Macs are largely dependable, but rest assured there will likely come a time when your beloved Mac needs a simple tune up, or fails all together. When the unthinkable happens this proposition can be overwhelming for some and merely frustrating for others. Here are a few tips to ensure your next Mac repair goes off with out a hitch.
1. Back Up! Back Up! Back Up!
This may seem like a no brainer, but most people do not have a current back up or worse no back up at all. Apple is notorious for inexplicably erasing customer hard drives during the Mac repair process. Small external hard drives have come down in price over the past few years and are an excellent way to keep a current back up of your Mac’s data. Be sure you purchase one that is at least equal to the size of your current hard drive to ensure that you have plenty of room for your back up. In most cases you can simply plug in the external hard drive to a USB port and your Mac should immediately recognize the presence of the drive and offer to back up your data using Time Machine, a very useful back up utility built in to your Mac. If your Mac is not operable you may want to find an independent service provider as they will in most cases will offer to pull your hard drive or back the data up for you to avoid the dreaded Apple hard drive wipe.
2. Select a Service Provider
Selecting a service provider may not be as simple you you think. Most of us would simply take our Mac back to the Apple Store, where it was purchased, but in many cases this may not always be your best option. Finding an independent service provider will likely save you time, money and frustration in the long run (see our article on Great Reasons to look for an alternative to the Apple Store for your Mac Repair). By simply typing “Mac Repair” in to any browser you will find that no matter where you live there are a myriad of Apple Independent Service Providers. Some will even overnight a shipping box to your front door and complete the repair, or upgrade, in as little as 48 hours. Keep an eye out for the “ Apple Certified Macintosh Technicians” logo. This indicates the technicians have received the same training as the techs at The Genius Bar and often times are more proficient in diagnosing more complicated issues outside of “the box”.
3. Create a “Service-only” Account
Repair work often requires administrator level access to your Mac’s OS to ensure all issues have been fixed. While you shouldn’t be particularly worried about a privacy violation during the repair process, it never hurts to put an extra barrier of protection between your personal photos and banking information and the technician working on your Mac. Adding a service only administrator account is easier than you may think. Follow these steps: 1. Go to System Preferences 2. Go to Users & Groups and click the “+” at the bottom left 3. Under “New Account” choose “Administrator” 4. Type “Service-Only” and a unique password 5. Click “Create Account”
This way when you check your Mac in for repair you can give this unique password you created to the Mac service provider. Yes, your original account’s password could be reset and your data accessed, but at least this makes it a bit more difficult to do so. Even if your primary account’s password is reset, they still won’t have easy access to your keychain, or be able to find out where else you use that admin password.
4. Give Your Mac the Shirt Off Your Back
In the case of an iMac placing an old soft t-shirt on your Mac will help protect it from surface scratches and will be added protection for the fragile glass bezel. Remember to place your iMac in the back seat buckled in screen facing towards the seat. If you choose to send your Mac out for repair having a professional pack it up for shipment is always the safe bet. Remember to always inspect your Mac thoroughly when you pick it up for any cosmetic damage that may have been the result of mishandling while your Mac was out for repair.
Have other tips for getting your Mac to and from service-related visits? Post them here!