Apple hardware is notorious for being difficult to repair and the company’s latest addition, the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, is no exception as the team over at iFixit recently discovered.
In its teardown of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, iFixit had little trouble getting into the notebook and even removing the trackpad. Moving past the twin heatpipe cooler, the mainboard reveals that both flash storage and RAM is soldered in place meaning you’re stuck with the configuration you initially purchase.
This is the first MacBook to ship with a Touch ID fingerprint reader (located just above the Delete key and to the right of the Touch Bar). It's coated in sapphire crystal which, while a boon for security (the sensor, not the sapphire), is a pain to replace as it is linked to a chip on the motherboard. Replacing it could require help from Apple or even a new logic board.
Elsewhere, the teardown specialists found that the MacBook Pro’s speaker grills on either side of the keyboard are largely cosmetic.
Gimmicky or not, the real star of the show is the Touch Bar and as you may have guessed, it’s not exactly easy to get to or remove. In fact, after breaking out (no pun intended) the iOpener heat tool, the team accidentally broke the Touch Bar as the digitizer separated from the display while trying to remove it. These guys are pros and if they couldn’t get it out with damaging it, odds are you won’t be able to either.
All things considered, iFixit awards the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar a paltry repairability score of one out of 10 (the higher the number, the easier it is to repair). Apple’s latest earned red marks for its proprietary pentalobe screws, a battery that’s solidly glued in place, the fact that the processor, RAM and memory are all soldered to the logic board, the difficult-to-replace-without-breaking Touch Bar and a Touch ID sensor that doubles as the power button.
On the bright side, one can remove the trackpad without first removing the battery.
Images courtesy iFixit