Even Apple’s senior support staff cannot detect this “error.”
In mid-2018, photographer and programmer Greg Benz decided to spend nearly 7000 USD to own the latest MacBook Pro with Core i9 chip, 32GB RAM and 4TB SSD. On his blog, Greg said he pleased with the performance of the device. In addition, the product to him was worthwhile.
4 times of warranty costs Apple over 10,000 USD
However, after a few months, Greg claimed that he constantly experienced hardware problems.
- The first MacBook Pro that he used often has black screen status (the fan rotated, but the machine did not start). Apple has replaced the mainboard of this machine.
- After a few months, the MacBook Pro began to show the same symptoms as before. Apple continued to replace another motherboard.
- Once again, the MacBook Pro repeated this error. This time, Apple decided to replace a completely new device for Greg.
- Unfortunately, on the fourth warranty, Greg’s MacBook Pro remained the exact problem.
The repetitive warranty made Greg uncomfortable. Because, it not only took time which was supposed to be for work, but it also caused him to lose data after every replacement of the component due to the mechanism security of T2 chip.
On the Apple side, the company also suffered from big losses. In solely Greg’s case, Apple had to spend more than $ 10,000 to secure his MacBook Pro. This included two mainboards, connecting cables and a new machine worth $ 7000.
However, in the fifth time of warranty, Greg found out the real reason that his MacBook Pro failed after only a period of use. Unexpectedly, the problem was not related to hardware. But, because the screen brightness was set to the lowest level. Greg forgot to increase it.
The reason Greg did this was that he frequently connected the MacBook Pro to a removable screen. Since there is no need for the screen of the device, he often reduces the brightness to the maximum.
In previous warranties, no Apple employee could detect this, even senior support staff. Only after the fifth warranty, an employee named Kyle could do that. After the initial diagnosis, Kyle tried a new way that no one had ever done before: illuminating the flashlight on the screen. At this point, he could see the dim image of the login screen.
Why was a simple problem could be so difficult to detect?
This whole story may seem silly, but the fact is that the MacBook Pro has caused a lot of misunderstanding. Furthermore, it also created hindering during the diagnosis process of users and Apple’s employees. On his blog, Greg pointed out the following series of irrational points:
- Screen brightness after restarting the machine remains the same as the previous level. This including the boot screen with the Apple logo and login screen. Even the system recovery and testing tools don’t make the screen light up.
- However, the brightness control button in the Touch Bar bar does not appear until the user logs in. In other words, users have no way to increase the screen brightness when the machine is booting or at the login screen.
- The external screen will not activate when starting and logging in. For some reason, only when the user has successfully logged in, the external plug-in screens displayed.
- The external keyboard will not be able to adjust the screen brightness, including Apple’s keyboard.
- Apple’s diagnostic guide is not updated to reflect the status of new MacBook Pro models. Previously, one of the most common steps in the Mac diagnostics process was to reset the PRAM (Parameter RAM, memory for Mac settings) to the default value. However, with the new MacBook Pro with T2 chipset with a firmware password, resetting PRAM will not work. Therefore, the screen brightness of the device will not return to the default level.
Combining all the above points, a simple problem like Greg’s case suddenly became big and challenging to solve.
After this incident, Greg wished he could regain all his wasted time. In addition, Apple’s limited technical support disappointed Greg as well. Despite being a manufacturer, Apple employees could not discover the true cause. Even so, Greg was happy that the MacBook Pro that he had pay tons of money to own, was completely normal and had no hardware problems.