Fragile M1 MacBooks?

Fluffy
Contributor III

Hello everyone, (TL;DR at bottom)

Students at our school of grades 7-12 are given MacBooks to use. Up until this school year, all models were either 11" or 13" MacBook Airs (2015). Now, half of the laptops were replaced with M1 MacBook Airs (2020). They were purchased last year in June and arrived in July. We were unable to secure any cases after waiting for months, with the usual supply chain problems, so the new MacBooks are effectively naked.

There are about 230 of the M1 MBA in the hands of students with the rest in storage or being repaired. Since the beginning of the school year, we have had approximately 15 of these brought to us with broken screens. Five of them were either negligence or naivety (closing the lid with stapled paper left inside). The rest can only be speculated on, as the students don't have solid stories and no damage can be found otherwise. It's hard to figure out what to tell a student when they bring in two different laptops with a broken screen within 6 days, and no dents or scratches anywhere.

I became suspicious when I began searching online for anything I may have missed and there were multiple articles pertaining to this issue. Apple's official response is that the tolerances are low, and to not use any camera covers or palm rests. None of our devices with broken screens have had accessories. Then a class action lawsuit was filed in September. Here is an article for those interested and there are others that can easily be found.

Apple covered repairs on 2 out of the first 5, although not for any particular reason. Getting the screen replaced seems to cost more than half of the price of the device itself, which is undesirable. We have opted for an accident plan through another company, which has an upfront cost for each of the devices, but covers virtually any non-malicious damage (at least once) for a number of years.

Interestingly, the same M1 MBA models were purchased for staff in February of last year, but none have had these issues. A teacher even accidentally dropped theirs on stone steps, mangling one corner near a hinge and cracked most of the glass piece at the bottom (where it says "MacBook Air"), yet the screen has no damage.

 

TL;DR - Our M1 MBA screens break easily for no obvious reason. I am curious if anyone else has had any of these issues of screen breakage. If so, how have you dealt with it?

5 REPLIES 5

mainelysteve
Valued Contributor

I can't speak to the fragility of the screen on the M1's, but then again ours are in the hands of faculty and staff. Our students use iPads. I did forbade staff from placing papers on the keyboard and closing it as well as using those janky plastic camera covers. At least one of those was born out of witnessing damage on the 2015 Air's they used to have. I saw more damage when they were trying to "protect" them with those silly plastic speck cases.

As far as my students are concerned no matter what type of device I put into their hands, cased or not they'll find a way to "accidentally" treat it like crap. We of course need to do better to instill a sense of ownership, but kids these days have a throw away mentality that sometimes counteracts whatever we try to teach them.

In regards to Apple Care what tier did these come with? Apple Care+ for Schools should have been offered to you and provided a significant reduction in repair costs, especially for screen replacements. 


As far as my students are concerned no matter what type of device I put into their hands, cased or not they'll find a way to "accidentally" treat it like crap. We of course need to do better to instill a sense of ownership, but kids these days have a throw away mentality that sometimes counteracts whatever we try to teach them.

That's similar to some problems we experience, except moreso for our staff and losing devices. There are probably 20 missing iPad 4s somewhere in the school building or staff member's homes. But that's another topic altogether.

Our students are normally afraid to come to IT with their problems, because they think they did something wrong, even though it's as simple as getting popups for an update (was my fault on top of that). And most of the devices that have their screens broken that I'm confused by don't even have bent corners, which I've found is the most common part to be damaged.


In regards to Apple Care what tier did these come with? Apple Care+ for Schools should have been offered to you and provided a significant reduction in repair costs, especially for screen replacements. 


I believe it was just the basic coverage, being the 1-year limited warranty. As far as I can tell, Apple has been claiming most of these cases as user mishandling or something similar, which the warranty wouldn't cover.

I wasn't employed at the school when this was planned, so I can't attest to the reasoning of why Apple Care+ wasn't added. My best guess is that it wasn't necessary for the last MBAs (2015) and carried on with the same decision.

mainelysteve
Valued Contributor

The AC+ for schools tier didn't exist until sometime in the spring of 2020 I believe. We were also courted by a well known iPad and Mac part supplier to use them instead, but they had a rigid "use our case or no deal" clause that didn't sit well with me. 

ryan_w
Contributor

We have seen more issues with 2018 or newer Macbook Airs.  Glass to the edge is just easier to break vs the older models.  However, we have had a couple break below the screen's picture on the glass near the hinge that the teacher was not sure how it happened.  Probably a staple on paper, but it could have been anything sitting on top of the laptop!  I've noticed a lot of people close their laptop screen more like a book than a delicate piece of technology.  One just the other week was a 2020 MBA Intel model.  Our teachers have Macbook Airs, but our students have iPads.

mainelysteve
Valued Contributor

On the other end of the spectrum I've had more liquid spillage issues with my faculty and staff than screen breakage. I'm just waiting for my usual suspects to dump a sticky soda onto or near the keyboard and tell me it was water.