Following its Retina MacBook Pro teardown back in June, iFixit declared Apple’s latest portable “the least repairable laptop” it has ever taken apart. While some components aren’t too difficult to upgrade or replace, others — such as the battery and RAM — are near impossible without professional help. In its new repair guide, published today, iFixit details further repair limitations with the notebook, and estimates that a third-party battery replacement could cost around $500.
iFixit has published 15 repair guides for the Retina MacBook Pro today, which cover things like the AirPort board, the logic board, fans, the trackpad, speakers, and the flash storage. It has also published one maintenance guide for reapplying thermal paste.
Despite giving the notebook its lowest repairability score yet, iFixit explains that many components can be removed or replaces without too much trouble — provided you use the right tools:
Many components within the laptop can be removed without much fuss, provided folks use the correct tools. Pentalobe screws hold the lower case in place and Torx screws secure everything else. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are absolutely necessary, as many of the components are designed with such tight tolerances that using fingertips is simply not an option.
Fair warning: working on the laptop is no easy task.
The site also warns, however, that removing some components is simply “infeasible.” The FaceTime camera, for example, requires you to separate the notebook’s display from the aluminum enclosure. It’s almost impossible to do that without breaking the glass, and so the only way around this is to replace the entire display:
Some repairs are simply infeasible. For example, there is no way to replace the trackpad without removing the battery. And while it’s possible to remove the battery, chances are high that it will be punctured in the process. Puncturing Lithium-polymer batteries releases noxious fumes and can cause fires. Additionally, removing the LCD glass from the aluminum frame will almost certainly break the glass. So components residing under the LCD — such as the FaceTime camera — will have to be replaced with the entire assembly.
iFixit also notes that sourcing replacement components for the Retina MacBook Pro isn’t easy at this point. This, along with the notebook’s intricate design, means third-party repairs won’t be cheap. In fact, to replace the battery, iFixit estimates a bill of $500:
Apple’s design direction is disturbing. We estimate that third party battery replacements will cost over $500 if technicians follow the safer Apple-suggested procedure and replace the entire upper case assembly along with the battery.
If you’ve picked up a new Retina MacBook Pro, then, you’re going to want to treat it with a lot of care. You’ll most definitely want to pick up the extended AppleCare warranty as well, because the longer you can keep your machine covered by Apple, the better.