Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Where to Get Apple Products Repaired

Speaking of outsourcing and contracting what should be a core competency, scott writes:

It’s important to know that once you drop your devices off at the Apple store, they’ll ship them off to a subcontractor for repairs. These facilities are run like sweatshops.


I work at an Apple repair depot, a company called CSAT Solutions.


Recently, they have begun to hire more people because their retention rate is horrible. The problem is that most of the people they hire are incredibly incompetent. You could have never worked on a computer before and as long as you can read and write English you’re in. The result is you have a bunch of people that don’t know even the basics of troubleshooting computers repairing $2000+ machines. These people also can’t handle the workload so it puts incredible pressure on veteran techs that not only have to worry about their work but other’s work as well. To add insult to injury, these new technicians are being given a $750 bonus for staying with the company for 3 months. All the while technicians that have been at the company for a decade haven’t seen another penny.


In the end you’ll get a refurbished motherboard that will most likely fail again because the company that repairs them does a shitty job. Sometimes the “new” board we’re gonna use looks worse than the one you sent your unit in with. I have received boards with corrosion and we are told to use them and cannot change it unless it fails for something.

Every aspect of this company is a joke. Their shopfloor system is always crashing. And they still expect us to finish the work. We get the units in the morning and they’re supposed to ship out at night.


I work for AppleCare. If OP, or any of the technicians in the repair depot flag a device for “unauthorized modifications” (like a screen or battery that isn’t Apple’s), we deny warranty service to the customer. Guess how many times the “unauthorized modifications” are wrong?

Literally every day. And then I have a customer screaming to me how they’ve never had the phone or MacBook serviced by anyone other than Apple. And there’s nothing we can do about it. We send the device back, and lose the customer.


I’ve worked at two AASPs now as an ACMT/ACiT and I’m beginning to think AASPs are perhaps a better solution for people to get their Apple stuff fixed. Our locations have to meet Apple’s standards and we have been always overly cautious to ensure we do as to not lose our certification and the customer base it provides. Because it is our company’s money and reputation on the line for every repair, we make for damn certain we follow the procedures and read the service guides until we are completely familiar with them.

The only two issues with some AASPs is that they can and will charge beyond Apple’s guidelines for pricing. My company does not for certain services, but does for others. The other being turnaround time; we don’t stock parts and cannot replace devices on the fly. Turnaround time can be days because of this. But I feel the offset is that we will make sure it’s done correctly every step of the way.

I have typically done mail-in repairs because they are faster than waiting a week or so for the local shop to have availability and then receive parts. I also don’t want to be charged extra when I’m already paying for AppleCare. I’ve generally been happy with the results, though several times the Macs have come back with damage that wasn’t initially there.

Michael Brice-Saddler (via Alex Stamos):

Upon arriving, she handed her phone to an employee who began “messing around with it for quite a while,” she wrote the next day.

“I didn’t really pay any mind to it because I just figured he’s doing his job, looking into my insurance info or whatever,” she wrote to Facebook. “He asked for my passcode TWICE in that time frame which I, at the time, didn’t think anything of.”

It turns out Fuentes’s initial concerns were legitimate. When she got home, Fuentes turned on her phone and noticed a text that had been sent to an unknown number, she wrote. The message’s contents were even more harrowing: Fuentes alleged that the Apple employee had gone through her photos, retrieved a private picture and texted it to himself.


Apple store employees have always confirmed that I’ve deleted all my data before I drop off a device that is being sent to a repair center.


For me it was always just give them the password and turn off Find My Phone. But then again I always wiped my devices ahead of time. It’s also been years since I’ve taken a Mac in. I’m dreading going to get my keyboard replaced, I’ve put that off for four years.

I think I’ve always been instructed to give them the password, which I never do. But backing up, wiping, and restoring a Mac (or even an iPhone) is very time consuming.

See also: The Talk Show.


Update (2019-12-20): Mike Peterson:

It’s also worth turning on FileVault 2 disk encryption before you send your Mac off to be repaired. When FileVault 2 is enabled, only the administrator who set it up can actually decrypt the contents of your drive.

Because of that, your data should be safe from any non-admin account that you set up for Apple Support staff to use for testing.

Nikolaj Schlej:

macOS Catalina brings a small, but important update to Mac Firmware Password mechanism: you can now opt-out (and back in) from password reset mechanism used by AppleCare (see here for it’s guts). It makes FW password harder to reset, use it on your own risk!

Update (2019-12-30): Howard Oakley:

This article explains what you should do – when possible – before your Mac goes for service or repair, so that when it returns you can get up and running as quickly as possible.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

I've mentioned this a few times, but when my Dell laptop had a problem, they sent a tech to my house next-day to perform the repair. When my Dell monitor had a problem, I called support in the afternoon, and a replacement was at my door the next morning.

When I had a particularly annoying logic board issue in my an iMac, I didn't have an Apple Store nearby, so I went to an AASP. After the initial carry-in repair didn't work, they sent a tech to my home to do the repair, very friendly and knowledgeable. Still didn't fix the problem though (random sudden reboots when CPU usage was high and when ambient temps were in between 70–80F).

People have praised Apple service for a long time, but I always tended to get the random/hard-to-reproduce hardware issues that left techs scratching their heads. Despite repeat interactions with AppleCare, they never offered replacement of the device, as some lucky folks apparently experience.

Are Apple refurb units (sold through their online refurb store) repaired in-house, or by these contracted companies? I used to hold Apple Refurbished in high regard because I assumed they cared about the refurbishing process, but now I'm curious.

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