iFixit gives latest Apple MacBook Pro laptops lowest repairability score after teardown

In a surprise to no one, Apple continues to make its notebooks difficult to fix and upgrade.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

The website iFixit has made a cottage industry out of tearing apart the latest electronics and determining just how easy they are to put back together, whether to simulate repairing a device or upgrading it with new components. Anyone who's owned a recent Apple product knows how difficult it is to repair it when it's broke, and iFixit's teardown confirm this again and again (though not in every case).

So it should come as no surprise that the MacBook Pro laptops have not fared well in past iFixit teardowns. It probably also won't shock you that the latest models, 13-inch and 15-inch notebooks with Retina displays, fare even worse. On the site's 1-to-10 scale of ease of repairability, the new Mac Book Pro models receive a 1, meaning they are as difficult to fix as anything iFixit has gotten its hands on.

That's thanks to Apple's usual combination of proprietary parts and its decision to solder or glue components directly to the chassis or logic board. For example, the MacBook Pro's battery is now glued into the case, making it much, much harder for iFixit to extract. Worse, the trackpad cable is covered by the battery, which means it could be damaged if you attempt to remove the battery. The laptop's RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so it's not user-replaceable -- whatever memory comes with the system when you purchase it, that's what you're stuck with.

Apple has changed its solid-state drive technology, using new SSDs that are PCIe-based and offer up to 1TB of storage. However, iFixit points out that the drives are still not a standard 2.5-inch format, making swapping them out an unlikely option. The tinkerers were able to remove some cables easily, at least, such as the speaker wires and the MagSafe 2 cable.

Fanboys will be quick to point out that many Apple customers have no interest in ever opening up their Mac laptops, so the ability for a non-Apple "Genius" to repair or upgrade them is mostly a moot point. Detractors will point out that the inability for all but the hardiest (and handiest) computer geeks to get inside the new MacBook Pro machines has left people more dependent on Apple to repair their ailing systems.

You can read iFixit's full teardown analysis on the 13-inch MacBook Pro here and the 15-inch version here. Does the difficulty to repair and upgrade the new MacBook Pros make you less interested in buying one? Let us know in the Talkback section below. 

[Image: iFixit]

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