Repair Guides

Up Your Back-to-School Game by Upgrading Your Laptop

I used to love back-to-school shopping. I have very fond memories of my annual trip to Office Max with my mother to pick up new school supplies. But, boy, has back-to-school shopping changed since the days of mechanical pencils, a pack of college-ruled paper, and a Hello Kitty-themed folder (if I was good).

Early reports show that parents are spending more than ever on back-to-school shopping—with electronics eating up more and more of the budget. According to Deloitte, computers are now the highest spending category. And with Apple’s laptop prices ranging from $999-$6,000, it’s no wonder why.

Once August hit, the Buzzfeed-style shopping lists touting how to get the best deals on back-to-school tech started to flood my inbox. I read each and every one of them because (1) nostalgia, and (2) I just really love lists. Then, I realized not one of them mentioned the most cost-effective back-to-school savings hack of all: use the tech you already haveespecially the big-ticket tech items, like laptops.

Using a laptop after an upgrade
According to Deloitte, computers make up the highest spending category for back-to-school shopping—at an average of $299 per consumer.

Upgrading Your Laptop 101

If you’ve already got a laptop, chances are you can probably upgrade it with minimal expense and effort. The most common issues plaguing older laptops include worn-out batteries, overstuffed storage, and difficulty handling new or updated applications. These problems are easily fixed by replacing a few components. And if you’ve got a MacBook, our new MacBook Fix Kits come with all the parts and tools you need to make each of these upgrades. (Don’t worry PC-owners, we’ve got loads of repair guides and parts for you, too.)

So, in the spirit of the season, here’s my take on the back-to-school list: 3 Ways to Get Your MacBook Back-to-School Ready.

1. MacBook falling asleep in class? It’s not you, it’s your battery

When I was in college, power outlets were often the most precious resource on campus. One did not simply walk into the library and secure a wall seat right away—and that always had me panicked. What if my laptop battery died halfway through a paper? Back then, I still took notes the old-fashioned way (that is, with my bare hands)—so I can only imagine the meltdown I’d have if my laptop died mid-lecture.

laptop repair guide
Liberate your laptop—free yourself from power outlets

Every laptop battery has a limited number of charge cycles before its performance starts to take a hit. So if you’ve had your laptop for a few years—and you’ve never replaced the battery—you’re probably due for a replacement. One of our tech writers wrote a blog post to help you figure out exactly when your laptop’s battery’s time is up.

Replacing your laptop battery is easier than you might think—and we’ve got some pretty entertaining battery repair tales from our community members to prove it. Once you’re feeling ready, you can pick up one of our Mac Laptop Battery Kits to make the swap.

We’ve even got a DIY solution for the once-thought-unremovable Retina MacBook Pro battery. (It might have taken us five years to create, but we did it—and it’s Apple Insider-approved.)

2. Laptop + SSD = Less Stress

MacBook storage upgrade
Upgrade your storage. Get faster everything.

Is the spinning beach ball of death a regular visitor to your laptop? Then upgrading your hard disk drive (HDD) to a solid state drive (SSD) is the way to go. Most laptops ship with an HDD, but they’re not quite as quick, or capacious, as their SSD successors. There are a lot of reasons why you should upgrade to an SSD—so I made another list: 4 Reasons to Upgrade to an SSD.

  1. Faster everything: SSDs can read and write information up to 10x faster than an HDD—that means faster boot up, application launch times, and data retrieval.
  2. Increased durability: SSDs are more resistant to shock, vibration, and movement—making them well-suited for portable devices that are subject to sudden knocks and bumps (like… your laptop in your backpack).
  3. Improved efficiency: Since SSDs don’t have moving parts, they require less energy to operate. Less energy = increased battery life = no need to get to class 20 minutes early to claim a seat near an outlet.
  4. Easy installation: Our new SSD Upgrade Kits come with everything you need to make the switch—and our step-by-step guides and videos show you exactly how to do it. (If only your teachers were that prepared.)

Our SSD kit sizes include: 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. And, we’ve even got a 3-minute video tutorial to show you how to turn your new SSD into an exact copy of your hard drive—so there’s no need to worry about losing your data.

3. Keep tabs on all your class projects

Laptop memory upgrade
Boost your memory. Open all the tabs.

Does your browser like to quit on you when you have 30 tabs of obscure articles open for a research paper due in 7 hours? More RAM will help with that. If you want to learn more about RAM, one of our tool engineers wrote all about the differences between RAM and SSD upgrades.

Our friend at VICE News also documented his first RAM upgrade using our parts, guides, and tools. Spoiler alert: You can totally do it, too. And you can view all of our RAM kits here.

So there you have it. You don’t need to auction off your kidneys to get your kiddos the tech they need for class. School is right around the corner—and so is a faster laptop when you upgrade it yourself!