The Truth Behind Macbook Battery Replacements

At a certain point in the life-time of owning a Macbook, it is inevitable that you will need to go for Macbook battery replacements. Apple’s own webpage about Macbook battery replacements states that Macbook batteries have “a limited lifespan and may eventually need to be serviced or recycled”. Apple’s webpage also states that Macbook batteries retain about “80 per cent of its original capacity at 1,000 complete charge cycles”. This is a myth. In real world, this statistic never runs true.

In our own experience with replacing hundreds of Apple Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, and Macbook Pro Retina batteries, the amount of time a Macbook can remain powered diminishes drastically once the battery hits around 300 – 500 charge cycles. The capacity of the battery would be around 80% once it reaches 300 charge cycles. Additionally, the battery status bar will usually prompt the user to “Service Battery” or “Replace Battery” when the battery reaches 300 – 500 cycles. In our 3 years of operation, we have only seen 2 Macbook Pro 13″ batteries reach 1000 cycles before the “service battery” status appears.

Macbook Battery Replacements

Service battery – Macbook needs battery replacement

Apple Authorised Service Providers in Singapore charge high prices, between $400 – $600, for Macbook battery replacements. They also have a slow turnaround of 5 days. Many customers, repulsed by the high prices and slow turnaround time, have turned to independent Mac repair providers for cheaper Macbook battery replacements. However, it is not an easy feat to decide which place to go to, as the prices of Macbook batteries varies widely. Many repair shops have also claimed that their batteries are original Apple batteries. How do customers then know whether they are taken for a ride?

Our experience with working with different MacBook battery suppliers and our tear downs shows that there are no new original MacBook Pro unibody batteries. Only MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina possibly have original circuitry batteries with original or OEM lithium cells. It is not worth it to pay high prices for MacBook Pro Unibody batteries that sellers claim to be original. These batteries are likely OEM third-party batteries or refurbished batteries. Refurbished batteries are used original batteries with less than full capacity, but had their plastic covers replaced with brand new ones. The cycle count on these batteries have also been reseted to 0, as evidenced by a patch on the original circuitry in such batteries.

The only original batteries we have come across are Macbook Air and Macbook Pro Retina batteries, but it is hard to ascertain whether they are originals as Apple does not sell MacBook batteries or iPhone batteries directly to independent repair centres. Almost all iPhone batteries sold in the market that shops claim to be original are OEM batteries printed with an Apple logo.

Here at Mac Plus, we are truthful that our MacBook Pro Unibody batteries and MacBook Air batteries are good quality OEM batteries. Some of our MacBook Air batteries might be originals manufactured by the same manufacturers that manufacture for Apple. All our MacBook Pro Retina batteries have original circuitry and original ICs. Our batteries come with 6 months 1-1 exchange warranty as well as free installation.

Data Recovery for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar 2016 – 2017 Now Available

Data Recovery for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Data Recovery for the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is Finally Possible

We now have the capability to recover data from spoilt beyond repair MacBook Pro with Touch Bar 13″ and 15″ 2016 to 2017 models with our newly acquired proprietary Data Transfer Device that is not available to the public and is currently unavailable worldwide. This means that we might be the only independent Mac service centre in Singapore to offer data recovery for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that were released in 2016 and 2017 that are beyond repair. Without the Apple Data Transfer Device, Data recovery for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar 13″ and 15″ models is impossible due the on-board design of the solid-state drive on which data is stored.

Data recovery for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The MacBook Pro 13-inch and 15-inch with Touch Bar have soldered on Solid-state Drives making Data Recovery Possible Only with Official Apple Tools

For the uninitiated, the data recovery for any MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac and Mini that is beyond repair is only possible if the hard drive or solid-state drive that the data is stored on can be removed and connected to another Mac for copying the data. The MacBook Pro 13″ and 15″ with Touch Bar released in 2016 and 2017 have unremovable soldered on solid-state drives. This means that in the event the MacBook Pro is beyond repair, the solid-state drive cannot be removed for data retrieval. If the drive cannot be removed, data recovery for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is impossible for repair centres that do not have access to special tools.

However, Apple has a secret built-in a diagnostic port on the logic board of the MacBook Pro 13″ A1706 and 15″ 1707 with Touch Bar as a workaround for data recovery. This port enables the data on the solid-state drive to be read using a special proprietary Data Transfer Device which makes data recovery for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar possible. The proprietary Data Transfer Device was previously only available to Apple Genius Bars and Apple Authorised Service Providers.

Data recovery for Macbook Pro with Touch Bar

A Special Cable from the Data Transfer Device Connects to an Internal Port on the Logic Board for Data Recovery

One end of the special flex data cable from the Data Transfer Device connects to the port of the spoilt logic board and the other end connects via a cable to a working Mac for data recovery. The data recovery for Macbook Pro with Touch Bar is a delicate process as the data cable is very fragile, and only certain Macs are able to read data off the Data Transfer Device. It requires trained personnel to operate.

Do come to us if you need data recovery for your MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. We offer data recovery services for other MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini and external storage devices as well.

Verdict on the 2016 and 2017 Macbook Pro – Apple’s Shiny New Toy Crippled By Serious Flaws

Apple introduced the new Macbook Pro with a redesigned body, Touch Bar, Touch ID and USB-C in 2016 which has a thinner and lighter body than the previous Macbook Pro.

It is the thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro ever. It comes in silver and space grey colour options and weighs just 1.37kg for the 13-inch model and measures in at 14.9mm of thickness.

The previous iteration of Macbook Pro Retina has not had any aesthetic change since 2012 so the new model is welcomed by many customers. Sales of the Macbook Pro climbed steadily after the introduction of the new Macbook Pro.

However, we folks in the repair industry believe that new architectural changes at both the aesthetic, component, as well as at the circuit design level sometimes introduces new issues.

This is especially true for Apple products due to their obsession with secrecy. One of the main reasons why Apple products succeed is due to their wow-factor. Most of the time, design changes are not known to the public until launch, and Apple engineers work in separate teams in order to stamp out the possibility of leaks to the public. As such, we believe that their products have not gone through rigorous product testing before being released to the public.

Their preoccupation with thinness has also brought about design compromises. LCD, Touch-ID and Touch Bar connectors are using thin flex cables which may be less durable.

Here at Mac Plus, we are seeing an increasing number of Macbook Pro 2016 – 2017  coming in for repairs for LCD backlight issues, LCD sudden death, keyboard issues as well as logicboard failures. Most of these Macbook Pro are less than half a year out of warranty. For the past 4 months, we had nearly 10 customers enquiry about LCD and keyboard issues.

One typical issue that the new Macbook Pro has is with the backlight and display showing “spotlight” effects at the bottom of the LCD.

Most of the displays with such issues also have an issue where the display blacks out when they are pushed beyond a certain normal viewing angle as seen below.

The only solution thus far is to do a MacBook Pro Retina LCD replacement. Replacing the LCD cable will not work.

Until Apple provides a permanent fix or extended warranty, we can only advise customers who have yet to purchase new Macbook Pro from withholding their purchases and hold on to the older Macbook Pro Retina Late 2013 to Mid 2015 which in our opinion are workhorses (except for the “staingate” issue).

Do come to us if you experience such issues. We will be able to offer a more economical repair instead of the official Apple Authorised Service Providers!

Apple Releases macOS High Sierra Security Update to Fix Huge Root Password Vulnerability

Apple released a High Sierra Security Update today to fix a critical vulnerability which allowed anyone without a password to access to the root superuser account with a blank password.  This vulnerability affects any Mac running macOS High Sierra version 10.13.1. The High Sierra security update, termed Security Update 2017-001 will be rolled out via the Mac App Store on your High Sierra system.

High Sierra Security Update

The major security bug garnered attention after it was tweeted by developer Lemi Ergin. It is reported by many online magazines due to the critical nature of the bug. The bug allows anyone to gain administrative rights by simply entering the username “root” followed by a blank password in System Preferences > Users & Groups.

The High Sierra Security Update should be installed by all users running macOS High Sierra as soon as possible. In lieu of the critical nature of the big, Apple will be pushing out the update automatically to be installed on all Macs running macOS High Sierra 10.13.1.

The update was installed automatically without our intervention on one of our own iMac running MacOS High Sierra 10.13.1. On our other iMac Retina 5K 27inch 2017, we were unable to see the High Sierra security update at the Mac App Store during the time of writing. If you are unable to see the update on your Mac App Store, the security update can be downloaded here.

When you install Security Update 2017-001 on your Mac, the build number of macOS will be changed to 17B1002. The build number of your MacOS High Sierra can be found by clicking the Apple  menu in the top left corner of your screen followed by choosing “About This Mac”. The version of your operating system appears beneath “macOS” or “OS X” in the window that opens. If you need to know the build, click the version.

Apple has since apologised for the major bug in a statement issued online magazines. The statement is reprinted here:

Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS.

When our security engineers became aware of the issue Tuesday afternoon, we immediately began working on an update that closes the security hole. This morning, as of 8 a.m., the update is available for download, and starting later today it will be automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra. 

We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.

Let us know if you are facing other MacOS High Sierra update issues. We are happy to help.

Unboxing of the gTool ScreenJack Pro iPhone LCD opener

Hailing from gTool, an innovative South African-based company that made its name in precision tooling, the gTool ScreenJack Pro is used by us to separate iPhone LCD from its main body during iPhone repairs. We use the ScreenJack Pro to minimise damage to delicate flex cables during iPhone LCD replacements. Top-notch tools comes with top-notch packaging. Here are some pictures of the unboxing of the gTool ScreenJack Pro.

The package was protected with generous amount of bubble wrap.

iPhone LCD opener

gTool ScreenJack Pro (iPhone LCD Opener) in bubble wrap

A sealed, sleek, black box, bearing the signature “G” of gTool, was revealed after removing the bubble wrap.

iPhone LCD replacement tool

Sealed, sleek black box of iPhone LCD Opener

Separating the black box … …

White box beneath the black sleek box.

… … reveals a white box!

Notice the tab below the G that opens up the box when lifted.

Beneath the two-flap cover, laid the ScreenJack Pro in the precision-cut foam. Operating instructions for the iPhone LCD opener were printed on the two flaps.

iPhone LCD replacement tool

Two flaps open to reveal the ScreenJack Pro and the stickers for cracked screens.

The box contains:

  • 1 ScreenJack Pro
  • 3 Screen release stickers
  • 1 gTool spudger
  • 1 Pentalobe screwdriver
  • 1 Philips screwdriver

Items list

ScreenJack Pro (iPhone LCD Opener) and other accessories in the box.

The ScreenJack Pro is made of high quality ABS plastic that felt solid and heavy when held. The spudger was also one of the better spudgers that we have used. However, it was rather disappointing the screwdrivers did not quite match the built quality of the ScreenJack Pro. The entire package might be better off without the two screwdrivers. Rest assured that we do not use inferior screwdrivers to open your iPhones. The screwdrivers we use are made of precision steel or vanadium tips that do not strip your screws. We invest in quality tools to ensure that your iPhones and Macs are well taken care of during repairs.

MacOS High Sierra APFS will work on Third-Party SSDs

Yes! The MacOS High Sierra Apple File System APFS supports third-party SSDs. The APFS is a feature shipped with MacOS High Sierra, which was just released to the public a few hours ago. For Singapore users, High Sierra 10.13 was available for download at 1am 26 September 2017 Singapore time.

Before High Sierra was officially released to the public, many Mac users were concerned if it supports third-party SSDs. Many of these Mac users upgraded their own Mac that were using traditional Hard Disk drives with Solid-State Drives like the popular Samsung Evo series, and are concerned that MacOS High Sierra would not support the file system if the drive is not Apple’s own stock SSD.

We can confirm now that MacOS High Sierra’s APFS feature does support third-party or non-Apple branded SSDs. We’ve upgrade our own iMac fitted with a Samsung Evo 840 from El Capitan to MacOS High Sierra without a glitch.

MacOS High Sierra APFS Supports Third-Party SSDs

For many users, Apple File System (APFS) is a major feature that they are concerned about. APFS is a new file system designed to replace the aging Hierarchical File System Plus (HFS+) developed nearly 20 years ago. APFS is specifically designed for optimal performance on Solid-State Drives (SSD) that are in Macs from 2012 till current day Macs. It has several improvements over HFS+, namely faster boot times, faster copying of files, stronger encryption, file corruption protection, and is space saving.

The downside is that it does not support traditional hard disk drives or Apple’s own Fusion drives, so users with Macs that are still using traditional Hard Drives are out of luck. If you are one of them, we recommend that you consider upgrading your Hard Disk Drives with our Solid-State Drive upgrades.

All solid-state drive upgrades provided by us includes free data migration and a 3 – 5 years warranty by the respective official exclusive distributor in Singapore.

BREAKING: Apple Orchard Road Singapore Store Opening on 27 May 2017

Apple announced the date of the opening of not just Singapore’s first Apple store, but South-East Asia’s first Apple store, through direct emailers and on their homepage today. The Apple store, situated at Knightsbridge Mall at 270 Orchard Road, will open her doors on 27 May 2017 at  10:00am.

Apple Singapore Store Opening

Apple Singapore Store Opening Direct Mailer

There will be a slew of activities, including a performance Sezairi, the winner of Season 3’s Singapore Idol. Apple will also be hosting their newly launched programme Today at Apple programme in its Singapore store. It will include workshops that customers can sign up for to learn how to use their Apple products. All of the workshops are fully booked at the time of writing.

Today at Apple. Photo by Apple.

To know more about what to expect see this article by AsiaOne.

What you can expect from the upcoming Apple Store at Orchard Road


Insider Predictions on the Apple Singapore Store – 3 Reasons Why We Aren’t Overly Excited

Apple Singapore Store is finally opening on our shores. That is long wait by many Apple fans and aficionados. One common reason why so many fans are hoping that Apple will open a store in Singapore is that the shopping experience of Apple Authorised resellers in Singapore pales in comparison to actual Apple run stores overseas.

Apple Singapore Store

Apple Singapore Store

Flagship Apple stores overseas are manned by staff who are friendly and have better product knowledge. The stores are also vastly bigger, have impeccable interior designs and are better stocked with Apple inventory. This means you can almost get any Apple product in their store. All these contribute to a good shopping experience.

We at Mac Plus are a little ambivalent about the opening though. Here is the low down of what to expect, and our very own predictions based on insider information.

The Good

1. Singapore’s Apple Orchard Road Store will focus on the retail experience

According to eagle-eyed netizens, Apple Singapore has been hiring service personnel for the store since Nov 2016. As on now, 17 May 2016, the jobs postings consists of solely service personnel. Positions for Apple Certified Technicians were not available.

Apple Jobs in Singapore

Apple Jobs in Singapore

According to an source close to an Apple Authorised Reseller that Mac Plus had dealings with, Apple Singapore primary focus in Singapore is sales and frontline service quality, not repairs. They were aware of the poor service (rated 2 stars on google) that Apple Authorised Service Providers are providing, but did not take active steps to address the issue.

2. Promotions such as Back to School and education pricing will finally be available in Singapore’s retail store

Apple’s well know Back-to-school promotion typically bundles free accessories with the purchase of a Mac at educational pricing. The promotion typically runs every year, but for students or MOE teachers in Singapore, the only way to get a Mac with an educational discount is through the online Apple Store or the Campus Stores in NUS, SMU and ITE Central run by Sapura. The marketing efforts by Sapura is so lacking that we could not find a list of all the campus stores in Singapore anywhere on the web.

Apple Back to School Promotion 2016

Apple Back to School Promotion in 2016

Calls made to Apple Singapore using the 1800 number are picked up by Singaporeans (Updated 10 June 2017)

It is nice to at last speak to Singaporean Apple customer service officers who better understand our Singlish English. The last we made a call regarding our purchase, although we could not get an exception to ship our iMac faster, the customer service officer was at least polite and was understanding. Even though she said the estimated date of delivery is the fastest possible date Apple could deliver, our iMac actually arrived one day earlier! Hopefully their friendliness will equate to better product knowledge. When we texted one of Apple’s Mac specialist, we were wrongly told that the iMac 5K Retina 27″ Mid 2007 had SSDs that are soldered. That is not true. Both the iMac 4K 21.5″ Mid 2007 have SSDs that are slotted in, not soldered on.

The Not-So-Good

1. Apple technicians or Geniuses might still misdiagnose the issue your Mac is having due to their testing methods (Updated 8 Dec 2017)

Apple support has traditionally performed diagnosis of hardware issues using their in-house testing software. We have some of the exact software as well but rarely use them because the software will fail to detect a variety of issues. We went to the Apple Orchard Road store lately on behalf of one of our customers to check his Macbook as part of our concierge service. The Apple Genius was attentive and polite. He ran a software test on the Mac and concluded that it was working fine and the issue was a glitch.

When we brought it back to perform our own in-house testing and found out that the charging circuitry was spoilt. All USB-C ports were all faulty. Plugging in a simple USB Ampere metre to the USB port would have detected the issue, but we are guessing that the Geniuses probably are only allowed to use Apple “Authorised” tools. Our guess is since Apple has made everything wireless and are not allowed to use anything other than Apple manufactured devices, they cannot even test the USB-C port by plugging in a PC optical mouse to see if it lights up.

2. Pricing of Apple products will still be higher than in the States

This is a no-brainer. Products sold in Singapore has traditionally been higher than those in other countries such as Canada or the States. We do not expect things to change. If you wish to see where is the cheapest country to buy a Mac, check out this cool website that shows you the cheapest places to purchase Apple products.

3. Repair services are likely still outsourced to Singapore’s Apple Authorised Service Centres

This is a prediction based on the fact that Apple Singapore did not recruit any technicians or technical support engineers. Our source told us that the reason why Apple Authorised Service Centres provide poor diagnostic services and have perpetually misdiagnosed and over-charged customers is due to the fact that they hire more customer service personnel than technicians. Most of the diagnosis are made by untrained customer service personnel. The Apple Authorised Service Centres do not have enough technicians who are able to provide accurate diagnosis.

4. Calls made to Apple Singapore using the support page’s call back system will be handled by Apple Care advisors in India (Updated 10 June 2017)

Support calls made to Apple Singapore used to be routed to Apple Australia. The benefit of having calls picked up by them is that Apple Australia’s Support Centre consists of Apple Advisors and Apple Product Specialists who are directly employed under Apple. They are more aware of Apple’s support options and are able to make the call to offer product replacements for free even though they are out of warranty in exceptional cases (terms as exceptions).

Since last year, calls made to Apple Singapore’s support telephone via the call back system are likely outsourced to a call centre in India. The disadvantages are that the staff in India are not able to order any “exceptions”. They consists of only Apple Advisors who are not qualified to order any exceptions. All such requests have to be processed by Apple Product Specialists housed in Australia. They will usually direct you to your country’s Apple Authorised Service Centres. The many times we called, they were not able to put us in touch with the Apple Product Specialists in Australia.

So if you have a product that just failed a few days after the warranty has expired, it may be difficult to get a replacement without paying additional fees. Hopefully this might change after the Apple Store opens her doors to the public.

So what are your hopes and wishes for the new store? Do comment on our Facebook page.

Enabling Night Shift in Sierra 10.12.4 for Unsupported Macs

MacOS Sierra 10.12.4 introduced a new feature called Night Shift. For the uninitiated, Night Shift is a mode that adjusts your display’s colour temperature “of your display to the warmer end of the color spectrum after dark.” However, some older Macs are not supported. In this article, we will help you to implement Night Shift feature for older unsupported Macs.

According to Apple’s article, “studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep. Night Shift uses your computer’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. It then automatically shifts the colours in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum. In the morning it returns the display to its regular settings.”

Night Shift was introduced in macOS Sierra 10.12.4 and is controlled by the CoreBrightness.framework and you’ll need at least one of the following – or later – Mac models:

  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or newer)
  • Apple LED Cinema Display
  • Apple Thunderbolt Display
  • LG UltraFine 5K Display
  • LG UltraFine 4K Display

There’s no reasonable explanation from Apple why older models are not supported as their hardware is perfectly capable of supporting Night Shift. An Internet user Pike has found how that the feature is controlled by the CoreBrightness.framework file and has illustrated how the filesystem can be patched to enable Night Shift feature for older unsupported Macs. It is a little technical and may not be for the faint-hearted.

An easier method, supplied in the form of a patch can be found here. Here are the exact step-by-step instructions:

First, turn off System Integrity Protection (SIP).

  1. Reboot your Mac into Recovery Mode by restarting your computer and holding down Command+R until the Apple logo appears on your screen.
  2. Click Utilities > Terminal.
  3. In the Terminal window, type in csrutil disable and press Enter.
  4. Restart your Mac.

Open up the Terminal app found under your Applications>Utilities folder.

In terminal, cut and paste the following:

cd /tmp; curl -o; unzip -o; cd NightPatch-master; chmod +x; ./

When prompted for the password, type in your user password.

That’s it. You should be able to find the Night Shift toggle in your System Preference>Display.

  1. Choose Apple menu () > System Preferences, then click Displays.
  2. Click the Night Shift tab.

Night Shift feature for older unsupported Macs



Apple Will Replace Macbook Pro Retina LCD With Coating Issues

According to Mac Rumors, Apple has issued an internal notice to their Genius Bars and Apple Authorised Service Providers about a new Quality Program that addresses an issue with MacBook Pro Retina displays. The program attempts to rectify an issue where the anti-reflective coating of MacBook Pro Retina LCDs will peel off even though it has not been scratched. Apple will provide Macbook Pro Retina LCD replacements for free under this programme.

Some MacBook Pro buyers who have purchased the Macbook Pro Retina, which comes with anti-reflective Retina displays, have seen issues where the coating will delaminate or wear off. The issue can be seen in the picture below.

Macbook Pro Retina LCD replacements

Macbook Pro Retina with Anti-Reflective Coating issues

According to the article, Apple will provide Macbook Pro Retina LCD replacements “on affected MacBook or MacBook Pro models for free within three years from the date of original purchase, or one year from October 16, 2015, whichever is longer”.

Apple has not publicly listed the Macbook Pro Retina LCD replacements programme on their website or issued a press release, but has acknowledged the existence of the programme when contacted by Mac Rumors.

Our own experience with sending in one of our MacBook Pro with Retina display which has an LCD with a portion the anti-reflective coating peeled off was fruitful. Although the Apple Care Advisor from Apple support that we called did not admit the existence of the quality programme nor guarantee that a replacement will be offered, we managed to get our Macbook Pro Retina LCD replacement done for free after sending it to QCD, an Apple Authorised Service Provider.

Our Macbook Pro Retina was purchased on 21 Nov 2013. According to the article by Mac Rumors, it should not be eligible for a free exchange after 21st Nov 2016, but it appears that Apple is still running the quality programme for affected MacBook Pro with Retina LCD.

One gripe we have was that the LCD that was replaced was significantly misaligned. The cover was not flushed with the mid-frame. We had to unscrew the LCD display assembly to reposition it. So much for being an Apple Authorised Service Provider.

Your mileage may vary, as it appears that the Apple Authorised Service Providers sometimes do the Macbook Pro Retina LCD replacements for free on a case-by-case basis.

Seems that the power of the people made a different at Change.Org.

If you encounter issues with getting a free replacement or have a cracked Macbook Pro Retina LCD, or have a cracked Macbook Pro Retina LCD, do contact us for pricing on our original Macbook Pro Retina LCD replacements.