Rescuing an old Mac

We have a first generation MacBook Air in our office, which has been sitting in a drawer for a few months because of a broken hinge.

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 7 May 2011, 11:32 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

For years, it was used for taking notes at Press conferences, editing photos and video and, of course, browsing the Web and e-mail. In fact, it’s been one of the more reliable Macs that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

It was working perfectly well until one day when we noticed that whenever we opened it up there was a definite “snap” sound coming from one of the hinges that tie the display to the body of the Mac. As it turns out, that “snap” sound got increasingly loud as the weeks passed by and one day we were just scared to open the display any more thinking it would actually snap.

As we are rather geeky around the office, we had to investigate the MacBook Air to see if we could ourselves fix the problem. Taking off the bottom plate, we found out that one of the hinges had a large piece of it missing (later we found the piece of the hinge snugly wedged in a corner of the MacBook Air’s insides).

Evidently this is a common problem in the first generation MacBook Air and apparently it is something that

Apple fixes for free even if the warranty has expired. You could call it a recall, I guess. So, as it turns out, this Mac model has a manufacturing defect, something that happens from time to time. To check it out, search for “macbook air first generation hinge” online and you’ll find countless posts discussing this very same topic.

We had a similar experience just a few years ago with the white MacBook model. We had two of these Macs at home, and they both showed severe signs of yellow-tinted areas around the trackpad, where you put your wrists for typing. Also, the white plastic had started cracking in many places in the front, with some pieces even falling off.

These were also common manufacturing problems, and we got it all repaired at an Apple Store in the US. In that situation, the repair centre in Dubai said they would fix the problem but, it would take them a few weeks since they had to fly in parts.

Since we were traveling to the US anyway, we went to an Apple Store and got it fixed in a few hours.

So now we’re waiting to hear what the local Apple repair centre in Dubai says about fixing the MacBook Air. We’re hoping that they say they will just fix it for free as that seems to be Apple’s policy.

In any case, what to remember is that Apple does not get everything right. Even though its track record is amazing, some products will have defects. In such cases, we can only hope that Apple will do the right thing and fix its mistakes.

Magnus Nystedt talks and writes about technology as much as he can. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt for the latest on consumer technology in the Middle East.

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