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Adventures in troubleshooting: Replacing a MacBook Air's faulty SSD

Dan Moren | Feb. 13, 2014
The first time my MacBook Air crashed on wake, I didn't think much of it.

Thanks to the restore, my computer's back to full functionality, and I can pick up pretty much seamlessly from where I left off — hopefully with a more reliable drive. 

Fix it yourself
Computer repair is becoming more and more of a rarefied skill these days, thanks to smaller and smaller components; many of us are also understandably squeamish about taking apart the devices on which we depend every day.

Apple's most recent devices are particularly hard to repair, in large part because the company has taken to making tradeoffs in order to make its computers as small, light, and power efficient as possible. Replacing the RAM — a task that was as easy as easy could be on many of my previous Macs — is pretty much impossible on my MacBook Air for anybody without specialized skills and equipment, as it's soldered into place. (For what it's worth, I've upgraded my fair share of components over the years, from RAM and hard drives to processors: I swapped out the 400MHz processor in my blue & white G3 tower for a G4 processor, back in the day when such a thing was both easy and not uncommon.)

Though I've sometimes shrugged a bit at the crusade of repairability that sites like iFixit have embarked upon, I have to admit that being able to pull open and fix my own MacBook felt good. I imagine it's the same satisfaction felt by folks handier than I when they fix a problem on their car that would have otherwise cost them a pretty penny. 

And, for those among you concerned with the bottom line, even factoring in the amount I spent on tools and shipping, the total cost of my repair still came in at less than Apple's cheapest estimate of $280 — and I picked up a new skill along the way. Part of me hopes that, as more and more consumers veer towards tablets and smartphones, Macs and PCs might gravitate back towards the world of the hobbyist and hot rodder — but I'm not holding my breath.

 

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