Thanks to Apple, I have a totally rebuilt Mac

My main computing machine is a 15″ MacBook Pro, bought in 2017. Over the years, it’s generally been running nicely, though not perfectly.

My 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro

This is one of those Mac laptops unfortunately affected by a bad keyboard design in MacBooks and MacBook Pros from 2015 to 2019. The keyboard was based on what was supposed to be a novel and revolutionary “butterfly” switch mechanism, which allows for a slimmer keyboard profile over the more traditional “scissor” switch in laptops.

Instead, problems ensued in the form of reliability problems and vulnerability to dust particles. The issue became quite the public relations headache for Apple, to the point that a special servicing program was created to repair or replace keyboards at no cost to the customer.

In 2020, my MacBook Pro keyboard started going bad, so I decided it was time to get it serviced by Apple. But due to the pandemic and closure of Apple Stores, I had to wait until early 2021.

When I brought in my Mac for repair, I was informed that Apple techs would not only evaluate the keyboard but also perform complete system testing. I would be advised if there would be any recommended repairs and their costs.

The servicing was fast, generally speaking, with a 1-week turnaround from drop-off at the Apple Store, to overnight shipment back to my home.

While I was happy to have my Mac back in my hands again with a functional keyboard (which appeared to have been fully replaced), I was surprised to find that was far from the only repair made.

There were several other items addressed in my MacBook Pro, all complements of Apple:

  • Battery replacement. My Mac had been flashing strange warning messages about the battery nearing the end of its life. As it turns out, there was a specific battery replacement program for that.
  • Monitor cable replacement. This was part of another Apple service program to replace the flexible cable connecting the screen to the main board. The issue was known as “Flexgate.” Indeed, I noticed a few times my screen going black for a second or two.
  • Screen replacement. I was totally surprised by this. As far as I know, there is no specific program to replace screens. I can only guess that there was a defect in the screen’s backlight that resulted from damage to the monitor cable.

Here’s the report that came back with my MacBook Pro. The only indication of a keyboard replacement is where it says “ANSI.”

The component replacements apparently were part of other assemblies that were also replaced (such as the outer casings). The end result is rather close to a rebuilt machine, with all but the bottom enclosure, motherboard, and SSD changed out.

While it’s great to have a revived Mac, it’s also making it harder for me to upgrade to a shiny new 2021 MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro processor, which I had been considering – when what you have not only still works great but is now almost like new.

I’m thinking of maybe going ahead with the new M1 MacBook Pro, and make the current Mac a dedicated PC with Windows 11. It’s actually a great idea as it has the Intel processor that’s no longer in the newest Macs.

And it would finally, at long last, serve as the replacement for my 11-year old PC.