Written by @Julia_V
This month, I want to highlight Micro Center’s service department - specifically on the Apple side of things. As a fully Apple Authorized Service Provider, we offer many Apple-related services such as laptop and desktop repairs and even iPhone repairs. To get a better idea of the Apple branch in Service, I chatted with my good friend and Apple Champion - the main tech in charge of our Apple repairs - Khye J.
I am very excited to talk about the Apple side of Service, as I personally have taken advantage of it before. Before I worked at Micro Center, I came to the store to look for an iPad Pro in the Fall of 2019. To my pleasant surprise, Micro Center has its own Apple Authorized Service Provider - and I was given the option to bring in the iPad for repairs in-house if I ever broke the screen or if there were any issues with the device. This Spring, I found my 2011 MacBook Air in my parent’s house, but couldn’t find a way to get the data from the drive. Khye helped me find the right adapter for the laptop drive and transferred the data onto a USB thumb drive so that I can read the data at home.
Julia: So you are like, the “main” Apple person here at the Cambridge store, right?
J: As the main Apple person, the majority of your work is Apple, right?
K: About 95%. The other 5% is what other technicians also do: building custom PCs, diagnosing and fixing Windows machines, and even Linux. You name it, I can do it.
J: Was there anything special that you had to do, in order to become the Apple Champion?
K: We have to become fully qualified in the Apple Ecosystem. All of our technicians have to be either Apple or A+ certified in order to work at Micro Center. Right now, we still have some technicians that are working towards becoming Apple Certified, but eventually, everyone in service will become Apple Certified.
J: What would you say is the most challenging thing for Apple?
K: Hmm. Honestly, the most challenging part is probably just how complex the machines are. Sometimes it’s hard to find the problem in the machines. There will be times when the customers’ expectation of what the problem is doesn’t always match what we consider as an issue when it comes to Apple machines. So it’s all about not only finding what the customer has an issue with but also making sure that we find anything else that we may see as a problem as well.
J: Can you give me an example?
K: We get a lot of phones that just need to be restarted to fix the issue.
J: On the topic of iPhones, I speak to a lot of people who are surprised to learn we repair iPhones and iPads
K: Yeah, obviously when you think of someone like us, you think of laptops and desktop repairs first. But we are making strides to do more Apple repairs, like iPhones and even headphones.
J: Even headphones?
K: Yeah. So while we don’t repair them in-house, we ship them to Apple. So customers have the option to bring any of their Apple products here, and you don’t even need an appointment.
Khye hard at work
J: What do you think is the hardest Apple machine to repair?
K: I think they all have their own challenges. The Intel-based machines are a bit more frustrating to work on because they take longer to diagnose. On the other hand, Apple Silicon-based machines are much easier to work on. Honestly, the hardest one will probably have to go to the Mac Pros; though they are obsolete now.
J: Based on my impression, fixing machines like the Mac Mini must be really difficult. Can you fix those as well?
K: Oh yeah, of course. We just had one recently. turns out that the power supply was bad, so we swapped it out.
J: I think a lot of people have the impression that Mac products are not repairable.
K: They are definitely not as easy to repair, as let’s say, a Lenovo Laptop. This is mostly due to part restrictions. Apple is fairly strict when it comes to serialization with their machines. Meaning, as we are a Apple Authorized Service Provider, we have to use all genuine Apple parts. While this can make things tricky for techs, it does ensure that all Apple devices are repaired with high-quality parts.
J: Very cool. When it comes to diagnosing an Apple machine, do you use anything special for that?
K: Yes, Apple Authorized Service Providers use specialized software to perform all diagnostics for computers. This special software allows us to connect to the Apple server and run special diagnostics. The Intel Macs use a slightly different version than the Apple Silicon-based Macs, but it’s all around the same.
J: Is it the same process as what Apple themselves use?
K: Essentially, yes. We use the same diagnostic suite and diagnostic tools to ensure all repairs are of Apple-level quality.
love this interview!
Great to get some insight on service at the store!
Big shout out to Khye J. from Cambridge! 🎉👏 Holding down the Apple fort at Micro Center. It's not every day you find a superhero who can save your MacBook Air data! 💻🦸♂️ #TechHeroes #AppleChampion
Shout out to Khye again for participating in this interview!
Great interview. Thanks for sharing!
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