• Daniel Wright

Magical Boxes

Back in the day, when I was just a young whipper snapper of a computer repair monkey, I only repaired Windows based PC’s and Laptops. If I got a call from a Mac owner looking for a hardware repair, I’d tell them Macs were ‘closed boxes’ that couldn’t be fixed. In the noughties, the Apple myth that it was nigh on impossible (or even illegal!) to fix a Mac was much more widely accepted than you might think. Mac’s were magical boxes that only actual wizards could fix. If you wanted your iMac repaired, you needed to call Gandalf or Merlin or Steve Jobs. That’s how specialised Mac repair was. A screwdriver and a bit of know how was no good, you needed a magic wand and a spell book.

Obviously, I never really believe any of that but I did avoid Mac repairs like the plague for three very good reasons.

1. The Cost:

If something went wrong during the repair of a PC or a laptop, I had the skills to fix it and I could pretty much cover the cost of putting it right. If something went wrong with a Mac and I couldn’t fix the damage, I would have needed to take out a second mortgage to replace it.

2. Availability Of Parts:

Unlike now, when you can more or less find what you need on eBay or elsewhere, getting hold of a replacement screen or a logic board for a Mac was virtually impossible in the UK. Official Apple dealers couldn’t or wouldn’t sell you anything and there was very little pre-owned stuff on the market.

3. The Know How:

When I first started out, You Tube was still in it’s infancy and sites like iFixit didn’t exist. These days, it’s easy to find a Mac repair guide or video to help out if you need one. I’ve fixed thousands of PC’s, Laptops and Macs but I don’t mind admitting I refer to detailed iFixit guides all the time. They can be very useful. I can find my way round the innards and outards of most computers but there’s always that one hidden screw on the newer model or a better way of removing something than the one you’ve been using. iFixit is a Right To Repair community who share knowledge so people have the tools to fix their own devices. It's my first port of call when I've forgotten to keep my screws in the correct order or it turns out I need a very specific tool for a job. Chances are, someone on iFixit has already encountered the same problem and found a solution. It's also good to contribute and share your own tips and experience.

Louis Rossman

If you’re starting to delve deeper into Mac logic board repairs, Louis Rossman on You Tube is a definite must. Sometimes his opinions drive me insane but credit where credit's due, he’s a master at his craft and he cuts through the Apple bullshit with a red hot soldering iron!

Sorin's Electronic Repairs School

Not so much on the Mac side, but Electronic Repair School on You Tube is very useful. Sorin’s approach to motherboard repair combines knowledge with instinct and I find it useful that he doesn’t edit out his mistakes. I’ve learned a lot from him over the last couple of years and his calm approach makes a nice alternative to Rossman’s rants!

These days, a lot more people own Mac’s and when it comes to older Mac's, Apple aren’t as forthcoming as they should be. The repairs they do are limited by the age of the machine and can be ridiculously expensive. So in stark contrast to 10 years ago, I now fix as many older Mac’s (if not more) as I do Laptops and PC’s. The parts are all there if you’re prepared to look, there are plenty of repair guides available if you need them and a Mac fault is no more complicated to diagnose and fix than any other computer problem.