Barnard Apple Support Policy


Executive Summary 

This policy defines BCIT’s current support policy for Apple computing equipment in the Barnard College environment.

Reason for the Policy

Apple products are popular choices for computing at Barnard College, but BCIT’s ability to fully support these computers has been materially affected by recent changes of direction by Apple, Inc.

Who is Responsible for This Policy

The VP for Information Technology or her designates.

Who is Governed by This Policy

This policy affects members of the Barnard College faculty and staff who use Barnard-owned Apple computers that are supported by the BCIT Service Desk.


Sealed Unit: An Apple computer which cannot be easily opened for support.  Sealed units currently include MacBook Air, MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and iMacs purchased on or after September 1, 2012.
Supportable Unit: An Apple computer that can be serviced on campus.  Examples include Mac Mini and the standard (non-Retina Display) MacBook Pro.

Policy Statement 

BCIT can provide full support only for “Supportable Units” (defined above in this document).  BCIT will make hardware recommendations based on these models.  For security reasons, no staff member dealing with privileged information may use a “Sealed Unit” as their primary computer.
For users who purchase a sealed unit, the hardware support that can be provided by BCIT is limited to:

  • Analysis and best-effort diagnosis of a problem
  • Logging an issue with Apple’s GSX repair service
  • During the Spring 2013 semester: Counseling the user to take the unit to an Apple store for assistance
  • After Spring 2013: Scheduling an on-campus Apple authorized repair visit via Apple’s GSX repair service

In many cases, data can not be recovered from a sealed unit. BCIT cannot take responsibility for any loss of data that may occur.  For that reason, the BCIT Service Desk will configure all new sealed units to save standard data locations to Barnard’s shared file server. Changes to this configuration, or use of unusual applications, may render data unrecoverable in the event of hardware failure.

Background Information

Apple is increasingly using hardware in which the body of the unit is entirely sealed and cannot be opened for service by BCIT or other technicians; their direction is moving towards desktop computers as a disposable item, like a phone or tablet, rather than something that can be modified, upgraded, or repaired.  This design choice has a number of ramifications for support:

  • Memory cannot be added or replaced.
  • Laptop batteries cannot be replaced.
  • Hard drives cannot be removed or replaced.  This is particularly significant, as it means that the BCIT Service Desk has no way to recover data from a sealed unit, even if the hard drive itself is intact and undamaged.  

Support for sealed units (defined above in this document)  can only be provided by Apple, Inc. which has the following ramifications:

  • Potential for minimum 1-2 weeks for total repair time, when waiting for a GSX repair dispatch.
  • For expedited service, the user’s only avenue is to personally take the unit to the Genius Bar at an Apple store. 
  • Units under-warranty that suffer a hardware failure may be replaced by Apple, rather than fixed.
  • Data on the computer may be lost -- that is, not restored to the user.
  • Sensitive data on the computer (research, student information, etc.) may not be properly disposed of by Apple, Inc. 


Cross Reference to Related Policies

Hardware Support Policy



For questions or comments:
Barnard College Information Technology
Telephone: 212-854-7172

Revision History

Published 2/2013