MacBook Air gets more repairable
Pull tabs and screws abound, but there are still some drawbacks
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.
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.