Apple Has Earned a Customer for Life

macbook pro broken hinge

Broken MacBook Pro hinge (due to glue failure)

I used to think that when people talked about the “legendary Apple customer service” that there was plenty of hyperbole thrown in for good measure.  Until it happened to me with my broken MacBook Pro hinge.

“Broken MacBook Pro Hinge” – Plenty of search results

When the screen on my late 2008 15″ MacBook Pro started separating from the hinge, the first thing I did was search Google.  There I found more than enough search results to make me believe this was a widespread issue with this vintage of laptop.  And since the laptop was out of warranty, most of the results talked about re-gluing the aluminum screen cover to the hinge.

After trying to re-attach the hinge to the screen using epoxy, I headed over to the Apple store in King of Prussia, PA.  To say this first encounter at the Genius Bar was frustrating is an understatement.

You should’ve bought AppleCare

Apple cashiers “Geniuses” and fanboys alike are very big on pushing the AppleCare warranty, selling you with tales that Apple will fix anything in that extended time period.  While that may be true, extended warranties generally don’t pay off for the consumer, and as such, I don’t buy them.

Not that it would have mattered for me anyway.  My MacBook Pro is well beyond 3 years old, one of the first unibody models that came out.  You think the Apple “Genius” would’ve known that after checking the serial number, but instead just kept repeating robotically:

“You should’ve bought AppleCare.  You should’ve bought AppleCare.”

Even when I asked, “A glue failure doesn’t seem like a manufacturers defect?” or “I should’ve paid $349 for an extended warranty to protect against $0.05 of faulty glue?”

“You should’ve bought AppleCare.”

At that point, after being asked if I dropped the laptop, given a series of robotic answers, suggested that I should’ve spend $349 that wouldn’t have fixed my problem, and generally treated like a monkey, I felt like smashing the laptop right on the Genius Bar just to make a scene.  Instead, I walked out feeling worse than when I arrived, with crippled MacBook Pro in hand.

Maybe an Apple Certified Repair facility can help

Since I wasn’t going back for a second round of stupidity at King of Prussia Apple Store, I decided to look up an independent shop to see what the cost of repair would be.  The repair guy immediately said “Oh, I’ve seen this a few times recently…it’s probably around $500-$600 to fix.”

$%^$&%*(#!  For $600, I’d be about 30-35% of a new 15″ MacBook Pro.  Again I left a store without doing anything, and feeling worse than when I arrived.  I either need to pay $600 or pay $2000+ to get the newer equivalent of my laptop.

One more trip to the Apple Store

Several weeks had passed and my laptop became pretty much unusable.  I decided to bite the bullet and pay to get the screen fixed.  I also decided to go back to an Apple Store (this time, in Ardmore, PA) to have them fix it.  I figured if I’d have to pay, might as well guarantee it would get fixed properly.

When I walked up to the Genius Bar, the Apple “Genius” still asked me if I dropped my laptop (sidebar:  Is this part of the mind tricks they give everyone?  There isn’t a scratch on the thing, let alone any dents).  After the Apple employee looked over the laptop, I told him in my most dejected voice that I wanted to find out how much is was to replace the screen.

Apple Genius:  “How about ‘free’?”

I damn near fell off the stool I was sitting on.  How could the Apple Store in King of Prussia been so unhelpful, and then 5 minutes into the same explanation I get an offer to get the screen fixed FREE at the Suburban Square Apple Store in Ardmore?

Apple Genius:  “And we can probably get this back to you by tomorrow.”

Needless to say, I didn’t want to do anything except hit ‘Accept’ on the electronic repair form.  I’ve come too far to mess this gift up!

Apple, you’ve earned yourself a lifetime customer

Maybe I got lucky.  Maybe it was perseverance.  Maybe this screen/hinge defect has shown up too many times in the last six weeks and Apple could no longer ignore it.

Maybe it’s because I asked twice at two different Genius appointments. Or maybe Apple has realized I’ve spent several thousand dollars with them in the past several years, with this MacBook Pro, iMac, several iPhones and an iPad.  That level of spend probably doesn’t even get me in the top 50% of non-business customers, but it’s not negligible either.

Whatever the reason, by comping me the $492.41, Apple has “bought” themselves a customer for life.

The cost of a broken MacBook Pro hinge? Apparently, $492.41!

Comments

  1. Appledystopia says:

    Apple’s quality has gone down hill lately. I even started a WordPress blog (Appledystopia) writing about this. BTW, I really like this site and it has helped me quite a bit, particularly in removing that awful mobile compatibility. Thanks!

    •  @Appledystopia Thanks for stopping by!  Glad you are finding value from my posts :)That may be true in terms of Apple’s quality slipping, but at least in my case, they stepped and repaired my laptop!  Hopefully others with a broken MacBook Pro hinge will get the same treatment (or not have the issue at all).

  2. henriqueleite says:

    Just found your post looking how to repair my Macbook pro 2008 Hinges and I was suprised how your picture look exacly like mine.
    I’ve bougt mine in Canada but I live in Brazil, and a new mac like ours (15”) costs min 4.000$USD here instead of 1.800$USD in US. We don’t have Genius Bar here and probably an Apple Certified Repair facility will charge me in the same overpriced proportion to fix this faulty glue.
     
    With this same model, I had a Recall that replaced the Logic Board because an faulty Nvidia GPU and also an new Battery because the first one died in 10 months and this is not covered by Apple Care even with the huge amount of complaints. ( http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB772LL/A )
     
    In my case Apple has lost an custumer. But a still love their OS.
    So you’re lucky :)

    •  @henriqueleite That’s unfortunate that you’re facing the same problem as I did, even more so since you don’t have a Genius Bar nearby.  Hopefully you can get everything fixed without too much cost…
       
      Good luck!

  3. Hello!  I want to thank you for your very informative blog post about the late 2008 Macbook Pro glue defect. My Macbook Pro was doing the same thing too, and I had no idea what was going on. I thought it must’ve been something mysterious I did, until I found your blog post. Mine looks just like your photo, except maybe a bit worst.  After reading about what happened to you, I brought my Macbook into the Apple store, and asked that they repair it. I even pulled out my smart phone and showed your blog entry as a reference.  The first Apple store I went to, acknowledged that it was a defect, but the genius wouldn’t take it in for repair because he said his manager wouldn’t let him.  I brought it to another Apple store, and they said it was the “Glue Failure” defect, and the manager immediately approved it for a free repair. The glue failure had also effect my wireless card, so they had to replace that for me too. The repair cost came to $560. I didn’t have to pay a cent of it.  I didn’t have Apple Care and was already long off warranty, as my laptop is 3 and a half years old.Thank you so much for your blog entry. It helped me so much.  =) 

    •  @SuperMurr Fantastic, thanks for sharing!  Hopefully as each person successfully gets their MBP hinges fixed, that Apple will formally recognize that glue failure is unacceptable in a $2000 laptop.

  4. Hello!  I want to thank you for your very informative blog post about the late 2008 Macbook Pro glue defect. My Macbook Pro was doing the same thing too, and I had no idea what was going on. I thought it must’ve been something mysterious I did, until I found your blog post. Mine looks just like your photo, except maybe a bit worst.  After reading about what happened to you, I brought my Macbook into the Apple store, and asked that they repair it. I even pulled out my smart phone and showed your blog entry as a reference.  The first Apple store I went to, acknowledged that it was a defect, but the genius wouldn’t take it in for repair because he said his manager wouldn’t let him.  I brought it to another Apple store, and they said it was the “Glue Failure” defect, and the manager immediately approved it for a free repair. The glue failure had also effect my wireless card, so they had to replace that for me too. The repair cost came to $560. I didn’t have to pay a cent of it.  I didn’t have Apple Care and was already long off warranty, as my laptop is 3 and a half years old.Thank you so much for your blog entry. It helped me so much.  =) 

  5. We need to get a petition together to have apple offically support this as a Exchange and Repair Extension Programs fix for free http://www.apple.com/support/exchange_repair/
     

  6. Randy,
     
    I wish I had read this before I dropped my MacBook Pro off at the Apple Store. But… here is my plan, I’ve printed this and will take it with me. Like you, I babied my laptop and they asked me the same thing about have I dropped it over and over again. Nope, I never, ever did. 
     
    But I don’t think that I should pay for a serious problem that really is more like a defect in their product. If you pay $1,800 for a laptop, it should not literally fall apart in under two years. But that’s what happened to me. The photo you have above is EXACTLY what mine looked like. And anyone who does a simple search online for “MacBook Pro hinge” will get pages and pages of similar results… even on You Tube, tons of videos.
     
    I am really hoping Apple steps up and comps me for this repair. Otherwise, I will just have to be one of the most vocal people about how I was reamed by them. One of their genuis guys kept saying, “I care about what you are saying”… No, no you do not… you were TRAINED to say that. Don’t patronize me, just fix your defective product and not ask me to pay for that.
     
    Sincerely, 
     
    someone who has owned almost every Apple computer since the Apple //e
     
     

  7. Just googling if there’s a self fix for this and found this post on ifixit:
    http://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/17290/display+housing+partly+unattached
    There’s some advice on doing a self fix as well as taking it to apple to pay to fix it.

    • @joji22 The unfortunate thing about trying to glue it back together is that for me, the thin aluminum on the inside of the screen broke.  So even with glue, there was essentially another “hinge” point, so when I opened the screen all of the pressure would go to that broken area.
       
      With the amount of traffic I get to this blog post, there’s got to be thousands of people with this same problem.

  8. Mine is EXACTLY like this one, after doing a through google search I can see we are not alone. Even when it hasnt been drooped this happens…It’s clear it’s a design flaw and I’m taking mine and hopefully get it repaired for free. This should be covered by an extended warranty!
    Also the original battery. There are lots of cases, like me, who had to change it after 10months and the new one has been running perfectly for more than 18 months now, another clear design flaw that should be reviewed

    • @Caisec I’ve had 4000 visitors to this page since I wrote this post, so yes, we’re not alone! 
       
      My original battery has worked great, I’m still getting good health metrics after 3.5 years and 700+ charging cycles.

  9. ShawnPindroh says:

    I went to the Mac Depot in Dayton Ohio with the same issue.  At first the repair bill was going to be $800.  I told the Genius that i needed some time to think about it.  In my mind i was not gaining anything by pouring another $800 into this Macbook Pro.  I figured my options were as follows: purchase a smoking fast lap PC laptop for $800, purchase a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and turn it into a desk top, purchase a refurb or used one.  I left a message for the Genuis guy the next morning detailing my frustration with this repair.  I explained that i did have a two year warranty from BB, and now 2.5 yrs later the monitor decided to come apart due to some issue with glue.  I expalined that if they could not help me, then i was going to take it to the apple store in Cincinnati.   Later in the day, the Genuis called me to explain that they had contacted apple, ad that they were able to work out a resolution that allowed them to fix my Mac Book Pro for free.  Wow, I am really impressed that Apple has decided to stand by their products even after the warranty has expired.  They have definately assured future business from my family.

  10. profpolymath says:

    I am pleased to report that the Apple Store (Eaton Centre, Toronto) replaced the entire display assembly of my late-2008 unibody MacBook Pro for free in January 2013. Obviously out-of-warranty; I never had AppleCare on this machine, so this is more than three years after original warranty expired. The aluminum lid and the display bezel glass were separating at the hinge, causing the glass to bend alarmingly when the display was closed or opened.
    Apparently there is an internal Apple knowledge base article on an adhesive separation issue, and the friendly Apple Genius I spoke to looked at it and confirmed that it was a known defect. After a trip to the back room to look at repair options, I was told that it would be a free repair. The Work Authorization cites the repair article: “Proposed Resolution: Replace Display and override cost at till as per EM209″. The waived cost of the repair would have been $576. My cost: $0. Cheers to customer service! I hope everyone is as fortunate.

    • @profpolymath Awesome news, congratulations!  It’s appears that “EM209″ might be the key for people to be saying when they go to the Apple Store, since both of our stories refer to that internal code.

  11. andrew3077 says:

    I have a November 2008 15″ Macbook pro and the exact same thing happened to me. I went into the Oklahoma City Apple store on January 18th, 2013 and was offered a $400+ repair. He said there was some sort of program to repair it for free, but he couldn’t find it. Dejected, I took my laptop back but found this article. 
     
    I showed them the article and “EM209″ and he searched for the article and they promptly sent my computer off for repair. I received a new screen/hinge, my Superdrive was repaired, and my hard drive was replaced. I will never buy another brand of computer!
    Total Cost: $0.00

    • @andrew3077 Awesome!  Another winner of the EM209 lottery :)

    • Candi Cheney says:

      Does anyone have the actual printed out article EM209? Apple is now in total denial that any such article existed. Not even saying that it expired and they are sorry, and here’s an alternative solution…. Just no there is no record of any such EM209. I would give anything to have a copy of it, even if it has expired!

      • Randy Zwitch says:

        Hey Candi –

        Sorry to hear it’s not working out for you, a few other people had said that they weren’t successful either with the program ending. The EM209 designation was the internal system article I think, so it’s going to be difficult if not impossible to get a copy I suspect. Either way, good luck!

  12. _Lewis_Mills_ says:

    i have the november Mackbook pro 15″and yes the same thing happened to me. The problem just started this week “the left side came detached form the back plate”. So i took a look inside by taking the screen off and seen a small crack in the aluminium hinge so i thought to tack it to the apple shop later that week because i have exams in school right now.Then to day i opened the macbook pro and herd that that same noise as the last time and what do you know the other side went.  I am going to the apple store on friday so here is hoping that they fix this. I have never drooped it and its alway put away in a case after every use. I when I’m at apple i will be sure to show them this article.   I will write an update on friday. Here is hoping “EM209″ will work for me.

  13. louiseyoules says:

    Something similar happened to me in one of the UK stores. I had taken my macbook in as i had to keep moving the screen as it kept cutting out. At the store they said it could be the hinge which would only cost about £30 to replace. The guy then said the whole screen could need replacing which would have been a LOT more. They suggested trying out to see if it were the hinge and then contacting me to tell me if the screen needed replacing and i could then decide if i wanted to pay the extra or leave it. I returned to the store 2 weeks later and they had no contacted me. I got there to find they had replaced all the screen and even on the keyboard and front section which i hadn’t even asked them to do. I explained to the lady that they were meant to contact me. She then went to see if they could put the old parts back in so it was broken again as i refused to pay. She said they no longer had them and that i could just take the mac home free of charge. I thought this was lovely of them until 2 weeks later the screen has broken and i can see no sign that they have even fixed the problem. I’m not sure what to do as it was ‘fixed’ in august but only now can i get to a store. i have all the paperwork for what they said they had ‘fixed’. any help or knowledge would be greatly helpful!

    • @louiseyoules Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot to add except “Good luck!” The problem we all had was with glue separation, not the hinge per se, so I’m not sure the EM209 fix is going to be able to help here.  :(

  14. _Lewis_Mills_ says:

    Well result.
    Today I took my late 2008 macbook pro to apple to see if they could do anything about my problem ‘ EM209′
    so I booked an apotment for one of the apple genius’s to have a look at the problem I told him what happened and he said well the back is held on with glue and that has disconnected so he plugs it all in doses a dyanostics test. After completion he said that he was going to talk to the boss he comes back out and shows he the problem on his ipad and what do you know EM209 and a picture displaying the problem then he said yes we can fix this for free for you, we have notisd that tere is no misuse of the unit and will be ready for pick up in the next few days. He took all my information and gave me the repair estimate and this is what is said
     
    Problem Description/Diagnosis
     
    Issue: Display clamshell is detached from LCD
    Steps to Reproduced: Observed. No signs of damage to casing.
    Proposed Resolution: Replace display panel. To be discounted at the till
     
    Repair Estimate
     
    Price £368.40
     
    so all in all im delighted

  15. MacBook Air, 2009, broken hinge. Took to Apple Houston. Tech advised they would fix for free. Two days later receive a call from service center advising several week back order on the particular to finish.. I was waiting for “the punch line”. They advised will we will send you a 2010 MacBook Air, more memory, 256 GB solid state drive, new battery… For free. Arrived Friday, looks brand new. Thanks Apple.

  16. thenonbrit says:

    Geez that’s awesome. I wonder if they’ll do the same for me with an even older model (I’m talking pre-unibody days)?

    • _Lewis_Mills_ says:

      @thenonbrit I am pretty sure that the problem with the bezel or EM209 is only for the macbook pro unibody late 2008 models. But its worth a try to take you’re mac in to apple.

      • @_Lewis_Mills_  @thenonbrit Agreed, I suspect it’s only for the Unibody models. It’s a very specific defect…the MBP gets so hot on the left side, it makes the glue weak. The weak glue allows the frame to flex, and in my case, the aluminum frame inside broke at a screw/rivet hole.
         
        But there’s no harm in trying.  @heinmi2 below had a MacBook Air upgraded free as a ‘fix’.

  17. LoreKowalski says:

    andrew3077 where is this article?? i really need it

  18. Vinsheep says:

    Another satisfied customer! EM209 did the job for my MacBook Pro mid 2009… the display will be replaced for free. Thanks to this post!

  19. Read this post excitedly, took my late-2008 15″ unibody Pro in for repair at 5th Avenue Apple store. Referenced EM209 article. “Genius” said that, yes, it was a glue failure, and it would be covered, except that the hinge is also broken. I was like “Isn’t the hinge broken because of the glue?” But could not persuade him. Also he mentioned something about “documenting” this encounter so if I wanted to I could come back and “resume from where I was”

    : ((((

    • SuperMurr says:

      zbs Try another Apple Store. Keep trying. A different Genius may take it in. Make sure to mention the EM209 defect. Show them this blog post if you have to. I had to take mine’s to two different Apple Stores before one of the Genius took mine’s in.

  20. rachelili says:

    heinmi2 Which store in Houston? My 2009 Macbook Pro is cracking, and I usually go to the Apple Store in Highland Village.

  21. I just took my MacBook 15 2008 in to the Apple store today and they agreed to fix it for no charge!!  They found the EM209 article that states they will replace the display because of a “known issue”.  I was amazed and incredibly happy and if it has not been for this post I never would have gotten my Mac back from hiding in the closet for more than a year.  I can’t tell you how appreciative I am.

    • rattso That’s great news! Glad to see others are still able to get their MBP’s repaired for free.

      • randyzwitchrattso I was told by the genius guy that the replacement part has been changed and
        is no longer glued so this should not fail as the original did.  This repair only applys to the 2008 unibody version
        with the 2 piece bottom.  They can also reject the claim if they feel
        the laptop has been abused and or dropped which may have caused the
        failure.  Thanks again Randy, you are an ANIMAL!!

  22. randyzwitch Have you heard of cases where the heat effects the hinge so much that it cracks? Mine has severe cracks and the display is very loose. I’ve been to the Genius Bar before and they said it they’d have to replace the whole display for $400+! I’m very particular to my mid-2009 MPB and I don’t think it’s my fault.

    • Randy Zwitch says:

      I have not, though I an honestly say that I don’t follow Apple problems that closely. I just got lucky with getting mine fixed free.

  23. spree008 says:

    randyzwitch Appledystopiawhat happen if i took mine to a local computer store and is kindly fixed ….which glued the hinge…will Apple still care about it? I must fix it because i need it for work…
    thanks!

  24. chrismaletta says:

    I just went to my local apple store with the very same problem, but the “genius” there denied any such quality assurance program “EM209″.  I asked him to look again but he was unable to find anything and gave me the $500 or nothing speech.  Anyone know what I should do?

    • Randy Zwitch says:

      I think that the best thing to do is try another store. It seems that the EM209 program isn’t widely publicized, so you just have to get lucky. Maybe try and show them this article with the Apple repair form on it?

  25. Just thought I share my experience with an Apple Genius: To all of you guys out there with this problem, to restore your faith in apple… I went in after having to re schedule about 5 times my appointment (mainly my distractions, he he). Since I Arrived I was treated with nothing but respect. I explained that I had bought my computer in 2009 and this had happened and I wasn’t alone (referring to all of you). He went back to the manager, said we don’t have any official report, but we will repair it anyway free of charge. THREE days later, I get a call saying that the motherboard had also been damaged so they were going to replace it as well… For FREE! 3 Hrs later they call me to come and pick it up! Total cost of Repairs: £900, I Paid £0…
    WoW apple, you’ve proved yourself Worthy of respect!

  26. jojojojo says:

    “you are the man” that’s what I was told by the apple tech when I called precisely with this issue of LCD separation from the aluminum housing in the bottom corner on my 2008 unibody macbook pro and gave the article number EM209. He immediately pulled up the article, said “you’re the man! you’re doing my job for me!” and set up a visit to have this taken care of at a local apple store. I’m waaaay out of warranty given it’s 2013. For what it’s worth, I thought I’d also share my experience in case it’s helpful to others with this problem!

  27. My late 2008 unibody MacBook Pro has recently had this happen to it so I took it along to my local Apple store (Leeds, UK) today and was offered a no-hassle free repair without having to ask for one. Checked the receipt afterwards and it too referenced the EM209 discount.

    Total bill would have been £430 so a huge relief that this issue is covered and a credit to Apple that they’re happy to apply this to a nearly 5 year old machine (which, screen hinge aside, is still in a great working condition) out of warranty.

  28. Thank you, Randy, for posting this article back in 2012. My daughter has the exact same laptop as you and her hinges just broke. We were quoted a cost of $700 to repair this. I went online to research this problem and found your article. I then looked up the closest Apple store (Nashua, NH) and went prepared to fight. Instead I was met with the most wonderful people and not even a blink when I explained the problem. I swear that the code EM209 is everything. They looked it up and viola … an almost $550 repair will be done by Apple at no cost to me. I was so impressed and so thankful for your article. Bless you.

  29. Matthew Yates says:

    Works in the UK too, thanks so much!

    My 5 year old MBP 15 no has a new upper casing all free of charge.

    The difficult bit it getting to speak to an apple adviser without having Applecare. Finally got through to a senior adviser, he asked me to email a pic, so I used the one at the top of the page, then ‘voila’ got clearance and took it into my local Apple Store.

    Bet Samsung, Microsoft and the rest of them would look after their customers in this manner.

    MBP was over 5 years old, thanks Apple, you have a customer for life here.

  30. Thank you so much for this article. My late 2008 MBP had the same issue. Took it into Newcastle Eldon Square today, quoted EM209 and they are repairing this free of charge:

    Issue: Display hinge separation. Covered under EM209
    Steps to Reproduce: observed the issue
    Proposed Resolution: Replace display module free of charge at POS

    Item Number Description Price Amount Due
    661-5091 Display Assembly, 15-inch, Glossy £ 338.00 £ 338.00
    S1490LL/A Hardware Repair Labor £ 24.00 £ 24.00
    VAT £ 72.40
    Total £ 362.00 £ 434.40

    Excellent service given this machine is nearly five years old.

  31. Thank you thank you thank you! Your blog saved me 600 bucks! My 2009 macbook pro 15″ has been coming apart slowly for months now and it started after I took my laptop to the apple store to get the battery changed. Initially I brought it to the Genius Bar to ask what was wrong and they acted as if I was accusing them (since they just worked on it) when all I wanted was to see how it could be fixed. Anyway, that got me nowhere. Well now my computer is 100 times worse months later to the point we are scared to open it. I googled these issues and came across this discussion and em209. Made an appt with the Genius Bar again and immediately told them em209 and they didn’t even question me further! Mind you, this is NJ and everything is an issue here, not this time! It is now being sent out at their expense to be fixed! I couldn’t be happier! Yesterday I was cursing out apple and today I’m a lifetime customer.
    Thank you!!!

  32. Sept 2013 – Los Angeles
    I just left our Apple Store – thought my hinge was loose but Genius pointed out the screen was actually separating (MacBook Pro Unibody about 4 years old) and it would cost $510 plus $39 labor to replace the screen ($550 plus tax). I did some fast research and found a UK Apple discussion about “em209″ relating to the bezel, that said to ask your Genius to look it up because many are unaware of it. An hour and a half later with tech manager’s “ok”, Apple is replacing the screen at no cost – free. I saw your article afterwards and thought It might help someone else to know it is still a legit issue and will be covered if you ask them to look up “em209″. Best regards from Los Angeles.

    • Randy Zwitch says:

      Thanks for sharing, glad to see the em209 program continue to fix people’s busted MacBook Pro screens!

    • My MBP has come apart twice, the first time the store (Los Cerritos) said they were going to charge me, so I went to another store (Carlsbad) and they acknowledged it was a product defect, then it came apart again so I took it into a different store (Manhattan Beach because Carlsbad is too far) and they are telling me they want me to pay for it. :-(

      • Randy Zwitch says:

        Sorry to hear that. Hopefully they are still honoring the EM209 product fix :/

        • Megan Boyd says:

          nope, after about 2 hours with a senior advisor, they pretty much told me I am SOL. They acknowledge it was a product defect, they told me that if I wanted it fixed I would have to pay the full cost, I explained that I was unwilling to do that since it is certainly going to fall apart again and getting new screens every 6 months doesn’t make sense. I suggested some reasonable trade-in and they offered me a 100$ coupon, which can’t be used with an other discount and is less than the educational discount I get as a teacher. :-( since I am responsible for the purchase of classroom computers for my program and I have bought 60 mac laptops and who knows how much software and accessories, this does not leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling, particularly since if I make a bad purchasing decision and buy poorly made equipment which the manufacturer will not stand behind, not only do I suffer, my students lose too. Oh yeah, I work for LAUSD, how much did our superintendent decide to spend on Ipads?

  33. plcousins says:

    Does anyone else have tips on getting apple to find this em209 problem article? I have been told in person at the Genius Bar and from apple phone support that no such quality program exists, even after patient escalation.

  34. Simon de planque says:

    today i got my macbook back from Apple, my macbook pro(late 2008) had the exact same problem but a little bit worse because it was separated on both sides instead of one. but after i talked to an “Apple genius” on the phone and connected me to an “Apple supervisor” who emailed to an “apple engineer” who gave me the news that this was indeed a fix for free. and al this thanks to this article. if i didn’t read this article i wouldn’t have called apple in the first place, so thanks to who posted it. it saved me €515,70!!!!!!

    greetings from the Netherlands and excuse my grammer

  35. I had that same problem with my mac book pro A1286. my screen was separated from body,
    I used different kind of glue after couple of days again separated, Then i found this 3M™ Windo-Weld™ Super Fast Urethane, This is usually used to bond vehicle windscreen to body, its did my job well. first clean both parts , remove old glue . when you apply glue use a clam or similar kind
    of heavy object on top until its cure, i kept 24 hours ,
    its a rubbery glue can withstand heat and vibration ,[http://imageshack.com/i/ng8py1j]

  36. Bridget FF says:

    I found this article when my 2008 MacBook Pro started peeling off last week. I went to the PeachMac store in Macon. They told me best they can do is $800. I asked about a trade in value and she said none, because of this problem. I told her, this is a documented issue, under EM209 and showed her the article. She informs me she is looking at her system and it shows no EM209 in their reference number. I asked her who else I could talk to and she said you can talk to AppleCare and handed me a card and nodded me away. Premium provider or not, they were of no use to me. I’ll always drive for two more hours to get to a Genius Bar at an Apple store.

    Once I talked to AppleCare, things were already sounding more promising. I gave them their error code EM209 and again I heard there is nothing of use, but they weren’t done with that answer. After a switching, dialing, iming, role, the AppleCare lady said they could find my repair for $326. They said this has been a free repair solution for all November 2008 MacBook pros with the screen and hinge, but it just ended October 1, 2013 (I got teary eyed up how close I was, but couldn’t play.)

    But she thought she could still do better and wanted to talk to the specific Apple store that we had been doing business with and they would speak to her on Monday. I said we’ve been using Northpoint Mall Apple. There the awesome manager there ate the cost of the entire repair, which actually ended up at $546. They had it done earlier than accepted. And they did it all with a smile while still feeling my pain

    My MacBook Pro was born Nov 2008. Prior to this, my laptops were always replaced in two years or less. But my MacBook just seemed not ready for its demise. I’ve set a budget for a new one when needed. “Once you go Mac, you never go back!”

  37. I also want to share my experience as I have the same problem with the frame of the screen separating from the glass. My Macbook Pro was made in mid-2009 and I’ve had the issue for over a year, but I didn’t bother to get it fixed. Last night the glass of the screen cracked from the hinge. After Googling about broken hinges it seems some people had luck getting free repairs at the Apple store. I made an appointment today and luckily I was offered a free repair as well. I was told the program (EM209) has ended just a couple of months ago but they will cover it anyway. I hope this will be helpful to fellow owners of macbooks.

  38. I just wanted to say “Thank you”. My wife’s MacBook Pro was from early 2009 and was just starting to have this issue. She asked me if I dropped it, but I never touch her MacBook. After Googling how much it would cost to repair a MacBook screen, I stumbled across this thread. I made an appointment with a Genius at their Marlton, NJ store and explained that I read that this was a known issue. The technician explained that Apple had been performing the repairs for free but that the offer ended about 1 month ago. He told me that there would be a cost in order have the screen replaced. He suggested that I call Apple to plead my case because maybe I would have better luck with them. He also asked if I wanted him to work up a price for me. I said “Sure” and then he disappeared for almost 20 minutes. When he came back, he said that the repair would cost $549 + tax (so around $585) but that he spoke with the manager and that they would complete the work for free and that it would be done in about 4 hours. I was so delighted that they would honor the out of warranty repair and do so quickly as well. These thing cost and arm and a leg, but I guess that you do get what you pay for. My wife never had a problem with her computer until now, and even after 4 years of ownership, Apple went out of their way to fix this defect. That is excellent customer service.

    • Randy Zwitch says:

      Hey Sal, thanks for sharing! Great to know that Apple is still standing behind their product, even if the formal program is over.

  39. Greetings from Hong Kong.

    My Nov 2008 laptop (bought in the UK) started to develop this problem a couple of months ago but I didnt really pay much attention until yesterday when I decided to take it to the local apple store to have it fixed. I thought it would be a very minor repair but I was told by the genius at the bar that the only way to fix it is to have the whole display replaced at the price of roughly USD580, which really isnt worth it for a machine that is more than 6 years old. I went back to my office and gave it a good thought. It would be simpler to just get a new laptop but then my old laptop is still running 10.6 so it is the fastest computer I have that can still run PowerPC era software. Just as I was about to call the genius to tell him Im going to pay that USD580, I got an e-mail from the store saying they will be giving me free replacement. There is no mentioning of “EM209″ so perhaps this verifies some of the comments above that the programme is no longer in existence but somehow they are still doing it which I very much appreciate.

    Absolutely delighted and grateful.

  40. Here is a link to sign up for a class action lawsuit against Apple for loose hinge on the MacBook Pro laptops:

    https://sfmslaw.com/class-action-lawsuits/cases.php?id=1437

    I believe that the loose hinge is designed not to stress out the week glue joint for the display.

    As of 12/2013, Apple refuses to fix the display separation defect for free. I was charged $310 for the repair.

    • Candi Cheney says:

      Could you provide details on where you had it repaired for $310? I’d be very interested since I’m told that no EM209 document exists!

  41. I have the exact same problem, the thing is i have owned the laptop for 5 years i have dropped it about 3 years ago, the left hand side near the charger has a small dent. however the hinge is coming away from the right hand side and only started doing it this week (3 years after i dropped it) As nobody has mentioned that there laptop has been dropped i just wanted some advice before i head in to the store.. Thanks in advance..

    • I forgot to mention, my GF opened it yesterday (full speed) and it has now got a small crack on the glass.. the lcd is fine though..

    • Unfortunately, your issue doesn’t sound like it fits in with this EM209 program (which has since ended anyway). I believe what is common throughout the issue is that a) the rear house casing separates from the display starting from the left, and I don’t believe that opening it too fast would make a crack. Perhaps you have some other issue that has not been documented.
      Lastly, if you have a visible dent the staff will be less inclined to give you a free repair (whether or not you deserved one anyway), as they can use that as evidence to argue against you. I know this isn’t probably the news you’re wanting after reading this article but I didn’t want you to be too disappointed at the Apple Store.
      Best wishes.

      • Thanks for your feedback, i didnt mean the hinge is coming away, i meant the shell is coming away from the screen, it looks exactly like the photo on here (the em209 case).. it’s frustrating as the drop 3 years ago didnt do the laptop any harm and the screen coming away from the shell only started a few days ago. i’ll see what they say anyway!

        • I understand, that is what happened with mine also in terms of the drops etc. If your Macbook is indeed like this EM209 case image, but the staff will not give you a repair, ask to speak to a ‘senior product advisor’ and if they say that the Em209 has ended, you say that you hadn’t known about this until now and ask for an exception to be made as you haven’t had one fix under Em209. If they refuse, try another Apple store, or get in touch with product advisor via the call centre.

          I hope this helps you and your Macbook!

  42. Yes, the hinge is no longer being covered by Apple. The program ended on 10/3/2013 and store managers cannot over-ride the date in the system.

    • I got mine fixed after this date because the advisor I spoke to on the phone gave me an exception as I haven’t had it repaired under EM209 yet.

    • I was fortunate enough to get mine fixed at the end of November. Even though I was originally told that the program had ended, the store manager overrode it and did the repair for free. It doesn’t hurt to try.

  43. Steve Stoner says:

    Well I read this page a showed it to everyone at Apple in the UK and everyone said this was nonsense and that the charge to fix my son’s MacBook Pro was £479 or around $700. I said I could buy a new PC for that and have a quad core processor. They said then do that and sell that crap Apple machine.

    I told my son top not use his machine for 6 months and this last summer when we went to Iowa for holiday, we stopped by an Apple store in Des Moines. They told us that they would indeed fix this machine and they would call us when it was complete. I did not even have to show them this post. They called a week later and said they found another issue they needed to fix. A week after that we got the machine back, at no cost to us, and it looks and works perfectly.

    Kudos Apple. I have NEVER heard of any PC manufacturer doing that.

  44. Candi Cheney says:

    Not as good a result here. My late 2008 MacBook Pro only within a few weeks, has manifest the separated glass from the aluminum case. The EM209 document has been removed from the data base at Apple repair centers, and therefore I’m told will not fix my laptop for free. The local guesstimate was $600 for repair. Like others here, paying $600 for a .05 glue failure on a $2000 laptop that is 6 years old, really really hurts. Does anyone have any other ideas or glue solutions that will work? Mine is not as bad as Randy’s pictures, but mind you it’s only just begun. It has only been a few weeks since first noticing it. Thanks!

  45. i don’t have the luck like you. I sent it over to service center on Monday, I received a call today and he said the replacement program is ended. there will be a cost involved if I want to replace it. guess how much to replace the entire LCD. ~ $700-800!!!!

  46. Don’t give up hope! I was just able to send mine in. Just be adamant and do it soon!

    I went to the Apple store in Ann Arbor; the first time I went in the Genius told me that the program has expired, and offered to fix it for $550 and offered the alternative of taking it to the Authorized Service Provider. I went over to the ASP, and they said they’d have to take the whole thing apart before being able to tell me anything, and it’d cost $80 just to do that!

    Then I found this blog post. I printed out the work authorization and went back to the same store, same guy. He told me that he knew about EM209 and he has been there since it was created, but it has expired and can’t be found or used anymore. I asked to speak with the manager, and we went over everything. Eventually the manager told me he would cover it, because the computer was in good shape and had never been repaired before. He “didn’t want my first experience with them to be an argument.”

    The Genius apologized and said he was just working with what he could do. EM209 has expired, but they are still fixing computers from this time period. He told me that they were able to make an exception this time, but soon they won’t be fixing computers of this age at all, even if you wanted to pay for it.

    If you would like a copy of my own work authorization to help convince your store, email me at chrishaddlesey at comcast dot net. Just do it soon!

    • Randy Zwitch says:

      Thanks for sharing! Glad to hear it’s still possible to get the free fix. To your point, I’m pretty surprised that they still can fix them at all 5-6 years later.

    • EM209 - not this time! says:

      Chris was kind enough to send me the work authorisation, and it definitely helped, but still wasn’t enough to get me over the line for a free repair out of warranty. I did have Apple Care, but of course $349 for Apple Care only lasted 3 years. My laptop is 4.5yrs old. Figures.

      The Apple genius initially gave me the run around, first denying EM209 ever existed, then saying it never came here to Australia (despite my 2009 Apple MacBook Pro coming from the same place as the US versions [the USA] – so quality is a global issue duh!) but then took one look at the work order Chris emailed me and went straight to his manager. The manager, seeing that such an issue could – and had been repaired recently, then gave me a speech about how it was “above him” to authorise such a repair – which is inconsistent with other peoples experiences on this blog site. So, in summary, I am now waiting to hear from someone “higher up” than the store manager. I’m not holding my breath…..

      The other thing he kept on saying is that the EM209 program was not a publicised “quality repair program” so his hands were tied. But my understanding was that it was never publicised, and was a hush-hush internal document which they would repair at their own discretion if you came and asked for it, and are now denying altogether – assumedly to avoid having to foot $$$$ in repair bills.

      I guess Apple were sick of shelling out for these repairs and decided enough is enough so they destroyed the issue and are waiting until peoples laptops are outdated…. Ah, Apple, I guess that’s just business. Had you footed a $600 bill, I would have bought another laptop from you. I really do like my MacBook Pro. But the next $3000+ I spend on a laptop (yes, it’s more in Australia, and let’s not even go into Apple Care….) will not be with them.

      • Randy Zwitch says:

        That’s really unfortunate. Even though I ended up being treated properly, the worst part about the process was definitely that it was secret and that it depended on which “Genius” you asked. I definitely didn’t appreciate the insinuations about buying AppleCare (which wouldn’t have helped me, and didn’t help you either).

        Hopefully Apple has learned from this engineering flaw though and this doesn’t happen to future models. Mine is still running strong, but I’m expecting it won’t have much life in it the way I abuse the processor!

  47. I went to two apple stores in the last 3 days, the first apple genuis was just an ass and said no we can’t do anything, it’s going to cost you $508.
    The second guy at the apple store in soho was nice tried to look up the article, any documentation that would let him not charge me, then he called the manager. Unfortunately the manager (who looked like a lil kid) would not budge.

    So this didn’t work out for me unfortunately.

  48. My 2009 Macbook Pro has the exact same issue. Beside this issue I have had a couple of other issues; the rubber supports under the body started falling off, deteriorating and had to be glued in place after only a year or 2. But the biggest issue happened 18 months ago, when I turned it on and it was stuck at the startup screen with the APPLE logo. After taking it into a Mac Store I was told it was the logic board would need replacing. Then I went to another independent shop that tried to see if they could fix it and provide a second opinion for my insurance. The shop said the cable connecting to the internal HDD was probably the cause of the issue, but it could only be fixed by replacing the entire logic board as the part is embedded into the logic board. So, Im then told the logic board would need replacing and try to claim it on insurance. Well my insurance said its normal wear and tear and they wouldn’t pay for a replacement, even though it was less than 3 years old and cost me over $2000USD! and didnt have a single mark on it and was always taking very good care of.
    I couldn’t afford to blow another $2300 on another new Mac so I came up with a good work around.
    Bought a 64GB SD card that can slide into the side of the Macbook Pro and then installed Mountain Lion OSX on the external drive and it now boots the Macbook Pro from External. Using either the SD card or an external HDD which is a faster than the SD card. It’s not ideal, but its has been running fine for more 18months after I was first told the logic board needed replacing, which would of cost around $1000+ installation. After installing Mavericks I had numerous problems and went back to using Mountain Lion OSX and its been very stable.

    Now the left side of the display has came apart from normal use just as shown in the photo of the original post. I paid around $2300USD for my Macbook Pro, its a 2.66GHZ model, MacBookPro5,3, Intel Core 2 Duo, Mid 2009 model. Although, my laptop is nearly 5 years old since the date of first purchasing it…so I’m not surprised.

    • Randy Zwitch says:

      Wow, that’s a crazy workaround. I wouldn’t have thought to use an SD card, but glad you were able to extend the life somewhat.

  49. Looks like I’m late seeing the replacement program expired. I guess Apple is trying to tell us that it’s time to shell out 2 mortgage payments for a new laptop. No wonder they’re the most valuable tech stock in the world.

    • I just called the Apple Store at the Toronto Eaton Centre, they confirmed that they stop servicing products after 6 years so anyone left is SOL.

      • Randy Zwitch says:

        Sorry to hear that Mike.I was lucky to be successful 2 years ago now (time flies!), so it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve made a hard cutoff now, given there have been so many design changes. Doesn’t hurt any less though :(

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