New Apple MacBook ties for worst repairability score ever

“It’s no secret Apple doesn’t give a fig for do-it-yourself device repair, but some of its laptops, iPhones, and tablets have been friendlier than others,” Joel Hruska writes for ExtremeTech. “The new MacBook, it turns out, is decidedly on the unfriendly end of that scale. The iFixit team has published its exhaustive step-by-step teardown of the MacBook, and declared (with near-visible frustration), ‘It’s like they took note of iFixit’s repairability scale, and actually tried to hit zero.'”

“The step-by-step teardown isn’t without positives — iFixit calls the motherboard / logic board ‘lovely,’ and Apple’s hardware designers have done a masterful job of squeezing equipment into the tiny chassis — but all that squeezing comes at a high cost,” Hruska writes. “Combine all the glue, solder, fused display, and the incredibly difficult-to-replace USB-C connector, and the new MacBook is nearly impossible to service. And as with other recent Macs, there’s not even a RAM upgrade option.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The new Apple MacBook ties for worst repairability score ever – as it should and, as its design dictates, must. Anyone expecting the new MacBook to be in any way user-servicable simply doesn’t understand the MacBook or its target users.

48 Comments

    1. Except that’s not how it plays out. Some precision machines are designed with maintenance and upgradeability in mind. Apple offers neither on the new MacBook. The experts at the Genius Bar will tell you that they can’t repair it at all, so your broken MacBook will go to a landfill and you will have to buy a replacement. It’s not like Apple made this thing indestructable, it’s just not repairable at all.

      1. Uh no, it doesn’t go into a landfill. Stick to your Dell Mike, and you’ll have no trouble tearing into it. And you WILL be tearing into it.

      2. But this MacBook clearly isn’t one of those precision machines you mention. It’s a micro computer, containing a motherboard with EVERYTHING on it, batteries, the screen and the case.

        If you want a laptop you can open up and repair yourself, HP, Dell and the like sell loads, just make sure you hit the gym as you’ll be carrying around a hulk of a computer.

      3. I agree, Mike..and I get inside my macs to fix them quite a bit and have been doing so for 15+ years. Apple is slowly moving to the disposable model as opposed to the longer-haul designs that were their hallmark in days past. I fear that Apple has finally bought into the replacement cycle revenue.

  1. The entire logic board on the new Macbook is tiny full of components custom designed by Apple to be as small as possible. Who in their right might would ever expect to service such a machine themselves? What are they going to do, build their own custom mini SSD and solder it in?

    1. I haven’t looked at it, but I would assume that its one layer of devices. Should be as simple as removing the bottom cover and a few screws to pop everything out. No reason to make it anymore difficult!

  2. Thats a shame! As its the thinnest it should be removing the bottom cover and easily have access to everything. No reason for Apple to make it purposely so difficult! As a power user and Apple Self Servicer this irritates me as Apple is moving in reverse and moving to proprietary again!

      1. Back in the old days of PowerBooks, the user could replace a worn out battery, add RAM, upgrade GPU, upgrade CPU, and upsize the hard drive/SDD, and sometimes add PCI cards to increase functionality. I have also replaced broken keyboards.

        One can’t do anything to improve or repair the 2015 MacBook — by design, it is a very expensive disposable netbook.

        1. If you bring an iPad to Apple for repair, they don’t. They take it, clone your data to a refurb unit and send that to you. I’d say that was their plan across the board.

          I have a 2009 MBP that I’ve brought up to 8GB memory and a 1TB hard drive. Apple still makes this basic computer as the non-retina MBP, but it weighs 4.5 lbs and is a whole inch thick. So old, so heavy, so thick. Can’t justify changing.

  3. ifixit is the only one who cares. With every new release, they waste money tearing it apart and complaining how hard it will be to fix it. This has been going on for years. They should find a new line of work.

    1. Total cost of ownership is an issue. Being able to repair and keep a Mac running for years has been one of its reasons it’s worth the premium prices. If it can’t be repaired it will have no resell value. People learn to fix things by practicing on old models. I do understand that by creating very thin devices something has to be sacrificed. Just don’t be so blind to the value of having something you can keep for a long time instead of just throw away.

    1. I don’t think you’ve put a lot of thought into your statement. Is something “new tech” because it is not designed to be modifiable or fixable? Planned obsolescence and less power for the user? Buyers are consumers; take what you’re given; sit down, shut up, and obey? You can see how the mindset develops.

  4. Only thing that I wonder about is self install of RAM upgrades. Everything else is best left to trained professionals. As well, I can honestly say that I have had zero issues with hardware anyway, other then a dead hard drive on an older iMac that I had the tech fix. I do not need to be able to access the guts of my other appliances, the computer should be no different. If you still get a chubby poking around inside one, there are other directions you can pursue. And I am speaking as one who has poked around inside a PC, with a soldering iron even.

      1. Or, a month before AppleCare expires, you accidentally knock your TiBook off a desk, it hits the floor almost inverted (and open), and one of the hinges snaps.

        1. Ugly — depends on the case you choose. I like the BitPhenix cases, myself.

          Requires a lot of electricity — well, no more than the usual for whatever configuration you like. There are quite a few low-power motherboards out there.

          Heavy — see the above.

          In short, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Hackintoshes are a pretty diverse lot.

          See tonymacx86.com

  5. This macbook has none of the moving parts components that users have frequently needed to replaced like fans, HDs and removable exploding batteries that lose their ability to hold a charge in 1 year. The new battery formulation does not lose capacity that quickly. How did this article fail to mention whether or not I can swap out the SSD drive? this is really all I care about to be able to recommend this machine to my clients.

  6. More electronics from Apple with an accelerated trip to the landfill.
    Why do you think Apple takes on all those “green” initiatives? Because they are anything but green and want to hide it.

    1. Make up your mind, are you George or are you Mike?

      Sure, Apple spent years reworking their designs until almost 100% of the total material content is recyclable, so they can dump them in the landfill.

      You’re just phoning it in any more. Time to give it a rest.

    2. Some of those initiatives are political smokescreens, for sure. Al Gore, for instance, is probably one the largest liars on the face of the planet. Check out his math skills sometime and his personal behavior. Is the planet’s core really millions of degrees F? How many mansions does he air condition? And he gets to all those global warming conferences by private jet, right? What a laughable hypocrite.

      Then you have Lisa Jackson, who left the federal government just as Congress was discovering her private email accounts used for government purposes (hiding them from the public). What value does she really bring? Well, she’s female and she made it look like Apple look like they cared.

      I don’t doubt that Apple has made progress here, actually, but some stuff is and has been done for show.

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