Online tech repair guide and parts retailer iFixit has released its latest teardown for the new 2021 MacBook Pro and reveals at least one small win for repairability: the ability to replace battery modules.
The battery modules of the new MacBook Pros, like many mobile devices, are now attached via adhesive strips with pull tabs. This makes it easier to remove them, as long as none of the tabs tear when pulling. The trackpad must also be carefully removed to reach the remaining tabs.
MacBook Pro batteries had their own frames or shells, which made them easier to install or remove via screws or locking tabs (although this did take up more interior space). Starting in 2012, Apple wanted to make laptops thinner. The battery structures have therefore been removed to save space. The biggest issue with the 2012-2020 MacBook Pro model years was that Apple used glue to almost permanently fuse the battery with the laptop’s top case.
Both the HDMI and SD card ports are attached to the logic board, but the rest of the ports are modular, although you will have to remove the entire logic board to replace them. Fans and speakers also require the logic board to be removed before replacement is possible.
The only real qualms remaining are that replacing the screen would mean the loss of True Tone, and replacing Touch ID would lose its primary ability. While Touch ID in iPhones that were not serviceable was used for security reasons, it is interesting not to see any new development on serviceability here since Apple’s new wireless Touch ID keyboard can be paired with different computers. M1.
You can watch the full iFixit teardown video here.