Apple launches replacement program for 13-inch MacBook Pro SSDs, warns of data loss

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited November 9
Apple on Friday confirmed a "limited number" of solid state drives used in 13-inch MacBook Pro models without Touch Bar are subject to an undisclosed issue that could result in data loss and hardware failure.

MacBook Pro
13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.


Announced in a support document, the problem is limited to 128GB and 256GB SSDs installed in 13-inch "Function Key" MacBook Pro models sold between June 2017 and June 2018. Other drive configurations are unaffected by the issue.

While the exact nature of the complication remains unknown, Apple urges MacBook Pro owners to check repair eligibility and receive drive servicing as soon as possible.

The company provides an online confirmation tool through its website, where owners can quickly enter their device serial number to confirm eligibility. Users can find their computer's serial number by navigating to "About This Mac" in the Apple menu.

Customers who registered their device with Apple, and who have been identified as eligible based on company records, should receive an email about the program.

Eligible MacBook Pro computers can be serviced at an Apple store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider free of charge.

The program covers MacBook Pro models for three years after first retail sale.

Apple launched the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar last summer as a more affordable alternative to its Touch Bar-equipped laptops. The company did not update non-Touch Bar models when it rolled out refreshed MacBook Pro hardware in July, though the entry-level laptop remains up for sale.

Today's program arrives less than five months after Apple launched a separate repair initiative to deal with customer complaints questioning the reliability of the butterfly keyboard mechanism used in modern MacBook Pro models. Last year, customers began to report issues with the switch architecture, saying small amounts of dust and debris would render keys inoperable. Apple indirectly acknowledged the issue in a support document outlining a method of cleaning affected keyboards with a can of compressed air before initiating a service program to address the issue.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 35
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,301member
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    No one ever said SSD drives were 100% fault proof.  The can and do fail, just like hard drives and RAM chips.  They’re rare but it happens.  

    This is a non-issue.  Apple is backing it up even without Applecare.  Name any other company that does that out of warranty?
    mwhiteracerhomie3pscooter63lovemnlkruppStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 35
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    So much for Apple being the one company with psychic abilities to know in advance that a small batch of chips from a supplier might fail in the future. 
    kirkgraymwhitechiaracerhomie3Rayz2016pscooter63lovemnthtStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 35
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,374member
    Guys, the SSD is soldered on. Apple claims this is for performance reasons, which might even be true. It would seem based on benchmark comparisons with the XPS there might be at least a bit of a speed benefit, although that might be because of the T2.

    However, while it all so very conveniently for Apple substantially raises the cost at initial purchase for anything above base configuration, but it also means the user can’t service their own machine, and as this example demonstrates, raises the cost of repair if anything goes wrong. Not only cost of repair, but look at this example: a person could just replace the SSD themselves, or a thirty second job at an Apple store,  but no, this requires a job where the whole logic board has to be replaced. How inconvenient.

    Apple really needs to rethink this soldered SSD strategy, if nothing else because it is costing a hell of a lot in good will.  
    boboliciouselijahgviclauyyc
  • Reply 5 of 35
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    entropys said:
    Guys, the SSD is soldered on. Apple claims this is for performance reasons, which might even be true. It would seem based on benchmark comparisons with the XPS there might be at least a bit of a speed benefit, although that might be because of the T2.

    However, while it all so very conveniently for Apple substantially raises the cost at initial purchase for anything above base configuration, but it also means the user can’t service their own machine, and as this example demonstrates, raises the cost of repair if anything goes wrong. Not only cost of repair, but look at this example: a person could just replace the SSD themselves, or a thirty second job at an Apple store,  but no, this requires a job where the whole logic board has to be replaced. How inconvenient.

    Apple really needs to rethink this soldered SSD strategy, if nothing else because it is costing a hell of a lot in good will.  
    They're not just taking an SSD and soldering it, as opposed to plugging it in to an M.2 connector though. On an Apple computer the SSD controller is part of the T2 chip and the things that are solderer are just the memory part. So even if they made those socketable you still couldn't insert PC SSDs on your Mac.
    racerhomie3boboliciousStrangeDayswatto_cobramacplusplus
  • Reply 6 of 35
    sflocal said:
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    No one ever said SSD drives were 100% fault proof.  The can and do fail, just like hard drives and RAM chips.  They’re rare but it happens.  

    This is a non-issue.  Apple is backing it up even without Applecare.  Name any other company that does that out of warranty?
    All companies in the EU, since it's required by law to give the customer 2 years warranty.
    elijahg
  • Reply 7 of 35
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,455member
    sflocal said:
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    No one ever said SSD drives were 100% fault proof.  The can and do fail, just like hard drives and RAM chips.  They’re rare but it happens.  

    This is a non-issue.  Apple is backing it up even without Applecare.  Name any other company that does that out of warranty?
    All companies in the EU, since it's required by law to give the customer 2 years warranty.
    The article says machines that are three years old qualify.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 35
    sflocal said:
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    No one ever said SSD drives were 100% fault proof.  The can and do fail, just like hard drives and RAM chips.  They’re rare but it happens.  

    This is a non-issue.  Apple is backing it up even without Applecare.  Name any other company that does that out of warranty?
    Non-issue? If they are doing a replacement programme then it’s been classified by Apple as an Issue? Please let’s not over use this phraseology. It waters it down for the crazy times. This isn’t a crazy time, it’s a small issue but still an issue. 

    Nissan, Dyson and Withings/nokia. 

    i’ve had all 3 recalled a number years later. Apple is not doing this out of its own good here. More than likely in Europe under consumer law it’s covered anyway so they might aswell do some official programme if the amount of repairs being provided goes over a certain threshold. 

    Having said that i’m happy this time that Apple has come out first before any media or you tuber hits out first. Least we know Apple responded directly rather than the perception of responding to the media frenzy.
    elijahgmazda 3s
  • Reply 9 of 35
    sflocal said:
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    No one ever said SSD drives were 100% fault proof.  The can and do fail, just like hard drives and RAM chips.  They’re rare but it happens.  

    This is a non-issue.  Apple is backing it up even without Applecare.  Name any other company that does that out of warranty?
    A lot of major companies offer goodwill warranties on their products.
  • Reply 10 of 35
    maxitmaxit Posts: 203member
    As much as I love Apple and their products, I really hate soldered components like RAM and SSD.
    boboliciousviclauyyc
  • Reply 11 of 35
    Apple’s primary reason for tightly integrating the SSD with the logic board is to boost revenue by forcing people to buy higher levels of storage when they acquire a Mac - since it can’t be upgraded later. It may offer some performance benefits, which I don’t know the answer to. Apple does the  same thing with iPhones.  Look at Samsung phones which have a memory slot so owners can add memory later - no reason Apple couldn’t do that with iPhones, but they want to bump up the revenue at purchase time. 

    Apple is driven by marketing and revenue as well as controlling the user. Their policies create a love/hate relationship with their customers. They won’t do a recall like this unless they are backed into a corner. 

    I have a 15 inch MacBook Pro that was recalled due to a bad video card integration on the logic board. Sure they fixed it free of charge but it has recently failed again and they no longer support any repair.  Apparently the components were never redesigned, they just repair with the same defectively designed part.  So now my pricey machine is a pile of junk. So much for good will. 
    avon b7boboliciousviclauyyc
  • Reply 12 of 35
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,522member
    tedz98 said:
    Apple’s primary reason for tightly integrating the SSD with the logic board is to boost revenue by forcing people to buy higher levels of storage when they acquire a Mac - since it can’t be upgraded later. It may offer some performance benefits, which I don’t know the answer to. Apple does the  same thing with iPhones.  Look at Samsung phones which have a memory slot so owners can add memory later - no reason Apple couldn’t do that with iPhones, but they want to bump up the revenue at purchase time. 

    Apple is driven by marketing and revenue as well as controlling the user. Their policies create a love/hate relationship with their customers. They won’t do a recall like this unless they are backed into a corner. 

    I have a 15 inch MacBook Pro that was recalled due to a bad video card integration on the logic board. Sure they fixed it free of charge but it has recently failed again and they no longer support any repair.  Apparently the components were never redesigned, they just repair with the same defectively designed part.  So now my pricey machine is a pile of junk. So much for good will. 
    So which new Windows laptop did you buy? Lenovo, Asus, HP, Dell? Inquiring minds would like to know. The rest of your screed is parroted talking point nonsense.
    StrangeDayselijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 35
    Rayz2016 said:
    All companies in the EU, since it's required by law to give the customer 2 years warranty.
    The article says machines that are three years old qualify.
    Touché
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 35
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    You have a misunderstanding of technology. Soldering notebook storage isn’t a result of reliability, it’s for faster speed and less volume. This compromise is exactly right for a portable device. Try again.
    edited November 10 watto_cobramacplusplus
  • Reply 15 of 35
    entropys said:
    Guys, the SSD is soldered on. Apple claims this is for performance reasons, which might even be true. It would seem based on benchmark comparisons with the XPS there might be at least a bit of a speed benefit, although that might be because of the T2.

    However, while it all so very conveniently for Apple substantially raises the cost at initial purchase for anything above base configuration, but it also means the user can’t service their own machine, and as this example demonstrates, raises the cost of repair if anything goes wrong. Not only cost of repair, but look at this example: a person could just replace the SSD themselves, or a thirty second job at an Apple store,  but no, this requires a job where the whole logic board has to be replaced. How inconvenient.

    Apple really needs to rethink this soldered SSD strategy, if nothing else because it is costing a hell of a lot in good will.  
    And in return it’s faster (this isn’t some conspiracy claim, get real), takes up less space, weighs less. All attributes I’m looking for in my portable. Tinkering ain’t one — like most any real pro, if my machine/car breaks down, I get it repaired. I don’t dick around with screwdrivers on the kitchen table. 

    Nobody at Apple is going to “rethink” this and go back to back to bigger machines. Stop day dreaming, hating, trolling, whatever. Acceptance is your friend. Or, get an Alienware and stop being permanently unhappy. Don’t you want to be happy?
    lostkiwielijahgwatto_cobramacplusplusfastasleep
  • Reply 16 of 35

    tedz98 said:
    Apple’s primary reason for tightly integrating the SSD with the logic board is to boost revenue by forcing people to buy higher levels of storage when they acquire a Mac - since it can’t be upgraded later. It may offer some performance benefits, which I don’t know the answer to. Apple does the  same thing with iPhones.  Look at Samsung phones which have a memory slot so owners can add memory later - no reason Apple couldn’t do that with iPhones, but they want to bump up the revenue at purchase time. 

    Apple is driven by marketing and revenue 
    Nope, pure bullshit on your part. 

    Your second part is correct — you don’t know/understand the answer. 
    watto_cobramacplusplusfastasleep
  • Reply 17 of 35
    This is the first timeIve seen that Apple will contact registered device users by email. 

    Is this a new or exceptional policy?

    To my knowledge, Apple failed to do this with safety related recalls with the recalls for 100% of its European iPhone chargers (Burns), or 100% of iPad charger connectors (breaking with exposed terminals having an electrocution risk), or even some % of gen0 Apple watches losing their screens due to battery swelling).

    At the time of the charger issues I criticized Apple publically and sent feedback to Cupertino for not at minimum contacting registered users, and, even more, for not having a s/w driven alert pop up on each device (somehow dismissible by the registered owner without affecting usability of the device). 

    I saw these deficits not as a lack of imagination, but as a concern for customer safety and satisfaction as being in the 2nd position relative to cost and image control. 
  • Reply 18 of 35
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,636member
    tedz98 said:
    Apple’s primary reason for tightly integrating the SSD with the logic board is to boost revenue by forcing people to buy higher levels of storage when they acquire a Mac - since it can’t be upgraded later. It may offer some performance benefits, which I don’t know the answer to. Apple does the  same thing with iPhones.  Look at Samsung phones which have a memory slot so owners can add memory later - no reason Apple couldn’t do that with iPhones, but they want to bump up the revenue at purchase time. 

    Apple is driven by marketing and revenue as well as controlling the user. Their policies create a love/hate relationship with their customers. They won’t do a recall like this unless they are backed into a corner. 

    I have a 15 inch MacBook Pro that was recalled due to a bad video card integration on the logic board. Sure they fixed it free of charge but it has recently failed again and they no longer support any repair.  Apparently the components were never redesigned, they just repair with the same defectively designed part.  So now my pricey machine is a pile of junk. So much for good will. 
    Thank you armchair engineer for your BS insight. I'm sure you're an expert at making logic boards for Apple products just sitting at home. 
    watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 19 of 35
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,895member
    sflocal said:
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    No one ever said SSD drives were 100% fault proof.  The can and do fail, just like hard drives and RAM chips.  They’re rare but it happens.  

    This is a non-issue.  Apple is backing it up even without Applecare.  Name any other company that does that out of warranty?
    It is anything but a non-issue.

    I'm in the camp that prefers non-soldered SSD and RAM. I'm also on board for repairability by design.

    Repair complexity, repair turnaround cost and data privacy are the three big issues.

    Knowing that faults occur, components can be defective on leaving the factory and many warranties are short, designing a piece of equipment that cannot easily be repaired or requires the replacing unaffected parts as part of the repair, is simply bad design from the outset in my book.

    When a particular model begins accumulating problems (like the butterfly keyboard issues on recent MBPs) they become time bombs.

    Replacing failed parts with 'good' parts but which share the same design or manufacturing fault is not really a solution IMO. If something fails and requires a warranty extension, the extension itself should not have a cut-off point below the 'vintage' point if the replacement part is identical to the part for which the extended warranty covers.

    The argument that says Apple's machines are so well designed and put together that you will probably never hit upon a problem is poppycock. The butterfly keyboard could stop working due to particle accumulation at any time and without warning. Idem a defective component (whether it was defective at the factory or not). The same applies to components that suffer 'wear and tear' like batteries. Your statistical mileage may vary but even if it is a small 'insignificant' amount of users that are affected, if you are one of them, you are effectively borked. If you are out of warranty, you are well a truly borked - by design.

    If the machines were so reliable, Apple could do what many manufacturers do (and only do when their products are truly unlikely to suffer failure or are easy/cheap to repair) offer a long warranty.

    The problem is that Apple has turned warranties into a business in itself.

    In the case of storage, no one wanted to tackle the issue of privacy. If a storage element died or suffered intermittent issues in warranty, Apple requires you send the part back to them with no contractual guarantee to protect what was on the storage element until its destruction. That is still the case, only mitigated somewhat by less machines using hard disks and encryption becoming more commonplace.

    And as Robert Walters just indicated, I have never been contacted pro-actively by Apple to make me aware of any repair programmes related to my Apple equipment. Nor has Apple contacted me about the reimbursement of the difference between the amount charged for an iPhone 6 battery replacement and subsequent reduction  in price for the service. I used to get AppleCare on every Mac I bought so they had my contact information duplicated. On the other hand I used to get lots of marketing mails from Apple Europe.

    On one occasion when I found out about a repair programme for a MBP which had ended a few months before, I was politely told that nothing could be done and that was the end of the story.





    edited November 10 boboliciousviclauyycmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 35
    elijahg said:
    So much for SSDs being reliable enough to be soldered on. Apple's now going to have to replace $600 logic boards rather than $100 SSDs. Perhaps this is why the Mini is not quite as monolithic as it could have been...
    According to the website, all they're gonna do is update the firmware. Nothing needs to be replaced.
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingamfastasleep
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