3 tips for taking your Mac in for service

Macs (s aapl) are fairly dependable, but there will still be occasions when you have to take them in for service at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. This can be a major undertaking. Obviously, the first step is to be sure you have a good working backup in case you for some reason your hard drive is erased. But there’s more to it than that. Here are a few other quick tips for making sure your service trip goes off without a hitch.

1. Create a service-only account

Often repair work involves administrator-level access to your Mac’s operating system. While I’ve never heard about privacy violations at Apple Authorized Service Providers, I like putting an extra barrier to protect my personal data, since I’ll sheepishly admit my account password is used in a few other places, and I’d rather nobody know it.

For added protection, I have another administrator account prior to sending my Mac in for service. An extra administrator account is good for testing purposes, so I already have one. If you don’t, then go to System Preferences, and then to Accounts and click the plus button and under “New Account.” choose “Administrator.” Create a full name and unique password and then click “Create Account.”

When checking in your computer at the repair shop, give them this password. Yes, your original account’s password could be reset and your data read, but at least this makes it a bit more difficult to do so. Even if your primary account’s password is reset, they still won’t have easy access to your keychain or be able to find out where else you use that admin password.

Now that your Mac is safely backed up and ready for service, here are two tips for an often overlooked part of the job — physically transporting your Mac.

2. Dress your iMac in a t-shirt

The iMac’s screen in particular can be easily scratched when lifting it in and out of the car. Shirt buttons and jewelry are common items that could cause scratches on your person, too. A large towel is a common protector for transport, but it’s difficult to keep that in place. My solution is an old t-shirt. If your screen size exceeds your shirt size, go to a thrift store and pick up an XL. Old shirts tend to be extremely soft and stretch easily, thereby protecting your iMac screen and keeping that protection in place during transit. The bonus is that your computer looks absolutely adorable.

Once you’ve got the T-shirt wrapped around the iMac, lift it carefully, making sure to grasp it firmly with two hands at the bottom and press the protected screen against your body. Don’t try to carry it by the stand. Unless you’re a weightlifter with unusually long arms, avoid carrying an iMac under one arm.

3. Keep it in the backseat

Just like people do with their other most precious cargo (ie., children and pets), keep the Mac in the backseat. Have the screen face backwards and strap it in with the shoulder and waist restraints. I typically place the shoulder strap over the back of the iMac and then use the waist restraint close to the base. This will not keep it in place as well as it will a child in case of an accident, but it serves to slow the Mac down, and if it does hit the back of the passenger seat, the screen is less likely to crack and the hard drive is less likely to get jostled. For an extra ounce of prevention, I push the passenger seat as far back as I can and brace it with a pillow if needed. This will also help if you have to make a sudden stop, or if you hit a few potholes long the way.

Any other tips for getting your injured Mac to and from service-related visits?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user kaikajus.