My Experience Replacing a 2012 MacBook Air Battery at ComputerCare

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Hi. My name is Mark Chisholm. I work in public relations, and happen to be part of the team that gets to support ComputerCare. This blog post is a little bit different because I wanted to share my first-hand experience of having my laptop’s battery replaced.

I have a MacBook Air. It’s my primary work laptop, and I find it light and really easy to use. It’s a five-year-old mid-2012 model, and (thanks to the case I keep it in) it still looks and works very well. I don’t do anything too taxing on my Air; in fact, I primarily use just six or seven applications, like Outlook for email, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for documents, Google Chrome as my web browser, Slack for internal messaging and Spotify for music. I occasionally joke with my boss that I’d like to upgrade to a newer machine, but all in all this has been an incredibly reliable laptop that more than meets my needs.

Old battery: Only 2 hours on a full charge

 

Like many people, I generally have my laptop’s AC plugged in when I’m at the office, so battery life is never an issue. But at home, where I also frequently use my computer, I noticed a sudden drop in battery life over the past couple of months. It wasn’t terrible, but it was enough that I’d try to extend it by turning off Slack and lowering screen brightness. Even then I was only getting a couple of hours out of it without the power cord.

When I saw a ‘service battery’ message pop up I was naturally a bit more concerned, so I tried resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) to see if that would help. I’d recommend trying that first if you’re having similar battery problems (link to Apple Support’s SMC reset instructions here), but it didn’t work for me, so I knew it was likely to be a battery hardware issue.

The good folks at ComputerCare in Seattle kindly ran some diagnostics on my laptop and quickly identified the battery problem, which would unfortunately require a replacement. All I needed to provide ComputerCare was the model number and serial number of the laptop, and they ordered the appropriate replacement battery. Keep in mind that these are 100 percent genuine Apple parts, so ComputerCare sources them directly from Apple.

Email confirmation: My replacement battery was on the way.

 

I could have left my laptop there, but I hadn’t done a back-up of the data, so I decided to take it with me and wait a few days while the replacement battery was being shipped. When the day arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from ComputerCare’s Seattle team, confirming that my battery was in stock and they were ready to repair it as soon as I could drop it off. I proceeded to clean up my files and back everything up to iCloud as well as to a large capacity USB thumb drive. The back-up process took longer than I’d expected, but it was still less than an hour, total, and I could keep working while it did that in the background.

When I arrived at ComputerCare’s Seattle office (on 2nd Ave in Belltown), I filled out some simple paperwork and fully expected to leave my laptop for a few days. To my surprise, I was told that it would only take 30 minutes if I was willing to wait. So, after a quick walk down to Drip City Coffee for a drink, I was back to pick up my laptop. I signed some more paperwork and paid for the repairs, and it was done. Did I mention how quick and painless that was?

New battery: Almost 8 hours on a full charge

 

Needless to say, I’m a very happy camper right now. My battery can last almost an entire work day without being plugged in, and I don’t have to worry about dimming the screen or turning off any apps. And even though I had prepared a spare laptop, I ended up not needing to use one (but I’d still recommend making a back-up of your data, just in case).

Ultimately, I’m really glad that I’ll be able to get at least another year or two out of this laptop. The whole repair process was quick, painless and cost-effective. That’s music to my (and my boss’) ears.

Finally, a big shout out to the team at ComputerCare in Seattle. Everyone was courteous, helpful, professional, knowledgeable and fast.

T-Mobile Offers AppleCare+, Giving Customers Access to Repair Services Through Apple and ASPs

        

As reported in several outlets last week, T-Mobile has just announced the addition of AppleCare to its existing Premium Device Protection and JUMP! upgrade plans, at no additional cost.

This means that any T-Mobile customers who already pay $12 per month for JUMP! or the carrier’s Premium Device Protection plan, can get AppleCare+ for their iPhone or iPad. If you’re a T-Mobile iPhone or iPad customer with one of these plans, you can now have your device repaired under the AppleCare+ program by ComputerCare. If you have a cracked iPhone screen, you may also be eligible for ComputerCare’s same-day iPhone repair service in the Bay Area.

ComputerCare Awarded Apple’s Premium Service Provider Status

        

We’re proud to announce that ComputerCare has been awarded Apple’s Premium Service Provider status for the second consecutive year. Having been an authorized service provider for Apple since 2008, ComputerCare today repairs the company’s full range of iPhones, MacBooks, iPads and more for a growing base of consumer and business clients.

Upon receiving the coveted ‘PSP’ status, ComputerCare’s president, Georgia Rittenberg, said, “There are many different criteria that a service provider must meet in order to earn Apple’s Premium Service Provider status. It requires outstanding performance from both the technical, and customer service teams. I’m so proud that the hard work and attention to detail we put into every single repair is being recognized and appreciated by our customers. We are thrilled and honored to once again be recognized by Apple for our continued commitment to technical support and customer care.”

Anyone who follows ComputerCare news may remember that back in 2016 we successfully launched a same-day iPhone display repair service in the Bay Area that now repairs hundreds of iPhones every month. In addition, a growing proportion of our business is being driven by an Apple Support app that allows consumers to make a repair appointment directly with ComputerCare or other Authorized Service Providers instead of waiting for help at a Genius Bar. Being the only Premium Service Provider in the Santa Clara area (and one of only 10 PSPs in California), ComputerCare appears at the top of that list.

If you’re experiencing any problems with your iPhone or other Apple products, we’d love to help. You can make an appointment with us directly by going to computercare.net and clicking on “Open a Ticket” at the top of the page.

To buy or not to buy (an extended warranty) – that is the question

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With the holidays rapidly approaching, there’s a good chance that you’re going to purchase a laptop, phone or tablet for that special someone. Personal electronic devices like these make fantastic gifts, but at anywhere between $400 up to $2,000 or more, they also come with a justifiably expensive price tag. So, if you’re wondering whether or not to fork out the extra money to purchase an extended warranty for that shiny new device, here’s the answer. Yes, you should. This is why we think it’s so important:

Most of us know that electronics typically come with a standard one-year warranty when purchased new. What we’re usually not so clear about, however, is what to do if the keyboard stops working, or if the screen cracks after that one-year warranty expires. Sure, there are a plethora of repair shops out there that can fix your device, but it’s so hard to estimate the cost. Without a warranty you’ll be paying for parts and labor, which can quickly add up to the cost of replacing the device with a new one. Ouch.

Retailers and manufacturers each have a variety of warranties that you can purchase as added extras to supplement the standard one-year warranty for device repair. Coverage can very greatly based on the warranty you select, so it’s always important to read the fine print. For example, AppleCare, the warranty service provided by Apple for its range of products, only covers manufacturer defects for their Mac products, but covers accidental damage on their iOS devices. Lenovo on the other hand, offers extended warranties that will cover accidental drops, liquid spills, and even allow you to retain your hard drive if it fails.

Technology isn’t perfect, and accidents happen, which is why solid warranty coverage can take the sting out of paying for repairs. So this holiday season, while you’re out shopping for a new device, consider spending the extra money to extend the life of your new laptop, phone or tablet. It will be well worth it in the long run.

Here’s a fun fact: Manufacturers generally give priority to shipping parts for warranty repair, rather than non-warranty.

Curious what your warranty covers? Here’s a list of the devices we service, and each OEM’s warranty policies:

Happy shopping!

Apple puts the Genius Bar in your Pocket with new Support app

Apple Support App
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Apple has some exciting news for people who use its line of iPhone or iPad products. The company has taken the wraps off a new app, simply called ‘Support.’ The app helps iOS device users find links to support articles, and allows them to schedule appointments with Apple’s authorized service providers, like ComputerCare, and not just at Genius Bars, if they have more serious issues.

The Support app has access to your Apple ID and information about your registered products, making it a snap to find support for the right device. This also makes it possible for the service provider to access warranty information about the specific device, making the whole process faster and more convenient.

For more technical questions, users also have the option to visit Apple’s dedicated Twitter account (@AppleSupport) where they can find product tips, tricks and customer support.

Here’s how Apple describes the new app:

Need help? Apple Support app is your personalized guide to the best options from Apple. Find answers with articles tailored to your products and questions. Call, chat or email with an expert right away, or schedule a callback when it’s convenient. Get a repair at an Apple Store or a nearby Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple Support is here to help.

Use Apple’s website to reserve repairs at an Authorized Service Provider

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If you’re having hardware issues with your Apple product and need to have it repaired, Apple’s website now makes it easier than ever.

For several years now users have been able to find the location of service providers, like ComputerCare, via the Apple website. Now, users are being given the option to see and reserve an appointment at a Genius Bar or an Authorized Service Provider directly through the website. This makes it much more convenient for users to find the help they need, when they need it, and at a nearby location.

Here are a few steps you’ll need to follow in order to take advantage of this new repair option.

  1. Click on “Start A Repair Request” in the support section of Apple’s website: https://getsupport.apple.com

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2. Select your device:

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3. Select the appropriate hardware issue to help identify the problem. For example, accidental damage.

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4.  You’ll be presented with several options, such as online chat and scheduling a call. If you’d prefer to have the device checked out in person, select “Bring it in for Repair.”

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5. Once you’ve made your choice, you’ll be asked to provide your Apple ID (unless you’re already signed in). If you’ve opted to bring your device in for repair, you’ll be asked for a preferred location. This will bring up a map that shows the availability of Apple Stores and Authorized Service Providers near you. In the screenshot here, you’ll see that ComputerCare has a slot at 9:40 am. If that slot works, reserve it!

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So what happens once you’re here? First, we’ll check your device in and verify warranty status. No matter what the issue may be, we strive to get your product up and running as quickly as possible, usually within just a couple of days.

And don’t forget, for less serious issues or questions, you can always reach out to Apple via the company’s dedicated Twitter account (@AppleSupport), where you’ll get product tips, tricks and customer support.

Try this before you send your device to a professional for repairs

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Have you ever thought that your phone or laptop was broken, but later discovered that the ‘fix’ was pretty simple? Electronic devices are expensive, and repair costs can quickly mount up. So, we thought we’d share a few really simple tips that you can try before bringing the device in for a second opinion.

Obviously, if you have a battery issue, a cracked screen or other similar physical damage, it’s best to get it checked by a professional so that you don’t void your warranty or cause more harm. The one thing we strongly recommend is that you back up your most critical documents, photos, music library, etc., on a regular basis so that you don’t lose precious data to a hardware failure. It doesn’t matter whether you use a cloud service or an external hard drive, just do it often!

Try these things if your device is acting a little odd…

  1. Empty the cache. There are many reasons why a device might be unresponsive or running slowly. One of the most common causes of this is having too much data cached in the device’s memory. If you’ve tried other solutions like rebooting, deleting unused applications, or turning off background applications, try clearing the cache. It may give you quite a boost.
  2. Software Update. This is another common problem. As software bugs or security vulnerabilities are discovered, most companies issue security patches, software or firmware updates. Without these updates your device may slow down because of buggy software or even be at risk of a hack. So, make sure you install any recent updates to see if that makes a difference.
  3. Hard reset. This isn’t the same as restoring a device back to factory settings, so you shouldn’t lose any of your data (but make sure to back up everything just in case). Let’s use Apple laptops as an example. If your Mac is acting odd, with things like drives not appearing, screens not adjusting correctly, Bluetooth problems, AirPort connection issues, etc., then it may be time to reset your PRAM and/or SMC (System Management Control). Here’s what you do:

Mac PRAM reset

PRAM stores certain system and device settings in a location that OS X can access quickly. Exactly which settings are stored in the computer’s PRAM varies depending on the type of computer as well as the types of devices and drives connected. To reset PRAM:

  • Shut down your machine
  • Press the power button and then press command-option-p-r. Make sure you get all those keys pressed before the gray screen comes on or it won’t work
  • Keep holding those keys down until after you hear the startup chime as your Mac reboots
  • Release the keys and allow your Mac to continue the reboot normally

Mac SMC reset

The System Management Controller (SMC) is a chip on a Mac’s logic board that controls all power functions. If the computer is experiencing any power issue, such as not starting up, not displaying video, sleep issues, or fan noise issues, resetting SMC may resolve it.

Mac laptops with non-removable batteries – MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, etc.

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Plug in the MagSafe or USB-C power adapter to a power source and to your Mac.
  • Using the built-in keyboard, press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the keyboard, then press the power button at the same time.
  • Release all keys, then press the power button again to turn on your Mac

Mac laptops with removable batteries.

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Disconnect the MagSafe power adapter from the Mac.
  • Remove the battery.
  • Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  • Reconnect the battery and MagSafe power adapter.
  • Press the power button to turn on the Mac.
  •  The LED on MagSafe power adapters might change states or temporarily turn off when you reset the SMC.

Mac desktops – iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, and Xserve.

  • Shut down the Mac.
  • Unplug the power cord.
  • Wait 15 seconds.
  • Plug the power cord back in.
  • Wait 5 seconds, then press the power button to turn on the Mac.

For iPhone users:

If iPhone issues are getting you down, it might be time to try a full factory reset. You can do this pretty easily yourself using iTunes, which will help you restore setting and apps on the device, too. There are a lot of sites with great step-by-step instructions, like this one. It’s not a difficult process, but the one thing these sites often forget to tell you is that Apple recommends you turn off “Find My iPhone” before you do the reset.

If none of these tips works for you, your device may need some professional TLC. The best thing to do next is visit the manufacturer’s website and look for the licensed repair specialist or warranty service provider nearest you. They can often run diagnostics on the device to pinpoint the problem, allowing you to decide whether or not to go ahead with the repair.

And did we mention that you should back up your device?!?

NOTE: This information is intended as simple troubleshooting advice only. ComputerCare takes no responsibility for broken or damaged devices. If you believe that your device may need professional repairs, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

New Honors from Apple

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We’re happy to announce that ComputerCare has been certified as an Apple Premium Service Provider, a designation that’s only given to a handful of Apple Authorized Service Providers in recognition of their extraordinary commitment to technical excellence and customer service.

Premium Service Providers must show that they consistently deliver exceptional repair support and customer experience meeting Apple’s exacting standard for high-quality repair and prompt service. ComputerCare adheres to the strictest levels of warranty and non-warranty support and repair for a host of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, iPads and more. We also recently launched a same-day iPhone screen repair service in the Bay Area, and plan to expand this service to other locations in the near future.

Whether you’re at home or at work, most of us can’t live without our computers and mobile devices by our side. When they break, we need them fixed as soon as possible. Our goal is to deliver the absolute best level of customer service and finish repairs quickly and conveniently. Our Apple certified technicians and staff are a vital part of that success.

For more information, check out the press release.