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Michael Sullivan Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

Three week old i7 MacBook Air.  USB ports worked great until a few days ago, then the left went out, then the right.

I returned it to Apple Store where they replaced it after determing that the USB ports had bent pins.

I have had Macs/PC's since before there were USB ports, so I know how to use them.

The tech suggested it might be the device I was plugging in that ruined them but I pointed out to him I thought the device was bad so I plugged it into my iMac where it works great.

So two thoughts, either the ports were misaligned inside the housing or they are weaker than past.

Additionally I guess it could be a fluke and won't happen to me or anyone else ever again.
Just wanted to post this as info or to see if a theme develops with these ports.

If your USB ports don't work, get a flash light and compare theme to another computer. 

Had this been a Windows laptop I probably would have been told it was my fault and been out $500.

Apple's are more expensive but you get what you pay for, world class support along with a beautiful machine


iMac, Mac OS X (10.7), i7 12GB RAM
  • jen1977ni Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The same has happened to my macbookair which I got at the end of July, taking it to the local apple people sometime this week. I've been using both ports on my laptop but it's only happened to one side, and two of the pins are bent. What did Apple conclude with yours, was it covered under the warranty? Since I got this mac the insertion of things into the usb has always been fairly rough and grindy, but I just put that down to it being a metal computer as opposed to all of the plastic laptops I've used in the past. I now realise that, over time, this could've been gradually getting worse and I hadn't even noticed what was happening?!

  • Michael Sullivan Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    They replaced it, they said they didn't have to but they would.  

    I explained to them that I have been using USB devices for years and know how to use them.

    It was the same way with me, it was tough to get in, a very tight fit.

    It may be fairly wide spread.

    I would go in, be very polite, explain what happened, mention my post, and ask them to repair/replace it.

    I feel confident they will.

    Good luck.

  • Quentin L. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey,

     

    Same issue here, left USB port has a bent pin on my Macbook Air 2011 that I got in September (2011). I had a MacBookPro for a while and never had any USB issues until now.

    The sad story is that I'm not frequently using those ports and this MacBook Air is used as an "office computer" so it must not be that I'm rough with it...

     

    Hoping they will adopt the same policy with mine,

     

    Cheers,

     

    Quentin

  • illogic6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having this exact same problem on my mid-2011, 11 inch Macbook Air.  I had used it for about a month before I needed to use either of the USB ports.

     

    I bought a USB thumb drive at the local electronics store, and went to test it out on my Air.  I plugged it into the right side and it didn't feel like it went in all the way.  I then tried the left and had a similar problem.  I plugged a known good USB thumb drive into the right, and got an error message saying that it was drawing too much power.

     

    I assumed there was something wrong with the new thumb drive.  I inspected the contacts and found nothing wrong.  Since then I've plugged this thumb drive into countless machines, all without any problem at all.

     

    I made an appointment with the local Genius Bar for early the next day.  The employee that worked with me was very nice.  He ran a couple diagnostics and told me that there was probably an issue with the logic board, and would likely require that part to be replaced.  He said that I could try to return it to the Best Buy I originally purchased it from, or leave it there for repair.  He told me that the repair would be at no cost to me because I'm still well within the first year of warranty.

     

    I don't know about you guys, but I've had nothing but bad experiences with Best Buy.  I wasn't about let them give me the run around, so I opted to wait for the repair.

     

    About three days later I received a call from the Apple Store.  They told me that the pins of the USB jack had been bent, and that this would not be covered under warranty.  The repair would now cost me roughly $400.

     

    The bent pins were visible to me when I brought the Air to the store originally, so I don't understand why that suddenly became a disqualifier.

     

    I work in IT, so USB is not a new concept to me.  I have $30 Newegg computer cases that have built-in USB jacks that are more durable than those on a $1000 netbook.

     

    I'm going to print off this thread, as well as a few others I've found, and bring it in when I pick my Air up in a few days.  If they charge me for this repair, I will make a point to not buy anything Apple again.

  • jen1977ni Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Mine was fixed free of charge...

  • inca_paz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same problem here. I have a two months old 13'' MBA, this morning I plugged in a usb memory stick and got a pin bent in the left usb port.

    I have had a 15" MB Pro for years and have never seen anything like this. Now I understand it can be a flaw in the MBA design. I am very disappointed, that shouldn't happen with a 1500 $ laptop.

     

    I really hope having it fixed is not going to cost me a lot!

  • jen1977ni Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Me thinks there is a pattern emerging here, you shouldnt have to pay for this. Apple need to realise that this is not user error, but a design flaw in their macbook airs!

  • illogic6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I wound up getting the repair fees waived by calling customer service and complaining.  I had to talk to 'Customer Relations' and finally got someone to work with me.  He tried to call the store and get them to waive the charges, but they refused.  I had to drive all the way back to the store, pick up my broken Macbook Air and ship it to Apple.  (They couldn't ship it in themselves for whatever reason.)  They repaired it free at the repair center.

     

    I was much more careful with the USB ports when I got it back.  I noticed that the ports were very, very tight.  I had to wiggle the USB cable and get it to just the right angle before I could push it in.  Once I got something plugged in, I left it plugged in for a day.  It seems to have loosened up now, and works a little more like what I'm used to.

     

    I'm happy they have means to take care of customers at the call centers, but not happy I had to waste hours of my time getting this problem taken care of.  My next laptop will probably be an ASUS or HP.

  • nico_uf Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi,

    I have exactly the same probleme. A USB pin bent on my macbook air 13''....3 week old! I have just plugged my usual USB key on my port and the pin bent. Currently, the appel technician has told me that is an improper use of the usb port and this not under warranty. I need to change the mother board for one usb pin....

    I hope that with this thread i will be able to argue better my argument.

  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,050 points)

    I hope that with this thread i will be able to argue better my argument.

     

    It's very unlikely that posting here will have any impact on Apple's position regarding your damaged/faulty USB port since this is intended as a user-to-user support community which Apple monitor but rarely take part in. Given that yours is only the fifth bent-pin complaint since last August's first post, I doubt you could argue that there's a generic fault in design, but you could always speak to Apple again, either calling customer service or by visiting an Apple store and explaining the problem. If you get an unsatisfactory response you can ask for the complaint to be escalated.

     

    If you visit the store, take the USB device that is said to have caused the damage and ask exactly how they believe the damage could have been caused by it since the very nature of USB connector design mitigates against twisting or pulling type damage on connectors.

     

    If you are persistent, reasonable and avoid becoming argumentative, you'll often find that you'll get the benefit of the doubt a- and a repair.

     

    One other thought is that you could take the system to an Apple Approved Service Provider and point out the fault and ask if they know how it could have happened - with a view to them repairing it under warranty. Sometimes AASPs are less cooperative than Apple would be, but some have proven to be very helpful.

  • illogic6 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    If you are persistent, reasonable and avoid becoming argumentative, you'll often find that you'll get the benefit of the doubt a- and a repair.

     

    For the record, I was very calm when I worked with the Apple Store in Saint Louis, MO while I had this problem.  I work in customer service, so I'm generally pretty good at getting the help I need out of other companies.  I found it to be absolutely incredible that they didn't just give me the benefit of the doubt and waive the repair cost in store.  Maybe the stores take some kind of hit when they waive repair fees and just didn't have the budget to do it that month.  The whole experience left me feeling pretty alienated regardless.

  • AndyO Level 6 Level 6 (17,050 points)

    Unfortunately, some stores seem more customer-oriented than others, and when it comes to a problem like this, a lot can rest on the judgement or relatively lowly staff who are not, in themselves, negatively impacted by poor levels of customer care.

     

    Nevertheless, I would stick to the point I made to the previous poster; that USB connectors are at inherently low risk of damage through handling. They were designed that way because the standard was developed in the full expectation of a connector being used with great frequency by all manner of users. The connector pair were even designed so that if inserted incorrectly, the male and female would press against the flat end-face of the other. As such, if only on the balance of probabilities, it is far more likely that a bent USB connector would be the result of a manufacturing problem than a handling one.

     

    For the record, I was very calm...

     

    My comment to the previous poster was not an implication otherwise, just a reminder for everyone that the point in time where one feels most inclined to become vociferous, is the very point in time when it becomes most important not to.

  • Tayetaye Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just want to share my recent bad experience about this problem. Firstly i have to tell that I'm living in Thailand where there is NO apple service centre/apple store here, but only the authorized service shop. I bought mine online (so it was shipped from Apple Singapore).

     

    One of the usb connector (right side) of my macbookair 11" stopped working since around end of Jan. The error message kept popping everytime I tried to connect the usb line to that port since then. I also noticed that it was very tight and difficult to stuck the USB line there, but never thought at all that it will damage the pin. I only thought it's about the electricity. Anyway, I didn't have time to get it fixed at all until last week, which was still under the warranty period. The guy at the service centre looked at mine and said that the usb pin was bent and he wasn't sure if Apple will agree to get it fixed or changed. He didn't say anything else but accept my case and let me wait. Today, he phoned me and said that Apple denied the fix because the bent USB pin shows my false handling, which is not under the warranty. It's fine. So, I went to pick it up.

     

    BUT the very bad news happened when I picked up my macbookair. The staff at the centre informed me that, Apple has already registered the serial no. of my macbookair in their 'not approved list' for future mainboard damage. Which means, if in the future (under the warranty of course), there are other problems occured with the mainboard, they will not approve the case!!!!!! What does it mean? The staff said that they tried asking Apple about other possible case, such as broken harddisk/ or black out monitor, etc... but Apple just said those cases that might happen with my mainboard part will NEVER be approved. The reason they gave is very simple, it's because I personally damaged this side of USB port (with only one single pin bent! and of course, it's not my fault as I know how to use USB port!), and this side of USB port is connected (or basically part of) to the mainboard of the computer.

     

    Oh dear, I almost cried. What is the point of sending my macbookair there if I know I will be kind of blacklisted??? I can't use this side of USB anyway and I'm wondering what will happen if I didn't send it in this time, and mine eventually has problem with mainboard, will they still fix it under the warranty?

     

    I was actually considering extend the apple care, but now I'm not sure. I feel so terrible and don't know what to do. Mine age is only 8 months old...and from now on I have to use it in nerve, never know when the mainboard will get bad. I have been using Apple computer for ages and got almost every products of them. And now, what happened makes me feel so bad.

     

    What should I do? :-(

  • Tralornik Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I suggest that you call apple yourself (directly) and explain the situation.  Your local center may not have explained it well or fought for your right to future coverage as much as you would have.  It is worth explaining it yourself if it worries you that much.

     

    Also, mainboard faliures are very rare on most laptops, and I would think even rarer on Macbooks.  So I really don't think you have a whole lot to worry about.  I mean anything is possible, but a mainboard failure is pretty far down the list (usually if they fail it is in the first month or so of use, and you are well past that break-in period). 

     

    Far more likely to fail are the things that are still covered (hard drive, memory, power supply, etc, etc).  Speaking of which, one of the primary reason a mainboard will fail is that the power supply would fail (and supply spotty or incorrect power to the mainboard) which in that case (again it's pretty rare) I would think you would be covered since the cause would be the power supply and hence would be unrelated to the issue with the USB port.

     

    Hope this helps put your mind at ease somewhat.

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