2020 MacBook Air teardown reveals new keyboard and better repairability

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2020 macbook air
The guts of the 2020 MacBook Air on full display.
Photo: iFixit

The 2020 MacBook Air has been put under the knife by the folks at iFixit, revealing some subtle and important changes that make Apple’s thinnest laptop more repairable.

Headlining the list of changes is the new Magic Keyboard with scissor-switch keys. iFixit found that the new keys don’t need a silicone barrier to keep dust out like the previous generation. The butterfly keyboards were supposed to enable MacBooks to be thinner, however, iFixit says going back to old scissor switches only adds .5mm to the device’s thickness.

macbook-keyboard
No silicone barrier needed here!
Photo: iFixit

Opening up the 2020 MacBook Air revealed a few key differences from the 2018 model. There’s a larger heatsink over the processor. Speakers are now secured using screws instead of glue, and there’s a new cable configuration between the logic board and trackpad.

The new cable configuration means the trackpad can be removed as soon as you pop off the back cover. It also speeds up the process to remove the battery and lets the logic board stay in place.

“This is one of those happy (but all too rare) occasions where we can identify a hardware change from Apple that’s squarely aimed at improving serviceability in the existing design,” writes iFixit founder Kyle Wiens. “Sometimes they do listen!”

iFixit gave the 2020 MacBook Air a repairability score of 4 out of 10, one point higher than the 2018 model. Even though the keyboard is more reliable, it’s still integrated into the top case, forcing users to do a full teardown if they want to repair it. The SSD and RAM are still soldered onto the logic board too, so you won’t be able to upgrade those crucial components later.