MacBook Air gets more re­pairable

Pull tabs and screws abound, but there are still some draw­backs

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

Ap­ple has made a num­ber of changes that make the MacBook Air eas­ier to fix

Ap­ple’s phones and com­put­ers are not ex­actly fa­mous for their

re­pairabil­ity. Open­ing up an Ap­ple de­vice and try­ing to re­pair it usu­ally in­volves un­usual screws, maze-like com­po­nent ar­range­ments and sol­dered-on parts.

But ac­cord­ing to re­pair ex­perts iFixit, at least some of that frus­tra­tion has been ad­dressed with the new MacBook Air. The com­pany says Ap­ple has made a num­ber of changes that make it much more re­pairable.

The first im­prove­ment is that the base of the MacBook Air is far eas­ier to re­move than on some re­cent MacBook and MacBook Pro de­vices. There are no hid­den clips or ca­bles that could be dam­aged if not care­ful; just a few screws to loosen, a bit of a pull and you’re in.

Next, the logic board can be re­moved by sim­ply un­screw­ing the Torx screws and re­mov­ing some cable con­nec­tors. “Not bad”, in the words of iFixit.

The new MacBook Air also fea­tures mod­u­lar com­po­nents, such as the Touch ID but­ton and the Thun­der­bolt 3 ports. This means th­ese com­po­nents can be in­di­vid­u­ally re­paired or re­placed with­out hav­ing to swap out the en­tire board that they sit on.

Fi­nally, the in­ter­nal bat­tery and speak­ers can be re­moved us­ing stretchy ad­he­sive tabs. While iFixit as­serts that re­us­able screws would be bet­ter, it also con­cedes that the tabs make re­mov­ing th­ese com­po­nents much eas­ier than had been the case on pre­vi­ous mod­els.

Fea­si­ble re­pairs

So re­plac­ing in­ter­nal parts your­self (if you’re so in­clined) should now be more fea­si­ble. Hope­fully, it could also mean re­pairs for the MacBook Air be­come more af­ford­able (at least from Ap­ple Au­tho­rised Ser­vice Providers, if not from Ap­ple it­self) as the re­pair process be­comes more straight­for­ward.

Still, the MacBook Air only re­ceived a re­pairabil­ity score of three out of 10 from iFixit. There are a few rea­sons for that.

The first is that the key­board is in­te­grated into the top case of the de­vice, mak­ing it hard to re­move. The Force Touch track­pad shares a cable with the key­board, which is then pinned un­der­neath the logic board.

Se­condly, the mem­ory and stor­age are sol­dered on to the logic board, mean­ing you can’t re­place them. That’s been the case for a while with Ap­ple de­vices, though, so it’s an un­sur­pris­ing dis­cov­ery – but you do need to make sure you choose the right amount when buy­ing.

At least Ap­ple seems to be mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion as far as re­pairabil­ity is con­cerned.

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