OMG does swapping out the HDD void warranty or not??

papatoony

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
25
0
I have an early 2011 MBP with a 320GB hard drive that I want to swap out myself for a larger one. I've read nothing but conflicting things online about whether or not this will void my Applecare warranty (which would SUCK). I even called Apple a minute ago and the guy gave me the most convoluted answer ever. First he said yes, it would void my warranty. But then he went on to say something about if I ever sent in my MBP for repairs with an aftermarket HDD in it that they'd replace it with a factory HDD (the one it originally shipped with), charge me for the HDD and send it back to me. I don't even see how that would be legal for them to take my HDD! But he said they must return all repaired items in "warrantable condition." Okayyy, but why would they repair my MBP and tear out the HDD if the warranty was voided?? Makes no sense.

So WTF? I'm sitting here with a brand new 750GB HDD and a screwdriver in my hand wondering whether I'm allowed to do this or not.
 

GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
765
The Apple rep was wrong on all counts. Swapping out the HDD does not void your warranty, unless you damage something in the process. The replacement drive will not be covered by your warranty, but the rest of your Mac will. They would never take your HDD.

From the MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011) - User Guide, page 64:

Your MacBook Pro does not have any user-serviceable parts, except the hard drive and the memory.
 
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papatoony

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
25
0
The Apple rep was wrong on all counts. Swapping out the HDD does not void your warranty, unless you damage something in the process. The replacement drive will not be covered by your warranty, but the rest of your Mac will. They would never take your HDD.

From the MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011) - User Guide, page 64:
Thanks...so I'm assuming that would also apply to the 13" models as well? How can Apple employees be so ill-informed? I swear you can call five different times and get five different answers based on the operator you get.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
765
Thanks...so I'm assuming that would also apply to the 13" models as well?
Yes, the exact same information applies to all MBP models, except the retina model, which doesn't have a HDD.
How can Apple employees be so ill-informed? I swear you can call five different times and get five different answers based on the operator you get.
Like any company, Apple has some employees who are well-informed and do a good job, and some who aren't and don't. Some may be still in training and some may simply not care enough to find the right answers. Fortunately, public Apple documents, including the User Guide that came with your Mac, gives you the accurate information.
 
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wethackrey

macrumors 6502
Feb 27, 2007
259
17
Redondo Beach, California
Thanks...so I'm assuming that would also apply to the 13" models as well? How can Apple employees be so ill-informed? I swear you can call five different times and get five different answers based on the operator you get.
Let's start with correcting a misconception. Stating that a part is user serviceable is quite a different thing than presuming that it can be replaced while keeping the warranty intact. I've replaced HDDs on nearly all of my MacBook Pros and PowerBooks before them. In all cases, I kept the old drive around (with the OS on it) in case the computer needed to go back for warranty service.

Now it's unlikely that Apple's repair center would replace a user-installed HDD unless there was actually some issue related to it. But, if they determine the drive is bad, they'll do just what the Apple Genius said they do. More importantly, HDDs are not all created equal. For quite a while there, larger capacity drives drew quite a bit more current than smaller ones. Connecting a larger drive generally wouldn't damage the logic board but often the board didn't deliver enough power to reliably spin the drive up. You may recall that bus-powered external USB chassis used to require connection to two external USB ports to provide adequate power to spin up some drives.

The point is this: if you choose a hard drive that, for any reason, isn't compatible with your Mac's logic board or power subsystem, Apple's repair center may (rightly or wrongly) determine that it is the root cause of your failure and deny your warranty claim. They may also determine that the drive replacement was done incorrectly. This was easier with IDE drives that could be plugged in wrong. With SATA this isn't likely, but it IS possible to crack a ribbon cable or break a logic board connector.

A third party hard drive at least tells the repair center this: you've been poking around inside your machine. Same is true with third party memory. So they'll be looking for root causes other than manufacturing issues.

While we're talking about memory... third party memory often IS the cause of intermittent failures that look like kernel panics or logic board failures.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the original componets around and swap them back in in case of warranty service.
 
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papatoony

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 12, 2012
25
0
Let's start with correcting a misconception. Stating that a part is user serviceable is quite a different thing than presuming that it can be replaced while keeping the warranty intact. I've replaced HDDs on nearly all of my MacBook Pros and PowerBooks before them. In all cases, I kept the old drive around (with the OS on it) in case the computer needed to go back for warranty service.

Now it's unlikely that Apple's repair center would replace a user-installed HDD unless there was actually some issue related to it. But, if they determine the drive is bad, they'll do just what the Apple Genius said they do. More importantly, HDDs are not all created equal. For quite a while there, larger capacity drives drew quite a bit more current than smaller ones. Connecting a larger drive generally wouldn't damage the logic board but often the board didn't deliver enough power to reliably spin the drive up. You may recall that bus-powered external USB chassis used to require connection to two external USB ports to provide adequate power to spin up some drives.

The point is this: if you choose a hard drive that, for any reason, isn't compatible with your Mac's logic board or power subsystem, Apple's repair center may (rightly or wrongly) determine that it is the root cause of your failure and deny your warranty claim. They may also determine that the drive replacement was done incorrectly. This was easier with IDE drives that could be plugged in wrong. With SATA this isn't likely, but it IS possible to crack a ribbon cable or break a logic board connector.

A third party hard drive at least tells the repair center this: you've been poking around inside your machine. Same is true with third party memory. So they'll be looking for root causes other than manufacturing issues.

While we're talking about memory... third party memory often IS the cause of intermittent failures that look like kernel panics or logic board failures.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the original componets around and swap them back in in case of warranty service.


Thanks for the reply...I called Apple (again) and the guy again tried telling me I'd void my warranty if I swapped hard drives. When I asked him why the user guide lists the HDD as a "user serviceable part" then, he put me on hold to talk to his "senior advisor." When he came back he said it does NOT void the warranty, but if anything goes wrong with the HDD, Apple won't service it (obviously...the HDD came with its own warranty from WD). So I put in the new HDD and now my MBP runs extremely hot. GREAT.
 
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