Apple haters love to point to iFixit's teardowns of its recent products as a sign of the company's consumer unfriendliness. For instance, the site just failed the new MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display on its repairability, scoring it a mere 2 out of 10. Conspiracy theories abound that Apple makes it difficult to repair and upgrade its products in order to make consumers buy new models instead of trying to fix their existing ones.
They'll have to hold their tongues about the new Mac Mini, however. According to iFixit's teardown of the tiny computer, Apple has actually made a device that is surprisingly easy to repair and upgrade. In fact, it gives the Mac Mini circa 2012 an 8 out of 10 on its repairability scale.
How did that happen? For starters, Apple makes it simple to open up the Mac Mini: just twist off the disc-shaped back panel to access its components. It also makes it easy to upgrade the system's RAM, as it uses PC3-12800 DDR3 RAM; in comparison, the new MacBook Pro has its RAM soldered to the logic board, meaning there's no option to replace or upgrade.
iFixit also gives Apple props for an easily repairable power supply, and it was successful in installing its own $69.95 Mac Mini Dual Hard Drive Kit without hiccups. The new Mac Mini lacks some of the other bugaboos that have made other recent Apple products difficult to upgrade and repair, like proprietary screws and numerous parts that are glued together.
Not everything is perfect, however. One part that is soldered on is the CPU, so you can't really replace it with a new processor in the future. And even if it's not hard to replace the power supply, you have to excavate it from a mountain of parts first. Still, I have a feeling the Mac Mini will easily top the score for the new iMac, whenever iFixit gets around to tearing that down.