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#886: MacBook Pro Feet, iOS NAND, iOS Troubleshooting



Another week is here, and the weather has been pretty nice lately. It seems that we’ve been able to enjoy the last bits of summer as it comes to an end, even though Labor Day weekend was a bit rainy.

I had a nice holiday weekend in Rhode Island, and packed the long weekend full of as much fun as I could!

We have a great group of articles lined up for you, and as always, enjoy the week.


  MacBook Pro Feet  

The aluminum unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros have four black hard rubber feet on their bottom panels. On occasion, or with age and abuse, these feet can come off.

When the feet fall off, a hole, or window into the computer, is exposed. This can be a concern, as a facet of the machine’s design leaves a delicate connection for the display beneath one of the feet, and the others aren’t in the safest location to leave an open hole either.

Apple considers missing feet to be “damage,” and the loss of said feet is not covered under their warranty. However, Small Dog Electronics is able to offer replacement Apple feet: $15 for the first foot, and $3 per additional. The new foot application is more resistant to damage than the previous ones, and will last longer.

If you want to take advantage of this service, please bring your machine to one of our service locations! Find one here:

  iOS NAND  

iOS devices like iPhones and iPods utilize NAND flash memory (just like thumb drive or SSD drives). This memory ages over time as it’s overwritten again and again, whether by iMessages, photos or app downloads.

Bits within a block of data on the storage chips get “stuck”, or become error-prone. These bits are normally corrected by Error Correcting Code on the controller, but this has a limit; the system using the NAND may start acting very strangely afterward, with data and system corruption, or an inaccessible drive.

Failures can also arise from bad solder connections. Dropping the phone or constant vibration over time could loosen solder joints on the NAND chips, and solder joints that were poorly soldered at the factory could cause issues as well.

My (now 3-year-old) iPhone 4 has had occasional “bad behavior,” but this was usually rectifiable with a restore of the device. However, for the last couple of months, there have been constant cell network disconnects, forcing me to restart the device or reseat the SIM to get it back. This always came with an “Activation Failed, Restore Your Device” message.

Yesterday, I attempted to restore it, resulting in an Error 37 or a -1. After about three-dozen restore attempts between two platforms, multiple sync cables, iTunes alternatives, different iOS IPSWs, and other techniques, I threw in the towel. While the iTunes errors were inconsistent, the situation pointed at the firmware not being written properly to the NAND memory.

Unfortunately, in these instances, we are forced to replace devices. The NAND built into the main logic board is unrepairable and the entire board needs to be replaced. Yet with the age of iOS devices when they tend to fail in this manner, a new device is often a better resolution, given the cost.

Nothing is permanent, so back up your data!

  iOS Troubleshooting  

Troubleshooting your iOS device can be a tricky thing if you are technologically challenged. First and foremost, there aren’t many people out there who can actually repair your device. The feat of opening your iOS device, repairing the problem part and sealing it back up isn’t easy, and in most cases, causes something else to go wrong.

Unless it’s Apple, or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (like us) repairing your device, it’s likely they aren’t even using actual Apple parts, so the fit might be off or that touch screen you shattered might not be as sensitive as you are used to. Often, the service provider will actually replace the device rather than repair it.

For most iOS devices (iPhone excluded), we offer a program through Apple to replace your damaged or nonfunctional device at less than new cost. Unfortunately, for the time being, Apple requires everyone to call 1-800-MY-IPHON for help on iPhone-related issues, unless you are near a corporate Apple location.

When it comes to troubleshooting your iPad or iPod, you need to do a little investigating to figure out what is actually causing the problem. Is it an app or just the OS that triggers it?

If it’s an application, first remove the app and then reinstall it. If it’s a paid app it doesn’t mean you have to purchase it again; going into the App Store on your iOS device and looking under “Purchased” will display it, and if you have activated iCloud, your device will already know you’ve downloaded it before.)

If the problem is with the operating system, then there is only one thing you can do: restore your device back to factory settings. Make sure you back it up and run a sync before doing so (if you can), because it will remove everything from your device. Connect your iOS device to your computer with the latest version of iTunes. In the main screen under “Summary” there will be an option to “Restore iPod/iPad.” This is the option that erases it. Click it and follow the prompts.

If your iOS Device is unresponsive or is locked with a passcode, you will have to do what is called a “DFU” restore. To do a DFU restore, you must press and hold both the Home and Power buttons for about eight seconds. The screen will shut off, and before it comes back on, let go of the Power button while still holding the Home button. Your iPod/iPad will look like it is still off, but your computer will chime and say that it has detected a device in “recovery mode,” and ask if you would like to proceed. Click “yes” and follow the prompts.

For problems like freezing or app crashing, a soft reset might just be what you need, pressing and holding both Home and Power buttons for about ten seconds or until the Apple logo comes back on the screen. Then, release both buttons at the same time and let it start up normally.

If none of these troubleshooting steps have solved your problem, then you will have to come visit us and take advantage of our replacement program, because most likely something is wrong physically with the device. Please note that none of the steps above will fix a broken screen — you will have to skip to the last step and come visit us to get it replaced!

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