Archive for June, 2019

What Happens When a Mac Battery Goes Bad.

June 19, 2019 Comments off

While at the Clinic Monday night, we looked at a 2010 MacBook Pro (Core2 Duo) whose battery had gone bad – literally blown up, in fact. In the process it destroyed the trackpad and other parts inside.

The problem with swelling in 13″ MacBook Pros last year (without the trackbar) caused Apple to agree to replace the batteries for free. Apple claimed it was a component issue that – upon going bad – would cause the battery to swell.

UPDATE: MacWorld reports “Apple on Thursday (June 20) announced a voluntary recall for owners of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. If you bought such a laptop between September 2015 and February 2017, it could have a battery that is at risk of overheating. Apple will replace the battery in these laptops for free.”

But clearly the problem of a swelling lithium ion battery is not new. We have seen many over the years at theMacRecycleclinic.

Here are a few photos to show just how bad this problem can be (again on an older Mac in this example.)

The inside of the 2010 MacBook Pro shows there’s extensive damage to the trackpad.

The good news is that it can be repaired – but it can be costly if you take it to Apple or other Mac shop. When MRC does it, we have to take parts from another non-working laptop of the same generation and switch out the affected parts. If Apple or another company did the repair, it would likely use new OEM parts – a costly endever. In fact, it might be better to just get a new laptop (which is usually what is recommended).

But if you see a swelling in your Mac laptop under the trackpad and the computer is not acting properly, look at the battery as a possible culprit. In that case, make sure you have a backup of your data and unplug it from the wall until you can get it to the Apple store (or the Mac Recycle Clinic if you’re in the DMV) or third party repair facility.

What has your experience been with swelling batteries – and did you have the laptop repaired or just replaced? Let us know in comments!

REPAIR UPDATE – June 24, 2019

Given what this MacBook Pro looked like, it was hard to imagine it would be worth the repair effort. But repaired it has been. It is what MacRecycleClinic does!


  • Replaced the battery
  • Replaced appropriate cables and hinges
  • Replaced the trackpad

And yes – it took two to three OTHER MB Pros to make this one whole again. But whole it is… and now it’s ready to go back out into the world and help a family or student who might not have access to a computer!

Early i7 MacBook Pro Graphic Problems & Solutions

June 17, 2019 Comments off
It doesn’t take much searching to find lots of articles about graphic problems on a 2011-2013 MacBook Pro.

We get questions. Good ones, in fact, about all sorts of Mac problems.

Recently, the owner of an early 2011 15″ MacBook Pro with an i7 processor was experiencing some disastrous graphics issues.

These machines (15″ and 17″) offered two graphics processing units (GPUs). One is the graphics processor that’s part of the Intel CPU. The second graphics chip is made by either AMD or NVIDIA and was designed to provide an additional graphics performance boost for the laptop.

The problem is that the AMD/NVIDIA GPU has what Adam Barscheski of Realmacmods says is a “tragic defect” that causes that i7 to either have lost its video or soon will.

As our MacRecycleClinic laptop Guru explains, “The supplemental video chip was incorrectly soldered to the motherboard and when the cold solder connections separate, boink goes your video.”

As he wrote the owner, “There are some specialty shops that will try resoldering the video chip.  Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t last very long. The clinic has lots of i7 machines with your new woes.”


There are frankly no good solutions to this problem, but here’s what MRC is recommending:

  • Search the web for sites that claim to resolder the
    video chip.  Good ones insist on removing the
    motherboard, removing the chip and reinstalling;
  • Go to the MacMedics website and see what they say
    about the problem;
  • Realmacmods offers one possible way to fix the video issue by disabling the AMD/NVIDIA GPU so that only the Intel GPU is used;
  • Find an older i5 (2013-2015) machine with retina display if your work does not require intensive graphics/video support. This series of machines does not have supplemental video problems.
  • Look for a newer i7 on Craigslist or eBay that did not experience these problems.

A Crazier Solution…

A quick search on YouTube found this video from HotshotTec – who basically took the MacBook apart and COOKED the motherboard. It worked for him, but it’s not something you should consider unless you are very comfortable taking apart – and putting back together – a Mac laptop. But the process is certainly interesting:

If you’ve had this problem – and found a solution – let us know and we’ll share it here!

Access Podcasts from iTunes or Your Apple Device

June 10, 2019 Comments off
Image result for podcast free graphics
Graphic courtesy of (Labeled for noncommercial use.)

Readers: I was recently asked about how to find and subscribe to Podcasts. Having written this tutorial for one of our MacRecycleClinic patrons, I decided to share it with you as well with a little editing.

First off: Podcasts (both audio and video) are easy to use and to watch or listen to! Apple has a great resource page for you here.

iPhone or iPad Podcast Players

Apple’s Podcasts App is part of the programs you get with a new or refurbished iPhone and is worth checking out.

That said, there are also a ton of third party Podcast players for your iDevice. Just check out the iOS App Store. As for me, I use Overcast – a free download. But because many of you have your own favorites, just let me know and I’ll be happy to include them here.

Podcasts on iTunes

If you want to access Podcasts from your Mac, then iTunes is the way to go:

Open iTunes:

From the menu on the left (“Music” is there by default) – choose “Podcasts” from the dropdown menu. (Note we will focus on AUDIO Podcasts here but videos are similar.)

If this is our first time, you’ll see:

Click “Continue” to get to the subscribe/download page (This is what mine looks like – yours might be different.)

Choose “Store” to get to the Podcast store (don’t worry – they are virtually all free).

Focus on Podcasts:

Look through the latest Podcast selections or go to the Search Box look for Podcasts you might like. As an example, let’s look for Freakonomics:

As you can see – there are a number of choices but the one we want is the first one – Freakonomics Radio. Choose that (click on the graphic) to see the FR page all by itself.

Note you can cursor down though each selection, choose it,  and a play button will automatically appear on the left. It can be played there immediately with a click.

If you want to subscribe, just click on the “Subscribe” button on the left under the program logo. That means iTunes will download all the old episodes and any new ones as well as they are posted. You can delete any or all of them later, download only a few, etc. as we’ll see.

If you want to download the Podcast to play later, just choose  “Get” on the right side to download that particular Podcast. We’ll choose the second one Once you’ve chosen “Get” – you’ll see a small download icon on the top right showing your progress – it’s pretty quick. 

Choosing “Unplayed” at the top menu will show all the Podcasts that are downloaded but yet to be played.

OR choose “Library” from the top menu (under the Apple logo), select the downloaded podcast and play. Note it also says “Not Subscribed” in this case (as I am not going to subscribe at this point).

See that gear icon on the right? It will let you choose to subscribe to the Podcasts (from this page) as well if you like, and make other settings…

Note the blue circle with the three dots at the top right- you can click on it for a dropdown box to subscribe as well.

OR if you highlight one of the Podcasts, you’ll also see three dots where the time listing was on the right. If also gives you many choices as to what to do with the Podcast.

You should make sure to subscribe if you like the program. Looks like a lot but it goes pretty quickly once you decide what you’d like to listen to. 

Podcasts are a growing part of the online experience and cover just about every interest. Like listening to the radio, you can listen anywhere at anytime. And there are lots of Podcasts for kids too – a great help on long vacation trips!

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