No surprise here: Teardown reveals you won’t fix the latest MacBook Pro yourself

Jared Newman
28 October, 2013
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The low repairability scores keep on coming from iFixit, which just performed its teardown of Apple’s 2013 MacBook Pros.

Both the 13in (pictured right) and 15in MacBook Pros (pictured below) with Retina Display received scores of 1 out of 10 for repairability. That’s one point lower than last year’s 13in model, and the same dismal score as last year’s 15in version. Though most users will likely turn to Apple’s Genius Bar for help anyway, difficult repairs and replacements could be a problem for some enterprise users who might look to service and upgrade their own machines.

The new MacBooks don’t seem quite as tough to crack as Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 2, using proprietary pentalobe screws rather than a giant mess of glue to keep the frame together. With a special screwdriver, you can at least have a look at the MacBook Pro’s innards.

A tightly woven PC

But it’s all downhill from there as iFixit tried to remove internal components. The battery assembly is firmly glued to the case on both the 13 and 15in MacBook Pros, and it covers the cable for the trackpad. You can’t replace the trackpad without removing the battery, and prying the battery assembly apart risks shearing the trackpad cable.

iFixit also warns to stock up on RAM at the time of purchase, because the memory units are soldered to the motherboard. Users have “no chance” of upgrading the RAM on the 2013 MacBook Pro, iFixit says.

“(Even) the headphone jack is now soldered onto the logic board,” iFixit warns on the teardown of the 15in model. “Break yours (easily doable through normal wear and tear) and you’re looking at a thousand dollar repair.”

There’s a little more hope for replacing the storage in the future, because Apple has switched to a PCIe format for both MacBooks. However, it’s not a standard 2.5in drive, so replacements can’t happen until another company designs a compatible drive.

Repairs aside, the one other noteworthy finding from iFixit is the impact of Intel’s 4th-generation Core processors on the new MacBooks. The 13in model drops from two cooling fans to one, and the CPU and GPU are closer together on both models, allowing for a consolidated heat sink with a single thermal pad. The upgrade to Haswell, along with improvements in OS X Mavericks, allow for 9 hours of battery in the smaller MacBook Pro, and 8 hours in the larger one.


By Jared Newman. Macworld


2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. AussieMacUser says:

    I wonder if this article is showing that Apple believes that the Computer Repair Guy is going to become as scarce as the TV Repair Guy. The reality is that the components are becoming so much more reliable and integrated, there are much fewer of them, and even fewer of them involve moving parts. All of these things point to Apple making the entire laptop more robust, so this teardown info only becomes relevant if someone actually breaks their laptop.

  2. Marvin Ci says:

    “the Computer Repair Guy is going to become as scarce as the TV Repair Guy”, I believe this is because TVs are relatively so cheap, that are not worth repairing, not so a MBP. For my part, i will wait for another generation, hope they change their philosophy, and or buy their just superseded models, in particular the 15″ antiglare model, which is what I’ve been using for the last 8 years.

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