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I have an appointment scheduled for next Monday at an Apple store for a battery replacement on my early 2015 MacBook Pro with a Retina display. I was told that for this model, they need to swap the entire keyboard and track pad in order to replace the battery.

Can the repair be done in the same day, or does it typically take several business days?

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I had this done on my 2014 MBP (essentially the same model) last year, and it took exactly 7 days. It might be quicker or slower, depending on how busy they are, but it is a difficult job.

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  • Dang. I was hoping it could be a few hours job, and it's probbly going to be longer now during COVID. It's very difficult for me to be without my mac for that long. Any clue if they offer rental macbooks? – David Jul 30 '20 at 17:10
  • My mail in batteries in the US are 1 to 3 days total, including shipping. I book the repairs directly with apple locate.apple.com and not through a store or service provider, though. – bmike Jul 30 '20 at 21:05
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I was told that for this model, they need to swap the entire keyboard, track pad, in order to replace the battery.

They need to swap out the top case assembly and this consists of the case itself, the keyboard, track pad and battery.

Can the repair be done in the same day, or does it typically take several business days?

Technically speaking, the repair "can" be done in a day. In fact, it's a very simple repair and takes approximately 30 mins from start to completion. However, the total process can take up to a week or more depending on where you are in the repair queue and parts availability. If it takes more than a day, you can bet it is because they don't have the parts available.

It's important to remember, Apple Stores are set up to sell new products - they are not a repair facility. There are only a couple/three technicians that are actually qualified (by Apple) to do the repair. They are usually inundated with iPhone/iPad repairs mostly, then computer repairs. Having technician and parts availability is a complex process and (IMO) this is not Apple's wheelhouse.

They do not offer loaners. This is why I'm a strong proponent of having a backup strategy that goes beyond Time Machine; you back up your data in multiple places so if you're without a Mac for an extended period, you can continue to work even if the temporary machine isn't Apple.

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  • Ah I see. I back up my back to time machine, but isn't time machine only compatible with another mac? I don't have another mac unfortunately. I have a Linux Workstation as another computer, but I don't see how Time Machine can be transported to it. – David Jul 30 '20 at 20:14
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Here are some things to consider.

You have no control over how many other people drop their machines off for the same repair as yours between now and when you deliver yours for service. Staffing in the stores is geared to helping people and diagnosing - not fixing. Stores routinely send out involved repairs (and battery repairs on Macs are very involved now) - harder to do than a logic board or display swap or storage / RAM fix.

I always choose to go mail in repairs in the US now unless I have to take it to Apple. The repair centers are staffed for max parts, max labor and often they get repaired in less time than I would spend in the store parking / transit / queuing / handing off. Of course, you have overnight delivery so not all times is mail in faster, but for me it’s about 20 hours faster on average over the last 40 we’ve done for work. (We have about 3 repairs a week - most are damage and battery)

Yes - a tech could be ready, the parts could be there and you could get a same day battery repair, but with glued batteries, it’s not a 10 minute repair like hard drive swap, ram swap or battery swap used to be. It’s moving your computer from the old frame on to a new frame where the battery is glued on to the frame.

For any business that needs express service and loaners - check out http://jointventure.apple.com/

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  • I did consider the mail in option but because I don't have warranty or apple care, I would have to pay for my own shipping. I would probably end up spending another $50+ on shipping if I went hat route. – David Jul 30 '20 at 20:20
  • What country do you live @David? In the US the shipping is included / reasonable from Apple in my experience. I believe they charge the same amount for the repair either way, but maybe things have changed. Might be worth calling locate.apple.com to double check the cost if they dispatch the box to you. – bmike Jul 30 '20 at 21:04
  • I live in the US. I called Apple Support, and was told that I would have to go to my own shipping service and pay for it myself. – David Jul 31 '20 at 22:20
  • Wow @David thanks for the update. – bmike Jul 31 '20 at 22:28

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