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How Different Parts of the MacBook Pro 15" (2018) With Touch Bar Fail Over Time And Why You Should Pay for Apple Care+

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The Apple 15" MacBook Pro (2018) was purchased in November 2018 without Apple Care+ and initially worked great other than running hot at times, dead battery start up time, and the original Magic Keyboard that reduced typing efficiency and satisfaction. We had high expectations for this Mac given it was on the high end of the price/performance spectrum for MacBook Pro's.

After about 18 months (after the 1 year limited warranty period), we started to see several different components of the Apple 15" MacBook Pro (2018) degrade, some on an accelerated basis. Here's a chronicle of what happened from May through October 2020. Note while the Mac was taken on the road quite a bit from Nov 2018 through Feb 2020, there were no hard drops or liquid damage to the Mac but it was used heavily on a daily basis. From March 2020 through October 2020, the Mac was stuck working from home like the rest of us.

In May 2020, certain keys on the keyboard became noticeably worn which is something quite common on past Mac's used.

However, the Force Touch Trackpad no longer responded with a firm click, and any press of the Trackpad felt very soft without any sharp haptic feedback.

The most annoying issue which was observed at night was the Touch Bar periodically flashing at night by itself (see video below).

In early June 2020, we could see that the right section of the Touch Bar went dark and there was no longer any Volume Increase button control.

By the middle of June 2020, the Touch Bar started to degrade further every few days. The Touch Bar lost more and more of its right section and different parts of the Touch Bar also started to show constant flickering for periods of time.

We also started to see dark blue stationary splotches on the display which became very noticeable when using white backgrounds. These splotches also definitely had an impact on display colors.

By July 2020, we saw behavior where the right section of the Touch Bar would go dark while the left section would go crazy with flickering.

At the end of September 2020, the delete key would stop working intermittently.

The Touch Bar then became completely unusable where the entire Touch Bar kept flashing continuously.

The continual flashing was so hurtful to the eyes (also not great for those sensitive to strobe lighting) that we sometimes had to cover up the Touch Bar with a piece of cardboard and tape since Apple does not provide a way to turn off the Touch Bar.

In early October 2020, the entire display all of a sudden went dark while we were using it, with the Touch Bar still flashing constantly.

At some point, the Touch Bar decided to join the Display in going completely dark as well.

On the bright side, at least the Touch Bar flashing went away and we could use an external display to still use the Mac.

Apple support was good at responding quickly and setting up a repair. However, given the $747.08 estimated cost of the repair, it would have been much better to pay $379 (despite the high price) for Apple Care+ since Apple Care+ lasts for three years and these problems started showing up after 18 months of purchase. Given the number of components subject to failure (Magic Keyboard, Force Touch Trackpad, Display, Touch Bar, etc.), it's likely that some number of components will fail although it's unfortunate that the failures on our Apple 15" MacBook Pro (2018) were so numerous and dramatic.

Apple then sent a notice stating the cost of repair increased to $1,296.95+tax without being able to provide any additional details on what additional accidental damage was their discovered.  With no further information provided, there was also no way to dispute what was considered accidental damage even when a visual inspection revealed no damage before the MacBook Pro was sent for repair.

AppleCare+ would still have reduced the incremental cost of accidental damage by roughly half, but Apple is still able to unilaterally determine what is considered to be accidental damage.


As a permanent replacement, we purchased the Apple MacBook Air (2020). With no Touch Bar to worry about and a much improved Magic Keyboard, it was nice to get back to the basics of good notebook computer design and functionality.  Given the high repair costs due to no AppleCare+ protection, the Apple 15" MacBook Pro (2018) was returned unrepaired to be used a desktop computer.

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