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AppleHaterLover

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 15, 2018
2,048
2,051
My 2017 base 13" MBP, purchased in June 2018, is with Apple for its third keyboard replacement. First one was in February 2020, but that repair ruined the speaker, so they replaced it again. I got it back from Apple in March 2020 just before the first lockdown (remember that?).

I barely use my laptop and it had under 200 cycles, it was almost brand new. Now the space bar was acting up so back to Apple it went. Fortunately they had the part in stock.

My fear is - what is going to happen when the 4 years are over? Am I going to be left with an unusable laptop that is brand new again? Does anyone know whether Apple is honoring the program for laptops that are over 4 years old?

I think it's kinda sad that the only solution would be offloading my (once again, BRAND NEW) laptop onto some unsuspecting Craigslister and then giving $1300 to Apple for a new Mac. I feel like an idiot.
 

russell_314

macrumors 603
Feb 10, 2019
6,086
9,055
USA
My 2017 base 13" MBP, purchased in June 2018, is with Apple for its third keyboard replacement. First one was in February 2020, but that repair ruined the speaker, so they replaced it again. I got it back from Apple in March 2020 just before the first lockdown (remember that?).

I barely use my laptop and it had under 200 cycles, it was almost brand new. Now the space bar was acting up so back to Apple it went. Fortunately they had the part in stock.

My fear is - what is going to happen when the 4 years are over? Am I going to be left with an unusable laptop that is brand new again? Does anyone know whether Apple is honoring the program for laptops that are over 4 years old?

I think it's kinda sad that the only solution would be offloading my (once again, BRAND NEW) laptop onto some unsuspecting Craigslister and then giving $1300 to Apple for a new Mac. I feel like an idiot.
You keep saying brand new but this thing is a 2017 model from 2018. I don’t think you understand the definition of brand new. If I buy a car and only drive it to the store and back for 5 years it’s still not brand new. Maybe in “like new condition”.

For older Macs that aren’t covered under warranty the best option is find a third-party repair place. Parts are commonly available for these older MacBooks. While it’s still under warranty don’t have any mess with it because that will cause you problems.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
My 2017 base 13" MBP, purchased in June 2018, is with Apple for its third keyboard replacement. First one was in February 2020, but that repair ruined the speaker, so they replaced it again. I got it back from Apple in March 2020 just before the first lockdown (remember that?).

I barely use my laptop and it had under 200 cycles, it was almost brand new. Now the space bar was acting up so back to Apple it went. Fortunately they had the part in stock.

My fear is - what is going to happen when the 4 years are over? Am I going to be left with an unusable laptop that is brand new again? Does anyone know whether Apple is honoring the program for laptops that are over 4 years old?

I think it's kinda sad that the only solution would be offloading my (once again, BRAND NEW) laptop onto some unsuspecting Craigslister and then giving $1300 to Apple for a new Mac. I feel like an idiot.
I assume this is about the butterfly keyboard problem.
After 4 years, you will be charged whatever the repair cost would've been.
If I were you, I would be looking to upgrade the laptop to a new model without the butterfly keyboard while the keyboard on your laptop is still in working order. It's a ticking time bomb. Apple knew it, and they dropped the butterfly keyboard. But only offering 4 years of service for their own faulty design is just poor customer experience.

Do note your laptop is not "brand new." You bought it in 2018, and have used it. It's not brand new. And trying to lure unsuspecting Craiglister is really not a good ethics imo. Why would you want another person to suffer the problems you are having?
 

JPack

macrumors G5
Mar 27, 2017
12,851
24,307
I barely use my laptop and it had under 200 cycles, it was almost brand new. Now the space bar was acting up so back to Apple it went. Fortunately they had the part in stock.

I don't know anybody who uses cycles to determine the age of a notebook. I sold a well used three year old MBP with only 30 cycles because it was plugged in all the time.

Once eligibility for the service program ends, you pay for the repairs.
 

AppleHaterLover

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jun 15, 2018
2,048
2,051
I don't know anybody who uses cycles to determine the age of a notebook. I sold a well used three year old MBP with only 30 cycles because it was plugged in all the time.

Once eligibility for the service program ends, you pay for the repairs.
I should note that since they botched the first repair, they offered to replace all other external parts (both speakers + the entire screen assembly + bottom case) in addition to the top case for free. Barely anything is left of the one I originally bought, maybe only the logic board. It's a Frankenmac.

I of course agree it's not actually close to brand new, but it boggles my mind how such a lightly used laptop that doesn't even leave my apartment (I use a Dell for work) can just break for no reason.

I myself wouldn't buy one of these used and I know its resale value reflects that (barely $500 as far as I'm aware). I assume a buyer would do their diligence before buying a MacBook of this vintage.

*****

I think Apple really does not care about us non-power users. My Mac is mostly a Netflix machine and I don't need an M1, so there is no reason for me to get a new Mac after just 4 years, an M1 Pro would make no difference to me. At this point (3 top case replacements), Apple must be deep in the red with the laptop they sold me, all in the name of this stupid design.

When I was at the Genius Bar, there was this dude with a 2015 MBP who had paid for a top case replacement due to a swollen battery in 2019 and now had the exact same issue and they quoted him another $700 to do the repair again. The guy was almost crying, he was a student and did not expect his computer to explode again. Maybe their philosophy is "can't afford one, don't buy it".
 
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pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,988
14,462
New Hampshire
Apple has bad years for various products and it can just be bad luck if you get one of them. I had to replace batteries on 2 MacBook Pros and I'm fine with it as I have backup laptops. I could sell one or both and would not recoup my battery/top case replacement but I have peace of mind with a solid backup and spare laptop. I find that I get about ten years out of MacBooks and have no regrets buying them.
 
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ouimetnick

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2008
3,552
6,345
Beverly, Massachusetts
After 4 years, you're screwed. Realistically, a keyboard shouldn't fail. I've never had a windows or Mac keyboard fail. Apple should ideally warranty the keyboard on these affected machines for 7 years after discontinuation (until they hit obsolete status since a keyboard failing due to poor Jony Ive design is a design flaw, not a defect). The 2016-2021 Touch Bar MBP is a low point in engineering QA for Apple. If it's not a butterfly keyboard, it's a shoddy display ribbon cable. Even folks with newer longer display cables have had issues. If it isn't those, it's thermal issues on the 16" MBP. Best to either buy a 2015 unit with the real ports on it, or a new 2021 14 or 16" with M1 Pro/Max. Even then we don't know how well built those newer machines are. They still use a ribbon flex cable for the display compared to the older style copper cable going through the hinge like 2015 and older MacBook models do. Best to sell it while you can.

I might pick up a 13 or 16" model for my dad since it sits at a desk and won't be opened or closed so there won't be wear put on the flex cable. Just need to make sure its 2020 MBP 13" or 16" with Magic keyboard.
 

pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,988
14,462
New Hampshire
After 4 years, you're screwed. The 2016-2021 Touch Bar MBP is a low point in engineering QA for Apple. If it's not a butterfly keyboard, it's a shoddy display ribbon cable. Even folks with newer longer display cables have had issues. If it isn't those, it's thermal issues on the 16" MBP. Best to either buy a 2015 unit with the real ports on it, or a new 2021 14 or 16" with M1 Pro/Max. Even then we don't know how well built those newer machines are. They still use a ribbon flex cable for the display compared to the older style copper cable going through the hinge like 2015 and older MacBook models do. Best to sell it while you can.

I might pick up a 13 or 16" model for my dad since it sits at a desk and won't be opened or closed so there won't be wear put on the flex cable. Just need to make sure its 2020 MBP 13" or 16" with Magic keyboard.

Something that I've noticed are videos on buying MBPs, taking off the screen and using them as a desktop. It seems crazy to me but it's a way to get some use out of them if you have flexgate. I avoided the whole thing by just hanging onto my 2015 until the 2021s came out.
 

ouimetnick

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2008
3,552
6,345
Beverly, Massachusetts
Something that I've noticed are videos on buying MBPs, taking off the screen and using them as a desktop. It seems crazy to me but it's a way to get some use out of them if you have flexgate. I avoided the whole thing by just hanging onto my 2015 until the 2021s came out.
Same. Typing this on a Mid 2014 MBP with real ports, and have a 2021 14" M1 Max MBP at home. That newer MBP still uses a similar flex ribbon cable for the display, so hopefully these units don't fail 2-5 years down the road. Going to be pissed if my $3800 machine's display fails in 3-5 years. As of now, I don't close it to put it to sleep. Just click on the Apple logo or use a hot corner.

Meanwhile my 2014 MBP reached obsolete status today and the display & keyboard work great.
 

pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,988
14,462
New Hampshire
Same. Typing this on a Mid 2014 MBP with real ports, and have a 2021 14" M1 Max MBP at home. That newer MBP still uses a similar flex ribbon cable for the display, so hopefully these units don't fail 2-5 years down the road. Going to be pissed if my $3800 machine's display fails in 3-5 years. As of now, I don't close it to put it to sleep. Just click on the Apple logo or use a hot corner.

Meanwhile my 2014 MBP reached obsolete status today and the display & keyboard work great.

I have a 2014 as well but it's loaned out to my son as a backup (for the past year I think). Apple did a pretty impressive job on the 2021 in all of the noticeable areas; I'm assuming that they did the same with the display cable as well given the number of complaints, threats of class-action lawsuits, etc.
 

now i see it

macrumors G4
Jan 2, 2002
10,818
22,827
Selling it to an unsuspecting Craigslister makes you worse than Apple. Think about that.

Accept defeat that you purchased a lemon and after 4 years you’re screwed.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
I should note that since they botched the first repair, they offered to replace all other external parts (both speakers + the entire screen assembly + bottom case) in addition to the top case for free. Barely anything is left of the one I originally bought, maybe only the logic board. It's a Frankenmac.

I of course agree it's not actually close to brand new, but it boggles my mind how such a lightly used laptop that doesn't even leave my apartment (I use a Dell for work) can just break for no reason.

I myself wouldn't buy one of these used and I know its resale value reflects that (barely $500 as far as I'm aware). I assume a buyer would do their diligence before buying a MacBook of this vintage.

*****

I think Apple really does not care about us non-power users. My Mac is mostly a Netflix machine and I don't need an M1, so there is no reason for me to get a new Mac after just 4 years, an M1 Pro would make no difference to me. At this point (3 top case replacements), Apple must be deep in the red with the laptop they sold me, all in the name of this stupid design.

When I was at the Genius Bar, there was this dude with a 2015 MBP who had paid for a top case replacement due to a swollen battery in 2019 and now had the exact same issue and they quoted him another $700 to do the repair again. The guy was almost crying, he was a student and did not expect his computer to explode again. Maybe their philosophy is "can't afford one, don't buy it".
This defect has nothing to do with how you use the laptop. It's a design flaw.

Again, I would trade-in that Macbook ASAP while the keyboard is still in working order. Whether you need the M1 or not is irrelevant, but M1 is what Apple offers now so that is what you will get.

Apple does not care for their users who don't have AppleCare. That's the fact of today's Apple. Not saying others are better, but it's the reality and one now should take into account the cost of Applecare into their budget whenever they buy Apple products.
 

Macdctr

macrumors 65816
Nov 25, 2009
1,007
718
Ocean State
You shouldn't have to worry about a laptop that is older than 4 years old just for warranty work. I'm using an Early 2015 MBP 13 inch that I just restored/rebuilt using parts I sourced from eBay. With iFixit repair guides it is very easy to rebuild the laptop yourself if need be I spent about $300 on everything, including the price of this laptop ($150) and was able to restore this back to a fully functioning laptop. I don't worry about warranty because I can fix my own laptop when needed. Just pick the laptop you want to use and if anything breaks, go to iFixit and look over their guides... if you know what to get you can easily source parts for the laptop on eBay.
 

pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,988
14,462
New Hampshire
You shouldn't have to worry about a laptop that is older than 4 years old just for warranty work. I'm using an Early 2015 MBP 13 inch that I just restored/rebuilt using parts I sourced from eBay. With iFixit repair guides it is very easy to rebuild the laptop yourself if need be I spent about $300 on everything, including the price of this laptop ($150) and was able to restore this back to a fully functioning laptop. I don't worry about warranty because I can fix my own laptop when needed. Just pick the laptop you want to use and if anything breaks, go to iFixit and look over their guides... if you know what to get you can easily source parts for the laptop on eBay.

I think that this is a lot easier with the Retina generation. When I buy off Craigslist, I expect a problem or two and price my offer accordingly. The last system I bought didn't boot and the seller priced it accordingly.
 

Macdctr

macrumors 65816
Nov 25, 2009
1,007
718
Ocean State
I think that this is a lot easier with the Retina generation. When I buy off Craigslist, I expect a problem or two and price my offer accordingly. The last system I bought didn't boot and the seller priced it accordingly.
I resorted to eBay buying parts/repair laptops because pricing for just the Retina display assembly was like $400 alone. Getting the complete "broken" laptop where it does not power up seemed a better choice when you can source one of those for around $150 if you time it right... then you have extra parts such as screws and such so to me this is the way to go if you know what you're looking for . . . .
 
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pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,988
14,462
New Hampshire
I resorted to eBay buying parts/repair laptops because pricing for just the Retina display assembly was like $400 alone. Getting the complete "broken" laptop where it does not power up seemed a better choice when you can source one of those for around $150 if you time it right... then you have extra parts such as screws and such so to me this is the way to go if you know what you're looking for . . . .

Luke Miani does videos where he buys 20-30 Macs for $500-$1,000 where they are in various states of being broken and then he sorts them into working, slightly broken, hopeless and then good to cannibalize and he often winds up with a lot of usable systems with some work. He generally donates these systems to worthy causes.

I do sometimes like a challenge of getting something broken to work but I find myself less up to the challenge as I get older. There's a lot of satisfaction in doing this and I'd say that there are a huge number of systems that are "for parts only" out there.
 

Sterkenburg

macrumors 6502a
Oct 27, 2016
555
551
Japan
My fear is - what is going to happen when the 4 years are over? Am I going to be left with an unusable laptop that is brand new again? Does anyone know whether Apple is honoring the program for laptops that are over 4 years old?
I feel you, I have at various times used all the butterfly models from 2016 to 2018 and the keyboard eventually failed on every single one of them. Unfortunately, as others have said, you will be on your own after the 4 years have elapsed, regardless of your machine's condition.

It sucks, but there's no other choice than to accept that those Macs have an inherent design flaw and that the issue is not going to be fixed. I would repair and sell while covered by the program, and jump to the cheapest M1 available.
 
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pshufd

macrumors G3
Oct 24, 2013
9,988
14,462
New Hampshire
I feel you, I have at various times used all the butterfly models from 2016 to 2018 and the keyboard eventually failed on every single one of them. Unfortunately, as others have said, you will be on your own after the 4 years have elapsed, regardless of your machine's condition.

It sucks, but there's no other choice than to accept that those Macs have an inherent design flaw and that the issue is not going to be fixed. I would repair and sell while covered by the program, and jump to the cheapest M1 available.

I would agree with this.

Someone could buy these while working and then use an external keyboard and get many years of use out of it. I still use a 2010 iMac 27 daily (it's the one that wouldn't boot that I got for $100). There are lots of people out there willing to tinker with stuff that's broken or that has a few problems - for the right price. And some don't have a lot of options for hardware so fixing up something with a particular problem may be their only option.
 
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