While doing some Spring cleaning, we came across a forgotten MacBook Air. No one remembered if it worked, so I decided to have a look and give it to the kids if it could get back on its feet. That's where the rage began...
Before I begin, it's important to let you know how much of an Apple fan I once was. When the first iPhone came out, and hadn't gained it's now notorious fame, I was first in line to shell out $600 plus tax. There was no App Store or connection speed to speak of, but it was incredible for it's time. Every year after that, I continued to shell out hundreds for the privilege of owning the latest and greatest iDevice. It was a good run up until Steve Jobs passed away, but since then they've quickly turned into a garbage company that makes expensive trash products.
My road to get this machine up was a long one, but here is a TL;DR on my experience getting an SSD-less MBA running:
- The SSD has a proprietary connector. Only one retailer sells them, and they're considerably more expensive than standard options.
- You need a MAC to make a bootable usb drive. When replacing a hard drive, this is generally not possible unless you're a "Mac household."
- The model number applies to a 3 year range of laptops. This made finding exact specs incredibly difficult.
- There's a large matrix of which device is compatible with which OS version.
- Using my work computer, I had to download the bloated "Big Sur" at 12.5GB (WTF?!).
- After downloading it, I needed to run numerous terminal commands to get the OS bootable on USB.
- I formatted the USB to (default) APFS. No where does it say APFS isn't compatible with an OSX boot USB. It needs to be HFS+.
- Reformatting from APFS to HFS+ inside OSX failed numerous times with no explanation. Popping the drive into Linux and using gParted was successful though.
- After getting it to start, the fan was stuck at 100% speed.
- Apple Support is awful. "Bring it into an Apple Store" and "Reset the PRAM/SMC" are their only suggestions.
- If this was a newer Mac, I would have needed to bring also use a USB-C > USB-A hub.
It would be ignorant to say I'd never buy another Apple product, but at this point it's relieving to say this work FartBook is the only one I have. At least neither of them have that ridiculous touch screen crap.
[update] Battery doesn't hold a charge. Fuck.
[update 2] It's dead. Fuck this piece of shit.