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I have a MacBook Pro 2015 ... If it wasn't for the dents remaining on the bottom case, I wouldn't want to replace the machine. But it can't sit on the desk properly, because the bottom cover is not straight - reminds me of the new iPad Pro, and AppleCare finally expired.
Is the problem with the bottom cover due to dents, or is it due to the bottom cover bowing? If it is dents, you might be able to remove the bottom cover and repair the dents with some gentle tapping and light hammering. If it is bowing, the problem may be due to a swollen battery. Unfortunately, replacing the battery on the 2015 model is quite a project, but perhaps your company has an extended AppleCare protection plan that would cover a replacement.
 



Do you really mean the bottom cover? This is the removable part with the feet on it. If, by chance, you do mean that, what you should do is replace it - 10 minutes of work, and a new one will cost < $50 on eBay ($15 used...).

If you really mean what Apple calls the top case, which is the solid aluminum block with the keyboard in it, you could even then still consider replacing it, if you were really motivated. It's a huge job, and the part itself is tricky, because it includes the keyboard and battery. Still, A-condition used ones go on eBay for ~ $125 or so, and the iFixit how-to walkthroughs are clear and complete. (Or, a good independent shop could do it for you.) Probably only worth it if you really like the 2015 over the 2018, but lots of folks do.
Sorry, let me make myself more clear. I understood MacBook Pro [components] of recent vintage like this:
  • The screen assembly that moves when you open the screen.
  • The bottom [section] that holds the keyboard, CPU, memory, SSDs/HDDs, CPU, GPU, fans, etc., which usually has a "lid" on the bottom that can be opened with a screwdriver. The 2010 models have small Philips screws; the 2015 MacBook Pros have pentalobe screws to hold the "lid" in place.
The good thing about the 2015 MacBook Pros is that the SSDs can be upgraded with OWC's Aura SSD to get them to 2TB internal storage. That should be fine for stuff I need on the road. Thanks to everybody that responded to my post.
 


Unfortunately, replacing the battery on the 2015 model is quite a project, but perhaps your company has an extended AppleCare protection plan that would cover a replacement.
AppleCare protection has expired for this machine, and even before that happened, Apple told me that this is not covered by AppleCare. AppleCare+ would have covered it, but that was not available when the machine was purchased. So I'm looking at the entire bottom case including the "lid". I won't attempt the repairs myself any more, I'm getting older and my eyesight isn't what it used to be.

But not too far from me is a repair shop that tends to injured Macs, and I have no problem letting a young kid make a living that way. They replaced my 2014 5K iMac's 3TB hard drive part of the fusion drive with a 2TB SSD, and the machine recognized the "broken" fusion drive afterwards and made it one drive again. (I was told by Apple that this is not possible - proved them wrong.)
 



I've discovered that the 2018 MacBook Pro will drive an external display while running on battery power, which the 2015 MacBook Pro will not do - at least not while running macOS Sierra. In a quick test with Mojave, though, it seems like the 2015 MacBook Pro also may support using the external display while running on battery power with the newer macOS.
External displays on battery-powered 2015 MacBook Pros work under High Sierra 10.13.6. My 15" 2015 MacBook Pro supports a 27" Apple LED Cinema Display via DisplayPort and 1080p display via HDMI simultaneously. Automatic Graphics Switching is turned off.
 


These are increasingly rare in the Apple refurb store. I doubt that they (it?) will be there long. Jump if you want this one. You should also check out Gazelle. In November I picked up a mid-2015 Retina 2.8 GHz Core i7, 16 GB memory, 500GB SSD, dual graphics in what was described as "excellent" condition for $1,679. Battery condition is reported as 89%. I can live with that. But you don't get the 1-year Apple warranty. It appears Gazelle still has them in stock. I'm very pleased with the purchase. It arrived in the described condition, with a new Apple charging brick, and has performed flawlessly in the 1.5 months I've had it.
 


I've discovered that the 2018 MacBook Pro will drive an external display while running on battery power, which the 2015 MacBook Pro will not do - at least not while running macOS Sierra. In a quick test with Mojave, though, it seems like the 2015 MacBook Pro also may support using the external display while running on battery power with the newer macOS.
FWIW I recently used HDMI to drive a plasma display on a 2015 retina MacBook Pro running Sierra and on battery - moving and still images.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
FWIW I recently used HDMI to drive a plasma display on a 2015 retina MacBook Pro running Sierra and on battery - moving and still images.
Interesting. I just tried this. With an HDMI monitor connected on my 2015 MacBook Pro running Sierra (10.12.6) in "clamshell" mode (i.e. laptop lid closed), I disconnected the MagSafe connector, and the monitor screen instantly went black.
 


Interesting. I just tried this. With an HDMI monitor connected on my 2015 MacBook Pro running Sierra (10.12.6) in "clamshell" mode (i.e. laptop lid closed), I disconnected the MagSafe connector, and the monitor screen instantly went black.
I think the "in clamshell mode" may explain the difference. Your original post (and John's reply) didn't mention whether the lid was open or closed for the test.

Does the external display work on battery with the lid open?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I think the "in clamshell mode" may explain the difference. Your original post (and John's reply) didn't mention whether the lid was open or closed for the test. Does the external display work on battery with the lid open?
Yes, it turns out that both DisplayPort and HDMI external displays work while the 2015 MacBook Pro 15" is running on battery power, if, and only if, the laptop lid is open.

This is completely counter-intuitive, since it would make a lot more sense to have the internal screen turned off to save power while running on the battery.
 


Yes, it turns out that both DisplayPort and HDMI external displays work while the 2015 MacBook Pro 15" is running on battery power, if, and only if, the laptop lid is open.

This is completely counter-intuitive, since it would make a lot more sense to have the internal screen turned off to save power while running on the battery.
I suspect Apple's logic is something like:

"If you're operating in clamshell mode, then you're tethered to a desk. Therefore we'll let the system follow desktop semantics, where you are expected to be attached to power all the time."

There may be an assumption that if the power is disconnected from the laptop in this mode, that it's the result of a power outage. As such, the display isn't going to be working anyway, so it's best to cut the video signal (and maybe also go to sleep) in order to preserve the battery as long as possible until the power comes back.

With the lid open, on the other hand, then you're more likely to be operating in a mobile configuration, where it is expected that power won't be connected.

At least that's what I came up with trying to think of a reason why this behavior might make sense. Whether or not it is what Apple was actually thinking is anybody's guess.
 



I found out that the alleged 60W power delivered by a external Thunderbolt 3 dock is not quite enough to cover all the power needs of a Touchbar MacBook Pro 15" while converting 1080p video at 2fps. It took almost a day, but the power in the battery steadily dipped until it was below 30%.
Beginning in 2016, 15" MacBook Pros shipped with 87W USB-C power adapters. The current model has an 83.6-watt-hour battery. So if your dock delivers 60W of power over USB-C / Thunderbolt, it's not going to hold the charge on a busy system with the display on.

Back in MagSafe days, I used under-powered adapters to top up both 13" and 15" MacBook Pros. To make charging headway on a 15" that expects 85W using a 45W 13" supply (oops, left the big one at the office, try the wife's), the system needs to be in cold shutdown. The 45W would extend run time if the system is active but needed to be plugged in well ahead of a battery warning.
 


... Today, editing music sheets, and holding an electric guitar using a battery operated mini-amp, I noticed that touching the case of my late 2010 MacBook Pro produced a hum.

Ho ho, I'll see if using the grounded adaptor on the power supply changes anything. No change.

Running on the battery, no hum.

Is the voltage adaptor is delivering dirty power?
 


I'm looking to replace my aging 2012-vintage MacBook Pro with something a little more nimble. The 2018 MacBook Air would be an excellent choice, but I have major concerns about the 3rd gen. butterfly keyboard (not the key travel and feel, but the potential for failure). Experience and advice from the MacInTouch community would be welcome.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I'm looking to replace my aging 2012-vintage MacBook Pro with something a little more nimble. The 2018 MacBook Air would be an excellent choice, but I have major concerns about the 3rd gen. butterfly keyboard (not the key travel and feel, but the potential for failure). Experience and advice from the MacInTouch community would be welcome.
These notes don't answer your question directly, but for what they're worth:
  • I still dislike the feel of the new butterfly keyboard, even after giving myself extended time to adapt to it.
  • My 2011 MacBook Pro often feels faster and more pleasant than a 2018 MacBook Pro with far faster hardware, especially during boot, because of changes to macOS since Sierra. (And, of course, it's easily upgradable for storage and memory, which the 2018 model distinctly isn't.)
  • The new MacBook Air is slower than the new MacBook Pro.
  • The 2018 Apple laptops supposedly have a sort of membrane designed to protect the butterfly keyboard from the common failures afflicting 2017 and earlier models with this keyboard design.
 


These notes don't answer your question directly, but for what they're worth...
My eye was drawn to the MacBook Air, because I'm travelling a lot over the next few months, and I'm tired of dragging the MacBook Pro around, although perhaps replacing the battery and (especially) installing an SSD would help rejuvenate the system. I spend a lot of time working on academic papers, so an iPad is not a suitable replacement. A reliable keyboard is, however, a necessity (it's also remarkable to me at least that this should even be an issue with Apple hardware...)
 


I'm looking to replace my aging 2012-vintage MacBook Pro with something a little more nimble. The 2018 MacBook Air would be an excellent choice, but I have major concerns about the 3rd gen. butterfly keyboard (not the key travel and feel, but the potential for failure). Experience and advice from the MacInTouch community would be welcome.
Like Ric, I'm not a huge fan of the keyboard feel - I find myself making a substantially higher number of typos these days (age probably has some part to play there) - there simply isn't enough tactile feel for me. That also goes for the wireless extended keyboard I use when plugged in at home - it's a little better, but not much. No issues at all from dust, etc., so I presume the membrane has mitigated that (and we live in a 100 y.o. farm house that's perpetually dusty).

I bought my wife a 2018 MacBook Air recently (to replace a 2011 MacBook Pro 13"), and it's "acceptable" to me, and probably feels much faster to her. I did go ahead and pop for max RAM and a 500GB SSD (her old one had 256 GB and was about full). The biggest complaint from her is the lack of a DVD drive.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
My eye was drawn to the MacBook Air, because I'm travelling a lot over the next few months, and I'm tired of dragging the MacBook Pro around...
The new MacBook Pro (13-inch) is shockingly small and should solve that problem. It's actually smaller than the 2017 MacBook Air and far smaller than a 2012-era MacBook Pro. (At 3 lbs., the 2018 MacBook Pro feels dense, but it's a lot lighter than the 2012 version at 4.5 lbs.)
 






I thought the following to be a timely addition to this conversation. There are a number of good points made in this article. Worth the read.
Bradley Chamers said:
Butterfly keyboard reliability has delayed my next Apple lease for my school
When you use a laptop for personal use, it can be annoying when things break. You might have to let Apple work on it for a few days, but you an usually adjust. When it comes to business usage, it’s a massive problem. When machines go down in enterprise organizations, it costs time and money. It costs employees time to transfer data to a loaner machine, and it costs money in productivity and repair costs. The MacBook Air’s butterfly keyboard has a problem with reliability, and that is something I cannot afford to deal with. This problem isn’t limited to the MacBook Air, though. Since the butterfly keyboards made its appearance in 2015, I’ve heard horror story after horror story. It’s the main reason I kept buying the MacBook Air with the ancient screen for our staff. I knew the keyboard would be reliable, and that has been proven correct. Certainly in the enterprise, I’ll trade a Retina screen for a reliable keyboard.

... If I go with a lower cost Chromebook, I’ll be less satisfied with the hardware, but I’ll know I can replace it inexpensively. Right now, Apple laptops are expensive, somewhat unreliable (keyboard), and hard to repair on. Those three things are major negatives in the enterprise IT world.
 
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Nope, the 2017 MacBook Air has the good, pre-“butterfly” keyboard (but not a retina screen).
If you need the Retina screen, a 2015 MacBook Pro is good. Full range of ports, fast SSD. However, the newer ones, with the break-often PITA keyboards, have even faster SSDs and Thunderbolt 3... so the 2015s are already dated.
 


I'm looking to replace my aging 2012-vintage MacBook Pro with something a little more nimble. The 2018 MacBook Air would be an excellent choice, but I have major concerns about the 3rd gen. butterfly keyboard (not the key travel and feel, but the potential for failure). Experience and advice from the MacInTouch community would be welcome.
I believe the 2015 MacBook Pro was the last of that series to use the standard (pre-butterfly) keyboard. LA Computer Company usually has some used ones at good prices. MacBook Airs prior to the latest model also use the good keyboard. All MacBooks of the Retina persuasion use the butterfly keyboard.

As long as Apple refuses to abandon the butterfly keyboard, I'll never buy a new laptop from Apple again.
 


2016 MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards failing twice as frequently as older models
Apple launched its new butterfly key-switch keyboard with the MacBook, with some usability complaints starting nearly immediately, but it wasn't until its adoption in the MacBook Pro in 2016 that reliability concerns started popping up —and AppleInsider has the hard data on failure rates.

Following anecdotal reports of a keyboard more prone to failure than in previous years, AppleInsider has collected service data for the first year of release of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 MacBook Pros, with an additional slightly shorter data set for the 2017 model year given that it hasn't been available for a year yet.

Not including any Touch Bar failures, the 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard is failing twice as often in the first year of use as the 2014 or 2015 MacBook Pro models, and the 2017 is better, but not by a lot.
That's for the pre-protective layer variation, and it involved only a doubling in reported keyboard failure [in the first year] over the previous keyboard with the deeper key throw.

From the anecdotal reports, you'd think it was more like a 10x increase in keyboard failure.

I write constantly and was able to adapt to the new keyboard in relatively short order, though it is not, of course, in the same quality or performance league as a true full-blown external keyboard such as my treasured IBM Model M.

I will say that the new keyboard is definitely going to be a little louder for other people when you type. This may or may not be an issue depending on circumstances.
 


I recently purchased what (I wonder) might be my last "new" Mac for daily use: a mid-2012 MacBook Pro with an i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM, a 2TB SSD, an internal SuperDrive, lots of user-replaceable parts, a ton of useful ports, and a reliable, comfortable keyboard.

While current Mac laptops obviously beat this machine in terms of CPU/GPU speed, Thunderbolt 3, and eGPU, no current Mac laptop is as versatile as the old 2012, and the 2012 is fast enough for what I do routinely. On those occasions when I need more performance, I don't use a Mac.
 


The 2018 Apple laptops supposedly have a sort of membrane designed to protect the butterfly keyboard from the common failures afflicting 2017 and earlier models with this keyboard design.
If that works, it would be most welcome. With my 2017 MacBook 12" I've had to invest in canned air multipacks, and am constantly cleaning out the keyboard.
 



I will say that the new keyboard is definitely going to be a little louder for other people when you type. This may or may not be an issue depending on circumstances.
I know that the butterfly keyboard makes my MacBook Pro unusable in meetings and seminars. I have to take my late 2013 model with me when I go any place where there are other people involved.
 


Yes, the keyboard's a problem, but that's not all that's wrong with the MacBook Pro (and some other Macs). It has faults it shouldn't have. Apple can do better. See this roundup:
<https://www.cultofmac.com/605282/7-painful-truths-about-the-2018-macbook-pro>
 


See this roundup...
Ten-minute ranty-tone videos suck, but I sat through it so I could summarize it for the team and save you all ten minutes of your life. Nothing new if you've been following the past three years:
  1. "It's an impractical computer." Poor choice of external ports. Dongle city.
  2. "The keyboard's not that great." Plus "band-aid fix" for debris issues. Plus any key powers up.
  3. "The touchbar is a gimmick that is not actually useful in any way."
  4. The touchpad "is not as accurate as it used to be."
  5. "They have stolen the heart and soul..." No lit-up logo, etc.
  6. No startup sound.
  7. "It's still a magnificent, superb piece of equipment. [But] it's not as good as it could be."
 


After reading around, I'm still somewhat concerned by the robustness of the butterfly keyboard on the new Apple laptops. So I've decided to try and eke a few more years out of my 2012 MacBook Pro; I've ordered a Mercury Electra 6G SSD and replacement battery from OWC to pep things up a bit.
 


I received a "deal of the week" email today from CDW (a long-standing reseller) that offers a current model MacBook Pro for 31% off list! It states they have 300 available to start.
Basic details: 2018 MacBook Pro 15.4" Touchbar with Intel Core i7 / 2.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 2 TB Drive, AMD Radeon Pro 555X

The hitch for most folks will be the base-model specs, including only 16GB RAM. For anyone whose workload puts modest demands on RAM but can benefit from a lot of fast onboard storage, this is a pretty nice deal.
https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/promotions/deals-of-the-week.html​
 



and a discrete AMD Radeon Pro 555X graphics processor (although that looks a lot weaker than a Radeon RX 580 eGPU).
I wasn't too impressed with the CDW listing, which didn't seem to even have Apple's model number or year of manufacture.
Agreed. Though I fear Apple is setting the trend here. I checked the Apple Store before posting to verify the offer was for a current model, so placed a MacBook Pro with matching configuration into the bag (cart) then reviewed the cart and the "details" link, and there is absolutely no mention of a model or sales number anywhere! Amazon seems to be following along, too, as they are showing marketing numbers for older models and refurbs while only stating "latest model" for current/new Macs.

Fortunately, MacTracker and the EveryMac website record this vital data along with the specs to enable differentiation.
 


If you haven't seen a Retina display in person yet, though, you should swing by an Apple Store if you find yourself near one. It may be my age, or my deteriorating vision (will need my first set of prescription lenses next year), but I find a Retina display makes an enormous difference, simply because of the contrast (dynamic range). And of course, your milage may vary.
Discovered something new (at least new to me) on my 2017 15"MacBook Pro screen. I was cleaning it, and there was "a particle" stuck to the screen, so I thought. Apparently, somehow I nicked the screen as the "particle" would not come off. So I looked at it with a strong magnifying glass, and there appears there is a very thin and extremely tough plastic film over the screen. It is slightly noticeable with a white background and much less so with a dark background.
 


Just wanted to chime in here. The issue at hand is indeed a failure of the AMD GPU. Literally every one of them made had a tragic defect. If operating temperatures were at all reasonable, it's likely the defect would have never surfaced, but we all know how that went. The best way to handle this is just to disable the AMD and use only the Intel GPU. Many of the companies that advertise GPU replacement do a terrible job. Most of the time they cook it with a heat gun, send it out, and hope it lasts the 30-day warranty.
I own two 2011, 17'' i7 MacBook Pros, and both have gone in under warranty to Apple to have the logic boards replaced due to the Radeon 6750M card failing. My main MacBook Pro that I use for business and Logic X and FCP X went down again on Sunday for the same reason. It was all fine and dandy when Apple fixed them for free, but now I need to make a decision... and I'm not a fan of anything Apple has put out within the last few years.

Even if I can get the board replaced again for $600, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. I can use Adam's EFI and R8911 resistor removal fix to force the OS to only use the Intel 3000 integrated card. This will make it 90% useful, but I still need the ability to edit in FCP X and to run an external monitor when recording in Logic X. It "appears" (I don't know for sure without testing) that I won't be able to run HDMI out to my 4K 50" TV to use as a monitor with only the Intel 3000 graphics.

Here are my thoughts/choices at the moment:
  • Do Adam's $10 fix (great deal by the way) to keep the 17" from becoming a door stop. It will still run everything I need on a daily basis except possibly FCP X, and I lose the ability to run an external monitor.
  • Save the $600 for a new logic board and possibly buy a used 2012 15" MacBook Pro where I can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to SSD, and it won't have the Radeon card issue. (I'd like to stick with something that I can upgrade myself, replace the battery when needed, and stay on Sierra, so I'm looking at a used 2012.)
  • I saw this at Best Buy: "Apple - MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M" for $870, but I will look elsewhere also if I decide to go in this direction.
Questions:
  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
Thanks
 


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