Archive for August 15, 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Inside the iPhone Repair Ecosystem

Juli Clover (tweet):

There’s a thriving market for unofficial, aftermarket iPhone parts, and in China, there are entire massive factories that are dedicated to producing these components for repair shops unable to get ahold of parts that have been produced by Apple.

The entire Apple device repair ecosystem is fascinating, complex, and oftentimes confusing to consumers given the disconnect between Apple, Apple Authorized Service Providers, third-party factories, and independent repair shops, so we thought we’d delve into the complicated world of Apple repairs.


Looking at the iPhone repair ecosystem holistically, there’s a disparity between what repair shops want and what Apple is offering. It’s a fascinatingly complex situation where all involved parties feel their way is the better way, and it’s easy to comprehend why.

Previously: Apple Sued an Independent iPhone Repair Shop Owner and Lost, Apple Fighting New “Right to Repair” Legislation.

Update (2018-10-26): Alex Shprintsen:

Apple often overestimates the cost of repairs to its products and threatens third-party shops who are willing to fix them for a fraction of the price, a CBC News investigation has learned.

Customers who enter an Apple Store with a seemingly minor hardware problem, such as a flickering screen, are often faced with a large bill because they are told they need to replace major parts of the device.


CBC News used a hidden camera to verify reports that Apple customers are often told their malfunctioning computers are not worth fixing, even when minor repairs could remedy the problem.

Continued Mac Bluetooth Problems

Nick Heer:

I swear the Bluetooth drivers in MacOS went to hell somewhere around Sierra and haven’t recovered, even in Mojave. Both my Magic Trackpad 2 and old-style wireless keyboard lag. I know I’ve complained about this before but they are input devices, and ought to work perfectly.

Max Seelemann:

How can a Mac randomly forget it has Bluetooth? Overnight! During sleep mode! Even a restart did not help. Had to do a parameter reset? wtf.

I continue to have problems with spontaneous Bluetooth disconnections and with mouse lag that forces me to reboot. It does seem to help to either turn off Bluetooth on other Macs in the same room or to disable Handoff, but neither of those workarounds should be necessary. Everything worked fine for me until one of the early macOS 10.12.x updates.

Previously: macOS 10.13 High Sierra Released, My 2017 iMac, Sierra Bluetooth Problems and the Logitech K811 Keyboard.

Update (2018-08-15): When my Magic Mouse disconnects, I can often get it back by pressing the ToothFairy hotkey.

Update (2018-08-16): John Voorhees:

I started experiencing lag and disconnects about a month ago too and it’s maddening.

Dan Masters:

When I still I had my MacBook, I experienced similar issues with my AirPods as well.

Jake Bernstein:

Oh good it’s not just me.

Peter Cao:

While not as severe as described here (Magic accessories work perfectly, actually), but my BT audio devices have a tendency to cut in and out. Hoping this is getting worked on and gets fixed in Mojave!

Update (2018-08-17): Marco Arment:

I get frequent Bluetooth disconnections.

Doing everything right: Apple trackpad, Apple mouse. iMac first, then iMac Pro with another set of the same peripherals, never paired to another Mac.

Now they disconnect in space gray.

Been going on since around Sierra, like others report.

My only theory is that nobody important at Apple uses a Magic Mouse or Trackpad.

I have no other explanation for how bad it’s been, for how long, even on such high-end models.

Many people report similar issues in the replies to his tweet.

Update (2018-08-23): Colin Cornaby:

I wouldn’t call mine frequent, but they happen enough for me to notice and be annoyed by when they happen.

Update (2018-09-03): Nick Heer:

An update on this tweet: it’s actually even worse in Mojave. When I wake my computer, I have to wait a good minute or so before the keyboard is usable and does more than repeat the same (delayed) key twenty times.

Update (2019-01-01): Tom Nelson:

This is an irritating issue with Bluetooth devices, such as a wireless Bluetooth keyboard, trackpad, or mouse that suddenly disconnect. After a short time, they reconnect and work normally, that is, until the disconnect happens again.

As of 10.14.2, there doesn’t appear to be any workaround, other than to put up with it.

Update (2019-04-18): Marco Arment:

My macOS 10.15 wishlist, in its entirety:

- Marzipan

- Fix the bug that causes Apple’s Bluetooth mice and trackpads to randomly disconnect

Advantages of Android


Being able to manage my home screen. After a while on iOS you basically have to give up and use Spotlight to find anything because every app is just dumped somewhere on your home screen, and moving one app moves every other app.

Being able to comfortably hold my phone. I now pick up my phone and use it more for browsing, Twitter, YouTube, books, and comics than my I do my iPad. That was never the case with iPhones after the 5S.

iPhones since then were designed to sell cases, not be comfortable to hold.

I can spend an hour browsing the Play Store and continue to find new and interesting apps. I get bored in the App Store after five minutes. I can also browse the Play Store from my MacBook or iPad and remotely install apps to my phone.

My AirPods work better on my Android than they did on my iPhone. I get better range and the constant audio breakups I experienced with my iPhone have been greatly reduced. Switching connected devices is much faster and doesn’t require digging through the Settings app.

On the other hand, Matt Birchler:

The iOS App Store has really spoiled me for all other app platforms. Nothing even comes close. Play Store is second, I guess, but it’s by a huge margin. And now that I have browsed the Microsoft Store for a while, I can now promote the Mac App Store from most useless app store.

Previously: Android Oreo Review: An iOS User’s Review, Why Apple Should Copy the Android P Notification Shade, Switching to an iPhone SE.

Google Tracks Your Movements, Like It or Not

Ryan Nakashima (Hacker News):

Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It’s possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like “chocolate chip cookies,” or “kids science kits,” pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude — accurate to the square foot — and save it to your Google account.

Josh Centers:

If you’re perturbed by all this, you can disable both Location History and Web & App Activity, but doing so prevents Google from storing search history, potentially making searches and other Google tools less useful. You can also delete your previous location history and search activity. iOS users have another way to avoid sharing such data with Google. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, where you can fine tune when particular Google apps are allowed to access your location.

John Gruber:

The saga of Apple Maps’s launch is long and complicated, but Google’s desire to track our location was at the heart of it.

Update (2018-09-26): Jonathan Mayer (via Hacker News):

Lame: if you want to save a home or work address in Google Maps, you now have to allow activity tracking throughout Google services.