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mfacey

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 1, 2004
1,230
9
Netherlands
I've just pulled my early 2015 macbook (the one with just a single usb-c port, yes) out of a drawer after a year of not using it. With my kids getting older basically our ipads are permanently confiscated for roblox and youtube. This macbook's battery is toast - calling for "service battery" for a couple of years already. I'm considering getting a battery replacement kit from ifixit to give it some new life, but its slow... real slow...
What would you do? Give me a second life as a safari and email machine at the cost of about 135 euros ($150). Or ditch it and put the money towards a new ipad?
 
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theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2020
947
1,266
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
That depends. A new battery will definitely make it feel usuable as a laptop again, however you have to consider how much money you are happy to put in to a 2015 MacBook. It will still be usable (performance and OS updates) for the next 2-3 years (depending on how persistent you are), but once Apple has pulled the update plug on Intel macOS, things will change in terms of apps and security. That is unless you are willing to use Windows or Linux.

Keep in mind also that the Core M in the 2015 is horrid slow by 2023 standards. For reference, a 2011 13" MacBook Pro, which has a 12 year old i5/i7 still beats the Core M by a noticeable amount.

Looking at Geekbench 5, a 6th gen base-model iPad (from 2018) is faster than both the 2015 MB and 2011 MBP.

I would personally keep it just in case you need a macOS/Windows machine at quick notice but put the money towards a refurb or new iPad of some gen.
 

Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,221
11,271
Keep in mind also that the Core M in the 2015 is horrid slow by 2023 standards. For reference, a 2011 13" MacBook Pro, which has a 12 year old i5/i7 still beats the Core M by a noticeable amount.
The 2015 MB is similar to a 2011 MBA in terms of burst CPU performance.
 
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loby

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2010
1,808
1,422
It really depends on the user. I like my 12" MacBook 2015 (pick up used in excellent condition a few months ago) and will go to Apple this week to see if I can get a battery for it.

It is ok for basic needs, but "yes"...very underpowered. In my case and usage/need , it is worth paying Apple for a battery replacement. iPad is ok, but I like macOS and want a small light machine that I can type decently on (buttery keyboard is just ok.., but not unable). If I buy an iPad and a good keyboard for it, it gets to about $1,000 or more. Rather just buy MacBook Air if I go that route, so $200 for some more years is ok for me.

The current battery is 7 years old and the laptop still get some hours with it, so getting a new battery will seem to me "like New".

Now..."if" Apple will come out with a 12" MacBook sometime next year, this can hold me until the temptation comes.. :)
 

MBAir2010

macrumors 603
May 30, 2018
6,436
5,911
there
I saw one for $109, 256GB 70% battery and 90 day warentee- silver
is this a good deal?
im tired of the L connectors and was going to spend that money on an enclosure and drive.
this would replace a MBA2010 and iPad for nighttime internets, basic typing and some CS4 design.
and just "Ta' Have!"
 

loby

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2010
1,808
1,422
I saw one for $109, 256GB 70% battery and 90 day warentee- silver
is this a good deal?
im tired of the L connectors and was going to spend that money on an enclosure and drive.
this would replace a MBA2010 and iPad for nighttime internets, basic typing and some CS4 design.
and just "Ta' Have!"
Why not? for $109 with a 90 day warrantee, give it a try. If you like it, change the battery out. What year is it?
 

lixuelai

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
956
321
Try it with Windows 10, performance may be better.

Recently dug out my 2016 and gave it a second life with new batteries. I needed something to browse the net and remote into work and the MB works great for it.
 
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loby

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2010
1,808
1,422
Update:

Got my MacBook 2015 back from getting a battery replacement at Apple. I took mine in before the price increase...

For me it was worth it...but NOW...with the increase of the cost for the battery service, the cost now makes it a hard choice...it really depends on how much you like or use the 12" MacBook. I do, so it was worth it to me.

With the replacement of the battery on MacBook 2015, Apple changes the bottom chassis since it is glued... My bottom before had no scratches on it, but the one I received back looks really new. No one REALLY looks at the bottom UNLESS you use it in clam shell mode (I do...I am using it now when typing this thread.:) )

Also...an advantage of Apple doing the work..

My thunderbolt port was really loose, sometimes causing my LG 24" UltraFine (Apple) monitor to sometimes flicker when I put it into the port. I got my MacBook used about 6 months ago off of Amazon cheap and the port was a little loose. Because Apple has to replace the bottom, the port (including the headphone jack - which was also little loose) was tight again after the service. A bonus getting the service done.

I was hoping that Apple might redo the thermal paste while they had to take apart the unit...but I seriously doubt they would do that as a favor.

After now 8 years, the CPU still runs really cool (to my surprise), so MAYBE the one (or company) that sold it to me may have re-done the thermal paste. I bought it reconditioned. The keyboard, looked like it was replaced during the recall, for it look new without wear. I got lucky (or blessed) when I bought it on Amazon as I have heard horror stories about used MacBooks (2015-2017) bought on eBay and Amazon..it SEEM in great shape. The Genius at the Apple store who helped me was surprised at the condition of my MacBook 2015.

So far (the first day back today), it is running good, CPU cool and when I checked with a battery app, the battery (to my surprise) stated it was on its first cycle (I think Apple may be able to reset it...regardless), but....the app(s) test stated that the battery was made October 15th 2022! less than six month ago! So it is considered a New Battery! The two battery apps I used said that my older battery was made in 2016 March (8 years old), so it looks like I scored!

For me...I am happy with paying for the battery replacement. For those who might NOW decide to get a battery service, you have to be aware that the price went up at least $50-$100 U.S. last week. I am working out of the U.S. now on business and got it done outside the U.S., but checked the current price during pick-up... it now costs an extra $170 (approx. U.S.).

Before taking it in, I went to an Apple Service Center and had a bad time trying to get the battery replaced. I contacted Apple and they said that service centers cannot do this kind of battery replacement (glued). They said come into an Apple store and we will check it, and if they have a battery. You have to bring MacBook 2015 in for Apple to check before they will let you know "if" they have a battery for it.


Conclusion:

If you are interested in keeping this little underpowered gem, then take it into an Apple store and have them price out the battery service. After hearing the cost, make the decision.
 
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MacPoulet

macrumors 6502a
Dec 11, 2012
540
364
Canada
I'm on the fence of what I should do with my 2017 MacBook. I bought it in Jan 2019, and the battery is now at 75% health and doesn't last long with only 400 cycles. A battery replacement is $250CDN, and I'd have to send it in as we don't have any Apple stores within a 2-hour drive.
 

lixuelai

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
956
321
I'm on the fence of what I should do with my 2017 MacBook. I bought it in Jan 2019, and the battery is now at 75% health and doesn't last long with only 400 cycles. A battery replacement is $250CDN, and I'd have to send it in as we don't have any Apple stores within a 2-hour drive.

Its actually pretty easy to replace the battery yourself on the MB12 . There aren't that many parts.

Also on the topic of giving the MB12 another life. After using it again for a bit I forgot how good the speakers are on this. The MB12 is probably the only ultraportable at this size with good sound.
 
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MacPoulet

macrumors 6502a
Dec 11, 2012
540
364
Canada
Its actually pretty easy to replace the battery yourself on the MB12 . There aren't that many parts.

Also on the topic of giving the MB12 another life. After using it again for a bit I forgot how good the speakers are on this. The MB12 is probably the only ultraportable at this size with good sound.
According to iFixit, it's a 3 hour job which is a little crazy for a battery replacement. They have it listed as a difficult procedure...
 
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lixuelai

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2008
956
321
According to iFixit, it's a 3 hour job which is a little crazy for a battery replacement. They have it listed as a difficult procedure...

The iFixit estimate is conservative. It took me less than an hour. I also replaced the battery on an old iPhone X and I found that to be more nerve-wracking due to the glued screen. The annoying part was detaching all the zif connectors but its more tedious than difficult.

Can be done even faster if I didn't remove the system board. I chose to remove it as I only had a hairdryer for battery removal and was afraid of damaging the board. Likely wouldn't have made any difference as I found that there was a piece of thermal insulation between the board and the bottom of the case.
 
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transphasic

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2012
258
105
They were good machines when they were brand new, but was hindered heavily by the Core M chip, butterfly keyboard and single USB-C port for everything.
I just bit the bullet and spent the $249 to replace the battery on my newly received 2017/2018 macbook 12". Got it from a family member, and it works fine on safari, mail, etc., any basic tasks I've thrown at it.

This is the last version of an apple ultrabook, and when used for travel and such, is unbeatable - it weight significantly than a current macbook air.
 
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theMarble

macrumors 6502a
Sep 27, 2020
947
1,266
Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
Can't fathom why Apple does not make another laptop of this size.
They definitely can make it but it would need to be significantly redesigned.

The butterfly keyboard is one of the biggest ways that Apple cut down on the thickness, but we all know how that design turned out. Also, a single USB-C port was (and still is) simply unacceptable. At least make it Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4 so that you can hook up a dock like TS4, and MagSafe needs to be included as well, especially given that it will end up being the premium ultrabook in the lineup.

If they were to use the modern design language, then they would probably end up adding a notch, but I worry that a notch on a 12" screen may be too big.
 

GMShadow

macrumors 68000
Jun 8, 2021
1,805
7,405
Holding up so far, having used it on two long trips. Can't fathom why Apple does not make another laptop of this size.

It's rumored they've kicked it around, but the 12" didn't sell all that well last time, and they apparently decided the 15" Air was worth prioritizing over a new 12".
 

loby

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2010
1,808
1,422
It's rumored they've kicked it around, but the 12" didn't sell all that well last time, and they apparently decided the 15" Air was worth prioritizing over a new 12".
The cause of low sales may have been because of one port and very underpowered, including getting too expensive JUST for portability and “Looks”.

Butterfly keyboard..depends on the person and typing style. Have two butterfly laptops (2015 & 2018 models) with no issues…

As far as design…beautiful, light, easy to carry. Ivy did a wonderful job with it’s “looks”, but very weak insides.

But…the design concept inside was good..everything on a single small board and the rest battery. Nightmare to fix, but overall concept was good.

Why sales were low (probably):

1. Main reason: price high compared to what you got - only good for internet and Office/iWorks. Too expensive for just that.

2. Underpowered and just one port. You cannot run a projector or non-Apple monitor all day with an adapter.

Logic board is so weak that you cannot have power going into the adapter while using HDMI out- have to use exclusively on laptop battery: bad for concept/usage for a portable.

One port…ok if it is thunderbolt 3 or 4 and include MagSafe on the other side.

3. And the nail in the coffin (mileage varies): the butterfly keyboard. I personally don’t mind it, but can’t type all day on it - hands get tired.

As far as the “notch”. - just put better camera in it and call it a day. The one currently in the old models is just “ok”. Put the camera that is in my MacBook Pro 2018 with no notch and that is plenty good enough.

“if” Apple put a “M” class chip in it with a few touch-ups on design (non-butterfly keyboard)…my dream laptop!
 
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JiggyJaggy

macrumors 6502
Sep 17, 2020
337
250
Defo agree that if they put an M1 chip in it, then it would be the perfect travel Mac. The keyboard doesn't bother me too much, I don't do too much typing on it, more surfing thee web and reading emails. If I want to do proper work I grab my M1 Air.
 

MiamiBeach

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2020
254
154
The cause of low sales may have been because of one port and very underpowered, including getting too expensive JUST for portability and “Looks”.

Butterfly keyboard..depends on the person and typing style. Have two butterfly laptops (2015 & 2018 models) with no issues…

As far as design…beautiful, light, easy to carry. Ivy did a wonderful job with it’s “looks”, but very weak insides.

But…the design concept inside was good..everything on a single small board and the rest battery. Nightmare to fix, but overall concept was good.

Why sales were low (probably):

1. Main reason: price high compared to what you got - only good for internet and Office/iWorks. Too expensive for just that.

2. Underpowered and just one port. You cannot run a projector or non-Apple monitor all day with an adapter.

Logic board is so weak that you cannot have power going into the adapter while using HDMI out- have to use exclusively on laptop battery: bad for concept/usage for a portable.

One port…ok if it is thunderbolt 3 or 4 and include MagSafe on the other side.

3. And the nail in the coffin (mileage varies): the butterfly keyboard. I personally don’t mind it, but can’t type all day on it - hands get tired.

As far as the “notch”. - just put better camera in it and call it a day. The one currently in the old models is just “ok”. Put the camera that is in my MacBook Pro 2018 with no notch and that is plenty good enough.

“if” Apple put a “M” class chip in it with a few touch-ups on design (non-butterfly keyboard)…my dream laptop!

I haven’t had any issues with using HDMI out with the adapter while plugged in. I had this set up on both the 2015 and 2017 with no problems whatsoever. Are you using the original Apple Adapter with the 29w/30w USB C power supply?
 

loby

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2010
1,808
1,422
I haven’t had any issues with using HDMI out with the adapter while plugged in. I had this set up on both the 2015 and 2017 with no problems whatsoever. Are you using the original Apple Adapter with the 29w/30w USB C power supply?
I am using the 30w power adapter currently sold (not the original 29w). Also, second generation Apple HDMI adapter. If I remember correctly, the second one allows 60MHz 4K while the first one 30w only. Maybe the original sold adapter works…

What model number does your adapter say? Really small print on the adapter.

Interesting, I talked with Apple and they told me that the adapter will not work with power attached on the 2015 MacBook when I inquired.

It works with yours?!?
 
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