How much money should I sink into repairing a 2012 Macbook Pro?
August 5, 2017 4:33 PM   Subscribe

I just got off the phone with Apple, troubleshooting a trackpad issue with my Macbook Pro 2012, and it looks like it is a hardware issue. I am bringing it into the Genius bar tomorrow and will most likely get a quote to repair the trackpad. Otherwise, it has been running just fine, and I was hoping to get a couple more years of use, so I am inclined to want to repair it, but I also don't want to invest money in repairs if I should really just be getting a newer laptop.

What would you do? And if you would go the repair route, what would be the maximum amount that it would be worth it to do for you?
posted by nanook to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I would repair it, but I'm a tech packrat who just this week got rid of my 2006 MacBook Pro (which I used regularly until two years ago, and which worked fine once I installed a new OS). New MacBooks are really expensive. If it's a couple hundred dollars, I'd totally do it.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 4:37 PM on August 5, 2017

What spec and which 2012 MBP is it? There's a wide range, some of which would be more worthwhile than others to repair. Although I would be surprised if it wasn't cost effective to get a trackpad repaired.
posted by tillsbury at 4:38 PM on August 5, 2017

Here are the specs:

Model Identifier: MacBookPro9,2
Processor Name: Intel Core i5
Processor Speed: 2.5 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 2
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 8 GB
posted by nanook at 4:44 PM on August 5, 2017

i5 and pre-glass. Parts looks like ~$100, so see what Apple says and decide from there.
posted by rhizome at 4:52 PM on August 5, 2017

I have that same model and I'd repair it if possible, but probably not with Apple. They're ridiculously expensive once your hardware is out of warranty. Where do you live? If you're in the Bay Area, I can hook you up with a great small Apple repair shop that charges very reasonable rates. (And while you have it opened up, you definitely should replace the harddrive with an SSD if you haven't already. Yo won't believe the difference it makes!)
posted by LuckySeven~ at 4:54 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Do you have a SSD? That would be the biggest reason to upgrade. Retina display would be another, but there are pros and cons.

That model goes for around $400 on Amazon, so if it's over a couple hundred probably not worth the hassle unless you're a fan of the older model (I would have kept using mine except Xcode is unbearably slow)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:02 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

If it's a non-Retina 2012 it might be one that can still take upgrades inside. Max it out while the thing's open.
posted by rhizome at 5:31 PM on August 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have that exact same machine. I put an SSD in the DVD slot & it still kicks ass. I intend to keep it for as long as it'll run Logic & the Adobe CC suite, which it does quite handily at this point.

I'd fix it. And yes, check local independent repair shops. I have one here in Austin that's done me well on stuff I couldn't do myself for less than Apple. Due diligence though-- some shops are bad. Check their rep, get opinions.

Also, also, you can drop another 8 gig of ram in there for fifty-ish bucks.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:36 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Does it do what you want it to do? You say you were hoping to get another couple of years out of this machine, so I guess so. The repair will certainly be much cheaper than a new laptop, and by the time a couple of years have passed any laptop you buy is guaranteed to be better than one that you'd buy today. In the meantime, set aside the money you would've spent against that future purchase, or to cover you in case something more major goes wrong with your ageing computer and you need to replace it quickly.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:24 PM on August 5, 2017

I also have that same MacBook (typing on it right now!) and I think it's definitely worth repairing and holding on to. And I agree it doesn't have to be done by Apple. If you're handy enough, you could do it yourself. Not long ago I opened mine up to replace the hard drive with a solid state drive and put a new battery in, and I expect to get many more years of life out of it. If you want to stick with Macs, you can't get anything new for less than $1000. If doing $100-200 of repairs keeps your running even another couple of years, I'd say it's easily worth it. Those are really solid machines.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:59 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Apple Stores have a lot of leeway and are often generous. If it's a common hardware failure for your model of laptop there's a chance they'll repair it for free. If not, I'd go to an independent shop for a cheaper repair. It'll probably be a sketchy crowded place run by one person. That's the best kind.
posted by Nelson at 9:20 AM on August 6, 2017

2012-ish non-retina MBP trackpad should set you back less than $200 at the Apple Store. An apple repair shop that's not owned by apple might not be too much cheaper because most of the price is the part. It's a pretty simple repair.

Definitely recommend upgrading ram and looking into a new drive or SSD. On that model, both the ram and the drive can be replaced with a single small philips screwdriver and barely any effort. I recommend buying online and using ifixit for their step by step guides.
posted by sleeping bear at 3:21 PM on August 6, 2017

You can also just get an external track pad.
posted by jeffamaphone at 4:47 PM on August 6, 2017

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