Reinvigerating old stuff - life of an Apple fanboy

in #technology8 months ago

I love the Apple ecosystem and have done for years. I'm also a PC user too and have enjoyed building a good few systems now but mostly for gaming; Apple isn't so good at that. As with most things using electrons, things get old, slow and occasionally give up the ghost altogether. Here's where the the Apple and PC purists split on the basis Apple kit is notoriously difficult to maintain.

I've managed to build up a collection of such "kit" in recent years. A MacBook Air with broken trackpad and down arrow. A MacBook Pro which wouldn't boot and a 2013 iMac which became so slow it was no longer really useable. With nothing to lose I decided to dive in.

First for surgery was the MacBook Pro. My 11 year old daughter had been using it for a good while and managed to lock the storage and render it unbeatable. No matter what I tried I couldn't get the damn thing to boot. I grabbed myself a small, cheap toolkit with the required "T" and "P" heads and opened her up. I'm not quite sure what the issue was but a good blast of air, disconnected the battery (and connected again) and finally everything seemed to be fine. Installing the OS is a pain due to some "features" meaning you can't log in to iCloud with older versions of the OS. This means building from the recovery feature, downloading and installing the last version available to download via image, logging into iCloud, then installing the current latest compatible version of the OS via the App Store. None of this seems to be readily available knowledge on the web so lots of trial and error.

Next was the MacBook Air. A few YouTube videos on dismantling and the trackpad was removed, cleaned and back in action. Unfortunately the keyboard issue looks to be a full replacement but to be honest it isn't worth it for a down arrow. Saying that the keyboard itself can be bought for £14 so hardly a killer. The painful OS installation also followed to get everything up and running.

Finally the slow iMac. A little research suggested the slowness is caused by a failing hard disk. More YouTube videos, some tools, adhesive and a new drive from Amazon and I was £60 lighter and a little nervous. The first challenges with iMac surgery if the screen is stuck in with double sided tape. What fun that is to cut and remove! Thankfully the adhesive set came with the tools required to dig in. 10 minutes later my iMac's guts were exposed.

Here it is with the left speaker removed.


Once the screen is out, I have to admit it's a bit of a joy to work on. You have to be careful due to how wires are routed and kept out the way, but it really is a wonderful piece of design. Everything has its place, is routed well, and the cable clips are a great design. Maybe over engineered? Possibly, but to be honest this is the first time this thing has been maintained by me in nearly 10 years (I paid for a screen repair when it was broken during a house move).

5 minutes later the disk was replaced and all the innards put back. Then followed 40 minutes of removing old adhesive tape!

It took about 15 minutes to get the new tape installed along with the screen. The replacement wasn't perfect due to some residual glue that I just couldn't remove. The screen went on but there's a small, less than a hair's width gap to the bottom left corner which means the top left sits slightly proud. It's difficult to see but I know!

A boot in recovery mode and the painful OS installation process starts once again.


Iffy screen or not, it only bloody works! 3.5 hours and 2 software updates later and I'm just getting to the point where all the base updates are installed. The performance is as good as it was out the box. Opening Utilities would take minutes and now it's taking seconds.

I shall spend a few hours tomorrow installing apps and putting the data back. It would have all taken a good few hours but an unusable £1250 iMac is back to full operating speed. Another piece of kit saved from landfill!


That's really great to hear!
I wish was more technically minded, but just not my thing :X

I've worked in IT my entire working career but still far from an expert on these things. I'm happy whacking things together but often need to ask friends for help when it comes to specifications etc.

YouTube has been my saviour this week. It feels much easier when there's nothing to lose, that is the "thing" is broken any way.

I'm very pleased about the iMac though as that's what I use for photo and video editing.

It feels much easier when there's nothing to lose.

I can understand that! YouTube is pretty amazing, isn't it? Reading this has reminded me about the Restart Project.

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