Bait and Fix: Ap­ple is ba­si­cally forc­ing you to get Ap­ple­care for your new Macbook Pro

Pay now or pay later.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY MICHAEL SI­MON

The new Macbook Pros ( go. mac­ aren’t cheap. The least ex­pen­sive 13-inch model costs $1,800 and goes all the way up to $6,700 for the maxed-out 15-inch model with a 2.9GHZ In­tel Core i9 pro­ces­sor. And now there’s a hid­den catch that might make them way more ex­pen­sive.

Along with the high price tag and any don­gles you may need to pur­chase to get your old USB-A de­vices up and run­ning, you might be in for a rude awak­en­ing if you try to fix your new Macbook Pro. As

re­ported by Mother­board ( go.mac­world. com/mobd), Ap­ple has in­tro­duced new soft­ware locks with its new lap­tops that “will ren­der the com­puter ‘in­op­er­a­tive’ un­less a pro­pri­etary Ap­ple ‘sys­tem con­fig­u­ra­tion’ soft­ware is run af­ter parts of the sys­tem are re­placed.”

The new pol­icy, which is also be­ing im­ple­mented on the $5,000 imac Pro, only re­fer to ma­jor re­pairs, but it’s pretty much cov­ers ev­ery­thing you’d need to get fixed: the dis­play, logic board, top case (which in­cludes the key­board and track­pad), and Touch ID sen­sor. Once the locks kick in, the com­puter “will only be­gin func­tion­ing again af­ter Ap­ple or a mem­ber of one of Ap­ple’s Au­tho­rized Ser­vice Provider re­pair pro­gram runs di­ag­nos­tic soft­ware called Ap­ple Ser­vice Toolkit 2.”

Why this mat­ters: Ap­ple hasn’t ex­actly been up-front about this new pol­icy, and some pur­chasers may be in for a sur­prise when they try to fix their Macbook af­ter their lim­ited one-year war­ranty runs out. Ap­ple has long been mak­ing its prod­ucts un­re­pairable by sol­der­ing RAM and glu­ing screens, but this is dif­fer­ent. Ap­ple should be telling peo­ple at the point of sale that they will need to take their Macbook to an au­tho­rized re­pair shop if it breaks and giv­ing them an op­tion to buy Ap­ple Care. Ap­ple­care isn’t cheap, but it’s still bet­ter than pay­ing for a new screen or mother­board.

This prob­a­bly isn’t the last we’ll hear of this is­sue. Not only will it likely ex­tend to the new Macs Ap­ple is likely to re­lease later this month, it’s also at the heart of a new Right to Re­pair bill ( go.mac­ r2rb) cur­rently be­ing pushed in 19 states, in­clud­ing Ap­ple’s home state of Cal­i­for­nia. Mother­board re­ports that Ap­ple is fight­ing the leg­is­la­tion, which will come as no sur­prise to any­one who has tried to re­pair an Ap­ple prod­uct re­cently.


The is­sue is with the T2 chip ( go.mac­world. com/t2ch). It’s a sep­a­rate chip re­spon­si­ble for things like the Face­time cam­era and

the Touch Bar, but it also val­i­dates the en­tire boot process when the power comes on, an ex­tra se­cu­rity step to that ver­i­fies ev­ery­thing is trusted. If it’s not—in the case of a re­pair, for in­stance—your Mac won’t start. So you’ll need to take it to an Ap­ple Store, where you will most cer­tainly be charged, pos­si­bly for a whole new re­pair if the orig­i­nal one doesn’t meet Ap­ple’s stan­dards.

That means the days of get­ting a pen­talobe screw­driver and try­ing to save your Macbook at home ( go.mac­world. com/18td) are over. And it also puts a se­vere dent in the third-party re­pair shops that aren’t au­tho­rized by Ap­ple. You know, the ones you go to get a rea­son­able price on your Macbook re­pair. So Ap­ple’s leav­ing us with two op­tions:

> Keep your fingers crossed that noth­ing goes wrong with your ex­pen­sive new Macbook Pro for three-plus years.

> Spend $269 (13-inch) or $379 (15inch) on Ap­ple­care+ for Mac and get two ad­di­tional years of hard­ware re­pairs.

Ap­ple­care will en­sure that when some­thing goes wrong with your new Macbook with­ing the first three years, you can bring it to the Ap­ple Store and they’ll fix it prop­erly and for free. And it ap­plies to ac­ci­den­tal dam­age too, though you’ll have to pay a de­ductible of $99 for “screen dam­age or ex­ter­nal en­clo­sure dam­age,

“or $299 for “other dam­age.” ■

Ap­ple’s soft­ware locks ex­tend to the $5,000 imac Pro.

The T2 chip is re­spon­si­ble for things such as the Macbook Pro’s Touch Bar.

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