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AppleCare, support, and repair issues

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I just wanted to relate an experience I had trying to get the battery replaced in my MacBook Pro. Not knowing exactly how this would work, I first tried to call AppleCare and my local Apple Store to see if they could perform the repair on-site. This was not effective, nobody could tell me if they stocked the correct parts or could make an actual appointment for me to get the repair done, in all cases they wanted the Genius Bar to look at it and determine what needed to be done next.

So I went ahead and booked an appointment with my local Apple Store, took the unit in, and the Genius that helped me confirmed what I was sure of, my battery was "consumed" and should be replaced. He recommended I call AppleCare and they would send me a box, I would ship the laptop, and I would get it back in about a week. The battery replacement would cost $199.

I contacted Apple via chat today and got everything setup--as part of the process they sent me to a billing link so I could pay for the repair. The payment summary on the resulting page said the repair would cost $634.34.
Payment Summary

BOX, MAIL IN RECOVERY KIT, 15-17 INCH, USER

$0.00

PORTABLE SHIPPING CHG

$19.95

LABOR CHARGE, PBG4/MBP15"

$100.00

FLAT RATE 2 REPAIR CHARGE MBP15/MBP17

$475.00

TAX

$39.39

Total

$634.34
Somewhat stunned, I opened another chat to ask about this. The agent confirmed that the way Apple handles this kind of repair is that they charge the full amount for a flat-rate repair immediately, and then refund the balance if only the battery is replaced. If it appears that more work needs to be done, Apple would contact me to verify I want it completed.

This just doesn't seem right to me. $634 is way more than $199. Why am I paying in advance for work that probably will not need to be done? Why can't Apple just hold my credit card number until they do the work, and charge me the actual balance (like any other professional repair organization) after the work is complete?
 
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I just wanted to relate an experience I had trying to get the battery replaced in my MacBook Pro.
You may find a good local Mac consultant who can do this for you. I've done many battery replacements in the north San Francisco Bay Area. If the battery is glued in, as they have been the last few years, it's not an easy fix, but should cost no more than $150-$200 for labor, and the battery can be less expensive as well. And no portable shipping. I believe the last one I did came out less than $300.
 



This Apple customer's experience with his iMac Pro, Apple's VESA mount, and Apple Store repair services is... absolutely incredible...
Reminds me of my horror story in August 2013 at the University Village Apple Store in Seattle, WA. They mangled my MacBook Pro 2011 17" so badly Apple gave me a new Retina 15" instead of fixing it for the fourth time. I haven't bought a Mac since nor have I bought anything other than cables at that store.

Sadly many Chinese products have inferior screws and bolts. They tend to use taps and dies far past their designed lifetime. This results in rough threads that aren't cut to the proper depth. When I buy cheap stuff I'll either use well made screws or run the screws through good dies. I'll also run good taps through all the screw holes.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Would it be possible in the future to provide a short summary of what is on the video as well as just linking to it? I'm not a fan of listening/watching a video when I know how to read and prefer to do so.
I understand that perspective very well and agree with it, but I think this video is a bit of an exception - it's short and to the point and shows the images of Apple's abysmal work and defective product. However, there's also a machine transcription available, if you click a little ellipsis at the lower-right of the video frame to get a pop-down menu. (Not all YouTube videos have a transcription, but this one does.)
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This Apple customer's experience with his iMac Pro, Apple's VESA mount, and Apple Store repair services is... absolutely incredible...
Hi Ric, would it be possible in the future to provide a short summary of what is on the video as well as just linking to it?
I can't do the video justice, but let me try to hit some highlights:
  • Apple is selling an $80 VESA adapter for the iMac Pro with grossly defective screws, which break and disable the mounting system.
  • Apple absurdly denies ownership or responsibility for its own Apple-labelled product sold in its own Apple Stores.
  • Apple phone support has no training on the iMac Pro and can't/won't effectively support it.
  • Apple Store geniuses aren't trained on this, Apple's most expensive product, except for the rare specific employee who may not be available for days.
  • Apple Store "repair" of the defective product:
    1. was delayed for days and weeks and consistently misleading about these delays
    2. grossly damaged the computer and parts (where the damage couldn't easily be seen)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's a follow-up on Twitter from Snazzy Labs, regarding the iMac Pro/VESA/AppleCare fiasco:
Quinn Nelson said:
@SnazzyQ
Apple store offered to a) replace the outer shell in another repair or b) do a CRU (complete replacement unit). I obviously elected the latter. In the end, I am getting taken care of, but a few have seen the video already. Don’t know what they would have done for an average Joe.

As stated, I’m not mad at my store. I’m mad at Cupertino for a) continuing to sell an absolute trash VESA mount, and, b) not training the Geniuses to work on iMac Pro. They’re clueless. “We don’t really do the VESA thing in store so just be careful if you decide to reinstall it.”
 


Wow. I think it would be very appropriate to measure the size of those screws and buy steel ones and throw out the screws that came with the VESA kit. Sounds like something iFixit might like to sell.

I wonder if you could use the screws from the Apple stand with the VESA kit (assuming they're any better).

Or maybe it would be best for someone to sell a third-party VESA kit that has better quality parts (and maybe using all 9 screws). Given this experience, I'm not sure how much I'd trust the rest of the kit at this point.

Why can't Apple just do what everybody else does and just provide standard VESA mounting screws. My TVs all have the screws right there on the back. My Dell and HP monitors have stands that quickly disconnect, revealing screw holes underneath. This is just a case of Apple cutting so many corners that they've ruined what should be a great product. Absolutely shameful.
 



Wow. I think it would be very appropriate to measure the size of those screws and buy steel ones and throw out the screws that came with the VESA kit. Sounds like something iFixit might like to sell.
It's entirely likely that the whole kit is suspect. It's a $5000 computer secured by 5 teeny screws? Yes, the bulk of the stress might be on the holder, but the screws secure it (just as lug nuts typically secure the car tire rims to the wheel hub - which then carries the bulk of the vertical load). I understand the need for lightness, etc. in the space program but putting a VESA mount on a CPU is not usually part of a moonshot.
Why can't Apple just do what everybody else does and just provide standard VESA mounting screws.
"Regular" iMacs have to be ordered as VESA or standards-mount for a reason, presumably because the back panel is different (there is no switching, it is a permanent configuration). Apple likely wanted to avoid the added cost / complexity of carrying additional SKU's of both types for the iMac Pro. Never mind the need for added training, etc. necessary to cover such a small market. I'll bet an ice cream sundae that when someone showed up in Cupertino and offered a hack, they jumped on it.

Based on the current obsession with form over function at One Infinite Loop, the four extra screw holes that a standard VESA mount would entail in the back panel were likely unacceptable to Ive and Co. I also wonder to what extent a standard VESA mount might interfere on the inside with all the lovely stuff that Apple had to cram into a tiny enclosure (think thermal considerations in particular).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Fixit's iMac Pro teardown has some photographs of the VESA/mount area.

Meanwhile, I wonder if lubricating the screws might help avoid having them break in half when being screwed in or out - not that it's any kind of solution to their defects or any excuse for Apple's astonishingly bad performance here, but it might be a something to consider in general as an additional/alternative procedure.
 


Based on the current obsession with form over function at One Infinite Loop, the four extra screw holes that a standard VESA mount would entail in the back panel were likely unacceptable to Ive and Co.
I'm sure that's a big part of it, but it is worth noting that my Dell display does a great job of hiding the holes. The screw holes are underneath a square mount-point where the stand attaches. When the stand is attached, they are completely covered.
I also wonder to what extent a standard VESA mount might interfere on the inside with all the lovely stuff that Apple had to cram into a tiny enclosure (think thermal considerations in particular).
It might require some minor modifications to a circuit board, to get it out of the way of the post-hole (or to put a hole in the board), but I would be surprised if this had any significant impact on the cooling solution.

They are already using a fairly elaborate system of heat pipes. The airflow needs to pass over the sinks at the ends of the pipes. It shouldn't need to go everywhere. And four small posts certainly won't get in the way.
 


This Apple customer's experience with his iMac Pro, Apple's VESA mount, and Apple Store repair services is... absolutely incredible...
Here's a follow-up on Twitter from Snazzy Labs, regarding the iMac Pro/VESA/AppleCare fiasco...
There were also some very pointed video posts in the sidebar at YouTube on current Apple quality ... hardware and software.

My question: is there any evidence that Apple is listening?
 


Wow. I think it would be very appropriate to measure the size of those screws and buy steel ones and throw out the screws that came with the VESA kit. Sounds like something iFixit might like to sell…
While not facing the problem myself, this suggestion—if the screw is fracturing—seems like a good one. Just take the screws to your local small box (i.e. TrueValue or Ace, or local) hardware store and they'll find ones that have the same diameter and thread pitch. You can also likely get a stronger screw as well. If the length can't be matched, simply cut the screw with a Dremel or other screw cutting device. Just make sure to get a nut to put on the screw before cutting so that you can use it to clean/chase the threads after cutting.

I've done this exercise at another time when screws holding a non-Apple laptop together were tossed away when someone was cleaning, I'd left the project out, and the cleaner didn't know what the screws were. Also other times when a screw broke and I couldn't find the screw at a big box store.

I doubt you'll get much help at a big box store, and even if you find it, you'll need to buy a bunch. The small box stores seem to carry much more stock of specialty fasteners and you only need buy the quantity you need.

As we say on software, just a happy customer of small box. Not an owner or shareholder.
 


It's entirely likely that the whole kit is suspect. It's a $5000 computer secured by 5 teeny screws? Yes, the bulk of the stress might be on the holder, but the screws secure it (just as lug nuts typically secure the car tire rims to the wheel hub - which then carries the bulk of the vertical load). I understand the need for lightness, etc. in the space program but putting a VESA mount on a CPU is not usually part of a moonshot.

"Regular" iMacs have to be ordered as VESA or standards-mount for a reason, presumably because the back panel is different (there is no switching, it is a permanent configuration). Apple likely wanted to avoid the added cost / complexity of carrying additional SKU's of both types for the iMac Pro. Never mind the need for added training, etc. necessary to cover such a small market. I'll bet an ice cream sundae that when someone showed up in Cupertino and offered a hack, they jumped on it.

Based on the current obsession with form over function at One Infinite Loop, the four extra screw holes that a standard VESA mount would entail in the back panel were likely unacceptable to Ive and Co. I also wonder to what extent a standard VESA mount might interfere on the inside with all the lovely stuff that Apple had to cram into a tiny enclosure (think thermal considerations in particular).
Except, for the longest time before, iMacs, Thunderbolt displays and the DisplayPort Cinema displays, and the rectangular Cinema Displays before them, all had external mounts. Needing to order a machine with the mount in place already is the change, and a design for form over function....
 


I'm confused why the Apple Geniuses were confused. The VESA adapter setup looks basically the same as the ones that have been around since the Apple Cinema Display. Of course, the old adapter reused the existing screws from the foot ... which probably would've been better (and cheaper). Here's an unboxing video of the old mount from 2011 -

I think on the old iMacs, replacing the hinge (or shoving the hinge back out, if it accidentally dropped back into the chassis) was a complete disassembly (display, logic board etc). ...
 


While not facing the problem myself, this suggestion—if the screw is fracturing—seems like a good one. Just take the screws to your local small box (i.e. TrueValue or Ace, or local) hardware store and they'll find ones that have the same diameter and thread pitch. You can also likely get a stronger screw as well. If the length can't be matched, simply cut the screw with a Dremel or other screw cutting device. Just make sure to get a nut to put on the screw before cutting so that you can use it to clean/chase the threads after cutting.
This was discussed over at AppleInsider; the problem is a simple one. The screw and the screw-socket both are made of metal, and each has a certain 'hardness'. A screw breaking in a socket because it's too soft is a problem. But a socket stripping or fracturing because it's softer than the screw is a bigger problem.

If you replace the softer zinc screw (softer than the socket) provided by Apple with a 'stronger' stainless steel one purchased at your local hardware store, and then if for any reason you strip the socket (raise your hands if you've done that at least once in your life), then you've got a real repair problem, and one that Apple may not honor.

A stronger screw may trade one problem for another. The real solution is, I think, a redesign of the mount and its attachment to the computer.
 



This was discussed over at AppleInsider; the problem is a simple one. The screw and the screw-socket both are made of metal, and each has a certain 'hardness'. A screw breaking in a socket because it's too soft is a problem. But a socket stripping or fracturing because it's softer than the screw is a bigger problem. ...
The solution is simple and as old as screws: make both the screw and the socket/nut from harder materials. That way someone would have to apply a lot of torque to break it off.

I've scrapped a few older iMacs. They had a steel piece held by steel screws. Those two went through the far weaker aluminum bracket and clamped it to provide the necessary strength.

Apple increasingly lowers manufacturing costs at the expense of quality....
 


One response or question I have not seen asked regarding the matter of the Apple VESA mount for the iMac Pro is, how did this get past product testing and quality control?

With these screws showing the failures they have, there had to have been little to no oversight on Apple's part. They can claim it to have been produced by a third party, but what isn't, in the Apple product portfolio?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This Apple customer's experience with his iMac Pro, Apple's VESA mount, and Apple Store repair services is... absolutely incredible...
Here's a follow-up video from Quinn Nelson that documents his return to the Apple Store after the first fiasco with iMac Pro VESA/stand failures and AppleCare:
Snazzy Labs said:
Apple Replaced My iMac Pro. I'm Still Mad. [YouTube]
The next day I got a call from a liaison at Apple executive relations who admitted to me that he was calling me because Apple's social media team had seen my video and the multiple articles written on various websites about the incident and the information have gotten sent up the chain.

... and for the record, I'm not the only idiot that's had issues removing this thing. I got an interesting email that reads the following:

Hey, Quinn, I work for a major game developer where I'm closely monitoring the production of multiple teams as we are transitioning from PCs to Apple development machines, specifically the iMac Pro line, where we utilize multiple VESA-mount arrays that are at each of our team member's desks. Production time is crucial, and our Achilles heel has been the mounts failing on installation of the eight iMac Pros. In one department, five have needed to be serviced for the VESA mount - five, that's sixty percent by the way. Two broke during install, and three during removal - all issues were encountered because of screws. Our IT staff is well trained and have treated each unit under Apple's guidelines just to have the mount break.
 


... how did this get past product testing and quality control?
... They can claim it to have been produced by a third party, but what isn't, in the Apple product portfolio?
I think Quinn put it best (in his followup video). They didn't want to bother taking the time to fix defects (which I can't imagine them not discovering during testing) because it's a seldom-used add-on for a low-volume computer. Not an excuse, but sounds like a logical explanation. And that mistake is now biting them big-time thanks to all of the bad press.

As for "produced by a third party", that's a cop-out. If it sold in an Apple store with Apple branding, then it is Apple's responsibility, period. When you put your brand on a product you are responsible for it no matter who actually did the work to design and manufacture it. Any company that is unwilling to do this has no business allowing their branding to be used with the product.
 


I doubt that Apple anticipated the sheer number of failures. A failure rate of 60%+ per that letter to Snazzy Labs is going to get much more expensive than selling iMac Pros as "either it's a VESA version or a regular stand version" like the rest of the iMac line. Never mind the cost related to bad press regarding a halo product.

Bottom line: if Apple shipped the product out of the factory as VESA or standard stand with users being on their own if they decided to make the switch, that would have been one thing. Once Apple makes the part "user serviceable", they have to take responsibility for damage during normal installation and removal.

FWIW, it is very common in engineering to have certain parts fail by design... and extracting a soft screw from a hole is usually much easier than dealing with a stripped hole (helicoils or re-tapping at a larger inside diameter vs. simple screw extraction).

For example, have a look at a casement window with a crank. By design, the 'ball' that the hand crank interfaces with is made of steel while the crank is made of pot metal. If the latter strips, you are but a screw and a inexpensive new crank away from being able to use the window again. Break the 'ball,' and you get to take your window apart. The Germans call this a "Sollbruchstelle", a location that is designed to fail by design.

Coming back to Apple, I expect this problem to be fixed one of two ways - either by going to the current regular iMac ordering system (i.e. no in-field changes allowed) or redesigning the part altogether. Neither solution is particularly attractive, though the latter approach would also help address the concerns of current users.

Whether such a redesign can be accomplished without terminally offending the artistic sensibilities of the Apple design team is an open question. If Dell can solve this problem in an aesthetically pleasing manner with its monitors then Apple should be able to follow suit.
 


... Bottom line: if Apple shipped the product out of the factory as VESA or standard stand with users being on their own if they decided to make the switch, that would have been one thing. Once Apple makes the part "user serviceable", they have to take responsibility for damage during normal installation and removal.

FWIW, it is very common in engineering to have certain parts fail by design... and extracting a soft screw from a hole is usually much easier than dealing with a stripped hole (helicoils or re-tapping at a larger inside diameter vs. simple screw extraction)....
My monitor just shoookkk! (Local quarry blasting... I forget sometimes, as I am not home at this time).

So with Apple products, they are made of aluminum alloy. Not only does this make them all "green" in the eyes of recycling savants, and a natural heatsink, but also it shows when a user damages them.

Most of the fasteners Apple uses are coated (blue) with thread locker. But with most alloys, when met with another metal, there is a galvanization process. I know the screws are metal [ie. have iron] (magnetic tips remove/insert them), so if the blue coating protects, if not recoated on use, there are other issues to worry about. And steel will strip out alloy easily. Some gorilla behind that bit or someone not careful, will do it on first try.

I just think that Apple is not on the same page as its users. iMac Pro is a name, but not what pros need. I just quoted a VESA arm installer - my Dell All-in-One has the VESA mount (just push one button, the base/arm swings off, and there are the 4 VESA mount screw holes). Apple's greed here is to design a separate iMac Pro mount accessory for VESA. And if you need it later, well you see what happened. Why Apple? Why not just have the plate and VESA holes on back and allow user to remove the stand? How much more would that cost them (its an $80 accessory, so I wager $19!).
 


If Apple wanted their iMacs (Pro and regular) to be VESA-compliant, they should, like the flat screen TV manufacturers, already have the VESA mounting screw holes placed in the back of the iMacs. I'd say have the screw holes standard. They could put plugs in the holes when not in use.
 


If Apple wanted their iMacs (Pro and regular) to be VESA-compliant, they should, like the flat screen TV manufacturers, already have the VESA mounting screw holes placed in the back of the iMacs. I'd say have the screw holes standard. They could put plugs in the holes when not in use.
Exactly. A plate-cover might take a bit more design, but it's the back. VESA should be the rule, not the exception. Perhaps more would opt for 3rd-party arms, so they don't have to stack their iMac Pro on books or blocks... because (sarcasm) we are all the same height when we sit.
 


I just wanted to relate an experience I had trying to get the battery replaced in my MacBook Pro. Not knowing exactly how this would work, I first tried to call AppleCare and my local Apple Store to see if they could perform the repair on-site. This was not effective, nobody could tell me if they stocked the correct parts or could make an actual appointment for me to get the repair done, in all cases they wanted the Genius Bar to look at it and determine what needed to be done next.

So I went ahead and booked an appointment with my local Apple Store, took the unit in, and the Genius that helped me confirmed what I was sure of, my battery was "consumed" and should be replaced. He recommended I call AppleCare and they would send me a box, I would ship the laptop, and I would get it back in about a week. The battery replacement would cost $199.

I contacted Apple via chat today and got everything setup--as part of the process they sent me to a billing link so I could pay for the repair. The payment summary on the resulting page said the repair would cost $634.34.


Somewhat stunned, I opened another chat to ask about this. The agent confirmed that the way Apple handles this kind of repair is that they charge the full amount for a flat-rate repair immediately, and then refund the balance if only the battery is replaced. If it appears that more work needs to be done, Apple would contact me to verify I want it completed.


This just doesn't seem right to me. $634 is way more than $199. Why am I paying in advance for work that probably will not need to be done? Why can't Apple just hold my credit card number until they do the work, and charge me the actual balance (like any other professional repair organization) after the work is complete?
What country are you located in?
 


I’ll add my $0.02 USD

My MacBook Pro (6 years old) needed a new battery. Set up an appointment with Apple. Genius™ looks at my laptop, confirms it needs a new battery. Checks on a few things (in the back office), returns and informs me that in the past Apple had difficulty with parts for this particular laptop, and they were replacing batteries for free. He was a little surprised that they were still doing it for free, since they had the parts in stock now. A week later I picked up my laptop and the $278.00 USD charge was $0.00 USD. (The real crime here is why would a laptop battery ever cost that much?)

I could go on for days and days of personal experiences of Apple repairing my devices for free since 1996 when I purchased my first Apple computer (switched from Commodore™).

Tomorrow I’m getting a new keyboard for my iMac (2017), since the letter ‘D’ is screwed up, for free (well, I did pay for AppleCare™).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple got into a little trouble in Australia over its repair policies and iPhones bricked by "Error 53":
The Verge said:
Apple fined $6.6 million after iPhones and iPads stopped working because they had third-party parts
... Apple says it misled at least 275 Australian customers whose devices were affected by telling them they were not eligible for repairs. The company has since reached out to 5,000 affected customers, according to Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission.
... Apple later issued its own fix for the problem.
 



This is in reference to an iPad, but I think my experience relates to the Mac as well.

I recently had my iPad Pro 10.5 replaced under AppleCare because of a display defect. To their credit, Apple didn't quibble. The guy at the Genius Bar glanced at the problem and arranged for a replacement, which came the following day. Yay!

However, I couidn't get the replacement to connect to T-Mobile for the same kind of prepaid data pass I had on the original iPad. This led to a frustrating round of long phone calls to T-Mobile and Apple tech support over several days. Apple had me restore iOS from iTunes. No joy. Finally, several calls later, T-Mobile transferred me into the depths of Apple tech support and I was talking to a guy who seemed to understand. Somewhere in Apple's records, my Apple ID was pointing to the old iPad, so any attempt to set up cellular service on the new iPad was doomed.

He escalated the problem, and the engineers came back with a request for a screenshot of the replacement iPad connected to iTunes and a screenshot of the Settings > General > About page of the iPad.. I took the initiative to include a copy & pasted text file of all the numbers iTunes displays when you click on the Serial Number field, including the ICCID, IMEI, MEID, and other numbers. I figured that engineers would not object to additional accurate information. Within a couple of hours, I was able to sign up for the T-Mobile data pass. Problem solved! I just wish I knew what information was critical to the solution.

The general lesson is to keep trying until you reach a person who thinks, instead of following a script.
 


I recently had my iPad Pro 10.5 replaced under AppleCare because of a display defect.
Would you describe the defect for us? My iPad Pro 10.5" display occasionally changes color and/or brightness at random. I can't repeat the problem on demand, so I haven't brought it in to Apple.
 


Would you describe the defect for us? My iPad Pro 10.5" display occasionally changes color and/or brightness at random. I can't repeat the problem on demand, so I haven't brought it in to Apple.
A fuzzy, bright spot the size of a small jellybean appeared, centered about 2 inches above the home button. It was distractingly visible when scrolling black on white text, but not when that area of the screen was darker , as when displaying a photo. It wasn't glaring white, but still proved impossible to ignore. Fortunately, the spot was permanent, so I had no trouble showing it to the Apple Genius.
 


Would you describe the defect for us? My iPad Pro 10.5" display occasionally changes color and/or brightness at random. I can't repeat the problem on demand, so I haven't brought it in to Apple.
I've noticed my iPad display occasionally does the same, but I think it's always been because I either covered the front camera with a finger, or moved it between light and shadow. I"m not sure if you can turn off True Tone and the like to diagnose.
 


I've noticed my iPad display occasionally does the same, but I think it's always been because I either covered the front camera with a finger, or moved it between light and shadow. I"m not sure if you can turn off True Tone and the like to diagnose.
You can turn off True Tone in Settings/Display & Brightness. I've had mine turned off for a long time, but the display issues continue. I'm more concerned about the color change since I do have True Tone turned off.

Here's my experience. I am at Settings > Display & Brightness. I turn the iPad so it faces a bright window. The Brightness slider moves to the right, making the display brighter. I turn it around so the iPad is facing into the room, and the slider moves to the left. I cover the camera with my thumb, turn the iPad, and the slider moves the same way. I conclude that the camera is not being used to sense ambient brightness. Perhaps someone can tell us how the iPad senses ambient brightness.

I should note that I've also had the brightness change when the iPad is stationary and the ambient light is not changing.
 



I cover the camera with my thumb, turn the iPad, and the slider moves the same way. I conclude that the camera is not being used to sense ambient brightness. Perhaps someone can tell us how the iPad senses ambient brightness.
You are correct. It is not running the camera all the time (that would probably be a real problem, both in terms of battery drain and privacy concerns). There is a separate ambient light sensor. It should be near the camera, much like how it is on iPhones.

If your iPad has a white bezel, then you might be able to see the opening as a "hole" in the white color. If it has a black bezel, then it may be hard to see. At least this is the case for older models. For later ones, there doesn't seem to be any gap in the paint. I wonder if they are using a paint that conducts enough light for the sensor so they don't need to leave a hole unpainted.

According to this article, the iPad 2, 3 and 4 put it above the camera. Looking at iFixit's guide to replacing an iPad 5's camera, they say that the camera assembly includes the ambient light sensor. I assume it's the little red and yellow square just to the left of the camera lens, but I suppose it could also be behind the two holes in the assembly (upper-left and lower-right of the lens).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I don't recall anything quite like this happening before:
Motherboard said:
Someone Uploaded What Look to Be Apple’s Internal iPhone Repair Videos
Apple doesn’t want its customers to repair their own devices. Its phones and laptops require specialty tools to open and repair and sometimes pushes software updates that disable features on phones repaired with aftermarket parts. So it’s probably not going to like that someone has uploaded what appear to be 11 of its internal repair videos to YouTube.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but two sources in the repair community familiar with Apple’s repair policies told Motherboard these are indeed genuine Apple how-to videos. The videos themselves have an Apple copyright on them, the host references internal Apple documentation and diagnostic tests, and, most importantly, the videos use proprietary Apple disassembly and repair tools that Motherboard has previously confirmed are manufactured by and are exclusive to Apple.
 


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