happened 30 years ago

    Same crapple quality and service happened to me 30 years ago. With one of those Pismo laptops. Within 2 months of purchase for my small business, the internal display cable broke from opening and closing the lid. The HDD died. The battery was loose in its bay so the machine reboots when touched. Took >3 months for Apple to replace the cable, 6+ months to replace the HDD. Unable to access interior without expensive special screwdrivers (no Amazon then too!)

    Bonus: Unsupportive vilification on online Apple "support" forums when I tried to seek answers. Apple finally provided a loan machined. A different generation what did not work with MacOS8 or my peripherals cos it was then USB not Apple Desktop Bus. No enough RAM to run my work apps. Useless.

    In the mean time, I discovered:

    * Windows NT4 and 98 we both faster smoother and significantly more stable than MacOS 8 or 9. That was a revelation coming from the Apple brainwashing.

    * All the apps I needed for graphics work were available for Windows. They worked the same. Delivered same quality output. And were waaaaaaay more stable.

    * For the price of 1 crappy Pismoshite, I can buy 2 better-built Thinkpads with faster CPUs, high res screens, more RAM and milspec resistance to dust and water ingress. Instant redundancy.

    * I was free to buy from Dell and many other manufacturers. No more slave to Apple's inventory-limitations and crap service, or their arbitrary change to different ports with different generations.

    * People on Windows and PC online forums actually acknowledged problems and provided support. Moving from a cult to a real support forum WOW!

    30 years on, still on Thinkpads. The original one still boots up! And can still be used for real work.

    Had a Dell briefly. Mouse button stopped working. Overnight pickup-fix-return. Compared to Apple's 3+ months for a machine that was 3x the price, this was out of this world.

  28. J27 Bronze badge

    Wow, I thought the way Dell handled battery recalls was bad. But they at least offered to replace the battery on-site (after a long wait) or to cross-ship new batteries. 3 weeks? They're shipping that to a depot, so much for "genius" bar employees. Is it because of Apples battery design? I actually changed the battery on my Dell myself and it only took a few minutes. The Dell XPS 15 is similar in size to the MacBook Pro.

  29. Gonzo wizard


    Very simple. Mine is away for the three week holiday. If Apple had pursued a more... repairable design, they would have saved a packet on this recall, and on every other free repair that required the battery to be removed or replaced. Make it like the previous generation where all you needed was a screwdriver...

    One change I hope to see with Jony leaving is to stop obsessing over thinness and instead focus more on repairability. A man can dream, can't he?

  30. ToFab

    I could not imagine going back to Windows, but that is the direction this is pushing me in

    says the guy that has just bought a new Mac

  31. Silverburn

    Can confirm Apple BS.

    Not for batteries, but for Touch Bar.

    Touch Bar died on my company MacBook pro, so cruised into apple with my AppleCare. Was told, yes we need to replace the Touch Bar.

    And the trackpad.

    And the keyboard.

    And the speakers.

    And the top panel.

    Horrendous design decisions aside, they did say I could use the laptop until the parts came in, drop off the laptop for three-four hours, and come collect it again. And they'd do everything under warranty. Fair enough.

    Come the day to drop off the laptop, hand it over and they cheerily sign off with "...and it'll be ready in 10 days".

    Excuse me? 10 days? You said four hours!

    "Nah, this needs to be sent away."

    But you said the parts were coming in???

    So yeah. Fuck you Apple. Get your shit together.

    Blatant plug: Check out Louis Rossman on youtube. He has some very interesting observations on Apples famous "design" skills.

  32. Andalou

    Colour me sceptical

    This is a dubious nonsensical non-story. If Bridges is a genuine person then it is very simple. They rent a replacement laptop for a few weeks and claim it as a tax-deductible expense. No cost to them. If they "can't afford" to do this then they could not have afforded to spend an extra four-figure sum for a Mac OS-based laptop in the first place. Smacks of made-up clickbait.

  33. Tim Almond

    Buy A Thinkpad Next Time

    "As a UK-based freelance developer who relies on his macOS notebook for his living, going without the laptop for more than half a month was a non-starter."

    They're also well built, but one of the reasons I use Thinkpads is that repairs are easy. You can find 1 man bands who can easily get the parts and have a repair turned around in a day or two.

    Seriously, what's the draw with Macs nowadays, anyway? I know in the past people could argue Mac OSX was more robust or it had a better choice of media software, but today? I know a dev that uses Macs and he gets stuck all the time because there isn't the same range of utilities and shareware Windows has.

  34. Slx

    Changed my view of Apple

    My MacBook Pro is subject to this recall and I was actually really shocked at the level of bureaucracy. I dropped into my local authorised Apple retailer / repair centre as there's no Apple Stores in the Republic of Ireland (apparently we're only good enough to run a tax shelter in but, bizarrely despite the booming economy and retail sector here, they haven't ever opened a store).

    Anyway, I was told I had to go online and book an appointment through, despite there being 1 other person in the store. There's some nonsense bureaucracy involved.

    I just feel like I'm dealing with Carol Beer in Little Britain, even though the problem is entirely their fault and they should be bending over backwards to facilitate taking machines back in to mitigate a fire risk.

    Could well be my last Mac. I'm not impressed.

  35. Jastoner

    It seems to me that more and more people will change their MacBooks for some Chinese new companies products

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