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The March 2015 update of Apple's 11" MacBook Air features fifth generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, resulting in slightly increased performance and battery life.

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Will my MacBook refurbishing project work out?

Hi all! I'm pretty new to MacBook repair, but I have an 11-inch early 2015 MacBook Air that I'd like to start using again, possibly as a secondary laptop. It's in relatively good shape, with only a few issues (loose hinge, running hot, bad battery life, some water was spilled on it 1-2 years ago but I haven't noticed any issues). The upgrades/repairs I'd like to perform are:

- Upgrading the 256 gb ssd to ~500 gb with this m.2 adapter

- Fixing the loose hinge

- Replacing the battery with this new one

- Adding new thermal compound

- Installing Linux Mint (probably the cinnamon edition)

- Checking for any liquid damage (I don't quite know how to do this)

Does this sound like a viable set of upgrades for a beginner? Thanks in advance!

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I would start off cleaning the dust out using a small soft paint brush and a can of can’ed air. Inspect the system for liquid damage (check the detectors and look for corrosion)

Often times a battery thats failing will cause the system to run hot as the charging logic is running hard. As such I would just replace the battery and see how things are then.

The MacBook Air heat sink anchors are just glued to the logic board so its very easy to snap them off. So I would hold off repasting and use lots of care trying to unscrew the screws as I even snap one of the studs off in the process.

Replacing the SSD with a M.2 drive is bit tricky! As the macOS needs to be running High Sierra before you swap it out other wise the systems firmware won’t have the needed updates (even if you are running any other OS) Frankly I would stick with macOS than going with Linux.

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Thank you so much for your help! About the SSD issue, the system is currently on Mojave. As that's the OS after High Sierra, do I still have to worry about firmware issues?


@ad1t1s - Apple has been updating the firmware most every release. for other things as well. So you are using the needed release which changed out the storage driver stub, I would still stick with macOS as Gatekeeper also helps protect your system from major malware attacks.

As far as using an M.2 SSD I personally don't recommend them. What people forget is Apple never offered documentation on their physical interface or how they communicate with the SSD drive. While Apple did use a PCIe interface and they did use the NVMe dialog for the drive, there are other signals present which your M.2 SSD can't interface with (sleep and garbage collection functions)

This is why an M.2 SSD will appear to work, but after some time they do fail sooner than what an Apple or a SSD which was properly designed to work, either another custom Apple SSD or the OWC or Transcend drives being the ones I recommend.


@danj I appreciate your extensive help. I'll keep your advice about the SSD in mind as I start the project. Thank you so much again!


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