My Retina Macbook Pro - worst computer and support I ever had...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by findingmenno, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. findingmenno macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2016
    Bali, Indonesia
    Hi everybody,

    I have been reading this forums as a guest occasionally when I was looking for tips and advice on anything related to Apple and macs.

    I wish my first post here would have been a more positive one, but sadly it is one of frustration and crying out for help.

    You are welcome to read all the details below, but in essence my Late 2013 13 inch MacBook Pro has been the worst computer I have ever had, and with Apple Support also failing me.

    The short story

    I've had two major issues with the laptop: 1) recurring crashes and slow bootup for the last 2,5 years, leading in one case to needing to fully restore the machine from my Time Machine backup, and in the second case not able to bootup at all. Leaving me with an unusable laptop for 3 months till I was able to visit a Service Provider. 2) my screen has been suffering a lot from the 'staingate' (don't like the name either) with the anti reflective coating failing and causing 'stains' in the screen. I have had my screen replaced twice already and this third screen is actually the worst so far.

    I've reached a point where I'm very unhappy with the laptop. I've called Support and requested to escalate the manner to find a permanent solution. I got a mail from senior support staff/manager who ensured me that 'he would take care of it' and that I ' could always personally contact him'.
    I sent the manager an e-mail that seeing the time and effort I've spend with Apple Support, the time I've lost the laptop due being in for service and not working, and the continuous re-occurrence of both the start-up and screen issues that at this point I want the laptop exchanged for a new one. My faith in the reliability of this laptop is zero.
    The manager despite his personal assurance never responded. I've now resorted to sending an e-mail everyday in the hope somebody responds. If you're asking why I don't go to an Apple Store, right now I'm living on Bali Indonesia and there is no such thing. There are Service Providers but these are usually not the best in this situation. This according to a friend on the island who needed to escalate to get his screen replaced.

    I accept that it can happen that computers don't work or have problems. But I'm extremely disappointed by Apple Support which I hoped would stand on my side in this matter after escalating it. I've sent 5 e-mails to the support manager who guaranteed me 'that he will take care of it' and 4 to I have had no response so far. At this point I'm becoming more interested in getting my purchase reimbursed so I can purchase a Windows machine despite preferring to work with Mac OSX

    I hope some of you have tips how I can get Apple to react to my case.

    The long story

    I have had a few computers over the years, 3 Windows desktops and 3 laptops. I've also build and setup 2 home media servers (NAS) myself. I would consider myself pretty comfortable with computers, and with a competence level above the average computer user.
    Since 2005 I have been a regular user of Apple products, having used iPods, iPad, iMac, iPhones and accessories such as Airport stations and Time Capsule. My ownership and user experience has in general been very good. (Except the power supply& cooling on the first generation Time Capsules which is bad design so when that died I replaced it myself with an external power supply).
    However I’m afraid I cannot say that of the ownership experiences of my MacBook Pro, which has been an at sometimes highly frustrating experience. Allow me to briefly recap the issues, and apologies in advance for the long mail as that is a result of the many issues.

    The model involved is a late 2013 Retina MacBook Pro 13 inch. I have a mobile career and life as an active dive instructor, at often remote locations. So therefore this case involved various Apple Store, Apple Support and Authorized Service Centers worldwide.

    *The MacBook was purchased on 28 October at the Apple Store at Woodlands Mall while passing through Houston, Texas, USA as I was returning from a training in Honduras. I specifically purchased the MacBook at this time as the newest ‘Late 2013' models were just released (23 October) and during my visit at the store I specifically requested this lastest model. On my flight out of Houston later that day as I booted up the MacBook for the first time I was shocked to discover that I was sold an previous model (‘Early 2013'). As I arrived in The Netherlands for a short family visit I visited the Apple Store in Amsterdam and after escalation at Apple Support I was able to exchange the MacBook for the model I had requested at my initial purchase in Houston.

    *On 24 March 2014 whilst working on the island of Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean my MacBook froze/crashed during regular use. After reboot the MacBook was hanging at startup in the grey screen with apple logo and spinning wheel, with a full bootup of the system taking anywhere up to 30 min. Rebooting in verbose mode (command-v) showed it was hanging at the following on bootup: AppleUSBMultitouchDriver::checkStatus - received status packet, payload 2: device was reinitialized.

    *On 13 September 2014 whilst working on the island of Flores, Indonesia, the same occurrence happened as on 24 March 2014. On the same day 13th september 2014 (within my warranty period) I recorded a case by internet chat. I was told as due my remote location I could bring in the Macbook in for service as soon as had access to an Apple Store or Authorized Service Provider.

    *On 11th November 2014 I brought in the MacBook at the Apple Store at Bondi, Sydney, Australia
    The technician at the Genius Bar did a scan of the hardware and couldn’t find any faults with the hardware despite me explaining the issues. I explained that based on the symptoms and my internet research the SSD was most likely developing faults. Due to the technician not finding any faults I was advised to to a full reinstall of the system after backing up. I did this, and restored from the Time Machine back-up.
    At this time I also addressed the issue that the coating on my screen was peeling off leaving ugly stains and making working on the MacBook a more unpleasant experience. After some discussion the Apple Store Bondi agreed to replace the screen under warranty.

    *Following my visit to Australia I was working remotely in the South Pacfic (Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu). In this period then I have had multiple (I would say approx 5 times) a full hang/crash of the system, and subsequently again very long bootup times.

    *In the week around 14 May 2015 (can’t recall exact date) after a crash during bootup the system couldn’t even find the startup volume (Macintosh HD) and I ended up in the Utility menu. From the disk utility menu (First Aid) I could not select the Macintosh HD as it was greyed out. I tried things like NVRAM reset, /sbin/fsck -fy command, verified disk with Disk Utility (disk needed repair but could not be repaired from Recovery HD). At this time I needed to fully restore the system from my Time Machine backup to get a working MacBook again
    After this instance I again recorded a new case on May 14th 2015. As I was in a remote location (Tonga) the chat dropped out at some point and could not be re-established.

    *After the Time Machine restore the Macbook was working again, albeit with the occasional crash and slow reboot. As these symptoms kept occuring I opened a new case on 18/10/15 to register the issues and requested that I could bring the MacBook in for repair as this was an ongoing issues since my warranty period.

    *On 22/10/2015 the MacBook crashed again and completely hanged at startup and shut itself down again. The symptoms were:
    -hangs at startup and shuts down
    -verbose mode: keeps rechecking & repairing disk
    -recovery menu
    -> verify, repair needed
    -> can't repair disk
    -> can't find Time Machine backup

    *On 24/10/2015 I tried to boot up the MacBook again with the same results as 22/10/2015.

    *On 30/10/2015 I tried to bootup the MacBook again, you could hear the startup ‘boing’ sound and the MacBook powered itself off. During this the fan ran at very high speed for 10-20 secs while the display remained black.

    *On 09/11/2015 I reported the issues and opened a new case. I couldn’t report it at an earlier opportunity as I was sailing and out of internet access. It could not be resolved with Apple Support and I was advised to bring the MacBook in for repair. At the time I was working in Papua New Guinea and I the first place I would be with a Apple Support center would be Cebu, Philippines, so I was given address of Support Centers there.

    *From this issue occuring to the opportunity for repair I was for almost 3 months without a working MacBook, which was a great inconvenience as I need the computer to proces paperwork associated with dive training, and for marketing and sales work (mail, website, social media) for my employer at the time. I realise this long period is also due to my remote working, but I would expect a common device as a laptop certainly from a ‘premium’ regarded brand as Apple to provide a basic level of reliability.

    *On 5 January 2016 I brought the MacBook in for repair at the Power Mac Center in Cebu, Philippines. They are an Authorized Service Provider. I had to pay a diagnostics fee for them to take care of the earlier reported issues. The technician did a scan of the hardware and couldn’t find any faults with the hardware despite the MacBook clearly not booting up. When I brought the MacBook in the technician also looked at my screen and noticed the coating peeling of. She informed me of the Quality Program to replace screens with this issue and authorized replacement of the screen. I had noticed the coating coming off again, but to be honest I hadn’t addressed it in my earlier chats with Apple Support as the bootup and non-working issues had a way higher priority.

    *After a week the MacBook was ready for pickup. A new screen was installed, and the technician informed me that the startup problem was due to the machine not able to find a bootable partition. They had fixed this issue.

    *On 30 January 2016 the MacBook experienced another crash with error text lines ‘breaking through’ the OS screen, but it was able to reboot ok.

    *Since this last crash the MacBook appears to be working fine, although as you can understand my confidence in the machine is pretty low.

    *In July 2016 I noticed the new screen again showing peeling as the coating is coming off again. This time it is actually worse than on previous screens. Whereas on my previous screens the issues was mostly on the edges, on this screen it is actually also right in the middle, right in the working/viewing area. This is highly distracting while working on the machine.
    At this time I contacted Apple support by chat and requested escalation of the case seeing the history of issues.

    *Following this call I requested Apple Support to exchange my laptop for a new one.

    *Saturday 14th August 2016 my MacBook completely froze up again during a routine operation (copying a jpg pictures between two folders) and needed to be reboot. Startup after reboot required about 10 minutes.

    *Sunday 15th August my MacBook rebooted itself uncommanded during routine work (writing on my blog/website).

    I've sent 5 e-mails to the support manager who guaranteed me 'that he will take care of it' and 4 to I have had no response so far.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 17, 2016 ---
    I just posted the same Message on the Apple Support Forum. Well there actually appear to be people at Apple who can react to users messages! It was removed in 5 minutes....

    Extremely frustrated and angry at Apple at this point.
  2. strukt macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2012
    Wall of text, didn't read all.

    Staingate is a known problem, shouldn't be an issue to get it fixed but e-mailng Tim Cook about it? Seriously, contact support again. Meaning call them, and stop asking for managers. The people that work there are more than capable of handling ANY issue you think you have.

    Crashing could be MLB issues. Or software.
  3. xb2003 macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2016
    That's sad. I'd be disappointed too.

    Staingate is a weird issue. I have no objective research to back this up, but it seems like anytime I hear about it, people have had multiple screens and it still happens. While the rest of us have never had the issue. It makes me wonder if it isn't an outside issue, like the properties of the air that the fan exhausts onto the screen. Or something.

    As aforementioned, you shouldn't need a manager at Apple, all of the guys are plenty competent. If it were me, I call them again, start from scratch, tell them your story, and see where it goes.
  4. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    The exchange of the Early 2013 model you initially bought, for the later 2013 model is a separate issue, and has nothing to do with the technical issues of your current system. It contributes to issue obfuscation and should be removed.

    The rest of the remaining bits contain a lot of superfluous information which were a contributing factor towards me eventually skimming the last 4 or so paragraphs. So ...

    Are you looking for assistance with how to troubleshoot your crashing issue, assistance with what to say to Apple, or just venting in general? For the first, need more details. If the second, you've gone too far down the path now for anybody here to give you any helpful advice (ie: emailed Cook 4 times so far.). If the last, bummer dude.
  5. kingjames1970 macrumors regular


    Mar 18, 2008
    Hampshire, UK
    It's all too long. Try again but get it down to 6 short sentences or bullet points and try again with somebody new at Apple.

    I don't want to be rude but people a) won't read that much and b) you come off looking like a crank
  6. Feenician, Aug 17, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016

    Feenician macrumors 601


    Jun 13, 2016
  7. Schranke macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  8. Spudlicious macrumors 6502


    Nov 21, 2015
    Bedfordshire, England
    Sometimes you eat the Apple, sometimes the Apple eats you. Put it all down to experience and move on, it just isn't worth fretting over.
  9. syan48306 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 15, 2010
    Personally, this is the main issue with all of this. I understand you don't have an apple store around to go to but if you do make sure you go to one, especially if you can in the states.

    Over the last 10 years, I've replaced everything from keyboards, to trackpads, to screens to logic boards and more on various macbooks and macbook pro's by just walking into the store. They have never denied me service ever and most of the time if they can't fix the computer in the store, they offer to ship the fixed computer directly to my house.

    I'm sorry you had such an unfortunate experience...
  10. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    I read your summary, but I got about 3 bullet points in on your detailed story and stopped.

    Nobody cares about dates and times, and as someone else pointed out, the early/late 2013 laptop issue is another problem altogether.

    It sounds like you still have warranty. Contact AppleCare and send it in for service again. It's that simple. There is no reason to be sending emails to Tim Cook or contacting managers.
  11. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2012
    Too much like a novel. Get to the point. I quit reading after one paragraph.
  12. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    As the MacBook has passed Apple`s hardware test this is little the technicians can do, as they need to follow Apple`s process. What you can do is reinstall the OS X from recovery, your user data will be preserved. If that fails you need to do a clean install of OS X. Seems to me that you are just replicating the issue by recovering potentially corrupted system files from the Time Machine backup.

    If the SSD had a hardware issue it would likely just cease to function, if concerned you can evaluate the SSD with DriveDX. As for Apple replacing the notebook chances are very slim as they have not found any hardware issue outside of the display, which they have rectified. If you have AppleCare contact them, if your going mail regarding your issue keep it short and to the point.

    Forget about Apple`s support forum as they don't do negative comment, nor is it an avenue for official support from Apple.

  13. findingmenno thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2016
    Bali, Indonesia
    Everybody, thanks for your feedback. It helps me gain new perspective on the situation.

    And completely realize that this type of post is not the best way to introduce yourself. I would also like to point out that I'm a pretty laid-back, friendly, very reasonable and positive guy more interested in finding solutions than focusing on problems.
    This post was written at a moment of great frustration so shows a behavior not common of me.

    Your reactions cover many points, let me try to answer them.

    Regarding my post
    • Yes, this post was initially primarily written to vent out of frustration.
    • I would appreciate any tips how to approach Apple in this. Many of you have done this, thank you!
    • The post contains an extensive history of my case, it was basically a copy-paste of a log I have been keeping so apologies for the length.
    • The early/late 2013 model issue is indeed out of scope, it was just here as a result of the above mentioned copy-paste.
    My issues and what has been done sofar
    • What has been done regarding the bootup issues: 1) Fresh install Mac OS from Recovery, and using Migration Assistant to get my data back. 2) When it didn't bootup, a recovery from Time Machine. 3) Following a complete failure to reach any bootable partition, a fresh install of OSX El Capitan (I was on Yosemite) by the Service Provider. Using Migration Assistant I then reinstalled my personal data. There has been roughly half a year between each of these actions.
    • What has been done regarding the screen issues: 2 replacements of the screen.
    Some other relevant information
    • I know the Service Provider here on Bail is not great. I have a friend on the island with identical screen issues. He went to the Service Provider here and was not helped. He needed to escalate within Apple (actually mails to Tim Cook) to finally get heard and be helped.
    • The replacement screens appear to be the same stock as already installed, so it's a like-for-like replacement and thereby not a permanent solution.
    • The screen replacement program end October 2016. I do not want to get a third screen, have the same issues in 6 months, and have no replacement option under the program anymore.
    Interaction with Apple (Support)
    • My approach with my problems have of course always been to contact Apple Support first, either by chat or call. I've had 5 cases opened sofar regarding my bootup problems, and 2 cases from visiting an Apple Store/Service Provider. I have opened one case (this month) regarding the screen.
    • In this last case Apple Support directed me to the local Service Provider on Bali to resolve the issue.
    • As both my problems kept re-occuring and Apple kept proposing the same solution (in this case changing screen), I felt we were on a dead track. My faith in this solution resolving the issue is minimal. At that point I asked the Apple Support staff if there was somebody I could talk too about finding a permanent solution. I was forwarded to the senior support staff/manager who gave me personal assurances about helping me. But in the end he gave me the same solution, go to the local Service Provider.
    • Knowing about the earlier mentioned information about replacement screens and local Service Provider I wrote a e-mail to the senior support staff that I was not in agreement with the proposed solution. I proposed a permanent solution to hopefully end this matter, exchange for a replacement MacBook.
    • Due to lack of any response I again mailed this senior support staff and asked for a (any!) response on the matter.
    • As response was still not forthcoming, out of desperation and frustration I used the Tim Cook route as this had helped my friend in getting his case resolved. I did copy the senior support staff in this as I want to give him the opportunity to respond.
    What I'll do now
    • I will call Apple Support (again) and present the case in a nutshell.
    I think my frustration is largely from two facts: 1) the feeling I'm going around in circles, the same problems keep popping up but the same solutions are given. 2) I felt I finally had reached somebody in Apple who gave his personal commitment to help me out, but who failed to respond to any of my calls for support.

    Thanks for your time and help in this matter.
  14. findingmenno thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2016
    Bali, Indonesia
    Spoke to Apple Support again today. I was forwarded to a senior support staff and was requested to send pictures of the screen. I hope all ends well...
  15. Schranke macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    best of luck :D
  16. findingmenno thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2016
    Bali, Indonesia
    Some pictures of my MacBook Pro, a 13 inch Late 2013. This is my third (and worst) screen sofar.

    To be clear, I have not touched the screen except for a cleaning attempt after the AR coating already failed (see explanation below)

    First picture is from 25 July 2016,

    second from today 18 August 2016.

    You can see the spreading of the issue. I have increased the exposure of the pictures to give you a better view. You can see the coating letting go on the edges (where it started) and also the center. In the second (18 Aug) photo you can see a more smudgy/streaky area in the center where I attempted to clean the screen with a microcloth as it was damaged anyways (nothing to loose). I’m will not deny that this was caused by me, but only after the coating already let go.
    Knowing the vulnerability of the coating I normally do not touch the screen with anything. As you can see the problem still appeared in the first picture where it is untouched and the second picture in the untouched areas.
  17. Schranke macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    That is a lot worse then what mine looked like.
    When you clean the screen, are you using any cleaning solutions, and what kind of microfiber cloth?
  18. findingmenno, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

    findingmenno thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2016
    Bali, Indonesia
    Yes, it is the worst of the 3 screens I had sofar. With the other it was only coating issues on the screen edges, at the bezel so more cosmetic than functional damage.

    No cleaning products used, and a microcloth from my iPhone 5S. And that only after the coating started to let go. I did not touch/clean the screen before that happened.
  19. Closingracer macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2010

    Well he did state a short version and a long one...
  20. findingmenno thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2016
    Bali, Indonesia
    A little update. The senior support staff is trying to be helpful, but still reverting back to square one. Bring the laptop in and we will do diagnostics on it, and we will replace the screen.
    Two previous time diagnostics showed nothing but in the end I ended up with a MacBook not even being able find a bootable partition (words of the Service Provider). And two screen replacements haven't resolved that issue either.

    So I've my faith is very limited that this is going to resolve my issues. I'm getting so tired of being in this 'loop' with Apple.
  21. slayerizer macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2012
    I would recommend to have the screen replaced. You seems to expect a machine replacement when, at first sight, it seems to be 100% screen related. You will probably end up having a screen from another batch and you will be ok. I have a late 2013 and have no issue.

    You could also replace the screen and sell it. You can buy a newer model 2015 (or 2016) and see if you get better results, or buy a Windows machine.

    was your laptop a refurbished item? they usually don't do full product replacement for those (unless they don't have any other choice).
  22. squarebreathing macrumors member


    Feb 16, 2016
    This is similar to the problem with Apple I had with my 2009 cMacBook Pro. Apple MacBook Pros from mid2009-2012 are liable to having a screen problem after 2+ years of normal use. There are "burn in" type effects near the area opposite the apple logo on the back where the screen has patches of discoloration. You can see them on black or dark backgrounds on anything from netflix to a black website. My mid 2009 was under warranty on applecare when it happened end of 2011 and even after two replacement screens, it still kept happening. There was NO pressure put on the screen and I installed a hardshell cover after the first replacement came in. Nothing worked, still looked like arse and apple refused to replace it. There was a 2011 model given to me by the company I was working for at the time so I just gave my old one to a friend who needed a laptop. Towards the end of 2013, the 2011 model was displaying the same problems when I sold it after upgrading to a retina pro.

    Bottom line - apple will not give you a new model. I think it's garbage and should be covered under lemon laws.

    Edit - also, they won't even give you a "new" refurb model. They will just keep replacing parts over and over because it is cheaper for them.
  23. Sy7ygy Suspended

    Nov 16, 2012
    Hi findingmenno,

    Here's a tip; get them to replace the display - then before even using it, sell the damned thing.

    If you can afford it, get yourself a Dell XPS 15 & be done with it.

    I am 150% convinced Apple are shunning the Mac userbase and more interested in making dogsh*t iCrap toys than pushing technology forward.

    Simple fact is, the product you have is not fit for purpose.
  24. findingmenno thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 16, 2016
    Bali, Indonesia
    Regarding the earlier remarks. My MacBook is not a refurbished one.

    The feedback from more people with this issue is that the replacement screens are old stock so show the same issues. As mentioned, my last screen installed January 2016 is the worst of the three I have had.

    With the screens and crash/reboot issue I believe I have what is basically a defective machine. I've now been dealing with this for 2,5 years, a lot of frustration in due to the machine not functioning properly or not at all, a lot of time and effort dealing with Apple support, bringing in the machine in for repairs twice already.

    Now it seems I'm still at the same point with my problem. The only solution I'm getting is 'bring it in for diagnostics and replacement screen'. I've tried that solution twice already with no resolve.

    Seeing all this I think my request for a replacement machine is not unreasonable.

    Defective hardware can happen, I accept that. But I think I shouldn't be fighting Apple over this to properly resolve this.
  25. Closingracer macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2010

    It's cheaper for any company to replace parts instead of a whole device, item, car or etc.... Most if not all would rather replace your email parts first.

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