Category Archives: Apple

Water Damaged iPhone 4S – What Now?

A few weeks back my wife went to her work holiday party for a couple hours while I stayed home watching the baby. Great bonding time with my daughter! Anyway, she came home a few hours later with some bad news. She’d dropped her iPhone into a toilet (I’m famously telling people she tried to make it swim…which we all know that iPhone’s, indeed, can’t swim). Ruh roh!

She’d picked up some rice on the way home to dry it out, but unfortunately she’d already tried to power it on after she had picked it up out of the water. Regardless, we dried it off some more and put it into the bag of rice for the next 24 hours. Oddly, the LED flash started flashing while in the bag of rice which lead me to believe we were up the proverbial creek as far as getting it to work again. Electronics don’t just do things like that on their own unless something is wrong. We still let it sit for a while before messing with it.

The next day, with the battery dead, I blew some compressed air into the port on the bottom of the phone, the speaker vents, and the ear piece vent. After that, I plugged it in to charge. Well, to my surprise after the initial charge took hold, I heard it chime. Weee! So I ran over to check it out and yes, it was on, but nothing showed on the screen. Doh! After a few resets and restores it was obvious that while the phone could receive calls and texts (and make them using Siri), the phone was broken. It turned out that the screen wasn’t 100% dead as you could make out some icons and settings pages if you were in the right light.

Yesterday I decided to take it in to our local Apple store to see what they could do for us (after making my Genius Bar appointment of course). I had read online that they would replace it for a $199 “repair” fee even if you didn’t have AppleCare+. I explained our story to the Apple Genius telling him exactly what had happened to the phone. I didn’t try and B.S. him or anything. Just flat out told him the truth. He said, well, I can take it out back, pull it apart and see what might be wrong with it. Having nothing to lose, I said sure. After about 5-10 minutes he came back and, after a long pause, said “Well, today is your wife’s lucky day.” I was floored, we were going to get it fixed! But it got better. He said that only one of the moisture sensors had been activated and there was no sign of water damage in the phone other than that. Since there was no sign of real water damage, they were going to swap the phone out. FOR FREE!. I couldn’t believe it. He returned to the back of the store to prepare some paperwork regarding the phone replacement. When he came back again he handed me a new phone out of a nondescript black box (not one of the retail boxes), made sure it worked, and sent me on my way.

Obviously we got a little lucky with the phone and the water damage, but the best part of the whole experience was it was 100% hassle free. I didn’t have to argue with the guy. I didn’t have to plead my case about not having the funds to buy a new one or pay the $199 “repair” fee (which probably would have done had it come to that). A lot of people complain about Apple, their products, or even their service but I’ve had nothing but awesome experiences with them. They stand by their customers and their products.

Apple Still Standing By 17″ MacBook Pro Batteries

In November of last year, I posted a picture of yet another MacBook Pro 17″ swollen battery. At the time, I figured that the battery was out of warranty so I didn’t run right off to Apple to get a new one. I ended up purchasing a new battery at an Apple store while running errands one day and didn’t have the battery with me to show them. This week though, I had to go to Apple to get my wife’s iPhone 4S looked at (topic of another post) and I decided to bring my swollen battery with me. I hadn’t thrown it away (bad!) and hadn’t taken it to be recycled. Good thing. After getting the iPhone sorted out, I showed the Apple Genius my MacBook battery. No questions asked, he walked over to the shelf, picked up a new battery and opened it up and handed it over. He just took the old one and put it in the box. I was floored. No hemming and hawing over it not being under warranty. Just flat out handed me a new one. So now I have two!

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. No matter what you read about issues with these batteries, its my experience that Apple will just stand by their products and give you a replacement. I’m sure this battery will swell again at some point and I will no doubt be bringing it back to my local Apple store for another replacement!

Swollen MacBook Pro 17″ Battery Ready to Explode?

I had to replace my MacBook Pro 17″ Battery again a few months back due to the swollen battery issue. I just left the old one on my desk on top of a few Apple product boxes figuring I’d take it somewhere to have it recycled. Just last night I was cleaning up in the middle of the night (don’t ask why I was up) and noticed that it had had swollen even more. In fact, it looks like leaving it charged kept feeding the expansion of the battery cells. Its at the point where the entire case is separating. I think I’ll take it to an Apple Store and have them recycle it so that they can see how bad they get. Hey, maybe they’ll give me another one!

iPhone Settings “App” Slow to Load?

Recently I had started to notice that the Settings app on my iPhone 3GS was really slow to load. It was probably taking 2-3 seconds to load up. This was a pain especially when I wanted to adjust the brightness on my iPhone so I could use it as a flashlight. Silly I know, but its damn useful in a pinch. Anyway, I started to think that the issue was how many applications I had installed on my phone and also how many of them installed a settings widget on the phone as well. Flipping through the 6 or 7 pages of apps I had installed on my phone I decided that half of them I never used or had only used once or twice to play around with them. So I removed a bunch of them. Turns out, I was right. More times than not, the Settings app loads right up with very little waiting at all. I know that 2-3 seconds isn’t really that long, but when you’re impatient, it can seem like forever.

Apple Macbook Pro Swollen Battery Problem

I get a lot of questions regarding issues I have had in the past regarding my Macbook Pro and the infamous swollen Macbook Pro battery issue. Apple won’t always warranty your battery for you, especially if your Macbook is out of warranty or older than a year. The issue is that batteries aren’t meant to last forever and depending on the battery usage and how well the battery is taken care of, they won’t replace it. There are some tricks you can use to keep your battery performance at a high level. In a nutshell, you want to charge the battery to 100%, then unplug your Macbook and let the battery run to 0% without having the Macbook plugged in. Then let it charge while in sleep mode until it is fully charged. Its pretty important to not use your Macbook Pro while its charging during this procedure.

If you are experiencing issues with your Macbook Pro battery though, I suggest you take your laptop and the battery in to your local Apple Store. Don’t bother calling Apple Support, they’ll most likely blow you off. You just want to make your Genius Bar appointment and plead your case. In my experience, I talked to the head Genius at my local Apple Store (in Natick, MA) and he took care of me. He also gave me a receipt because my new battery was under warranty for a year.

In the case that Apple won’t replace your battery, I suggest you take a look at these NewerTech NuPower batteries available at Other World Computing. They generally offer better performance and a longer life expectancy. Hope that helps!

MacBook Pro 17″ Quick Blinking Status Light

I had quite the freak out moment this morning regarding my 17″ MacBook Pro (Duo 2.16GHz model). During the course of the morning I had to reboot the darn thing, but after the restart, it never came back up. Just a black screen. Then I noticed that the white status light on the lid clasp was blinking rather quickly. I’ve never seen that before so I started to panic. Especially when I couldn’t get it to boot even when plugged into the charger.

A quick search of Google made me really freak out. Most people seem to suggest that the quick blinking light means that the logic board (motherboard for those PC users out there) has an issue. Ugh, not the logic board. That’s an expensive repair typically and sometimes just worth it to buy a new system. So, I made sure the laptop was unplugged and dropped the battery out of the MacBook and let it sit a couple minutes. Then I put the battery back in and plugged it in and it turned back on. Phew. Good news is I just did a reinstall recently and had backed up ALL of my data. Bad news is that my MacBook is probably on its last legs. Hopefully it lasts through 2011 as I haven’t planned on purchasing a new one.

Manage MacBook Pro Battery with Binary Tricks’ Watts

My good buddy Kyle pointed me in the direction of a great little app for OS X to manage your MacBook Pro battery. Its from Binary Tricks and its called Watts. This little app, which only costs $6.95 by the way, allows you to calibrate your battery through 5 easy steps. Various people out there on the intertubes suggest you calibrate your battery once a month to maximize its life. I’m on my second 17″ MacBook Pro battery after the first one suffered the infamous “Swollen Battery” problem almost 2 years ago. That said, I want to get as much out of this one before ponying up another $130 for a new battery. I’ve been using Watts now for about a month and so far I love it and highly recommend buying it.

Speaking of new batteries, Other World Computing offers new 17″ MacBook Pro batteries from NuPower for only $99.99. They supposedly hold a longer charge and last much longer than those sold directly by Apple. I haven’t tried one yet though. They also sell Battery Charger/Conditioner devices for them. I’m not sure I’d pony up the cash for one of those though.

Apple Tablet Coming Soon?

Rumors that Apple was going to release a Tablet computer have been running abound for years. However, it appears that the Apple Tablet is going to become reality next week, Jan. 27th, 2010. People in the know think it will resemble an iPhone, albeit a lot larger. It won’t run a typical operating system like other PC tablets out there. So, what do I think of this? To be honest, I’m not all that excited.

I have an iPhone and I love it. I don’t know how I lived without it. Combined with my MacBook Pro, they’re the two most useful tech tools I have in my arsenal (other than my brain I guess). But I just don’t see how I’d use an Apple Tablet computer. It just doesn’t seem all that useful of a tool to me. Maybe I just don’t know enough about it. What would I need a “larger iPhone” for?

I’m actually a little afraid that this could be another “Mac Cube” miss-step for the folks over at Apple.

Apple Airport Extreme Base Station

I’ve been going through wireless agony lately. First, my trusty Linksys WRT54G wireless router bought the farm. It had lasted quite a while, probably at least 5 years. I think it should have lasted longer, but my fooling around with its firmware probably didn’t help it out much. So when it died, I went out to buy a new one.

Against my better judgment, I went with a Netgear instead of another Linksys. The price and features were a little better, so I said what the heck. Big mistake. While it works great if you’re connected via an ethernet cable (it’d be really bad if it didn’t), the wireless is just crap. Even with my laptop no more than 5 feet away, the wireless signal, though strong, doesn’t give a reliable internet connection. Yeah, its wireless and it won’t be as fast as loading when connected directly, but waiting a minute or so for a page to load is just crazy. So I’d had it. Time to return it. But what to get?

I was in the Apple Store getting my new Mag Safe adapter (and OS X Snow Leopard) and I decided to give their Airport Extreme Base Station a go. It was sort of a cross between an impulse purchase and the desire to get reliable wireless back again. Boy am I glad I bought it. Install was a snap with their Airport Utility. The internet is served up like it was when I was plugged in to my old router and the POS Netgear I tried out. I’ve read some reviews where people don’t like this thing, but I don’t know why. Maybe they just don’t know how to use it or wanted something different. This puppy is it for me. I’ll never go back!

First Impressions of Mac OS X “Snow Leopard”

Snow Leopard came out on Friday (8/28) and since I had to go to the Apple Store to pick up a new Mag Safe power adapter for my MacBook Pro, I figured I’d pick up a copy of the OS X upgrade. At only $29, it was pretty hard to pass up.

The install went fairly smoothly, even though it took about an hour for it to finish. I found that a little long, but my MacBook Pro is fairly old to today’s standards. Apple boasts some great new features like speed, 64-bit and 32-bit support, faster boot times, freeing up hard disk space, and other great refinements to make an already easy to use system, even easier. So I installed it and gave it a spin.

As far as faster boot times, after it was done installing, I’d say the boot time was rather slow. I’m not sure if it was doing some post install stuff, but I wasn’t impressed. So I gave it another reboot to see if that was the case. It was. My MacBook went down and came right back up like an acclaimed prize fighter should. Definitely snappier than it was with OS X 10.5.

So now I’m up and running, and my first impression is whoa! Its almost like I have a new MacBook Pro. Boot up is fast, starting applications is fast, Finder is super fast! Finder being faster was most impressive. Typically opening the Applications folder was a chore. I’m not sure what it was doing, but it was slow as heck. Not anymore. I haven’t even started using any of the new features they’re boasting about and its already paying off. The fact that I feel like I have a new system is totally worth the $29.