A dead M1 MacBook Air and what you can learn from it

No technical device, no matter how well made, is immune from having a defect and from now on stop working. A story by Tan Han Wei at Medium shows this very clearly with an Apple MacBook Air with an M1 chip from 2020. The video producer, who also works with 3D content, bought the laptop in November 2020; In March 2021 it was broken from one moment to the next - the display was black and a restart was impossible. In the process, 800 GB of data was lost that could not be backed up even in the Apple Store ( ). The lesson: Always make a backup!

Even when using a new computer, you should make a regular backup right from the start. The same applies to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models with the M1 chip - they are the first of their kind and the SSD is soldered to the motherboard.

Even when using a new computer, you should make a regular backup right from the start. The same applies to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models with the M1 chip - they are the first of their kind and the SSD is soldered to the motherboard.

If the computer no longer wants: it's better to have a backup on hand

Having a usable backup means knowing the current versions of your files, projects and collections of files saved on an external storage medium. If your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone then needs to be repaired or replaced, you can then continue working as usual. You don't have to worry about data loss. Whether you use an external hard drive, a cloud service or the iCloud in combination with Apple devices, that's up to you. Clouds are of course convenient, but useless if there is a simultaneous internet failure. External hard drives are always there and can also be used on the move.

Here are a few useful posts on the topic:

Four truths from the M1 MacBook Air incident 

In the source linked above you can find the whole story that we took as the occasion for this post. There are also four points that are important if you decide on an M1 MacBook from 2020. These points are (translated) as follows:

  1. ALWAYS have a backup: Even if the computer is completely new, errors can occur and data can be lost as a result. Therefore, you should make backups and save your files right from the start.
  2. REMEMBER that the SSD memory is soldered to the motherboard: You cannot simply remove the SSD memory, i.e. the hard drive of the current MacBook models, and read it out or simply replace it in the event of a defect. The entire motherboard (and other related parts) must be replaced.
  3. This is NOT an isolated case: The article linked above refers to Reddit and MacRumors, among others, where other cases of MacBooks suddenly giving up were collected.
  4. After all, it is the FIRST GENERATION of its kind: As with other first-gen products that are improved with the subsequent revisions, it should also be noted that M1 MacBooks are the first of their kind to have defects.

Did you buy a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with an M1 chip? How are the devices running with you? Feel free to leave a comment with your experiences :)


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  1. Beatrice Willius says:

    A computer needs at least two backups. Three is better than two.

    The power supply of my Air M1 had to be replaced.

    I suspect, however, that the USB connections also have a loose connection. I was working on the battery and the power supply was only recognized after restarting.

    The keyboard is the very last. The a has already twitched. I've just blown the r free again.

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hi Beatrix! Yes, I also have three backups. And one of them not in the house, but in the cloud. : D What about the keyboard? I thought they had switched back to the old, reliable mechanism?
      My M1 MBP annoys me because I always get the message that my RAM is full. When I'm gone for half an hour and the Mac goes to sleep, I sometimes come back and my Excel has closed completely. It's a bit annoying. My old MBP only had 16 GB of RAM, but the message didn't come ... seems to be an innovation from Big Sur ...

  2. Beatrice Willius says:

    Hi Jens,

    no, the Air still has the butterfly keyboard. I think only the MBPs have the old mechanism.

    I have 8 GB of main memory and sometimes I do development on the air. I have never seen that the main memory is full.

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Ok, wrong keyboard! : D One reason not to buy the Air ... I really wonder how Apple was able to block this thing after so many years. But no matter ... Because of the memory: When I look at the activity display, Firefox already grabs 5,3 GB with various processes ... I probably have a bit of many windows open. Then again almost 2GB for a Whatsapp client for the Mac. WTF ??? I think something is going wrong with Firefox. I have to watch that. On the other hand, even Photoshop is really economical with RAM. 😂

  3. Marcel says:

    What I can only say about this: "REMEMBER that the SSD memory is soldered onto the motherboard": As good and great as Apple is (image processing, video processing, etc.), this is an absolute joke and makes every customer dependent.

    I experienced it myself today and simply "removing" and backing up data is not possible. If the Apple Store can't fix anything properly, well, then you think twice about going back to an Apple device.

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