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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
MacRumors said:
Apple Now Offering Free Repairs of 42mm Apple Watch Series 2 Models With Swollen Batteries

"Apple has determined that under certain conditions, some Apple Watch Series 2 devices may not power on or they may experience an expanded battery," wrote Apple, in an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers on Friday and subsequently obtained by MacRumors.

"Apple will service eligible devices free of charge," according to the document, numbered SN4534 in Apple's internal GSX portal. "Apple will authorize coverage for eligible devices for three years after the original date of purchase."
 


It's troubling to read of other people's problems with their Apple products. To balance the equation, without any intent to minimize problems, I want to say that our current collection of recent Apple devices are working quite well for us.

We have a 2015 Apple Watch (aluminum space gray), an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, two 2017 iPad Pro 10.5in, a 2017 iMac 21.5in with 16Gb, 512GB SSD, wireless keyboard and touchpad. Also an aging Apple Airport Extreme and a very old iPod Shuffle. Almost forgot the AirPods - they must be really a pain to assemble; but work fantastically.

I find iCloud to finally be a reliable and useful cloud capability for sharing bookmarks, and my Documents. macOS 10.13 works fine as does iOS 11.3. I would like macOS UI to provide a way to get rid of the too faint gray characters.
 


It's troubling to read of other people's problems with their Apple products. To balance the equation, without any intent to minimize problems, I want to say that our current collection of recent Apple devices are working quite well for us.
Like Larry, I am very happy with my Apple devices. The only thing currently giving me fits is El Capitan's dictation. Its current trick is to transplant whatever I've dictated into a MacInTouch editing box into the Find field at the top of the page. It's life's mysteries that make life interesting.

I should add that I'm sure it's something specific to my system causing this. A lot of people are having trouble with El Capitan dictation, and there's likely some incompatibility with something we've installed at some point.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's the latest Apple defect and repair program:

Apple said:
13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) Battery Replacement Program
Apple has determined that, in a limited number of 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) units, a component may fail causing the built-in battery to expand. This is not a safety issue and Apple will replace eligible batteries, free of charge. Affected units were manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017 and eligibility is determined by the product serial number.
Eligibility

Use the serial number checker below to see if your device qualifies for this program. If your 13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) has an eligible serial number, Apple will replace the battery, free of charge.

This program does not affect 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar or older 13-inch MacBook Pro models.
#macbookpro #battery
 




Joe, many thanks. I love getting tips about system settings I have overlooked, especially when they solve a problem I've been experiencing.
You're very welcome, Dan.

I should have mentioned that you can gain about the same amount of contrast by dropping yet more money with Apple, to get an iMac 27 inch Retina 5K machine. The display is stunning, and really helps my 67-year-old eyes with the contrast.

Or an iMac Pro. ;-)
 


Dan Hamilton

Moderator
...get an iMac 27 inch Retina 5K machine. The display is stunning, and really helps my 67-year-old eyes with the contrast...
Funny you should mention the 27" 5K. It's what I'm typing on as we speak. Yes, the display is gorgeous, but the setting you alerted us to really helps with that specific issue of dull, gray text. It's gorgeous, dull, gray text, but adding contrast makes it much more readable to these eyes, which have seen roughly the same number of birthdays as yours.
 


On a ratio of devices to defects, I would admit that Apple's product line, for the number of devices, is pretty good. Most problems I encountered, both as an authorized warranty provider and tech/consultant, were on devices that had signs of accidental damage. And with recalls, it's been a 50/50 where Apple is proactive or reactive to extended coverage (e.g. flex cables, MacBook topcases, pink tint displays, dead pixels, powersupply cables, battery swelling, nvidia GPUs...). And Apple "genuine" physical stores tend to have better "flexibility" when it comes to customer service. (e.g. replacing an iPhone that came in for dead battery...you get a new iphone-same model, rather than wait for battery replacement queue).
 
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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple doesn't seem to be addressing widespread problems with keyboard failures in its new MacBook Pro models, described in yet another note online, and this can't be helping Apple's competitive status in the market.

Casey Johnston said:
Don’t buy the MacBook Pros even on sale, in my opinion
A few months ago, I wrote about how my one-year-old MacBook Pro's keyboard keys stopped working if a single piece of dust slipped under there, and more importantly, that neither Apple nor its Geniuses would acknowledge that this was actually a problem. Today, Best Buy announced it is having a significant sale on these computers, marking them hundreds of dollars off. Interesting. Still, I’d suggest you do not buy them.

Since I wrote about my experience, many have asked me what happened with the new top half of the computer that the Apple Geniuses installed, with its pristine keyboard and maybe-different key switches. The answer is that after a couple of months, I started to get temporarily dead keys for seemingly no reason. Again.

I still had my 2013 MacBook Pro around, so I sold my 2016 MacBook Pro back to Apple’s refurb program, and now I just use the 2013 as my laptop (I used the recovered money to build a PC, lord help me). This old MacBook Pro is still fine, and most importantly, all the keyboard keys work.
 
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I too, can say that I've found my Apple products to be reliable. My first gen black MacBook still works fine, but the lack of a modern web browser and security updates make it pretty useless. I'm typing this on a 2011 MacBook Pro, which, after I updated the HD to a SSD, works great! Even my first gen iPod Touch still works flawlessly (except for short battery life) and I break it out occasionally instead of using my iPhone for music.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
change.org said:
Apple: Recall MacBook Pro w/ Defective Keyboard, Replace with DIFFERENT Working Keyboard
Apple, it's time: recall every MacBook Pro released since Late 2016, and replace the keyboards on all of them with new, redesigned keyboards that just work.

Because, these keyboards don't work.

Every one of Apple's current-gen MacBook Pro models, 13" and 15", is sold with a keyboard that can become defective at any moment due to a design failure.

The problems are widespread, consistent, and infuriating.
 


I have experienced multiple keyboard failures. The slightest crumb can render my 15” 2016 MacBook Pro inoperable. I bought a cheap case that included a keyboard cover. Hard to be a fast typist on it, but I’ve had no problems since I went that route several months ago. I still have issues, randomly, that affect the screen flickering or not working when the lid is opened after sleeping. The randomness has made it difficult so far to determine the cause. Usually just adjusting the screen angle will resolve the issue. I agree and think a recall seems appropriate.
 



2016 MacBook Pro 15", my letter "o" key suddenly became intermittent, requiring multiple taps (or whacks) to deposit an "o" into a document. Having heard early on about possible issues with this keyboard, I have always kept it meticulously clean, and air-puff or brush before and after each use. Yet, the "o" key still got sticky. I was about to make an appointment for service when, quite suddenly, the keyboard returned to normal functionality, and no further mechanical problems as of this writing. I still don't like the "action" and throw of the keys, though, compared to earlier MacBook Pro and Air models I've used.
 


2016 MacBook Pro 15 ... I still don't like the "action" and throw of the keys, though, compared to earlier MacBook Pro and Air models I've used.
I don't like the keyboard, but no longer dislike it.

An Apple Wireless Keyboard (A1314) is preferred for extensive typing on the MacBook Pro or my iPhone.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's an interesting new iPhone problem that Apple documents internally but hasn't admitted publicly:
The Verge said:
Apple admits some iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models have disabled microphones during phone calls
Apple today admitted that some iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models running iOS 11.3 or later may have a bug that disables the microphone during phone calls, MacRumors spotted through a leaked document. The few users with the affected devices may see their speaker button grayed-out when making calls or video chatting through FaceTime. The issue seems to only affect phones running that version of iOS or versions after 11.3.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a report about yet another MacBook Pro quality problem that Apple hasn't acknowledged publicly, along with more data about its keyboard defects, which all followed a completely defective computer that had to be replaced to begin with.
Gizmodo said:
I Knew Buying a Newly Redesigned MacBook Pro Was Stupid And I Did It Anyway

... First it showed up dead. $2500 for a laptop that couldn’t go thirty seconds without crashing. I waited a week and a replacement came and it was fine. Until marks from the keyboard appeared on the display and could not be removed with any amount of microfiber cloth, water, or rubbing alcohol. The stains on my display were there to stay. Then two months ago in the middle of a Civilization VI campaign my right arrow key gave up the ghost.

Finally last week my laptop decided that, sometimes, it just wouldn’t need to charge. No amount of port switching or cable switching or holding it really close to my face and whispering could get it to power on. The issue, clearly, unfortunately, was with the logic board. Something inside the computer was telling it not to draw power from USB-C chargers. I’m not the only one with that issue.
 


2016 MacBook Pro 15", my letter "o" key suddenly became intermittent, requiring multiple taps (or whacks) to deposit an "o" into a document. Having heard early on about possible issues with this keyboard, I have always kept it meticulously clean, and air-puff or brush before and after each use. Yet, the "o" key still got sticky. I was about to make an appointment for service when, quite suddenly, the keyboard returned to normal functionality, and no further mechanical problems as of this writing. I still don't like the "action" and throw of the keys, though, compared to earlier MacBook Pro and Air models I've used.
When I spilled juice onto my 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pro, Apple's quote for a keyboard (actually, top half of the computer) was well above $1200. My son suggested using a solvent instead, so we masked off the keys that still worked, sprayed in the solvent, banged on the keys that were frozen, and I'm still typing on it a year later, although periodically I need to beat the non-functioning keys that have seized up again back into consciousness, and slamming on those keys too-frequently results in the heel of my hand grazing the periphery of that too-big touchpad and repositioning the cursor elsewhere.
 



Don't keyboard covers interfere with cooling? Or is my understanding that Mac laptops cool partly via the keyboard out of date?
There have also been reports of having something as thin as paper between keyboard and display causing problems/damage in the display of the current model MBPs. Wouldn't a keyboard cover be even worse?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
BGR said:
Apple confirms a serious problem with the iPhone X – and an unlikely solution
Face ID, Apple’s sophisticated 3D-sensing face recognition system, is one of the signature features of the iPhone X. It turns out, however, that Face ID isn’t perfect and Apple already has instructions for its stores and authorized service providers to repair or replace faulty devices.

What’s puzzling about it is that the repair procedure involves fixing the rear camera, which has nothing to do with Face ID.
 



I was in a Best Buy recently; they had some new lower-end MacBook Pros on display. After reading the complaints about the new keyboards, I thought, "How bad could they actually be?" I tried one out and my answer is, "Worse than I thought." Those complaints are no exaggeration.
 


Anyone have thoughts on what, if any, a solution would (might) look like for customers owning one of these '16/'17 MacBook Pros?

I cannot see any real fix other than a total re-engineering on the next iteration laptops. It's hard to imagine Apple would continue with its current keyboard design.

Not to mention, in my opinion, these lovely looking laptops are simply too delicate, in general, for a portable unit.
Too bad there's no High Sierra for a 2001 Pismo (mine still going strong...ish).
:-)
 
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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's MacBook Pro keyboard issue gets a class-action lawsuit, as Apple hasn't resolved the problem:
Gizmodo said:
Apple Slapped With Class Action Lawsuit Over Faulty MacBook Pro Keyboards
Users have regularly complained about a variety of issues related to the new keyboard since its release. It’s not uncommon for the butterfly mechanism to get stuck, making a key unusable. Users have also reported hearing high-pitched sounds when pressing keys. The issues have been widespread enough that more than 18,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding a recall of MacBooks with the butterfly keyboard. All of those longstanding issues appear to have cumulated into the class action lawsuit now facing Apple.

... The lawsuit claims Apple is in breach of both express and implied warranty, as well as in violation of the Magnuson-Moss and Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Acts, California Unfair Competition Law, and California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act. It also accuses Apple of fraudulent concealment for allegedly covering up the fact it knew the keyboards suffered from such issues.

The plaintiffs in the case are seeking damages and legal fees and are demanding Apple publicly acknowledge the design issues with its butterfly keyboard. They are also asking for Apple to pay to fix or replace faulty units, including offering reimbursement for replacement laptops.
 


Apple's MacBook Pro keyboard issue gets a class-action lawsuit, as Apple hasn't resolved the problem:
Apple Slapped With Class Action Lawsuit Over Faulty MacBook Pro Keyboards
Apple deserves this. The question is whether any re-design of this misbegotten keyboard will work any better. The entire "thinness-at-all-costs" philosophy has come back to bite Apple.

Glad I have my 2015 MacBook Pro, the last version I'd ever own (unless they come back with a unit that has normal key travel).
 


Glad I have my 2015 MacBook Pro, the last version I'd ever own (unless they come back with a unit that has normal key travel).
I don't think the 2015 MacBook Pro keyboard is anything to rave about. Mine and every other one I've tried has keys that are loose and rattle. The keyboard on my 2009 MacBook Pro was much better.
 




I don't think the 2015 MacBook Pro keyboard is anything to rave about. Mine and every other one I've tried has keys that are loose and rattle. The keyboard on my 2009 MacBook Pro was much better.
I currently have a 2013 Macbook Pro Retina 13" and really don't care for the keyboard on it. They are the "chiclet" style keys and don't always move as they should. The previous Macbook Pros I have had [in the past] had a more traditional keyboard and were much preferable. That said, I sure hope this computer continues to work for many years, or at least until Apple understands that thinness at the expense of function and durability is no win.
 
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MacBook Pro (mid 2012) here - been using it daily for development, no issues whatsoever with the keyboard (and there's plenty of dust/particles on it, almost constantly).
 


The editorial staff at macrumors "suggest... that the number of customers affected might not meet its threshold for" Apple to address the issue straight-on.

Is this because there are not that many late model MacBook Pros actually in service, or are there a substantial quantity of these models not showing the defect? I suspect it is the former.

When I first visited the "genius" with my 2017 MacBook Pro 2017 having a rattling trackpad and failed space bar, within a few months of purchase, she proceeded to send the laptop to Tennessee for a week or two, returning it with a new core (base) section and either a new keypad or repaired, cleaned keypad.

I suspect that, at that time, the techs in the stores were not that familiar with using compressed air to mitigate the keyboard issue.

While the dust problem is still an issue occasionally, I still feel the worst is the potential hazard and possible damage inflicted by the repeated need for cleanings. Ever notice how sometimes the compressed air can spurts wet foam?!? Not to mention, again, the projectile nozzle. :(
 
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Ever notice how sometimes the compressed air can spurts wet foam?!?
That foam is liquid propellant. I don't think it's dangerous, but it can be very cold. It tends to come out if you inverted the can (the nozzle should always be facing up) or shook the can (mixing liquid and gaseous propellant), neither of which should ever be done for compressed air, but sometimes people forget, because this is something you would do for almost any other kind of spray can.
 


It tends to come out if you inverted the can (the nozzle should always be facing up) or shook the can (mixing liquid and gaseous propellant), neither of which should ever be done for compressed air...
Yes, indeed, even a slight inversion due to attempts to clean keys not holding it up in the air by the ridiculous (in my opinion) one-handed/75°/waving-everything-around method proffered by Apple support.
 


... Ever notice how sometimes the compressed air can spurts wet foam?!?
Canned air isn't compressed air. Typically it's 1,1 Difluoroethane. Its boiling point is -25C/-13F, so it's a gas at room temperature. In the can it's a liquid, but at room temperature [uncompressed], it wants to be a gas. Unlike most aerosol cans, canned air doesn't have a tube running from the nozzle to the bottom of the can. In this case, the liquid is not what you want coming out of the can, the gas propellant is.

When the nozzle is opened, the small amount of gas above the liquid provides the initial propellant. As it escapes, the pressure in the can lowers, so the liquid boils and more gas escapes. After spraying, you may hear the liquid still boiling. Since evaporation removes heat from liquids, the cans become very cold. As the liquid becomes colder, it boils more slowly, so less gas is released. When doing serious blowing I'll rotate between three cans to give them time to warm up.

Cans held upright often spray liquid when they're nearly full. This is caused by the boiling splashing liquid up into the nozzle. Inverted cans always spray liquid (unless they're empty...). The liquid attacks and mars some surfaces. Be very careful spraying into keyboards, the liquid may attack the display.

1,1 Difluoroethane is also used to test electronic components. In these cans, there is a tube running from the nozzle to the bottom. Cooling chips to well below freezing often identifies problems. This must be done carefully. Don't try this on your Mac just for fun...
 
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Canned air can cause frostbite if inverted. Be mindful of that. Compressed air (say like a home/shop compressor) without oil/water separation can be more damaging than good. And make sure the PSI is low (under 40) or else you might damage the laptop. I've seen some blowers (the fans) damaged after the owner told of using his air compressor to clean out the lint. Because he was honest, we got the blowers replaced under Applecare. They actually failed the diagnostics, so...
 


As noted, it's important to keep the can vertical, to output air and not the liquid propellant. I attach a "flex" drinking straw over the spray tube at the nozzle, to direct the air downward or at an angle without tilting the can (they should just do this anyway!). I also do a lot of short "puffs" rather than a long blast, which seems to keep liquid out of the spray. I've done this for a long time with other gear, before the need to keep micro-dust out from under my MacBook Pro keys.
 


13,000 people signed a petition complaining of keyboard problems. That's not insignificant.

My own keyboard has worked reasonably well since my son (accustomed to dirty keyboards from his year or two in college working at an auto parts store where often the key caps - on Windows machines - weren't recognizable, given the grime on the surface of the keyboard housings) masked off the area on the surface of my TouchBar 2016 MacBook Pro with masking tape, bombarded the keyboard with aerosolized "electronics cleaner" and restored the keyboard by pounding repetitively on the stuck (and surrounding palpably mushy) keys essentially as forcefully as one can with one's forefinger at a machine-gun pace.

All this after I spilled either coffee, OJ, or some other breakfast drink on the keyboard. It's long enough ago now that the memory of just with what I assaulted the keyboard has faded, but the memory of the possible cost to try to have Apple do it (virtually equivalent to what I paid for the computer on the premise that the liquid may have penetrated below the top portion of the case containing the keyboard and Touch Bar) has not.

Even so, I remain an unhappy user of the keyboard, because of the aircraft carrier deck-sized trackpad that I cannot teach myself to avoid with the base of my hand ("thenar eminence", for those who've taken anatomy classes). Now, that is ill-begotten design! Those little taps toss the cursor to an unpredictable landing elsewhere in my document.
 


The Apple MacBook Pro keyboard is pretty unusable. I merely tolerate it. However, given a choice, nothing beats a Unicomp or mechanical switch keyboard.

The sensitivity of the current MacBook Pro keyboard re: contamination, combined with the hyper-gloss of the screen, illustrate only too well how form has trumped function at Apple. These laptops are not meant to be workhorses in the field; they're garage queens that need to be kept in a controlled environment.

I suggest the use of a good external monitor, excellent keyboard, and vertical desk stand to mount the MacBook Pro in. That keeps the contaminants largely out and gives your fingers a rest. Should you spill something on the desk, the computer will be elevated and the keyboard is much easier to replace.
 


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