Diagnostics: Macs Made 2009-mid 2014

AST is a simple, quick program used for diagnosing Computers that can be used by any employee. AST can run many tests, but for the front of house purposes we run two tests: Mac Resource Inspector (MRI) and Storage Diagnostic (SD). To run AST, the Computer must be an Intel Mac, and must be able to power on. 

Please first refer to the Diagnostics Procedure before following these steps.


Connect the computer

  1. Connect the Computer via Ethernet cable to one of the ethernet ports at the GeekBar

  2. If checking a portable Computer, connect the correct AC power adapter before proceeding.

  3. For a desktop Computer, connect a known-good wired Apple USB keyboard and known-good wired Apple USB mouse to any available USB ports on the Computer, which in this case, would be our AST server.

  4. Start up the Computer while holding down the N key, prompting it to start up from the Diagnostic Gateway over NetBoot. If the Computer can display an image, the familiar flashing globe will appear on the primary display, indicating that the Computer is searching for a NetBoot server.

    Tip: You can also press the Option (Alt) key during startup to boot into Startup Manager. Once in Startup Manager, press N to make the first NetBoot volume appear. NetBooting the computer this way allows you to verify the availability of a NetBoot server or other startup volume before continuing the startup process.

    Note: AST will always select and use the internal display if it can detect its presence (i.e., if connected), even if an external display is also connected. If AST cannot detect the presence of an internal display and an external display is also connected, then AST will use the external display instead as its primary (and only supported) display.

    Note: If AST does not load and the globe icon changes back to an Apple logo, make sure the Ethernet cable is properly seated in both the Computer and the network jack. If you are still having issues with the test loading, reset the PRAM by restarting the Computer and holding the “Command”, “Option”, “P”, and “R” keys simultaneously until you hear the Computer chime more than once, then let go. If this still does not work ask a technician to assist you during intake.

Obtain permission - informed consent

  1. If the computer's logic board has not yet had a serial number assigned, AST's Blank Board Serializer (BBS) function will appear first on the computer, instead of the AST Informed Consent dialog shown below. If this occurs, ask a technician to assist you during intake.

  2. If the Diagnostic Gateway Mac is configured and operational, and the computer can reach the Diagnostic Gateway over the LAN, the computer Mac should start up to the Informed Consent dialog within several seconds. This initial screen, shown below, verifies that you have obtained your customer’s permission to proceed running the diagnostic on his or her Mac.

  3. Only proceed if the customer has given you his or her permission to do so. Explain that only hardware diagnostic data and Computer serial number are collected. No personal information is collected at all.

    Note: Refer to Apple Support article TP584: COMPUTER Information Sent to Apple for complete information about what is collected and sent to Apple Diagnostic Repository (ADR).

  4. If you select Yes (or type Y on the keyboard), AST will proceed to the menu as described below.

  5. If you select Shut Down (or type S on the keyboard), AST will power down the computer being tested.

    Note: In case the computer has no video, note that you must use the Y or S keys to advance past this dialog. AST will not proceed beyond the Informed Consent dialog automatically.

The initial screen shown here verifies that you have obtained your customer’s permission to proceed running the diagnostic on his or her Mac.

The initial screen shown here verifies that you have obtained your customer’s permission to proceed running the diagnostic on his or her Mac.


Select and run MRI and SD tests

  1. When you answer Yes to the Informed Consent dialog, the AST Diagnostic Gateway menu appears (shown below), allowing you to select which diagnostic to run. As AST is further refined and developed, new diagnostics may appear in future versions.

  2. Select the “MRI – Mac Resource Inspector” test from the menu (you can use arrow keys to move the selection), and click Launch (or press Return on the keyboard) to continue. The selected diagnostic launches and runs on the computer. The MRI test is an overall scan of all the different components of the computer.

    Note: The display may briefly turn black, flashing text in the upper-left corner for a few seconds. This is normal behavior. MRI should launch after a few more seconds, and the display should change to white.

    Important: If nothing is launched from the menu within 15 seconds, AST will launch the selected triage or repair tool automatically to help diagnose COMPUTERs with “no video” issues.

    Note: If the COMPUTER hangs while starting AST, MRI, or any other selected diagnostic, press the COMPUTER's power button for 10 seconds to shut down, then retry.

  3. After MRI is done run Storage Diagnostics (SD).

The Diagnostic Gateway menu

The Diagnostic Gateway menu


Shutting down computer

  1. Always shut down the COMPUTER properly, using either the “Shut Down” button onscreen or the “S” key on the keyboard, after diagnostics have been launched and run from the AST menu.

    IMPORTANT: Do not hold down the power button to shut down the COMPUTER after AST diagnostics is finished. Shutting down the COMPUTER improperly can cause NVRAM corruption that interferes with some AST diagnostic testing sequences.

  2. Do not disconnect the Ethernet cable or Ethernet adapter from the COMPUTER until it has shut down and completely turned off. You should then disconnect the Ethernet cable from the COMPUTER before turning the COMPUTER on again, unless you plan to run other AST diagnostic tests.

Test results

  • Once the tests finish, all items that have passed will have a green checkmark next to them.

  • Any tests that do not pass can be clicked on in order to get further information. A red exclamation means the test has failed. A yellow exclamation point means there is a warning.

Please remember to document all test results in the SRO.