Apple wants to fix your Mac, for FREE.

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial

…but you need to tell them it’s broken.

Editor’s note: When Matt sent me the following piece I was grateful because the timing could not have been better. Just this week I answered at least 3 to 4 emails from listeners who had issues with their systems that were covered by one of Apple’s Repair Extension Programs(REP). I agree with Matt, it is amazing how many people don’t know to check for these coverages. It is even more amazing how many people choose NOT to take advantage of them. In my 3 to 4 cases at least 2 people said they would not contact Apple to get the repair because they “could not afford” to be without their Mac for a a few days to a week! Seriously!? So, you would rather have a broken, annoying and less productive Mac than one that actually works like it should? If you rely on your Mac that much to make a living you should consider keeping an old system around, getting a used Mac or purchasing a bottom of the line Mac Mini as a backup system. Combine that with a good cloned backup regiment using a product like SuperDuper and you are covered.

A word to the wise folks… if you have ANY defective product and the company has a program for you to get it fixed free of charge… run, don’t walk, to the service center.

One of the most under-utilized offerings from Cupertino is theRepair Extension Program(REP). This model allows different "known issues" with certain Macintosh computers to be rectified even on out of warranty machines as a courtesy from Apple, meaning it’s absolutely free. Now before I divulge any more of these secrets it has to be said that this is not in any way a service to be abused; if you don’t have the fault linked with these machines you won’t gain anything but higher future pricing by entering the program; if however you are experiencing the issue then you have it all to gain and Apple will be more than willing to help.

To register for one of these programs you will firstly need a machine that is covered as noted on the Apple REP page. For an idea of the kinds of programs available I will detail the current offerings below. Then you need to take your machine into an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) where the repair will be booked in, the part ordered and the issues fixed as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the issue this could take from 24 hours to a few weeks so be sure to call ahead of time and prepare if you have any doubt.

The most widely known of the REP’s is the G3/4 battery exchange for 12" iBooks and 12" or 15" PowerBook G4’s. There are however many more such as:

  • iBook G3 REP for logic boards
  • 15" PowerBook G4 REP for displays and memory slots
  • MacBook Pro battery exchange
  • Power Mac REP for power supply issues
  • iMac G5 REP’s for video and power issues as well as power supply issues
  • eMac G4 REP for video and power issues

Repair extension programs are there to cover issues arising with specific components used in these models which arose after their release. Because Apple often uses multiple part numbers, and even suppliers for a given component in a given model, these programs are usually limited to certain serial number ranges and as such not all machines of the vague models listed above are covered. If however you are experiencing issues sounding like those listed above, or that you believe could be covered by a Repair Extension Program or Exchange Program then check outApple’s web site for more information.

To find your machines serial number then go to the Apple menu (top left of your screen on the menu bar), click About this Mac and then click twice on your Mac OS X version number, or click More Info… and it should be listed near the bottom of the default section. If your serial number is not listed here then your machine has likely had a logic board replacement in the past and the number will only be available from it’s physical location on the machine. For instructions on locating your models serial numberclick here

There are 8 comments on Apple wants to fix your Mac, for FREE.:

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  1. Kris | Nov 06 2006 - 09:23

    well, i had the discoloration issue on my 2.0GHz White MacBook (purchased on May 20th). I had no problems with RSS, but, my SuperDrive was scraching all the games i put in and played. Finally, i brought it to the Genius Bar, and they were amazing, thy replaced my SuperDrive ($310.94), Keyboard, Trackpad, Case (K/T/C $101.56), and for some reason, the HeatSink ($14.06), and the labor (HARDWARE REPAIR-LEVEL 2 $135.00), oh ya, an dmy 5th Gen iPod 30GB was also replaced, for some issues with the software on it and the top case of it was coming off ($249.00). Over all i have had an AMAZING experience with AppleCare, and i am what i call a MacVangalist. I’ve converted 10 or 20 people from windows lovers, to mac lovers, and are going to buy Mac as thier next computer. This is one of the reasons why i am such a MacVanglist, among many others. Anyways, great article.

  2. Mike Courtney | Nov 07 2006 - 01:26

    I’ve two experiences of the REP. Firstly I had my battery replaced on my G4 Powerbook recently having heard about the apparent problems with it. I contacted Apple via their website, a couple of weeks later a replacement battery turned up and full instructions on how to return the old on via UPS were included. One freephone call later and UPS turned up and collected the old battery. Superb service.
    My mum had a G5 iMac which was suffering power problems and despite the best attempts of her Apple supplier they couldn’t find the problem. They returned the Mac to Apple and a couple of weeks later the REP programme was publicised for exactly this problem. Seems my Mum was one of the early sufferers. Anyway, although it took them 6 weeks (yes 6!!!) to fix and return her iMac it is working perfectly now.

    So I can thoroughly recommend the REP programme.



  3. Josh | Nov 07 2006 - 07:40

    Boy, do I wish I could take part in the PowerBook Repair Extension Program to fix my lower memory slot. It’s just a disgrace that Apple has left me and well, thousands of others ( out of the serial range. Sad, sad story.

  4. Matt Hoult | Nov 07 2006 - 12:24

    While you may (or may not) have [i]an[/i] issue with your lower memory slot, that isn’t to say that it’s [i]the[/i] issue Apple have provided the REP for. REPs are usually very accurate in their symptoms, diagnosis and exact parts possibly requiring attention. While it may seem harsh it’s not that Apple have said you don’t have a problem, just not the problem the current REP extends warranty based service to.

    Continue to check the Apple website from time to time, it’s not unusual to show up (such as the iMac G5 Power Supply Issue REP this week).

  5. Roustem | Nov 07 2006 - 03:21

    Great news, thanks!

    I had a problem with the lower memory slot and took my PowerBook G4 to Apple Store this summer just to be told that the warranty expired a month ago. Now it looks like I will be able to get the memory slot fixed free of charge.

  6. matthew | Nov 08 2006 - 10:57

    Great heads-up for those out there with broken Macs (that are covered) but weren’t aware of the REP.

  7. gary hird | Nov 09 2006 - 08:59

    fixed my emac 1.25 with an imac dual 2 core , very happy

  8. Neil Ferrara | Nov 15 2006 - 11:09

    How can I connect a USB printer to my G3 SCUSI connection
    Mac running 9.2.2, Built in memory 384 ?