Very frustrated with my MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by icek, May 7, 2019.

  1. icek macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #1
    Hi all,

    I've long been frustrated with my MBP and wanted to see if the community had any advice, as I am coming to consider a change in platform which would come at a terrible cost (i.e. loss of money reselling my mac).

    I bought my first MBP about 12 years ago, at a time where they represented supreme build quality, and have found OSX (now MacOS) vastly superior for getting work done quickly. That first MBP was replaced in 2012 by the first-gen rMBP which I had until 2017, it was an excellent machine and kept me recommending Macbooks to family and friends.

    I then made the mistake (in hindsight) of purchasing the 2017 15" MBP, here's what have been my main sources of frustration:

    1) The connection to the left two USB C ports started becoming loose within a few months of purchasing, which Apple fixed under warranty, but sadly a few months ago (i.e. after the warranty elapsed) the same happened again. This makes connecting to external monitors unreliable which is incredibly frustrating (i.e. they will randomly disconnect as I'm working).
    Unfortunately the monitor connection isn't perfect even on the right hand side ports as sometimes a small desk movement will cause it to go into a disconnect/reconnect loop.
    I have mainly used USB-C cables when at my desk, but at times had to use adapters in order to plug in HDMI cables (e.g. meeting rooms). I've now got to a point where I can barely connect to any monitor, even though the charger works on all ports.

    2) The battery on this particular laptop lasts far less time than the 2012 15" rMBP it replaced, is this normal? I could do nearly a full day's work on battery power with the old one and am now running out by lunch time in similar situations. Again I don't use battery power too often, but it does let me down when I need it.

    3) I swear that the keyboard often misses some letters, is this normal? Fortunately I use an external keyboard most of the time, but this always surprises me when I have to type at meetings. Also the keyboard is quite loud!

    4) I have tried explaining to Apple tech staff that the laptop feels much more unresponsive than my old one, e.g. waking from sleep, restarting, connecting devices, unlocking, but their position has been that there is nothing wrong with the laptop. I can only assume they think it is normal?

    To me it feels that what used to be *the* premium choice for laptops, i.e. high quality build and reliability, has been lost somewhat. Maybe I've got a bad egg?

    My options as I see them:

    a) Lose 1k selling the laptop and risk getting another MBP. My confidence in Apple has been dented somewhat, and colleagues are also unhappy with the newer (2016>) Macbooks. These issues can come back.

    b) Lose 1k selling the laptop and move away from Apple. Would be a huge hassle, and I may end up with something less than perfect, but as a consumer I don't like feeling trapped into a brand.

    I reckon this being an Apple community you may not recommend option b) but I'd be interested to know what you advise.

    Many thanks for reading!
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #2
    Whilst some people report their machines working flawlessly, the 2016+ generations have been subject to many well documented and known issues, including much of what you describe, though the ports issue is a new one to me.
    With almost each new iteration of the product, Apple have semed to suggest that a portion of the issues have been fixed, but with each generation, many still persist as well.

    For now, I would recommend not going the MBP route (either Air or MacBook as alternatives) or going with a 2014-2015. Some people have reported flawless operation as mentioned, and for those, the newer machines are great, but the issues may just be too big a risk for a lot.

    As mentioned, i'd personally rather go back to an older Mac than jump ship, but macOS is fairly important to me.

    If it's not as big a deal to you, I can highly recommend Linux Mint, Ubuntu Mate or ElementaryOS.
     
  3. buran-energia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    #3
    1. Try a different cable for the monitor.

    2. Battery shouldn't last significantly less than previous generations. Perhaps you are using different and new software, for example, Chrome vs Safari. See if something is eating lots of CPU. Software like Chrome or connecting it to external monitor will utilize dGPU, and this will consume a lot of battery.

    3. If some keys do not register or register twice, then it's broken. Otherwise, it takes a while to get used to the new keyboard if you used different ones before.

    4. This is subjective or it could be a difference between OS versions. E.g., if you'd upgrade your old one to the latest version, I doubt your old one would run better...

    Another option is to keep it for now.
     
  4. zarathu macrumors 6502

    zarathu

    Joined:
    May 14, 2003
    #4
    The battery usage will depend on what you use and how you use it. External batteries are cheap($129) and will effectively double what you are now getting. My 2014 MBP(Quad 2.6ghz, 256gb ssd, 16 gb) uses one of the two logic boards susceptible to the weird crash syndrome, and so I have a python script that causes it to run without idle time at low usage levels. This causes the battery to drain faster, but it does make actions faster since there is no idling and the cpu is ready to go in a microsecond all the time. Run Activity Monitor to find out what is eating your battery.

    I would agree that a different cable for the monitor should be tried.

    Actually I upgraded from Sierra 3 days ago to Mojave, and I don’t see any difference in speed.
     
  5. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
  6. Mendota macrumors 6502

    Mendota

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2019
    Location:
    Omaha
    #6
    There is a whole thread titled: "Anyone else abandoning ship" That you should check out, all of the problems that you mention are known issues and that thread will give you some insight.
     
  7. icek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #7
    Thanks everyone for the insight.

    To cover some of the points raised, most of the software I need can be either replaced with alternatives, or has a version for Linux - i.e. I am not as attached to MacOS as I once were. I've decided to install a few distros on my MBP in separate partitions (thanks casperes1996 for the suggestions!) as that seems a safe, no-cost way to find out if I can live with the OS change.

    I appreciate some of the suggestions about trying different cables or monitors - trust me, I have. My main constraint is that when I visit client offices or even our own meeting rooms, I unfortunately need to work with the equipment provided - which I might add, works perfectly on any older Macbook. My wife has a similar job requirement to me and the 2014 model, and tells me it works everywhere, every time.

    The battery issue may just be a mis-perception, I will admit that I haven't done any "scientific" test.

    The single issue I cannot live with is the broken connectivity, I literally have to constantly borrow someone else's old Mac in order to complete some of my planning sessions with the team - the rest I could "live with" for a while. That said, living with such basic faults on a £2700 machine is quite a tough pill to swallow!

    I've started looking through the thread mentioned above and it does cover some of my issues, I can only hope that Apple improve their Macbook products as they used to be genuinely outstanding!
     
  8. th0masp macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Location:
    germany
    #8
    Agreed on the build quality of earlier MBP generations.

    I think this is the first time I read about issues with USB-C ports wearing out though. I was always wondering about this since they seem so small and fragile and even on my older style MBP I have one USB-A port that is noticeably 'widened' through frequent usage than the other and unreliable when connecting external disks to.

    Reaffirms my suspicions, to say the least! I wonder what happens to the charging port when the laptop encounters the type of cabling accident that Magsafe was supposed to prevent?
     
  9. Airboy1466, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019

    Airboy1466 macrumors 6502

    Airboy1466

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2015
    #9
    I love my 2018 mbp which any of the issues you are describing has not happen to me, seems as if you are constantly plugging in and out of your ports which that’s normal wear and tear because you are plugging in and out so often USBC isn’t designed by Apple but is just implemented so maybe that is a flaw with usbc ports in general not to be overused like a dirty hooker lol....... further more your keyboard issue may have to deal with you not being used to the new board trust me it takes some practice to get it down as far as noise that may also be on you it’s not like old traditional keys you don’t need to press so hard, you could also buy a keyboard cover off amazon and that will also solve the noise and protect your keyboard from future defects. Battery life is usually user error check coconut battery to see what your battery health is, you did mention the computer is over a year old the new cpus are stronger wayyy stronger than a 2012 so maybe your usage is actually testing the limits of the cpu thus draining more power, you also mentioned you plug into displays which if you are using higher resolution displays than the past of course the battery consumption would go up.
    Second note I’ve observed is your job is more suited for an older model MacBook as the company has not caught up to the new standard of usb-c and seems like you are trying to force newer technology into something that just hasn’t caught up yet. Which is what is more than likely leading to your frustration.
     
  10. Mendota macrumors 6502

    Mendota

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2019
    Location:
    Omaha
    #10
    LOL Stop trying so hard... Even Apple has admitted to the keyboard issue. And in case you haven't noticed USB C three years on is still not a standard, and now they are talking about a newer better USB 4 that will be more widely adopted for a variety of reasons.
     
  11. th0masp macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2015
    Location:
    germany
    #11
    I suppose if you don't use the keyboard nor the USB plugs that will help in extending the device's lifespan pretty well. Also consider not using the screen so you don't get flexgate - and I was told that if the SSD isn't being used much you're far less likely to encounter 'Bridge OS' crashes.

    Just get a display stand for the MBP, perhaps put it in shrinkwrap so no dust ever reaches it and install some nice lighting to show it off. And use some beater Windows laptop for the job, problem solved! :) *


    *until the battery starts to expand
     
  12. Queen6, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019

    Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    #12
    After all Steve Jobs once said Apple wouldn't produce "Cheap Garbage"...

    Q-6
    --- Post Merged, May 8, 2019 ---
    Surprise, surprise only device I've had issue with USB C is a 12" Retina MacBook, everything else has been solid including phones which get a lot more wear & tear. Usual excuses "we've never seen that issue before" Apple is fast becoming a joke, a company of apologies and excuses...

    Q-6
     
  13. Mendota macrumors 6502

    Mendota

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2019
    Location:
    Omaha
    #13
    Well now, lets be fair. It isn't "cheap" garbage. So he was half right.
     
  14. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    #14
    Exactly, Apple's hosing everyone on the margins and producing a poor product for it's own aims...

    Q-6
     
  15. whg macrumors regular

    whg

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #15
    I went through option b) in 2015. My rMBP from 2012 had developed a bad case of image retention and I was in doubt if I should continue with Apple products, especially when I needed Windows for work anyway. I bought the cheapest Surface Pro 4 to test the waters on the other side of the fence. Everything seemed to work well besides the not so great performance. I bought the best version of the Surface Pro 4 and was quite happy with it for a while, until I lost patience for these reasons:
    1) The Surface Pro was less than optimal to be used in a train or other places without a big enough table.
    2) Changes in company security prevented me to access the local ethernet in my home office when connected by VPN to the company net.
    3) Windows 10 updates all the time.
    4) With only 2 cores the company mandatory Symantec virus scanner took away too much performance and made the fans spin all the time. At the end of using this Surface I illegally deinstalled the virus scanner (I still had the Windows defender default version).
    5) The Microsoft dock regularly failed to put my external monitor to sleep or wake it up

    Today I would chose your option a): At the end of 2016 when I learned about Apple's redesign of the MacBook Pro, I bought a 2015 model that I still have, recently upgraded to a 2TB SSD with a Syntech adapter. This MBP removed all the bad issues mentioned above:
    1) Can be used on the lap in a train.
    2) I run Windows in a virtual machine (Parallels) and the VPN connection from Windows doesn't disturb the Mac's ethernet access at home.
    3) Mac updates are few and during Windows updates I can still use macOS
    4) No virus scanner for macOS, Windows uses now a less bothersome version
    5) no more monitor issues through the Thunderbolt dock which also provides all legacy connectors (see below).

    Just for the record: I currently use a MBP 2017 with only 4 Thunderbolt ports (therefore the dock mentioned above). From the issues you have with your Macbook, I can only confirm this:
    1) Keyboard is less than stellar. I also miss keystrokes from time to time, but all keys seem to work normal.
    2) Battery less than stellar when hooked to an external display because of the eGPU permanently on.

    My USBC connectors seem still OK after about 1 year of use. Performance is much better than on my 2015 model. Maybe you could also check (besides the recommendations already given by others) if your SSD if almost filled up?

    Leaving the Apple eco system told me how convenient this is when you also have an iPad, an iPhone and more than one MacBook. Some of this also works in the Windows world, but not as seamless by far.
     
  16. maflynn, May 8, 2019
    Last edited: May 8, 2019

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #16
    2016 to present day, the butterfly keyboard is flawed. You will continue to have problems even after apple repairs the keyboard, simply because the design is flawed.

    Bite the bullet, the longer you wait to sell the computer the less you'll get it. I sold my 2018 and mostly because it was so new and partly because news about the 2018 keyboard failing hadn't really crested yet, I sold mine for about 600 less then what I paid for it.
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #18
    Unless the price is low enough its hard to justify buying a 4 year old computer at this point. Apple has been selling 2015 refurbs near the 2,000 dollar threshold and imo, That's way too expensive.
     
  18. pshufd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #19
    Cost and value are different to every circumstance.
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #20
    Yes, and imo the value of a 4 year old computer is not 2,000 dollars.
     
  20. pshufd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #21
    Clearly that's not the case for everyone as those $2K and up 2015 MacBook Pros are selling at Apple and other places.
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #22
    Indeed, apple is quite happy at selling a 4 year old used laptops near the price of a brand new MBP. Looking at it from another angle, its a sad state of affairs that Mac fans are willing to pay top dollar for such an older Mac. Its quite telling how far Apple has fallen in design and execution of the current generation.
     
  22. Plutonius macrumors 604

    Plutonius

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    #23
    If you don't like it, get rid of it.

    Unfortunately, you probably will get similar issues if you get a new MBP including possible T2 bridgeOS faults from the 2018 model.

    You also may find a Windows laptop that you like but the forums are also filled with complaints about the Windows laptops.

    You will find supporters for the latest MBP and supporters for the latest Windows laptops but, I think that all current laptop brands / models are suffering now.
    --- Post Merged, May 8, 2019 ---
    I think that it also shows how good the older MBP were.
     
  23. pshufd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #24
    OWC has some models for sale over $2,000 too. You can also find them on EBay and Amazon. I would personally just buy one for half with cosmetic damage.
    --- Post Merged, May 8, 2019 ---
    “I think that it also shows how good the older MBP were.”

    It’s not even that the older models were great as there is still little support for Thunderbolt 2. It’s more the issue that they aren’t bad. The 2015 keyboard is okay; definitely not great. But it works. The 2015 speakers are okay. But they don’t blow out. For most people, it has to be reliable and not necessarily great.
     
  24. Peter_M macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2018
    #25
    I'm having issues with my MacBook Pro 13 also (2018 model). It's surprisingly sluggish for some things, like browsing certain websites in Safari, unlocking the computer with the keyboard etc. Most importantly, the keyboard sucks. The key travel is too short, and I'm making a lot more typing mistakes than I normally do, simply because the lack of tactile response. Also the keys will not respond some times, with the space bar being the main issue. About 30% of the time the space bar will either not respond, or register a double hit - if you don't hit it precisely in the middle.

    Such a shame that Apple backed themselves into a corner with their thinness obsession. It will be a difficult and embarresing PR-manoeuvre to make thicker new models (ie. implicitly admitting fault), but that is exactly what Apple needs to do now IMO.
     

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110 May 7, 2019