iFixit Teardown Reveals New MacBook Pro Is ‘Least Repairable Laptop’ Yet

iFixit Teardown Reveals New MacBook Pro Is ‘Least Repairable Laptop’ Yet

This is the what the new MacBook Pro looks like once you get inside.

Before the vast majority of us have even had the pleasure of signing for our new MacBook Pro delivery, iFixit has torn the notebook apart to reveal its internals. Although this is undoubtedly Apple’s best portable yet — what with its stunning Retina display, super speedy solid-state storage, and Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors — iFixit describes it as “the least repairable laptop” they’ve ever taken apart.

“Apple has packed all the things we have into one beautiful little package.” For consumers, this means incredible expensive repair bills, and little to no upgradeability at all.

We’ve getting used to not being able to repair or upgrade our Apple notebooks ourselves. Upgrading processors has always been impossible, but Apple has allowed us to upgrade our own RAM and hard drive, and replace our own batteries. It put an end to that, however, with the latest MacBook Air, and with the new MacBook Pro, we’re even more restricted.

As iFixit reveals:

  • Just like in the iPhone 4/4S (and the MacBook Air), proprietary Pentalobe screws prevent folks from accessing the machine’s internals. That means you need a special screwdriver just to remove the bottom cover.
  • As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can’t upgrade.
  • The proprietary SSD isn’t upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air. It is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.
  • The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it’ll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that a user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.
  • The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire (extremely expensive) assembly.

Because of these points, iFixit gives the new MacBook Pro a repair rating of 1/10.

Once again, this isn’t great news for new MacBook Pro owners. It’s almost impossible for the average user to upgrade or repair anything themselves. And if something goes wrong, you’d better hope your machine is still covered by its AppleCare warranty, because the repair bill is going to be expensive.

What this means, then, is that you need to be sure before you order your MacBook Pro that you choose enough RAM and enough storage, because you won’t be able to upgrade these later. Not even Apple will upgrade these things for you after your purchase; once you receive it, that’s how it stays. Forever.

Furthermore, if you’ve tried to avoid purchasing the extended AppleCare warranties in the past, now’s the time to just bite the bullet and buy one. Almost nothing on the new MacBook Pro is easy to repair, so you’ll want to ensure that any hardware failures — assuming they weren’t caused by you — are going to repaired for free for as long as possible.

  • twitter-16160872

    Not good news — a repair rating of 1/10 and not upgradeable. This is not a “Pro” machine.

  • twitter-16160872

    Not good news — a repair rating of 1/10 and not upgradeable. This is not a “Pro” machine.

  • Anthony Antman Siringo

    Im going to be really honest and just say this,

    If you really are a pro user, you wouldn’t even THINK of buying it with anything less than 16GB of ram.
  • drblank

    Least repairable from WHOs standpoint?  iFixit?  Well, if Apple fixes it, it’s just a motherboard swap regardless of what is wrong.  Less spare parts SKUs to stock.   It also makes it a more reliable system, a thinner system, and easier to replace parts system.  So, what’s the problem?  Because people can’t just swap stuff out?  Well, that’s when people start experiencing more problems because Apple doesn’t know the quality of the components you’re putting it, and they want to be able to handle warranty, AppleCare Warranty repairs easier since swapping out third party memory cards is a PAIN IN THE REAR for the customer and Apple.  Just order it as maxed out as you can afford.

  • drblank

    Here is an anecdotal story.  I bought an Apple laptop.  Got some third party memory that was SUPPOSED to be from a well respected memory company.  I put the memory in, everything worked fine for about a year and then the memory started crashing the system.  I had to go through 2 swaps of this third party memory.  I also had AppleCare Warranty support and THEY don’t support other people’s memory.  It took a while to replace, I had a fair amount of down time.  I have had ZERO problems with Apple memory.  Let me repeat this again.  I have had ZERO problems with Apple brand memory.  Third party memory?  I have had problems with third party memory, friends of mine have had problems with third party memory. And I think i know why. When they run memory through million dollar memory testers they might pass, but not as well as a Apple memory because Apple might do a little more extensive testing. Memory might have 1 in 1000 passes, but 0 in 100 passes for a specific memory test.  While Apple might through out a memory chip that does pass the 1000 passes test where the other might not. I have also read on various third party memory forums of incompatibility as well as mixing different speed memory might also be a problem.  Either way, GET APPLECARE, fill with the maximum if you are doing anything serious and have a nice day.  I still have 1st gen Intel CoreDuo 17 (2G RAM) iMac still running and the system hasn’t been in for service yet, but I have to cross my fingers since I know that I am pushing my luck with a 7+ year old system.  But, it does still work…

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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