Getting distorted video, freezing or unexplained restarts on your Mac Pro? You could be in luck, since Apple has agreed to replace the failing video cards in certain models of 2013 Mac Pro for free
If your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV or other Apple product has gone wrong and you don’t think it’s your fault, you may be able to get Apple (or a company authorised by Apple) to repair it for free, provide a replacement product, or refund your money. You can attempt this on an individual, case-by-case basis – read our guide to your legal rights when getting an iPhone repaired for advice – but in some cases Apple institutes a general recall or free repair programme for a particular product or model that it acknowledges has a congenital problem.
To find out if you and your dodgy device qualify for such a programme you can contact Apple, but that isn’t always easy. As an alternative, we present our list of Apple’s most recent recall programmes.
Apple announces free repairs for Mac Pros with broken video cards
In February 2016 Apple announced a repair programme for certain models in its Mac Pro line, in response to a repeatedly reported issue with failing video cards.
Which Mac Pro models qualify for a free repair?
The repair programme applies to late 2013 Mac Pros equipped with AMD FirePro D500 or D700 GPUs. If your Mac Pro is affected by the issue, you will have experienced any or all of the following symptoms: video problems (distorted picture or video refusing to play); your Mac shutting down or restarting spontaneously (or generally acting unreliably); freezing; failure to start up normally.
If you are affected by the problem and your Mac qualifies for the programme, you will be able to get it repaired for free, provided you do so by 30 May 2018. It’s understood that Apple will simply replace the affected GPUs.
To see if your Mac Pro qualifies for the repair programme, contact Apple Support orspeak to an employee at an Apple Store; if you are affected, however, it’s believed that Apple will attempt to get in touch with you.
You will also be able to get your Mac Pro fixed by an Apple Authorized Service Provider, but check you are covered by the programme before commissioning any repair work.
Will Apple repair other products for free?
Sometimes, but don’t depend on it. This is the second recall of recent times: at the end of January 2016 Apple announced it would replace faulty chargers for Macs and iPhones. But it’s an unusual occurence.
When it is prepared to admit that a problem is inherent to a product line or certain models within that line, Apple will agree to repair or replace these devices, and either announce this publicly (expecting you to get in touch yourself and seek redress) or in smaller cases contacting affected users proactively.
Apple did this with the iPhone 5, whose power button was prone to failure – your humble reporter went through this process and was able to get a new iPhone 5 at no cost, even though that iPhone went wrong in a completely different way several months down the line.
Apple has also instituted a programme for failing MacBook Pro models that faced an issue known as ‘staingate’, following a saga that caused distress and frustration for many of our readers.
But for most problems you’ll need to approach Apple as an individual, and demonstrate that the issue was fundamental to the product rather than something that has developed over months and years of ownership. In those cases you will generally need to fall back on your warranty and insurance rights.