Resolved MBA Mid-2012 not booting, flashing folder instead

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by netsped, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. netsped, Jul 27, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013

    netsped macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    UPDATE 08/06/13

    I managed to send an email to Tim Cook's email address and was contacted by an Apple Executive Relations guy last Tuesday. He told me that Apple was going to make an exception this one time and to give him some time to coordinate with the Apple Authorized Reseller and Service Provider here in my country.

    He called back the next day (Wednesday) in the afternoon and told me to bring it in anytime. I took it in on Thursday morning.

    So, yesterday afternoon (Monday) I received a call from the technician to let me know that my MBA was ready. I picked it up like half an hour later.

    Everything is working fine now. I feel so grateful to Apple right now, I really doubt that another company would've done the same thing.

    Now, I don't know if I should keep this MBA or sell it and buy a new one. If I buy a new one it would have the 1 year warranty and I most definitely would end buying Applecare before it runs out.

    If I keep this one I would have to take my chances and if anything else fails I would have to repair it from my own pocket.

    They gave me a 3 months warranty on the SSD though, the screen is also 3 months old. Everything is working flawlessly and I know that Apple computers are built to last.

    I guess I really have to think this thoroughly, I was planning on selling this one and buying the new and redesigned (I hope) MBA in mid-2014. If I sell this one and buy a mid-2013 I would have to wait until sometime in 2015 to replace it again.

    I guess I'll take my time on this decision.

    Thanks everyone, and long live Apple :D


    Today I used my MBA as any other day, I finished what I was doing in PS and went on the Internet to check some news.

    I used PS like for 3 hours or so without any problems, but like 15 minutes after I started surfing the net my MBA freezed and became unresponsive. I waited a couple of minutes but nothing changed so I decided to force the shutdown by keeping the power button pressed

    Immediately, I proceeded to start it up again only to realize that it booted to a flashing folder with a question mark.

    I freaked out. As a side note, I bought the computer exactly one year and 2 days ago, on July 25th of 2012. I also spent the last few days trying to decide on buying AppleCare but at the end I didn't bought it. Freaks out even more.

    So, I went to search what the flashing folder meant and found and article about Internet Recovery. Immediately did that and after half an hour the screen that appears when installing Mac OS appeared and I was able to get into Disk Utility.

    Only to freak out more, the SSD drive was nowhere to be found. The only thing that appeared on the left sidebar of Disk Utility was the image that the IR downloaded.

    So, here I am. With a dead MBA just 2 days after the warranty expired.

    I don't care about the files, I have a backup.

    What else can I do?

    Did the SSD died?

    I live in a country with no Apple Stores, only Authorized Resellers that are authorized to do repairs. I'm planning on bringing my MBA to one first thing Monday morning.

    I found other threads where Apple has done some repairs for free even after the warranty expired. Found one that happened 1 month after and another within 2 weeks.

    What are my chances? Considering that I have to deal with an AUthorized Reseller and not directly with Apple.

    Does anyone know if I can call some number from my country (Central America) and explain what happened directly to Apple so they can contact the reseller.

    I didn't found any number to call from outside the US.

    I'm really regretting not buying AppleCare for $250, just to imagine what a new SSD may cost :eek:

    And just for the sake of it, a couple months ago they replaced my screen because of a bright spot.

    Thanks for any tips or comments, sorry the post got so long.
  2. mayuka macrumors 6502a


    Feb 15, 2009
    You can get a new SSD from OWC for that amount of money! :cool: Be sure to pick the right model for the 2012 MBA. It really seems that the SSD died. Perform an Apple Hardware Test by pressing "D" or Option-D during the startup and see what happens.
  3. M5RahuL macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2009
    seems like something corrupted OS X ad rendered it un-bootable.

    Perform a Hardware Test [ Option + D ] on startup and see if any issues exist.

    Can you get into Recovery [ Command + R ] right after hitting the power button to boot up? If not, try holding down the OPTION key after pressing the power on button, go into recovery, and re-install OS X. This will not erase your settings and data unless the SSD is wiped out already.

    I've seen that folder with a question mark in the center when OS X is deleted and there is no OS to boot in to.

    I hope you backed up your data!

    If nothing works [ although I really think Command + R should work ] call Apple, and plead your case. Since you don't have any physical Apple store around you, and it's been barely out of warranty, Apple *may* [ depending on the rep you get, try more than once in case... ] agree to help you out with any hardware issues at no charge. I've experienced it, so it's isn't hearsay.

    Finally, you should have bought AC ! The MBA and rMBP aren't user serviceable really. Oh well, if you get a decent [ helpful and sympathetic rep ] you still might be able to add AC to your MBA. The chances are slim, but it's def. possible!

    Goodluck and hope your computer gets fixed no charge :)
  4. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    Yes, I think that if I'm going to need to spend some money I would've preferred to spend it on AppleCare. Just for the peace of mind. But if my SSD really died and Apple won't fix it for free or let me add AppleCare now, I think I might have to buy one from them.

    I'm doing the Hardware Test as I write this post, selected the extended testing so it might take a while. Will post back with the results. Thanks.


    That's what I thought in first place, until I noticed in Disk Utility that the SSD was missing from the list.

    I'm doing the Hardware Test now, I can boot into Internet Recovery. When I press alt when booting, I get to a screen with only the Internet Recovery option.

    It really seems like the SSD is dead. The computer can't find it anywhere.

    I will let the hardware test finish and see from there what are my options.

    Do you think I can call Apple from my country, where there are no official Apple Stores, and they will help me or will they contact the Authorized Reseller?

    Language is not a problem, I'm worried that I'll have to deal with the reseller directly and I don't know if they have the same client service standards that apple has.

    Will post back with the hardware test results. Thanks.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If Apple does not come through for you, there is another option that might save you some money. A lot of people buy say the 128GB SSD version of the Air, then upgrade to larger drives from OWC mentioned earlier. Then they sell their old 128GB drive, for example, on eBay. I just search US eBay and I see a few on there. Might be cheaper than paying for a new SSD.
  6. mayuka macrumors 6502a


    Feb 15, 2009
    I do not recall whether it was the 2010 or the 2011, on some model the SSD could simply slide a little out of the slot. On later models Apple did additionally fasten it with a screw. It could be worth trying to open the MBA, removing the SSD and re-attaching it, though.

    Sometimes the Apple Service is generous. It's worth a try also to call them.
  7. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    So, the hardware test finished with a No Problem Found result.

    I was staring at the screen the whole time and I noticed that it started checking de memory and after a few minutes it checked the main (mother)board and the fan spinned a little and the result appeared.

    Did it had to check the SSD to?

    I managed to restore the latest Time Machine backup into a partition in my USB3 external hard drive and managed to boot from it.

    I quickly went to the About this Mac section and into the System Profiler and then to the Serial-ATA section just to find this...


    And in Disk Utility all I see is the external hard drive...


    So what do you guys think? Should I really start accepting the idea that the SSD died?

    Basically I'm now in Apple's hands. I'll be taking it to the Authorized Reseller first thing tomorrow morning and see what happens.

    If they are unable to help me, will I be able to call Apple Support from my country and actually talk to someone that will help me?


    Attached Files:

  8. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

    May 4, 2012
  9. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    Then I might be the guy with the worst luck on the entire planet. Hopefully, Apple will help me considering that this happened 2 days after the warranty expired.

    It's like someone somewhere found out that I didn't bought AppleCare and pushed a button to make my beloved (and main work machine) useless.

    I'm now trying to restore the same time machine backup into a SD card to see if I can use it as I find a solution with Apple.

  10. cookie709 macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2011

    This is a crazy coincidence, but I had the exact same problem just two days ago. Have a 2012 MBA 13" 128gb just out of warranty that had same symptoms.

    Luckily my country (Australia) has very strong consumer protections, Apple diagnosed a definite SSD failure and possible board corruption" and have agreed to repair under warranty.

    Good luck getting yours sorted!
  11. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    Wow, mine is also a 2012 13" 128gb MBA. It also happened 2 days ago, 2 days after the warranty expired.

    Could it be that Apple really unplugged the iKeepyouworking cord on us :p

    I'm taking mine today in a couple of hours. Thanks everyone for your posts, I'll post back to let you know what they said.
  12. Mr Rabbit, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    Definitely call AppleCare's number for your country - AppleCare contact numbers for each country

    They don't have to cover your repair BUT I've never heard of someone reasonably being turned away by AppleCare for being a few days (1-7 days) outside of their warranty period. Just call, explain that your Mac's hard drive / solid state drive appears to have failed and your Mac's warranty literally ended just a few days ago. If you are patient but persistent they will more than likely issue a CS code to cover the repair, which should be available to whichever Apple Authorized Service Provider you choose to take your Mac to for repair. They may also give you the option to purchase AppleCare and have it attached to your Mac, if so I would jump on that.

    If you call and are a jerk to the support people then they may dig in and so "no warranty no service" but at least 90% of the time they will be understanding if you treat them with the same respect and kindness that you would like to be treated with.

    I do agree that it sounds like either your SSD or your logic board has failed, hopefully AppleCare agrees and offers to make an exception for your situation. Best of luck!


    Haha, no... Just the internet effect. Technicians hate when customers hit the internet with their problems. If you search for anything ("My MacBook's Q and L keys both caught on fire when I inserted a DVD") you will almost certainly find someone else with the "same" issue. Now the customer feels as though "Well OTHERS have the same problem, it must be a big deal" even though it's like 10 cases out of 50,000 Macs sold. Don't get me wrong, there are occasional widespread issues (serious ones, not slight color variances in LCDs and whatnot) but those are often quick to be addressed by Apple with REPs (Repair Extension Programs) or public facing statements.

    Food for thought too, at work I've deployed roughly 40-50 mid-2012 MacBook Airs, the majority of which have 128GB drives. I'm THE Mac guy at work, all Apple related problems make their way to me pretty quickly since I'm in charge of them. This is the first I've heard of any SSD failures in this particular generation. Similar to Antenna Gate (the "You're holding it wrong" reception problem in iPhone 4) when I worked at the Genius Bar. We had maybe 5 customers bring the phone in for that issue in the first month or so of it's release even though blogs, message boards, etc all painted it out to be a devastating flaw that rendered all iPhones useless.
  13. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    So, today I went to the Authorized Reseller that sold me the MBA in first place. They are supposedly the best in terms of sales and support.

    They said that they couldn't help me. :mad:

    Basically, they said that I was out of luck and that I really should've bought AppleCare before the one year warranty expired.

    They gave me a quote for the repair. For the same exact part number, they are asking that I pay US$1,200 plus US$40 for the installation.

    But if I want a slower :confused: SSD, they asked US$810 plus US$40 for the installation.

    They are really out of their minds. Just as a parentheses, when I bought my MBA last year it costed me US$1,625 (it is the entry level MBA) (and yes, that much is what we have to pay to have Apple products outside of the US).

    So, I came back way more frustrated... I decided to call Apple's support number (1-800-275-2273) and because I am outside of the US they just pointed me that I should adhere to whatever the Authorized Service Provider says.

    I guess they can tell the number one is calling from.

    So I asked my cousin, who happens to live in the US, to please call the same number and she explained everything to the person that answered the call.

    After a long wait, he said that he couldn't do anything to help and that he could've done something if the call was made yesterday.

    He said that they have a 3 days exception and that they could sell AppleCare outside of the 1 year warranty only within those first 3 days after the day the 1 year warranty expires.

    So here I am, with a dead MBA 4 days after the warranty expired and it seems that the only solution will be to buy a new one.

    Do you think that we should try to call again?

    I really can't believe that Apple is refusing to help me in any way. I'm even willing to pay full price for AppleCare.

    I think I should get my mind in something else for today. I'm really disappointed.


    That's the solution I wish Apple gives me. It's been literally 4 days since the warranty expired.

    I don't see why they can't help. In the calls we did, we were kind and respectful.

    I bet that if I was in the US and could take it to an Apple Store, they would already be fixing it.


    So true...

    And the worst part is that I didn't saw it coming. There were no slowdowns, or freezes or anything that could indicate that something was wrong. It just happened, and in the worst time possible. Why not 3 days before!!!

    According to the place were I took it this morning, they have replaced 2 o 3 that are still in warranty buy not one out of warranty.
  14. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    So now here's the thing... I managed to take a photo of the results the ASD tool gave.


    The hard drive failed because it didn't detected any hard drive.

    The battery and charger results appeared with a warning sign because the power connector was not connected during the test.

    The question is, do you think that the problem is ONLY the SSD drive?

    If Apple doesn't help me, I'm not going to pay what the Reseller wants.

    I might buy one SSD from eBay or even the Aura Pro from OWC.

    But I don't want to buy it only to realize that theres something wrong with the SSD connector and that's why it doesn't work.

    By the way, I'm using the MBA from an external hard drive without any problems... so I think that it must ONLY be the SSD.

    What do you guys think?

    Attached Files:

  15. mayuka macrumors 6502a


    Feb 15, 2009
    Try to call Apple directly again and ask whether it is possible to still buy Apple Care.

    If not, just buy one of those OWC drives for the 2012 model. They also have great installation movies on youtube. It's easy and done in 5 minutes. ...and definitely cheaper than 800$. :eek::) That's a rip-off. Nothing else. For that amount of money you can get a whole 2012 MBA from ebay with even a larger SSD.
  16. kodeman53, Jul 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013

    kodeman53 macrumors 65816

    May 4, 2012
    Apple gives you up to a year, a year + 3 days, to buy AppleCare. Your situation is 4 days. The next person is 5 days. The next, 6 days. Where does it stop?

    AppleCare is insurance. You buy insurance before you need it, not after. Buying insurance after you need it is not insurance, it's welfare.
  17. Mr Rabbit, Jul 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013

    Mr Rabbit macrumors 6502a

    Mr Rabbit

    May 13, 2013
    AppleCare is a warranty, there is a big difference. AppleCare+ has some benefits that are along the same lines of insurance but it is still classified as a warranty. Rather than dive into it here you could google "warranty vs insurance", there usually aren't many tech related results but the ideas are the same across most industries.

    I'm being pedantic but that's AST (Apple Service Toolkit), a bit different than ASD (Apple Service Diagnostic). The good thing is that DOES show a hardware failure and the results of those test are available to any technician who checks your serial number in Apple's service systems.

    I would send an email Tim Cook,, and explain your situation. You bought this great product but sadly failed to buy AppleCare in time, adding insult to injury you are now 4 days outside of your warranty with a failed SSD, which is proving to be a very costly (almost cost of the machine) repair and that so far AppleCare has been quite unhelpful in this situation.. Tim more than likely won't read it but I wouldn't be surprised if you got a call or email from Apple's customer relations with either an apology or an offer to make things right.

    Seriously, I wouldn't accept "tough luck" on this at all. I would continue calling AppleCare or emailing until some sort of resolution was found. Ask to speak to supervisors, ask to speak to customer relations, etc. Mention that when this failure occurred you were only two days outside of the 1 year warranty. The only compromise I would make is buying AppleCare in order to have the machine repaired, which is fair.
  18. monokitty macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
  19. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    Will try to call again today, I read somewhere that I might get somewhere if I ask to talk directly with Customer Relations. I have nothing to lose.


    Believe me, I know how warranties work. I have had numerous electronics through my life and quite a few Apple products since early 2006.

    I think that what I'm looking for is quite reasonable, considering that my MBA suffered a serious problem that render it useless just 2 days after the warranty expired.

    I think the key is that it happened 2 days after the warranty expired. I wouldn't be here trying to get some help from Apple if the problem would have happened 6 months, 1 month, 2 weeks or even a week after the warranty expired. I think 2 days for a serious problem is quite reasonable.
  20. M5RahuL macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2009
    Like Mr Rabbit said, email the executive office and you're guaranteed to hear [ usually phone ] from one of the CSRs from the head-office.

    Be as detailed in your email as possible, and give them all possible options to contact you...i.e. email ; cell phone ; home phone ; work phone etc...

    There will be a resolution in your favor, just be professional and persistent :)
  21. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008
    Thanks for the correction. Actually, I read on some other threads about sending an email to Tim Cook and I sent him one last night.

    I absolutely don't expect that he will read it, but I have high hopes that someone will and that I'll be contacted by someone at Apple that actually could help me.

    As I said in a previous post, I'll be calling today and ask to talk directly with Customer Relations. I also don't want to accept a "tough luck" answer at all.

    Hopefully, I'll get the help that I know Apple is known for. I'm more that willing to buy AppleCare right now if doing that will get my MBA fixed.


    Thank you, I sent an email yesterday night to I concisely explained the situation. Hope to hear from them soon.
  22. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68030

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    Posts like yours is why I bought AppleCare for my 2012 MBA last month. It was one day after my one year warranty expired so I had to get "clearance" to buy it. Hopefully they'll sort you out. have my fingers crossed for you.
  23. netsped thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 8, 2008

    I received a call from Apple Executive Relations, they are going to give me an exception and repair my Macbook Air as if it was still under warranty.

    The warranty period will not be extended in any way nor will I be able to buy AppleCare... but I'm satisfied with the solution they offered.

    I just have to wait one day so they can talk with the Authorized Service Provider and then they'll call me back so I can take it in.

    I knew that Apple's well known customer service was there to help me. And trust me, I've learned the lesson. BUY APPLECARE :apple:

    I'll let you know guys when I get it back, hopefully no more than a 5 or 10 working days.

    Thanks for all your comments.
  24. M5RahuL macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2009
    That's awesome news. Though it would've been even better if they offered AC instead, but this is great for you nonetheless!

    Goodluck bud and I'm glad things worked in your favor! :D
  25. mayuka macrumors 6502a


    Feb 15, 2009

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