Teardown shows 16-inch MacBook Pro is full of Magic Keyboard goodness

By

16-inch MacBook teardown by iFixit
Explore the inside of the new 16-inch MacBook with a teardown by iFixit.
Photo: iFixit

Disassembling the new 16-inch MacBook Pro finds plenty to like. There’s a keyboard that’s almost certainly more reliable, a revamped thermal system and a bigger battery.

On the other side of the coin, repair company iFixit did a teardown and gives this laptop a low, low rating for repairability.

A keyboard that’s Magic

After years of leaving MacBook buyers worrying about grit jamming up the infamous Buttefly keyboard, Apple put its reliable Magic keyboard in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro.

A careful inspection by iFixit found this new notebook uses a key mechanism so similar to 2015’s Magic Keyboard that a key cap from one could be moved to the other. But Apple still managed to make the newer version 0.22 mm thinner.

At the center is “an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a responsive key press,” according to the laptop maker.

But this repair company wasn’t fully pleased. “Though the fancy new-old scissor mechanisms may be more durable than fragile butterflies, the whole keyboard assembly is still riveted in place,” says the iFixit teardown.

A new thermal system

See the angry owl inside the 16-inch MacBook
The iFixit teardown finds an angry owl inside the 16-inch MacBook.
Photo: iFixit

Dual fans inside the 16-inch MacBook Pro form an “angry owl,” as iFixit calls it. These include “a larger impeller with extended blades along with bigger vents, resulting in a 28 percent increase in airflow,” according to Apple.

And there’s a heatsink that’s 35% larger.

Independent tests have shown that improved thermal management increased the performance of the 16-inch MacBook Pro by about 10% be decreasing thermal throttling.

iFixit said “The revamped thermal system is a welcome improvement to the notoriously hot-and-throttled Pro lineup.”

Sports a mondo battery

The FAA won‘t allow lithium-ion batteries on planes that store more than 100 watt hours. The 16-inch MacBook Pro includes one that’s just under the line.

“The 99.8 Wh battery flies just under the FAA radar, pumping out 16.2 Wh more capacity than the most recent 15” model. With such a slight increase in case size, this capacity increase is surprising,” notes iFixit.

16-inch MacBook Pro repairability = 1

iFixit has a long list of the ways this macOS laptop is hard to work on. The processor, RAM and flash memory are all soldered to the logic board. And the keyboard, battery, speakers, and Touch Bar are all secured with glue and/or rivits.

That why the repair company gave the 16-inch MacBook Pro a repairability score of 1 out 10, almost the lowest score possible.