When Not to Repair Your Mac

The essence of hardware repair is to keep your devices usable and in good condition for as long as possible so that you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new product. Spending a couple hundred dollars to replace a severely cracked MacBook screen is a much better option than buying a whole new one, especially if your devices are still under warranty.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Canadian software developer Luke Tully recently documented an exchange with Apple Support about the potential cost of repairing a 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro in need of a screen and battery replacement. According to screenshots of the emails in Tully’s post, an Apple spokesman said the damage would cost about CAD 2,051.84 (roughly $ 1,557.44) and offered to buy a replacement instead.

In comparison, a new 13-inch MacBook Pro 2020 starts at $ 1,200 , while certified refurbished models from 2019 (the oldest refurbished models available in the Apple Store at the time of writing) start at around $ 979 .

Tully points out that Apple and other tech companies are being investigated for anti-consumer and anti-competitive behavior, and wonders if the high cost of repairs is a result of Apple pushing users to buy a new MacBook instead of repairing their (perfectly normal) old laptop.

While some, like Tully, notice high prices, some users may not pick up on inconsistencies or ask them questions. It sounds like a newbie move, but we’re sure a lot of people have just sent their broken Macs to Apple to get them fixed without even looking at the rating.

Instead, compare the estimated cost of repairs with the price of a new or used MacBook the next time you send your device in for repair. If you’re looking to repair a near-staggering amount or more, you might want to consider replacing your entire laptop – especially if it is going to be a decent upgrade over your current MacBook.

On the other hand, if the damage is superficial and does not affect performance, tolerate cracked screens or chips on the case as much as you can. And if you don’t mind the potentially lower quality screen replacement, you can even get a much cheaper and more functional replacement from a third-party repair shop.

If you decide to completely replace your MacBook, you don’t have to get rid of your old laptop just because you are buying a new one. There are many ways to turn an old laptop into a useful accessory or even extra money. A broken screen means nothing, for example, if you can remotely connect to your laptop using another computer.

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