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I’m going through Apple storage hell. I have a 2015 MacBook Pro 13" Retina whose OEM SSD (1TB) has failed (over 1000 bad sectors/blocks). Data was recovered and a replacement MacBook Pro was issued to the user.

Since I can repurpose this as a loaner/spare/test Mac, I ordered an OWC Aura Pro 480 SSD. You would think, just pop in, Recovery boot to internet and reinstall OS to update?

First, the OWC Aura Pro wasn't even recognized. The boot-up took minutes then failed with Folder/System missing. I tried a USB installer but after thinking I was successful, it formatted and installed High Sierra then on restart to finish, it booted back to the USB drive.

When I had a bootable external utility drive that has High Sierra, since it’s external, there seems to be no firmware update from Apple. And the current firmware isn't latest for this model. Nope. You need a working Apple OEM SSD with High Sierra installed, to get some ??? firmware update to allow the SSD from OWC to work (has a Marvel chip by the way). I didn't know this at the time of purchase and unless I can get a used-working Apple OEM SSD that I can install and make sure the MacBook Pro is updated, it’s nothing more than a doorstop.

If anyone has an SSD from an A1502 Retina (128/256GB is fine) and doesn't need it... message me. [Offer received... —MacInTouch]

I am stuck. Because Apple is proprietary with SSD, I can't just throw a Samsung EVO in.

One thing I discovered in having a Windows PC: using Diskpart, I could "clean" a stubborn USB flash drive that the Apple Disk Utility would refuse to put an OS installer on. Once cleaned and put on the Mac, it let me format the USB flash and install (createinstallmedia) macOS without vague error.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I’m going through Apple storage hell....
As you probably know, macOS 10.13 High Sierra is required for support of third-party NVMe SSDs. Maybe a firmware update is also required.

I would think that you could boot off macOS 10.13 on an external drive and update to macOS Mojave to install the latest firmware. At that point, I would expect the Aura Pro or a Samsung 970 to work. If the firmware truly won't update in that scenario, it would be an abysmal mess from Apple that I haven't seen documented previously.

Did you contact OWC support?

Another option, which seems more like a last resort, would be to buy a non-NVMe, AHCI SSD from MCE Technologies, if they still have those. Do you have an "Early 2015" or "Late 2015" MacBook Pro 13" (you mentioned A1502)?
 


Another option, which seems more like a last resort, would be to buy a non-NVMe, AHCI SSD from MCE Technologies, if they still have those. Do you have an "Early 2015" or "Late 2015" MacBook Pro 13" (you mentioned A1502)?
A client was bumping into the upper limit of the 256GB storage in their 2015 MacBook Pro. I have had issues with the OWC drives for these computers, so I recommended and installed one of the non-NVMe MCE SSDs in their computer recently, and the computer reported the drive as a native Apple SSD. A little more expensive than the OWC versions, but if the computer sees them as native drives, they may be worth it in the long run.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... Other notes from that page (with a review pending):
Here's the complete Ars Technica review, which includes performance benchmark tests:
Samuel Axon said:
2019 16-inch MacBook Pro review: Bye-bye, butterfly

... Money being no object, it's easy to recommend this machine for anyone who wants to run macOS and do heavy development or creative work. But let's be real: money is very much an object for most people.

If you’re looking for the optimal performance-for-buck ratio, and you care less about things like industrial design, airplane-friendly power systems, portability, noise levels, and so on, there are much cheaper Windows laptops out there. And Windows is now in a better spot than it had been for many years; it’s no longer a situation like it was in 2008 when Windows was arguably a mess and Mac OS was vastly more stable and straightforward to use.

Most people today don't need a $2,500-$4,000 computer. If you're not doing heavy graphics work, get a 13-inch MacBook Pro or even a MacBook Air. Don't buy this computer just because it's the most premium option; this kind of performance in this form factor are only necessary for a certain audience of professionals. And if you don't care as much about portability and a plethora of niche quality-of-life benefits that Apple prioritizes in the Mac, get any number of powerful Windows laptops.

The Mac is still not for everybody, and it likely never again will be. But the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro is now a better fit for the users Apple has been trying to reach. Bye bye butterfly; hello faster render times.

The good
  • Better video performance than the MacBook Pro has recently been known for
  • Includes an ostensibly much more reliable keyboard—escape key included
  • The screen is still great
  • Outstanding speaker quality
  • Cheaper and more expansive storage configuration options
  • macOS is a strong OS, and Adobe recently updated its software suite to better support what Apple’s products have to offer
The bad
  • No Wi-Fi 6
  • No 4K display
  • It’s slightly heavier, louder, and hotter than its immediate predecessor
  • Still difficult and expensive to repair or service
The ugly
  • It’s priced outside of most consumers’—and even many prosumer hobbyists’—budgets
#review #benchmarks #MBP16
 








Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This almost makes me wonder if Apple is "unloading" inventory in anticipation of a new 13-14" MacBook Air model in-the-wings.
I don’t think so, as this is a 2017 vintage MacBook Air (which is its beauty, along with the price), not the “retina” model that Apple is currently selling at $1099 and up and just updated in July....
 


I just took the plunge and ordered the 2017 MacBook Air from Amazon (using the MacInTouch link, of course!). Then I went to MacTracker to see what the original installed OS was (Sierra); I usually will try to install the older software (because of compatibility with my current third-party software), but then when I went to the Apple support pages for the 2017 MacBook Air, everything was all about Catalina, Catalina, Catalina.

I sure hope the stock that Amazon is selling is older stock (i.e., without Catalina pre-installed). I can deal with Sierra and High Sierra; Mojave is iffy; but Catalina is an absolute deal-killer. If it comes with Catalina, I'll be sending it right back. I just have too much 32-bit software that I depend on for my business. Upgrading all that software is just too cost-prohibitive; I don't do enough work to justify such a hidden expense. (Apple never bothers to warn people about that.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I just took the plunge and ordered the 2017 MacBook Air from Amazon (using the MacInTouch link, of course!). Then I went to MacTracker to see what the original installed OS was (Sierra); I usually will try to install the older software (because of compatibility with my current third-party software), but then when I went to the Apple support pages for the 2017 MacBook Air, everything was all about Catalina, Catalina, Catalina. I sure hope the stock that Amazon is selling is older stock (i.e., without Catalina pre-installed). I can deal with Sierra and High Sierra; Mojave is iffy; but Catalina is an absolute deal-killer. If it comes with Catalina, I'll be sending it right back.
I know that the 2017 MacBook Air will run macOS Sierra and anything newer. I doubt it will come with Catalina installed, but it may have Mojave installed. If it does, there's no real problem, as you can still install macOS Sierra (or High Sierra) on it.

This is exactly the situation I had with the 2017 ("slam dunk") iMac 5K refurb, which I bought specifically for its compatibility with both older and newer macOS versions – it came with macOS Mojave installed but is now running macOS Sierra. (It actually can be dual-booted into either Sierra or Mojave, which are on separate partitions of the internal SSD.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's an update to an earlier preview:
Brooke Crothers said:
MacBook Pro 16 Vs Dell XPS 15 7590: LCD Vs OLED, Keyboard, Speakers— The Winner Is...
... Dell wins on bang for buck. It costs less and you get an amazing OLED display to boot. The new 16-inch MacBook Pro is scary-good too and the best MacBook Apple has ever made. So, above, I tried to break it down on individual category wins (e.g., display, sound) as every user looks for features that are important to them. But, again, if you don’t want to pay the “Apple tax” but still want a great big-screen laptop, the XPS 15 may be the way to go.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've been researching replacement options for a friend with little money whose 2012-era MacBook Pro failed. (It hadn't exactly been treated with kid gloves.) They've used both Windows and Macs.

For anyone who's interested, there's currently a big discount on a previous generation HP laptop, the HP Elitebook 840 G5, that's apparently hackintosh-friendly:
Meanwhile, here's an ultracheap hackintosh laptop project:
(Thanks to TKS Ose for some of these tips.)

#hackintosh #laptop #HP
 


For anyone who's interested, there's currently a big discount on a previous generation HP laptop, the HP Elitebook 840 G5, that's apparently hackintosh-friendly:
The biggest obstacle creating a hackintosh from a PC laptop, perhaps, is getting a unit with a Broadcom wireless card installed instead of one from Killer, or at least the ability to easily replace it with one.
 


The biggest obstacle creating a hackintosh from a PC laptop, perhaps, is getting a unit with a Broadcom wireless card installed instead of one from Killer, or at least the ability to easily replace it with one.
I purchased this PCI card for my ASUS Hackintosh (Mid 2016)...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MBP25UK

Same functionality as if one was using an Apple branded box, includes Bluetooth as well.
 


I purchased this PCI card for my ASUS Hackintosh (Mid 2016)...
Broadcom-based PCIe Wi-Fi cards for use in PC laptops are easily found and at reasonable prices. These are also easy to install, as many PC laptops only require removing a few standard screws (and perhaps using a spudger) to get to the card and replace the one that originally came with the device.

The PCI card you reference is required by desktops to act as a carrier for the PCIe Wi-Fi card and actually adds cost to the build.
 


Broadcom-based PCIe Wi-Fi cards for use in PC laptops are easily found and at reasonable prices. These are also easy to install, as many PC laptops only require removing a few standard screws (and perhaps using a spudger) to get to the card and replace the one that originally came with the device.
The PCI card you reference is required by desktops to act as a carrier for the PCIe Wi-Fi card and actually adds cost to the build.
Oh dear, I overlooked the "laptop" reference! Anyway, the primary reason for buying this card was issues with the motherboard Bluetooth in macOS. This card solved it, so it was 40 quid well spent.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Looking at a few good non-Mac laptops for comparison:
Dell said:
XPS 13 Developer Edition $904.99
8th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-8265U Processor
(6M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz, 4 cores)​
Ubuntu Linux 18.04​
8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz​
13.3" FHD (1920x1080) Non-Touch InfinityEdge Display​
256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive​
Killer™ 1435, 2 x 2, 802.11ac, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1​
Intel® UHD Graphics 620 with shared graphics memory​
4-Cell, 52 WHr, Integrated battery​
Platinum Silver with Black carbon fiber palmrest​
Dell said:
XPS 15 7590 $849.99
9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-9300H (8MB Cache, up to 4.1 GHz, 4 cores)
Windows 10 Pro, 64-bit, English
8GB DDR4-2666MHz, 2x4G
Backlit English Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader
15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Anti-Glare Non-touch IPS 100% sRGB 500-Nits display
256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2) and Bluetooth 5.0
Intel® UHD Graphics 630
3-Cell, 56 WHr, Integrated battery
 


Oh dear, I overlooked the "laptop" reference! Anyway, the primary reason for buying this card was issues with the motherboard Bluetooth in macOS. This card solved it, so it was 40 quid well spent.
Alles gut. The hackintosh kext files have improved so much of late, thanks to that community. The biggest obstacle most individuals have is getting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to work, along with the AirDrop and Handoff services. These really only work with Broadcom cards installed, no matter desktop or laptop. In Ric's XPS laptop examples, just above, note the use of the Killer PCIe Wi-Fi cards. While the ethernet port would probably work, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth would not unless replaced.

The product you referenced contains a Broadcom BCM94360CS2 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth card according to the description. When Apple gets around to supporting Wi-Fi 6, you should be able to just disconnect that PCIe card from the carrier and connect in an appropriate Broadcom (or whichever vendor Apple chooses to support) Wi-Fi 6 card, allowing you to use the drivers available in that version of macOS Catalina.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The hackintosh kext files have improved so much of late, thanks to that community. The biggest obstacle most individuals have is getting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to work, along with the AirDrop and Handoff services. These really only work with Broadcom cards installed, no matter desktop or laptop.
It might be a little bit more awkward, but I wonder, could you use a Mac-compatible USB wireless adapter (e.g. Panda Ultra [Amazon])?
 


It might be a little bit more awkward, but I wonder, could you use a Mac-compatible USB wireless adapter (e.g. Panda Ultra)?
If it is supported under the version of macOS you are trying to run, then the answer is "Yes." Most of the USB Wi-Fi adapters I have seen of late are a bit long in the tooth, rarely supporting anything above macOS 10.10 Yosemite and lacking support for Wi-Fi 5 specifications (802.11ac). Bluetooth adapters are a bit more forgiving and more available, and are an appropriate choice for adding such support to a desktop where you might be using the built-in Ethernet. Granted, I am not actively looking at these types of devices, so if there is something new worth considering I may not be aware of it.

In most desktop hackintosh situations where you are looking to add both modern Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to your build, you will want to look at something along the line of the Fenvi FV-T919 or the one mentioned previously by Paul Probine. For laptops, as I have mentioned above, going online and purchasing a Broadcom PCIe card supported by your device is probably easiest.

For the latest on what may or may not work in your hackintosh build, I highly recommend spending time at tonymacX86.com.
 



It might be a little bit more awkward, but I wonder, could you use a Mac-compatible USB wireless adapter (e.g. Panda Ultra [Amazon])?
I recently built a hackintosh from an old Dell Optiplex 9020 (bought cheap from work) - and I have successfully installed USB wireless as well as USB bluetooth. (Lots of good tips on tonymacx86.com.) The wireless USB device is a TP-Link mini AC600 [Amazon].

Hope that helps!
 


I recently built a hackintosh from an old Dell Optiplex 9020 (bought cheap from work) - and I have successfully installed USB wireless as well as USB bluetooth. (Lots of good tips on tonymacx86.com.) The wireless USB device is a TP-Link mini AC600 [Amazon].
Hope that helps!
Thanks. Had not seen that one nor its bigger and faster brother, only the older models. It is actually good to see there is support for Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and on their support web page they have a beta driver for macOS Catalina 10.15.

I currently have an HP Elite 8300 CMT sitting in my home office. Due to its proximity to the router, it was just easier, and cheaper, to just go with Ethernet. Perhaps I will consider some new upgrades in 2020 to clean up some of the cable clutter.
 


I’m going through Apple storage hell...
A big thank you to Ric and Matthias (kind enough to send me a 128GB OEM SSD). I was able to Command-Option-R with the OEM 128GB SSD into Yosemite, then installed High Sierra. Once High Sierra 10.13.6 was on, it updated with a "security update" that I suspected included an EFI update. System report showed the firmware at 186.0.0.0, so then I put the OWC SSD in and booted from my High Sierra USB flash installer. All went well. And then updated to Mojave. (I may go to Catalina to use this as a test Mac or loaner.)

I don't blame OWC on this, as the Apple OEM 1TB SSD died/failed with over 1000 bad blocks/pages/memory cells. I had determined, via a bootable USB drive, that the firmware was never updated, so it couldn't get a replacement 3rd-party SSD/ upgrade. Because Apple seems to be proprietary with this, again it shows that Apple wants you to buy a new Mac and not re-use/extend the life of a 4-year-old computer.

Irony: a friend's daughter has the same A1502 13" MacBook Pro Retina (2015) and she upgraded to Catalina over Thanksgiving weekend (because Apple promoted this!) and the MacBook Pro failed. After some frustration (I was on vacation at time), I told them to take it to local Apple Store. The genius determined it was memory failure (!), couldn't even wipe the SSD (their procedure is wipe-reinstall for most issues) and needed a new logicboard ($500 repair out of warranty if there's no damage). And data wasn't backed up.

So, I am going to use this MacBook Pro I have that works, to put her SSD in and get data off. Thankfully, the good part of the story was she actually had Desktop and Documents in the iCloud, so the loss wasn't substantial (except to her parent's credit card).

#applequality
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
When your most enthusiastic evangelists are having problems like this, it's not good (but at least he avoided talking about the value of huge amounts of lost time and productivity, so the reality distortiion field is mostly intact).
9to5Mac said:
MacBook Pro Diary: A third failure, and a potentially radical solution
...
A third failure further dents my faith in Apple quality

A third failure in a three-year-old machine. Put another way, the MacBook Pro has three modular components, and two of them have failed. Additionally, the keyboard is liable to do so again as it’s been replaced with an identical one which has the same inherent design flaw.

After a swollen battery in my iPhone X and two HomePod faults, I have to say that my faith in Apple’s quality control is at an all-time low.

There’s not much I can actually do about that. The benefits of the Apple ecosystem are such that I wouldn’t ever want to give them up, and that’s perhaps why Apple isn’t as concerned as it should be over quality issues: it has a largely captive customer base.
And his "solution" is spending even more money, on top of Apple's already exhorbitant prices and the value of all that lost time and effort for getting defects fixed....
9to5Mac said:
But I am considering fairly radical action in response: taking the advice of one reader (sorry, I can’t find the comment now; please comment here so I can credit you) to always buy AppleCare, then replace the machine every three years so it’s always under warranty.
Brilliant!

#applequality
 


Reports of unexpected shutdowns on the entry-level 2019 13-inch MacBook Pro with two Thunderbolt 3 ports leads to a new support document from Apple.
Apple claims that these sudden and unexpected shutdowns occur only on the entry-level 2019 13-inch MacBook Pros. I'd like to add my 2 cents here.

A couple of weeks ago, and as I mentioned here at the time, I found a mid-2019 15-inch MacBook Pro for sale on Amazon for $1,999. So I went ahead and splurged for one.

In that two weeks' time, this 15-inch MacBook Pro has spontaneously shutdown at least 3 times. It never does so when I'm working on it but if I leave it alone for a bit.

I have opened a case about it with Apple and have yet to hear anything from them. If this continues then I am sending the MacBook Pro back to Amazon and, instead, will purchase a Surface Laptop 3 or an ASUS Zenbook Pro.

#applequality
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Some problems with Apple's latest flagship laptops:
The Verge said:
Early 16-inch MacBook Pro complaints include speaker "popping" sounds and display ghosting
... As noted by AppleInsider (and backed by this long MacRumors forum thread), owners of the 16-inch MacBook Pro are complaining about an intermittent “popping” sound coming from the speakers. It’s noticeable after audio playback is stopped.

... Other customers are less than pleased about an apparent slow response time from the 16-inch MacBook Pro’s wide-color display, which can result in a “ghosting” effect when scrolling text.

#applequality
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've been researching this thread and these devices with interest. How could I tell that a device like the mini AC600 is secure in use?
That’s a very good question/concern. At a minimum, do a thorough search for vulnerabilities, e.g.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
More about a defect in Apple's latest laptops (which is similar to a problem I've experienced with bluetooth audio in older Mac laptops):
MacRumors said:
Apple is investigating a popping sound issue with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro and plans to make a fix available in future software updates, the company has indicated in an internal document obtained by MacRumors.

The memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers reads as follows:
If a customer hears a popping sound when playback is stopped on their MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
When using Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, QuickTime Player, Music, Movies, or other applications to play audio, users may hear a pop come from the speakers after playback has ended. Apple is investigating the issue. A fix is planned in future software updates. Do not set up service, or replace the user's computer, as this is a software-related issue.
#applequality
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple has apparently implemented a partial fix in the new Catalina update... but didn't document it publicly...
MacRumors said:
Initial Reports Suggest macOS Catalina 10.15.2 May Fix 16-Inch MacBook Pro Popping Sound Bug for Some Users
... 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ owners have been complaining of popping sounds since the machine was first released in October. Apple in a memo to Apple Authorized Service Providers confirmed the popping issue and said that a fix would be implemented in the near future.
When using Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, QuickTime Player, Music, Movies, or other applications to play audio, users may hear a pop come from the speakers after playback has ended. Apple is investigating the issue. A fix is planned in future software updates. Do not set up service, or replace the user's computer, as this is a software-related issue.
Apple in its note to service providers said that the fix would require updates plural, not a single update, which may explain the mixed reports that we're hearing from 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ owners. The macOS Catalina 10.15.2 software appears to partially address the problem, but further software updates may be required to stamp it out entirely.
#applequality
 


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