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Repair guides and disassembly information for the 16-inch MacBook Pro released in October of 2021, featuring Apple-designed M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs. Model A2485.

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Is it futile to try use a donor display?

So, I naïevely purchased a cheap-as-chips A2485 mbp with the logic board removed, with a view to buying a cheap identical mbp with a cracked screen, to make one working fantabulously cheap mbp.

Subsequently reading this MacBook Pro 16" 2021 Screen Replacement, I came to think: great! My plan should work! If there's a guide for this, and iFixit sells the parts (on rare occasion, when they come up), then surely this is a viable solution 🙂

However... I've since stumbled across this post Display issues on MacBook Pro 14" M1 - Shadows on Screen

The updated first answer gives me a strong impression that any attempt to replace the display with a donor (not sourced directly from apple) would essentially be futile, due to the apparent need for system calibration to pair it to it's body.

There is a caveat in that second post, insofar as desoldering a couple of specific ICs and transplanting them onto the new display should get around the apple calibration/serialisation issue. However, I attempted to shop around little ol' New Zealand to find someone to do such a repair, found a repairer who works with someone who apparently has the full schematics for this model of mbp, and has experience with this sort of repair, and this is the response I got from them when asking if they'd do it:

"this type of job is beyond their capabilities. It’s mainly due to the schematics of the board, security that Apple puts on its logic boards & the complexity of it (High risk of it not working) & they don’t think it would be a successful job"

So, back to my original question: is it an exercise in futility trying to use a donor display assembly (that is not sourced directly from apple) to replace the display of a broken A2385 mbp?

Or is there some solution to my goal here that I haven't thought of (aside from getting a new logic board from apple instead)?

Thanks for any and all help!!

Update (03/18/23)

Currently, I have in my possession a 16" 2021 M1 Macbook pro A2485, which I *think* is missing the logic board only (bought of trademe (NZ eBay equivalent))

I want a functional 16" 2021 Macbook pro A2485

I believe the cheapest solution is for me to purchase an identical model (A2485) MBP with a broken display, and have my current display assembly, which I believe is perfectly functional, transplanted into an otherwise perfectly functional MBP with a broken/malfunctioning screen. I currently have my eye on a A2485 with the auction closing in a few days, to enable this - *if* I can get a repair combining the two, to actually work

Alternatively, I believe another solution would be to have a matching, functioning logic board with paired touch ID transplanted into my current MacBook shell, such as this one MacBook Pro 16" (2021 A2485 M1 Pro) 10-Core CPU/16-Core GPU Logic Board with Paired Touch ID Sensor . I am under the impression that this will be more expensive (I do not have the liquid-damaged logic board to exchange through apple's self-service program), but obviously that depends on how much a A2485 MBP with broken display ends up costing me, so that may not necessarily be the case

So as far as I can tell, my options are as follows:

Option 1: attempt possibly futile display assembly transplant from Mac with no logic board to Mac with broken screen

- Find ways from iFixit big brains to make this less likely to be futile 🙏 🤞

Option 2: buy logic board with paired touch sensor to transplant into my current Mac with no logic board. Hope that iFixit big brains tell me if this is a dumb idea/ how I can make it work without it likely going 🍐-shaped

Option 3: %#*@ it all to hell, throw the beautiful MacBook I have in the trash/ on a $1 reserve auction for some poor soul to go down the same rabbit hole/ dead end as me

A final note/ question on Option 1:

Is it somehow possibly to do something like do display transplant without T-CON transplant, and also intentionally break something isolated like a lid angle sensor, then go to an authorised apple repairer to have intentionally broken sensor repaired, and then in the system calibration post-repair, apple inadvertently fixes the display serialisation/ non-matching T-CON?

I'm probably showing just how naïeve I am with the above suggestion - maybe the lid angle sensor is a dumb example and there's a better part to try that on with, maybe the authorised repairer will notice a display mis-match when attempting the repair and refuse service, maybe the system calibration post- authorised repair will only work for said repaired part, or maybe apple will pick up the non-apple-sourced display on calibration and not complete it. I dunno. But figured it's worth throwing out there! Thoughts?

Or any other suggestions for me avoiding going nuclear on option 3? Thanks!!

MacBook Pro 16" (2021 A2485 M1 Pro) 10-Core CPU/16-Core GPU Logic Board with Paired Touch ID Sensor Image

Product

MacBook Pro 16" (2021 A2485 M1 Pro) 10-Core CPU/16-Core GPU Logic Board with Paired Touch ID Sensor

$799.99

Answer this question I have this problem too

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Defiance is Futile! You will be Assimilated! As the Borg stated to Captan Picard

Support the Right to Repair! We can fight but only together! Yell and scream at the law makers show up at the hearings in mass!

Captan Picard did manage to defeat the Borg we can too!

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Haha gold. I won't take the Borg of apple's system configuration lying down! We must fight the good fight! Freeeeeedom!! ⚔️

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I’m a bit confused your display died so why are you thinking replacing the main logic board would help.

Second the chips are within the T-CON board and this is not available as a spare, and besides the setting is held within it and the key needs to match what the main logic board is expecting in the newer M Series.

Sadly, Apples greed of wanting the whole enchilada is slowly killing both the recovered parts (reuse) space and slowly chipping away the independent repair industry! Both personal and pros with the skills.

So you need to get the part from Apple as you need access to their Calibration Tool which is behind a wall and set to the displays ID so you can’t cheat!

Update (03/18/23)

@tsmithnz - The way you started your question lead me to think you had a newer M series system not the older Intel model

Intel Series

So as long as you have the older Intel system and you are using a used display on your system you will have a working system! The TrueTone setting is held within the T-CON logic. So you just can’t use a virgin display without access to Apples calibration tool.

M Series

If on the other hand you are working with the newer M Series system… All your options require the deeper skills in some form.

Option 1: While transplanting your good display onto the system with a damaged display will get you partway you have no means to calibrate the screen so you will see the artifacts of mis aligned backlight. Are you willing to live with that?

The other option is getting the other system and then go after the needed display Assembly from Apple which then gets you access to the calibration tool. But this does not fix the original system.

Option 2: Is really no different than Option 1 as the original issue of calibration has not been solved.

Option 3: While it does look like a loss, you might find the replacement systems case is banged up so you can leverage some of its parts if they are in better shape than the others.

Last points on Option 1: The T-CON board is hard wired to the displays LCD panel internally.This requires even more work to desolder than trying to swap out the chips. Both are Brain surgery!

As far as the display’s Hall sensor that is on a separate assembly so damaging it won’t likely lead to a calibration. I think that’s a sizable gamble.

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Hey! It's Dan, that dude with heaps of good answers! Thanks for the response. I probably explained my situation and goals terribly, let me try have another crack.

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Indeed, sadly it is an M1 Mac. Do you have anyone, anywhere in the world you would recommend for this repair? Would you attempt it perchance? I'll take 50/50 odds or better!

Also, as far as the artefact/ shadow goes, from the other post on this, it's unclear whether this is ever-present. I.e., if that top part or the screen had a black border, watching a movie for example, would it be not show up?

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@tsmithnz - There is someone in Australia! Who might be able to help you Paul Daniels you can see some of his work here YouTube

Send an email to see if he’s upto it.

As far as the artifacts the level of contrast between the image objects sets how much you will see. Review the images in the other question to get an idea.

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I wouldn't say it's a lost cause, but it's definitely not something I would expect to work without issue.

As to the point of the person who you asked about the repair. It's definitely not job everybody can or should do. It requires a lot of finesse and the ability be very accurate with the hot air. The risk of damage to the display is not insignificant. because the TCON board is so close to the panel.

The schematics for the logic board are widely available if you know where to look, but I think in this case its less the schematics not being available. You don't need a schematic to remove the IC from one board and move it to another. But I respect when a tech knows when they're out of their depth. I would be hesitant too, even with microsoldering experience. Some people do stuff like that all the time, but it's not an every day repair for sure.

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Do you have any recommendations for a repairer that might do it? I'd be prepared to ship international for the right person/ business.

Tried Rossman repair group but apparently they haven't done any of these displays and they're still deciding if they're going to even try take on this particular type of repair going forward they tell me.

There are obviously soooooo many people in this business out there, I'm clueless as to who to look for/ what search terms to use to find them etc, so any advice appreciated!

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It's not impossible at all. We do this where I work, if you do board repair, you can do this. Done two 14" without issue. We remove the old damaged LCD, replace just the LCD and replace the two IC's, job done.

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Tui Smith will be eternally grateful.
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