Apple Expanding Pilot Program Allowing Repairs of Select Vintage Macs Worldwide, Starting With 2012 MacBook Air

Apple will add 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models released in Mid 2012 to its vintage and obsolete products list on August 31, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source.

macbook air 13 2012
Normally, this would mean the 2012 MacBook Air is no longer eligible for hardware service, except where required by law. However, Apple has decided to include the notebook in its recently launched pilot program that allows for repairs to continue into the vintage period, subject to parts availability.

Apple says 2012 MacBook Air models will remain eligible for service at Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers worldwide through August 31, 2020, a full two years after the notebook is classified as vintage. Mail-in service will also be an option in the United States and Japan through that date.

Apple launched this pilot program in February, starting with 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac models released in Mid 2011, but only in the United States and Turkey, so this marks the first time the initiative has expanded worldwide.

The coverage period for the Mid 2011 iMac models was initially set to expire August 31, 2018, but Apple has extended it to January 1, 2019, according to internal documents. However, unlike the 2012 MacBook Air, service for the Mid 2011 iMac remains available in the United States and Turkey only.

apple pilot program vintage mac repairs

Apple's pilot program chart reproduced by MacRumors

If parts are unavailable for a specific repair for these vintage Macs, Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers are instructed to decline service. This is also a pilot program to begin with, so it is subject to change or end at any time.

Apple products become vintage five years after they are last manufactured, at which point they typically become ineligible for hardware service. 2012 MacBook Air models were last sold in June 2013, slightly over five years ago, but they'll now receive an impressive eight years of repair support.

The exact reason for the pilot program is unclear, beyond Apple apparently having a surplus of repair parts for these specific MacBook Air and iMac models. Any extension of hardware service eligibility is certainly a bonus for customers.

MacRumors has reached out to Apple for comment.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

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Top Rated Comments

friednoodles Avatar
76 months ago
Maybe because it's basically the same as the Air they're still selling o_O
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DaveN Avatar
76 months ago
Good move. In the era where real world incremental improvements in usability are declining, it makes sense to keep the customer happy. This is much like Apple's support of legacy hardware with software updates. You do what you can to keep the customer's equipment up to date and thus give the customer value for the products you sell. Sure, not all features can be supported by new OS updates, but those that can are updated.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
curtvaughan Avatar
76 months ago
This is rather apropos to the "right to repair" movement, for which Apple has been a strong opponent. If Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Repair Shops are not allowed to repair a product, Apple (and other manufacturers) should provide parts (if available) and schematics for the "vintage" products to be repaired by independent repair shops, or the individual owner. If a product is so dated as to be declared un-repairable and non-supported, why should the company care about releasing schematics and/or part information? Even if they no longer have parts in stock, let the owner or repair technician figure out how to find parts that will work.

https://ifixit.org/right

To make such information unavailable lends to the argument that planned obsolescence is in force.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
76 months ago
Despite the soldered RAM, the Macbook Airs are actually very repairable. The battery isn't glued and very easy to replace. The trackpad is easily accessible and replaceable also. Both are common failure points on an old MBA. The screen is also easy to remove. The power board (also with the USB port on that side) is seperate from the main logic board. None of it is super layered. It's actually pretty modular inside.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
techpr Avatar
76 months ago
They still need to service the now vintage 15 inch MacBook Pro 2011 with the bad ATI video card. I have one sitting for two years!!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
liberte1776 Avatar
76 months ago
This is STILL needed for 2011 17” MBPs that never had their GPU issues fixed, even after THREE logic board swaps: at Apple’s cost!!!

https://beetstech.com/blog/macbook-pro-unibody-2011-graphics-defect
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)