3 tips for taking your Mac in for service

Macs 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 take some doing, so here are three tips about things you might not think about when moving your Mac.

Apple Making Things Right for Unibody MacBook Owners

Apple issued a new support document over the weekend that promises a fix for white, unibody MacBook affected by a problem with peeling rubber on the bottom case. Affected units are now eligible for free repairs, for up to two years from the original purchase date.

iPad Battery Replacement Program

Though some critics like to vilify Apple (s aapl) for its practice of building devices with inaccessible batteries, the benefits definitely outweigh the consequences for such a tradeoff. The MacBook Pros are rated for up to eight hours of battery life, the iPod nanos get up to 24 hours of audio playback and the new iPad is touted to go for 10 hours on a single charge. But what happens when your iPad doesn’t get a great charge anymore? Similar to programs in place for the MacBook Pros and iPhones, Apple has announced its iPad Battery Replacement program and it’s not a bad option, all things considered.

The rules are pretty simple. If your iPad no longer holds a charge as good as it used to, you can pay Apple a service fee ($99 plus $6.95 shipping) and it will replace it. Of course, if your iPad is damaged because of an accident, neglect, liquid contact or if there is another hardware issue, then Apple reserves the right to say “No, sorry.” Fortunately though, unless your glass screen has been smashed, Apple is rarely picky on these types of issues. If your device turns on and displays what its supposed to on the screen and can connect to a computer to sync, it’s pretty much eligible for a battery replacement. Read More about iPad Battery Replacement Program

Apple Admits MacBook Hard Drives Defective, Offers Free Repair Program

In a move reminiscent of the warranty extension Apple (s aapl) offered to MacBook Pro owners affected by NVIDIA-gate, the Mac maker announced this week that it would offer a similar consideration to some MacBook owners whose hard drives are crashing. Eligible models (black and white MacBooks sold between May 2006 and December 2007) affected by the problem will be repaired at no cost.

On the support page created to describe the problem and the resulting warranty extension, Apple doesn’t mention which brand of hard drives are affected by name, which could mean that the problem doesn’t lie with the hard drives themselves, but with some other system components. Another indication that this is indeed the case is that all capacities of hard drive are also affected. Read More about Apple Admits MacBook Hard Drives Defective, Offers Free Repair Program

New Study Says Apple is Most Reliable, Not Asus

Last month, I reported the results of a study detailing notebook reliability numbers. Many commenters disagreed with the results of the study by U.S. warranty company SquareTrade, and provided excellent reasons for doing so. Today, another study reinforces the opinion unsurprisingly shared by many of our readers; namely, that Apple (s aapl) is indeed the top computer maker when it comes to reliability.

The new study, by Rescuecom, which is a U.S. firm specializing in computer repair, puts Apple at the top of the list when ranking computer makers. Previous studies by the repair franchise had seen Asus take the top spot, in keeping with the results of the SquareTrade study, but the most recent numbers (Q3 2009) show Apple with a commanding lead, according to Electronista.

Apple Stores Can Now Replace iPhone Displays While You Wait

For many of us, the iPhone has become a staple item in our daily assortment of tech gear. Like any product that gets heavy use on a daily basis, sometimes it can fail. For the iPhone, that means a trip to the often crowded Genius Bar for help. Now as more consumers are adopting the digital device, Apple is facing an increasing number of iPhones in need of repair. The good news for consumers is, the majority of those repairs can now be done by your local Genius.

AppleJack: An Easy Way to Fix Your Mac

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a simple man. I like a good cup of coffee in the morning, mellow get-togethers with close friends, and technology that simplifies my life…not makes it more complicated. So what’s there to do when your Mac starts to act a bit funky? By “funky,” I don’t mean “Tom Cruise” funky — the last stage before total meltdown — but rather “Michael Richards” funky. That stage when the computer starts doing odd, unexpected things and people start noticing.

Back in the days of OS 9, if your Mac acted strangely, there was a trick that was so simple that anyone could do it and help to maintain their Macs themselves. All you needed to do was to rebuild your desktop files — and everyone knew how to do that. The upshot? Even if rebuilding the desktop files didn’t fix the problem, it couldn’t damage your Mac. It could only help.

And man, wouldn’t you love to know that there was something like that for OS X? Well there is and — shock of all shocks — it’s totally free! The application is called AppleJack and it’s incredibly simple to use. Read More about AppleJack: An Easy Way to Fix Your Mac

NVIDIA Killed My 2007 MacBook Pro

In mid 2008, amid growing evidence, NVIDIA acknowledged that a significant number of its previous-generation GPUs (graphics processing unit) and MCPs (media and communications processors) for notebooks are failing at higher-than-normal rates. For readers who are not aware of this story, TheAppleBlog covered this piece of news back in October.

Three weeks back, I was personally afflicted by this problem. One fine morning, after arriving at the office of a client, I took my mid-2007 MacBook Pro out of my bag and proceeded to fire it up. The MBP never got past the startup chime; there was only a blank, black screen. I took the usual troubleshooting steps: resetting the PRAM and the SMC, booting from the OS X installation disc and from an external hard drive, and finally, plugging in an external display…all to no avail. It was then that my suspicions turned to the NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT graphics card in the MBP, even though I had not ruled out a misbehaving hard drive.
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Macs in Your Neighborhood: Des Moines, IA

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Haddock, President of the Haddock Corporation, an Apple reseller that has been in the Mac business seriously since there have been Macs.

I first found Haddock a couple of years ago when, in a panic over accidentally wiping out my hard drive in some kind of strange Linux experiment, I needed OS X installed and couldn’t find my install disks. Not only that, but loading Linux had rewritten the boot record of the disk and wiped out how the Mac looked at it, resetting it from GUID, which the Mac installer requires, to MBR. 
Long story short, I couldn’t load OS X back on my MacBook. So, I called around town and was pointed at Haddock. I dropped by and explained my problem, and the staff booted my MacBook into target disk mode and mounted it on another Mac, and then fixed the disk with Disk Utility. I was very, very grateful for their help, I almost thought I had ruined my Mac! Haddock earned a customer that day with their honest help and technical expertise.
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