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Apple has finally acknowledged the MacBook keyboard issue and set up a service program. Is Apple downplaying the number of affected Macs by saying "a small percentage of keyboards"?
I don't know about the number of keyboards, but I have always had problems with the keyboard of my 2015 MacBook 12-inch.

I have to say that when Apple starts a free repair program, my experience has been that they are good about fulfillment. I scheduled an Apple Store Genius appointment for 3:00 PM on Tuesday, 26 June 2018. By 3:30 I had surrendered the MacBook and was told that it would be "3-5 days turnaround". I signed for a Fedex package at 10 AM this morning, 28 June, that to my astonishment was my repaired MacBook! A new keyboard and battery as well.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
As discussed in our MacBook Pro topic, Apple had a pretty big quality problem with its new 2018 MacBook Pro but apparently has patched the bug now.
Apple said:
Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we've identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today's macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended....
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A problem with Apple's custom T2 Siri/security/SSD chip is apparently causing kernel panics in the Macs that incorporate it: the iMac Pro and the 2018 MacBook Pro models:
The Verge said:
Some Apple users think T2 chips may be causing problems on 2018 MacBook Pro and iMac Pro computers

As spotted by Steve Troughton-Smith and a report from Digital Trends, there are several threads pointing to kernel panics: on Apple’s community discussion forums, MacRumors forums, and elsewhere. It seems that most of the problems are rooted in Bridge OS, the embedded operating system used by the T2 chip, although it’s not entirely clear whether the chip is directly causing the problems or how widespread the problems even actually are.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Is there any way to completely disable the T2 chip? To "take it right out of the circuit", so to speak?
I don't know about that, but there is some control at least:
Apple said:
About Secure Boot

Secure Boot settings are available in Startup Security Utility:
  1. Turn on your Mac, then press and hold Command (⌘)-R immediately after you see the Apple logo to start up from macOS Recovery.
  2. When you see the macOS Utilities window, choose Utilities > Startup Security Utility from the menu bar.
  3. When you're asked to authenticate, click Enter macOS Password, then choose an administrator account and enter its password.
Here are some other notes about the T2 chip:
 


Re the T2 chip, the only way to "take it right out of the circuit" is to replace the machine with an older Apple notebook or a Wintel notebook. It includes the memory controller, among other vital functions and components.
 


Speaking of Apple quality... I just discovered my "was working fine the other day" iPad Air 2 dead. I mean, nada. Zip. I was last reading the BBC news app and put it down prior to sleep. Last night, grabbed it to read, and it's blank.

So I plugged in (thought it was last at 47%, so...). No sign of charging icon or "battery with hairline of red". Then I felt it was really hot (lower right side). I unplugged. Tried reset. Nothing.

Searched online and found others had the same thing. Just outside 3 years old (I think I got it Spring of 2015).

I am bummed, as a Pro model is over $500, and another 4-year-old refurb Air 2 is $290. The irony is, I still have an iPad 2, and it powers on.

(Note: I logged into iCloud and removed the iPad Air 2, thinking I was going to take it into an Apple Store for exchange or replacement... hah... no.)
 


A problem with Apple's custom T2 Siri/security/SSD chip is apparently causing kernel panics in the Macs that incorporate it: the iMac Pro and the 2018 MacBook Pro models...
From the reports so far, it seems more likely that the fault is in the software that runs on the chip (BridgeOS), more than the chip hardware itself....

For the laptops, the software on the chip and the software on macOS have to remain somewhat synchronized, because the T2 chip "copies out" the display frame buffer for the touch bar from the macOS memory and relays that to the touch bar screen. (The T2's GPU drives the touch bar screen, but the software that 'draws' the content is run on the Mac.)

It won't be about disabling the T2, since some lower-level drivers on the chip are handling low-level stuff OK (e.g,. the SSD controller management functions). Disabling the chip altogether would disable all of those low-level functions also ( no camera, no mic, no sound, etc.).
 


Those understate things a bit. There is a block diagram that was posted on MacRumors a while back that seems to be legit. (Wasn't it nice when Apple tech docs included block diagrams in the general user help contents? Now we have to wait for folks to dribble out the "internal" support docs.)

Anyway, the "SOC" there is the T2. Its scope is broader than most discussions - most of that stuff used to sit off the PCH [Platform Controller Hub]. The T2 is more subsuming the Intel PCH than the Intel CPU. Some early articles said that the T2 was going to do away with the power management controller (PMIC). It is still there, but some of its duties may be subsumed also. (Apple may be iterating to subsuming that over time also.)

A T-series SOC could listen and talk without the rest of the system being in the loop, if Apple wanted to (e.g., hey Siri ... and answer something simple). If Apple were to get into the Wifi/Bluetooth business, then some follow-on to the T-series would suck that in from the PCH also. (Intel's latest PCH have those built-in. I can see Apple perhaps wanting to skip those.)

The T2 is not something that could completely remove from the system and still have a fully functional system anymore.
 


Speaking of Apple quality... I just discovered my "was working fine the other day" iPad Air 2 dead. I mean, nada. Zip. I was last reading the BBC news app and put it down prior to sleep. Last night, grabbed it to read, and it's blank.

So I plugged in (thought it was last at 47%, so...). No sign of charging icon or "battery with hairline of red". Then I felt it was really hot (lower right side). I unplugged. Tried reset. Nothing.

Searched online and found others had the same thing. Just outside 3 years old (I think I got it Spring of 2015).

I am bummed, as a Pro model is over $500, and another 4-year-old refurb Air 2 is $290. The irony is, I still have an iPad 2, and it powers on.

(Note: I logged into iCloud and removed the iPad Air 2, thinking I was going to take it into an Apple Store for exchange or replacement... hah... no.)
Sure, but the new iPad is $330. So that’s a viable upgrade option that sits right between the two models you looked at, being much more capable than the Air 2, and not as expensive as the Pros (also, if you are near a Microcenter, a 64GB 10.5 Pro is $500).

But regarding the iPad, try letting it charge overnight, and try plugging it in to your computer and see if it’s recognized there. I’ve seen iPads get some background process that lets it sleep most of the way, but not all of the way, and results in a dead battery. And recharging takes longer than normal. I’ve also seen them not be asleep at all, but have no video - a force restart will bring it back (but it may need a recharge). I wouldn’t call it dead just yet.
 


Speaking of Apple quality... I just discovered my "was working fine the other day" iPad Air 2 dead. I mean, nada. Zip. I was last reading the BBC news app and put it down prior to sleep. Last night, grabbed it to read, and it's blank.
The way to find out if it's truly dead: Download Apple Configurator 2 on your Mac (you can use iTunes too, but Configurator has less fluff in the way), and try to get the iPad into DFU mode.

Copied from the Apple forums:
  1. Plug your device into your computer.
  2. Turn off the device.
  3. Hold the Power button for 3 seconds
  4. Hold the Home button without releasing the Power button for 10 seconds
  5. Release the Power Button but keep holding the Home button
  6. Keep holding the Home button until you are alerted by iTunes saying that it has detected a device in Recovery Mode.
 


The way to find out if it's truly dead: Download Apple Configurator 2 on your Mac (you can use iTunes too, but Configurator has less fluff in the way), and try to get the iPad into DFU mode.

Copied from the Apple forums:
  1. Plug your device into your computer.
  2. Turn off the device.
  3. Hold the Power button for 3 seconds
  4. Hold the Home button without releasing the Power button for 10 seconds
  5. Release the Power Button but keep holding the Home button
  6. Keep holding the Home button until you are alerted by iTunes saying that it has detected a device in Recovery Mode.
I tried DFU. And re Mike V, no way I can let it charge overnight. It gets really warm/hot on lower right side. (I did connect to my Mac, iTunes. It's not recognized). Per a search, seems some have had same issue [for others]... solution is to replace, as it's "Very Difficult" iFixit repair.

Mike V: I agree about the cost, but feel that I have an older iPad that I can still power up/charge. So Apple quality not there. I think I will get a 9.7". I may take the dead one in to see what they say. (I would like the 10" iPad Pro... but again, Apple sized the storage on these in a sneaky way... I don't need 128 or 256GB... but I need at least 64GB storage... movies/images/music...).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
There may be quality problems with Apple's current generation of MacBook Pro displays:
iFixit said:
Screen issues, Back light dims & goes out
Apple appears to have a run of displays failing in the new 2016/18 models!

Sadly, the cable between the backlight within the display and the connection to the logic board is the issue here. The flexing of the display (opening & closing the lid) fatigues the wires within the ribbon cable. The complete lid needs to be swapped out.

Apple will likely issue an extended warranty for this (free repair).
Mac Plus said:
Verdict on the 2016 and 2017 Macbook Pro – Apple’s Shiny New Toy Crippled By Serious Flaws
Here at Mac Plus, we are seeing an increasing number of Macbook Pro 2016 – 2017 coming in for repairs for LCD backlight issues, LCD sudden death, keyboard issues as well as logicboard failures. Most of these Macbook Pro are less than half a year out of warranty. For the past 4 months, we had nearly 10 customers enquiry about LCD and keyboard issues.

One typical issue that the new Macbook Pro has is with the backlight and display showing “spotlight” effects at the bottom of the LCD.
 


There may be quality problems with Apple's current generation of MacBook Pro displays:
You have got to be kidding me (about the flexing cable). What is old is new again. I just got rid of my white plastic iBook that had this issue (as we discussed not that long ago).
 


And the 2018 MacBook Pro quality fails just keep coming:
Apple Discussions said:
My MacBook Pro 2018 version speakers are crackling.
A few days ago I got the new MacBook Pro 2018 15in version. I’ve noticed since yesterday that my MacBook Pro speakers were crackling randomly.
... Same problem
... You are not the only one with this issue
... This is probably a problem with the T2 co-processor as some news were quoting these had some other problems and they also control the sound. I have the same problem on my iMac Pro... sound cracking, doesn't matter if I'm using external or internal speakers
Presumably this will be correctable via (another) software update.
 


I tried DFU. And re Mike V, no way I can let it charge overnight. It gets really warm/hot on lower right side. (I did connect to my Mac, iTunes. It's not recognized). Per a search, seems some have had same issue [for others]... solution is to replace, as it's "Very Difficult" iFixit repair.

Mike V: I agree about the cost, but feel that I have an older iPad that I can still power up/charge. So Apple quality not there. I think I will get a 9.7". I may take the dead one in to see what they say. (I would like the 10" iPad Pro... but again, Apple sized the storage on these in a sneaky way... I don't need 128 or 256GB... but I need at least 64GB storage... movies/images/music...).
Update: I bought a new iPad Air from Costco. Nothing, other than the copyright and obscure part number, indicate this model is a 2018. No clue what happened to previous iPad Air 2, only that it's just over 36 months old.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
And the 2018 MacBook Pro quality fails just keep coming:
Presumably this will be correctable via (another) software update.
And a story in Forbes, too, on the topic:
Ewan Spence said:
New MacBook Pro Has Another Embarrassing Problem
Well, that didn’t take long. Following last month’s update to the MacBook Pro line, users of the macOS-powered laptops have discovered another build quality issue that continues to cast a poor light on Cupertino’s hardware.

The latest issue concerns the speakers. First up, it’s worth noting that Apple has advertised the new speakers as taking “…listening to new levels with wide dynamic range and more bass for maximum boom. And the speakers are connected directly to system power, enabling greater peak amplification.”

But they have issues, notably a horrible crackling noise during audio playback, as demonstrated on countless YouTube videos...
 


You have got to be kidding me (about the flexing cable). What is old is new again. I just got rid of my white plastic iBook that had this issue (as we discussed not that long ago).
Same issue with a white MacBook here. Instead of jettisoning it, I installed TVMobili on it and am using it as a media server to my Roku devices. Works perfectly. While there are some free DLNA packages (software) that are free, I found TVMobili to be trouble-free, simple to set up, and I've configured it so it's not available outside of my local network. I use Screen Sharing if I have to access it for config but use File Sharing if all I have to do is drop files onto it (which the TVMobili software sees and updates directories as needed).

As Apple will undoubtedly replace the video cable on the new MacBook Pros with another one of the same design, those who own one might as well get used to this happening in the future.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
It looks like an iPhone 7 hardware defect continues to be a problem:
Motherboard said:
iPhone 7 'Loop Disease' Is an 'Epidemic'
For the past six months, Cerva has been receiving large numbers of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices—often 10 to 15 per week—with a similar issue: one of the pads that connects the audio chip, which is located on the motherboard near the SIM card tray, has come loose.

The early symptoms are a grayed-out Voice Memos icon, a grayed-out “speaker” button during phone calls, or intermittent freezing. Eventually, the phone can get stuck on the Apple logo instead of powering on. Cerva calls the issue “loop disease,” in reference to “touch disease,” a similar issue that affected thousands of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units starting around 2016.
Ed Hardy said:
‘Loop disease’ could kill your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus
The first symptoms are grayed-out icons for Voice Memos and speakerphone. Later, the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus will begin intermittently freezing. Finally, when powering on, the device gets stuck on the Apple logo.

This sounds like a software issue, but it’s actually the result of the audio chip starting to come loose from the motherboard.
 


I've gone through a very long process of getting a LG Ultrafine Apple-exclusive monitor returned to Apple and refunded. I didn't want to write about the experience until it was completed and I either had a refund or not. So here's the story…

I bought the LG Ultrafine 4K 21.5" USB-C monitor when Apple did their original initial sale on it with the special introductory price - £471 including VAT/tax. At the time I lived in the UK, and I bought it for my graphic designer wife to use, as we had both just bought the newly launched MacBook Pro Touch Bar models (our experiences of those are noted elsewhere on MacInTouch).

The monitor itself has a simple, clean design (in keeping with all things Apple), and a single USB-C cable goes from the back of the monitor to the laptop. Here's the problem, and ultimately, the design fault. The cable plugs into the back of the monitor quite high up the back of it, and the USB-C connector plugs directly into the port, vertically, and just sits/rests there. This design basically puts stress on the bottom of the connector, because the cable's weight pulls down at the point where the cable connects vertically into the port. There is no support and no protection for this connection. Whoever designed it should be fired.

Needless to say, after about six months the connection started to get flaky. You had to either press the cable in while praying, secure it in place with tape/sticky substances (which was tricky because the cable goes straight into the connector vertically) or you had to wait 20-30 minutes for the monitor to warm up, whereupon the connector's metal would expand and make a solid connection. Using this as a "work" monitor became useless though. During this six-month period, we had moved to the Czech Republic (still within the European Union).

I did my research and went out locally bought a new monitor - an LG 27UD88-W 27" LED USB-C monitor. This has an horizontal connection at the bottom of the monitor, inset into the base. When you push the cable in it clicks into place and is rock solid. The monitor is, wow, so much better than the Apple exclusive. It's bigger, brighter and was actually significantly cheaper than the Apple one (and that's at the Apple discounted price!). We've not had a single problem with it.

We had AppleCare on our laptops, and the LG Ultrafine 4K monitor is Apple-exclusive and only sold by Apple, so I called Apple. Having AppleCare got me straight through to an intelligent support person who listened carefully to what I had to say, was sympathetic, but basically couldn't help. It came down to the fact that Apple doesn't make the monitor (so they can't deal/repair with it), and it doesn't have an Apple badge on it ,so AppleCare did not cover it. They suggested I contact LG for a repair under warranty.

I contacted LG, discovering along the way that the monitor actually had a two-year warranty (which, with the rest of this story, was a good thing), but they said they did not sell that monitor (Apple do) and they can't repair it in the Czech Republic - they can only repair it in the UK. Thankfully, the two year warranty meant that I had time to get it back to the UK at some point and send it in for repair. As we were no longer using it, these issues did not matter too much to us.

When I was next back in the UK and able to take the monitor with me, I arranged a pick up for repair with LG. They sent a courier with a large flat screen TV box to pick it up with instructions to remove the base on the monitor and just transport the screen for repair - there was no way the monitor was going in that box, as it has a fixed base. Thankfully, I still had the original box and packaging and sent it back in that. The monitor arrives with LG and I get an email saying the parts (the connector board) are on backorder, and there will be delay (clearly they've had to replace a lot of these connector boards due to the design fault). Again, as we were no longer using the monitor, these issues did not matter to us.

One month later LG contact me and say they can't obtain the parts and the monitor is unrepairable as it is "beyond economical repair" - they are authorising a full refund, but hey, guess what, they didn't sell me the monitor and it's an "Apple special", so I have to go back to Apple for the refund. They do provide me with a an "uplift authorisation" letter, though, for me to give to Apple.

Now the real fun begins (yes, indeed). I call Apple via the dedicated AppleCare service, and it takes several days, multiple hours on the phone talking to 7+ different people in 7+ different departments, including being cut-off 3 times, being on hold with no hold music for hours, until I eventually get to someone that actually understands what I need and most importantly can actually help. However, my original web order is now over one year old and has been "archived", so it will take additional days for them to recall it. In addition the original billing and delivery addresses are no longer relevant and have to be changed, totally complicating the RMA process even more. Luckily, the person I finally dealt with in "customer relations" stayed with the case over several weeks helping to fix the multitude of problems as they came up. In the end, I eventually got the monitor returned and I got a full refund.

Moral of this story? I will never, ever buy an Apple exclusive, non-branded, non-Apple badged product from Apple again.
 


This issue smote my iPhone 7 and a search of MacInTouch seems to suggest it hasn't been discussed here. From the Repair Program webpage:
Apple said:
Apple has determined that a small percentage of iPhone 7 devices may show "No Service" in the status bar (even if cellular coverage is available), due to a component that has failed on the main logic board.

These affected units were manufactured between September 2016 and February 2018 and sold in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, and the U.S. See below for iPhone 7 model numbers that are covered in this program.

If your device exhibits the symptom described above, Apple will repair your device, free of charge. Your iPhone will be examined prior to any service to verify that it is eligible for this program. This program only applies to iPhone 7.
Symptom is that the phone will not connect to the network. You get either a "Searching" indication in the menu bar or "No Service." This also means when you don't have phone connectivity, you don't have internet, unless you are connected to a wireless network. Here is a support article with a series of progressive steps to pursue when encountering this:
I worked my way down the list, to the penultimate step of going to the Verizon store to get a new SIM card, which they cheerfully provided. The problem persisted, leaving me with contacting Apple support as the final step.

This is the link to the Repair Program, which automagically takes you through options for obtaining repair for the issue:

My nearby Apple Store did not have an appointment until next Saturday (requested Sunday evening). I'll report back when I have news.
 




This issue smote my iPhone 7 and a search of MacInTouch seems to suggest it hasn't been discussed here. From the Repair Program webpage:
Symptom is that the phone will not connect to the network. You get either a "Searching" indication in the menu bar or "No Service."
... My nearby Apple Store did not have an appointment until next Saturday (requested Sunday evening). I'll report back when I have news.
The phone was returned and picked up on Wednesday. Received a new logic board (with new serial number for the phone now) and a new battery. No charge to me. 90-day warranty. I'm pleased with how the issue was handled.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Fun with Apple's new Intel modems, after the company dropped its Qualcomm hardware amidst massive, international lawsuiits between the companies?
The Verge said:
iPhone XS and XS Max users are reporting poor cell and Wi-Fi reception
Some users who upgraded to an iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max over the weekend have reported poor cell and Wi-Fi reception and noticeably slower speeds when comparing their new phones to their older models. According to users on Apple’s support forum, MacRumors forums, and Reddit, the issue appears to be widespread across the country and not limited to any specific carrier.
 


Fun with Apple's new Intel modems, after the company dropped its Qualcomm hardware amidst massive, international lawsuiits between the companies?
I only have a sample of one right now, but compared with my iPhone 6, wifi and cell reception are improved. It also flips from wifi to cell or cell to wifi faster than the iPhone 6 did (for example while walking or doing things like going in and out of elevators).

Doing a speed test on my standard home wifi (AirPort Extreme N 5GHz, not the newer AC. models) now gives the same speeds as my wired gigabit computer - 150 Mbps down and 16 Mbps up (also working well on the Cisco N wifi access points where I work).

Maybe there is a bad run of wireless hardware that some people are running into... or compatibility issues with particular wireless hardware.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's an issue with Apple's new phones:
Forbes said:
iPhone XS Out Of Box Charging 'Insanely Slow'
What Apple's iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max get right, they get very right. The problem is what they get wrong, they get very wrong and further tests have found a new skeleton in the closet…

Perhaps predictably (given existing complaints), the problem concerns both new iPhone’s wired charging with CNBC and PhoneArena describing their findings as "insanely slow" and "borderline criminal" respectively.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More bugs in iOS 12.0.1, which Apple released to fix bugs in iOS 12.0.0:
Forbes said:
Apple iOS 12.0.1 Has An Embarrassing Problem
iOS 12.0.1 is here and it brings some crucial fixes. That said, following a flurry of user complaints, we know now it also contains several new bugs while doubling down on what is arguably Apple’s most embarrassing problem in recent years…

Picking up from where iOS 12 left off, iOS 12.0.1 is still sending iMessages to the wrong people. Often with truly uncomfortable consequences. Moreover, it appears Apple has no plan to fix this.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Another example of the sad state of Apple software quality:
The Eclectic Light Co. said:
Don’t believe System Information’s Legacy Software
Mojave introduces a new feature in its bundled tool System Information: in the Software section is a list of Legacy Software. According to Apple’s Support Note:
“If you’re using macOS Mojave, select Legacy Software in the sidebar to see all applications that have not been updated to use 64-bit processes.”
Only what you’ll see in Legacy Software is far from complete, and thoroughly misleading.
 


While I agree about the sad state of software quality, I wouldn't categorize any single software vendor as having great quality anymore. I work in I.T. in the Pacific Northwest, and if you have the skills, guess which large Seattle online retailer is offering nearly jaw-dropping salaries (and by the way: the salaries more than overcome the higher cost of living)? The company I work for can't come close to their offers, and it's a real problem for us.

Not only is there no loyalty in either direction between employee and company anymore, there's no reason to stick around and hand off projects cleanly to the next person. It would cost the employee more to do so. Never mind the increased pressure to deliver a product on time and continuing the march into different technologies than the past (A.I., blockchain, cloud, etc.)

I don't know what the solution is; non-competes are about as good as the paper they're written on, and there are enough [jobs] that trying to filter the best-of-the-best candidates means they'll have another offer.
 




The author here is Casey Johnston, whose article ("The new MacBook keyboard is ruining my life") popularized this issue back in October 2017.
The Outline said:
The new and improved MacBook keyboards have the same old problems
... Compared to this time last year, its [Apple's] computer sales are down ten percent, and not a few people have been holding off on purchasing any computer from its line in fear of getting stuck with a keyboard that doesn’t work.
... checking around online, it appears the new keyboards have the same old issues. They may be delayed, but they happen nonetheless. The MacRumors forum has a long thread about the the “gen 3 butterfly keyboard” where users have been sharing their experiences since Apple updated the design. “How is everyone lse’s keyboard doing? I rplaced th first one because ‘E’ and ‘O’ gave double output. The replacment ither eats “E”, “O”, “I” and “T”, or doubles them,” wrote one poster. “I didn’t correct the typos above on purpose.”
 


The author here is Casey Johnston, whose article ("The new MacBook keyboard is ruining my life") popularized this issue back in October 2017.
Johnston states that Windows laptops are now starting to emerge with the same type of keyboard as on the MacBook Pros.

I'm planning to purchase a Windows laptop in the near future... as an Apple user since 1986. My 2014 MacBook Pro is still going strong, but I need to update. Does anyone know what to look for in Windows laptop specs that will tell me that this same type of keyboard is used? (I'm assuming 'butterfly' is Apple's name for it and may not be what another manufacturer would name it.)
 


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