Several years ago, my Mom’s original iBook (the blue toilet lid looking ones) got goofed up – I broke one tiny piece of a keyboard key spring while upgrading a hard drive or something. LIterally, it was a tiny wishbone piece about 6mm long – I just needed a new one of those and I could fix the rest. Could I get that from Apple? Nope – it was $400 to get the entire keyboard replaced – the only option offered – that was my last Apple laptop repair experience.
Fast forward, I was in a car wreck at the very end of last year (talk about going out with a bang) that rolled the car – everything inside went on Tumble Dry for a few seconds.
Ever since then, I’ve had a persnickety problem with the WiFi on my first gen Macbook (2GHz black model) – once it warmed up, the usable WiFi range would drop down to just a few feet – I had to sit in arm’s reach of the Time Capsule to get a signal. No couch surfing, no bed email – bummer.
Read on to see how things have improved.
I’d been dreading giving it up to get it fixed, fearing how long it might take to be repaired, what it might cost, and whether it would actually get fixed. Pleasant surprises awaited me.
I scheduled an appointment at the Genius Bar online, brought in the laptop and a print out describing how it worked when cold but then WiFi range decreased over 15 or so minutes. This kind of edge case – where it works under certain circumstances, such as when you first fire it up – are always tough to diagnose and fix. I was expecting to get it back and the problem would still persist.
There was some grumbling to be done because I have upgraded with third party RAM and a bigger hard drive after the initial Apple one failed (this laptop is now 3 years old and on 3rd hard drive, upgraded to get more space). The Apple Genius seriously suggested I go home and find the dead broken laptop and put it in there. They would have replaced it with a new/refurb, but I didn’t feel like digging to see if I still had it – it was dead, after all.
The good news – while my appointment started about 10 minutes late (not bad considering it was 3 in the afternoon), it only took about 10-15 minutes to get all the paperwork done and explain what needed fixing.
The mixed blessing of Apple repairs – a flat $280 fee, plus tax.
The good news – I got it back in about a week, it works perfectly (so far), and Apple fixed a TON of stuff. A new logic board, Airport stuff, a new top deck for the laptop (keyboard, trackpad, top lid) and a bunch of other stuff were all replaced – it is like I have a refurbished/almost new laptop now – DEAL! I’ve typed so much stuff on this thing that the trackpad was shiny smooth instead of textured, the click button worked poorly on the right side, the dents on the screen lid had chipped the upper deck (classic MacBook problem), all fixed now.
This time it was much faster and more reasonable.
So if you have an older laptop with a persnicketly problem, it may well be worth sending in – I’m glad I did.
PS – and for the record, there was no “Do You Know Who I Am” histrionics involved, I just went in and was in Polite Civilian Mode the whole time
UPDATE LATER THAT DAY
I fired up iTunes and it doesn’t see this as a valid machine – since the motherboard changed, and there’s a new NIC address, it IS a different machine, just one with the same hard drive. So I had to deauthorize all machines and re-authorize to get iTunes content working again. I couldn’t update my out-of-date iPhone apps from iTunes either until I did this.