Apple’s new 4K iMac takes steps toward greater repairability

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New 21.5-inch iMac features removable RAM and CPU.
Photo: iFixit

Apple’s new 4K 21.5-inch iMac is slightly more repairable than its predecessor, a new teardown by iFixit reveals. But there’s one big surprise buried in the computer’s guts: Both the CPU and the RAM can be swapped out when it’s time to upgrade.

While it’s still not an easily repairable computer, that’s still a change of direction for a company whose products regularly get dinged for lack of upgradeability.

Taking apart the $1,299 midrange iMac, the iFixit team found that neither the computer’s RAM nor its Kaby Lake CPU are soldered in place.

Apple hasn’t offered a modular CPU or expandable memory for its computers since its 2012-2013 desktop Macs. Although it takes a bit of hard work to carry out surgery on these new 4K iMacs, the fact that these components can technically be replaced is very promising.

For the most part, iFixit notes that this is a “2015 iMac with a facelift,” but there are a few other interesting changes, including a slightly bigger logic board. There’s also a heat sink mounting plate in the middle of the board, which the previous heat sink didn’t require.

Overall, the iFixit team gives the new iMac a 3 out of 10 for repairability (with 1 being most difficult to repair and 10 being easiest). That still leaves a long way for Apple to go if it continues venturing down this route to repairability. However, it’s a big step up from the 1 out of 10 repairability score iFixit gave the 2015 iMac that this model most closely resembles.

You can read the entire teardown, which comes with extra pictures, here. Or check out more details about Apple’s new lineup of Macs, including the “seriously badass” iMac Pro coming later this year.