Apple has made battery replacements much simpler in the new MacBook Air with a Retina display, compared with earlier MacBook and MacBook Pro models.
On older models with Retina displays, replacing a battery meant swapping out the whole top case where the battery is glued in. It also required replacing the keyboard and trackpad.
But on the new MacBook Air the battery can be replaced individually. Apple details the easier battery replacement in its Service Readiness Guide for the new MacBook Air, which MacRumors obtained.
Repairs and teardown specialist iFixit found battery replacement on the MacBook Pro 13in Touchbar extremely difficult, but notes in its new teardown of the MacBook Air with Retina that replacements are “less nightmarish” due to “four screws and six friendly pull-to-remove adhesive strips” securing the power pack.
The battery is still fastened as per iFixit’s description and sits within the enclosure housing the keyboard and trackpad.
However, now Apple’s Genius Bar employees and authorized service providers will have tools to remove and replace the battery without replacing the whole top case.
It won’t translate into lower replacement costs for consumers, but it might save Apple money and is better for the environment.
After the new battery is installed, it needs to be placed in Apple’s iPhone display press tool for fastening new batteries into iPhones with glue strips.
Additionally, the trackpad on the MacBook Air can be individually replaced, according to Apple’s service guide.
According to iFixit, the Air’s trackpad shares a cable with the keyboard, which is pinned under the logic board. The logic board needs to be removed before fixing the trackpad.
Despite easier battery replacement, overall iFixit gave the new MacBook Air a repairability score of just three out of 10. And it wasn’t particularly impressed with how the battery is fastened in.
“The battery is secured with a combination of screws and repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive — but you’ll have to remove the logic board and speakers for access,” it notes.
Also the keyboard is built into the top case, and the MacBook Air has soldered, non-serviceable, non-upgradeable storage and RAM.
Still, it was an improvement on the one out of 10 repairability score that iFixit gave to the MacBook Pro 13in Touchbar.
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