Dead MacBook Air spontaneously returns to life

I had a meeting in Silicon Valley yesterday and I took notes on my MacBook Air and it was working great. When the meeting was done, I slipped my MBA in my Timbuk2 Command Messenger Bag and hopped in a Lyft to the airport. The next time I took the MBA out of the bag was when I was at my home office about 6-7 hours later. And the MBA wouldn’t start. Completely dead.

I checked the power supply, disconnected everything but the power adapter, and still it wouldn’t start. I Googled – from my iPhone – to see what to do next, and saw I needed to do something called “resetting the SMC.” The SMC is the electronics that controls several things, including responding to the power button. Occasionally it can need resetting. It’s just a three-finger salute on the keyboard. So I did that, and was still unable to start the MBA. That was last night.

This morning, I called AppleCare. The robo-operator said I needed to tell it the serial number, and I could find that on the original packaging (who the heck knows where I put that?), or in the About menu on the menu bar (if I could get to that I wouldn’t be calling AppleCare), or on the bottom of the MacBook Air. So I took the MacBook Air off its stand and flipped it over and noticed a horrible stain on the bottom, as if I’d put the MacBook Air down on top of somebody’s spilled mocha. Which I did not remember doing.

I stayed on task and read the serial number into the robot. Then I got a human online and told them what I had done. The tech lady said they couldn’t do anything else for me over the phone, and I needed to take the MBA in to an Apple Store or authorized service center. Which is what I figured I’d be doing this morning.

I decided I could not take the MBA into the Apple Store and let other people see that horrible stain. Also, the screen and keyboard needed a wipedown. So before leaving the house I brought the MBA in to the kitchen, wet down a paper towel squeezed it nearly dry, flipped the MBA upside down and wiped down the bottom until it was nice and clean. Then I got another paper towel and dried it off. I flipped the MBA over rightside up and – what the heck – tapped the power button for the millionth time in the previous 12 hours.

And the MBA came back to life.

I figure there was a loose connection or a bit of dust in the wrong place, which my normal carrying the MBA around did not dislodge, but turning the MBA upside down shook everything into place.

And now is a good time to be sure my backups are all up-to-date. Particularly important now that I’ve moved all my work from Evernote and Ulysses to DevonThink – Evernote and Ulysses backed me up automatically to their clouds, but now I’m no my own.

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I sold my 2013 MBA to a kid about three weeks ago. He had for about five hours (lord only knows how he had it stored or what he did with it while continuing his activities at the fair he was at) then messaged me later saying he fried it by using the extra (new) extension I had for the mag2 charger. Instead of using the charger I already had together in the bag. I wonder if something got giggled around when he had it or the SMC needed reset. I haven’t heard anymore from him since that first week.

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Why not turn on sync in DEVONthink even if you don’t use DTTG (iOS version)?

I do have sync switched on - and I use DTTG. However, I think that DEVONThink only syncs metadata related to information on HOW to sync. The data itself lives on your main Mac. In this case, my MacBook Air.

Relying on Evernote and Ulysses to sync data was never a real backup solution, but they were extra, partial backups and gave me peace of mind.

Did it again. Shut it down to reset my cable modem and when I tried starting the MBA up again, I had to hit the power button multiple times over the course of about 15-30 minutes before it came to life.

I’m off to the Apple Store Saturday – and not shutting the MBA down again until then!