Video Overview


At their March 9 keynote, Apple sprung four new MacBooks on us. As always, we had to get our paws on the revised MacBook Pro.

On the outside, the MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Early 2015 looks a lot like its older sibling; it includes the same Retina display and aluminum unibody construction. But with a newfangled Force Touch trackpad and Intel's latest Broadwell-U processors, this MacBook promises to be a whole new animal. Join us as we dive into the belly of this beast!

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Be sure to check out our in-depth video analysis of the Force Touch trackpad!

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Early 2015, use our service manual.

  1. Behold, the new Retina!  We've done this dance before with Apple's 13-inch professional laptop, but something's changed. Oooh that trackpad!
    • Behold, the new Retina! We've done this dance before with Apple's 13-inch professional laptop, but something's changed. Oooh that trackpad!

    • Let's see what technical marvels this magic box has to offer:

      • 13.3-inch, 2560-by-1600 pixel (227 ppi) Retina display

      • 2.7 or 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Optional 3.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor available)

      • 8 GB or 16 GB of 1866 MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory

      • 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB flash storage

      • Intel Iris Graphics 6100

      • Thunderbolt 2, USB 3.0, and full size HDMI I/O

    its configurable up to a 3.1GHz dual core i7. The i5 can turbo to 3.3GHz, but thats it :P

    Boruch Rappaport - Reply

    if you look at benchmarks, youll find the i7 isnt that much stronger than the 2.7 i5, so for most people it isnt really worth getting. (think about the added heat as well)

    bcredeur97 -

    Hey Guys, ready to do the 15" macbook pro from 2015?

    mcrugg - Reply

  2. A quick look at the bottom panel reveals no surprises—this machine shares the A1502 designation with the late 2013 Macbook Pro.
    • A quick look at the bottom panel reveals no surprises—this machine shares the A1502 designation with the late 2013 Macbook Pro.

    • Let's take a peek at the ports:

      • On the right side, this MacBook is equipped with an SDXC card slot, HDMI port, and a USB 3 port.

      • To the left (to the left), we have a MagSafe 2 port, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, another USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack, and dual microphones (plus everything we own, in a box).

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    • Let the reveal commence. Drumroll, please!

    • It looks like this MacBook Pro inherited the single fan gene from its predecessor... among other things.

    • Actually, the only immediate difference we note is the trackpad cable, newly slung over the top of the battery. Other than that, it's very similar to the Late 2013 version (last image).

    • We'll have to cut a bit deeper to get to the good stuff.

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    • Is Apple actually beckoning us in? The warning text on the battery that we've seen in the MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Late 2013 Teardown (center) has disappeared. Well then, let's dig in!

      • Okay, maybe just relocated... But spoilers! We're not removing the battery just yet.

    • The mystery of the Force Touch trackpad unfolds layer by layer as we first remove its cable.

    • Apple leaves us with enticing instructions for this trackpad: "Press a little deeper, do a lot more." Okay, Apple, if you insist!

    This trackpad cable is proving to be the last straw for me. Not a month off warranty, the keyboard and trackpad on my MBP stopped responding and replacing this poorly-located cable was the only fix. Three months later, I'm having the same problem, albeit intermittently, and I'm probably going to have to replace it yet again. It's not acceptable that this fancy product is sold as a pro-level machine. Frankly, Apple's new engineering ethos is an embarrassment and an insult to the industry, and yet when I look into the competition, I see much the same: fancy products designed to last just beyond the standard warranty. And don't get me started on port adapters. Such a shame.

    mapercortesia - Reply

    To any of you possibly reading this and in any way invested in this cable issue, I did indeed replace the cable back in August (2016) and the machine worked properly until this last week of December (2016) when the problem returned. I'll either have to replace it yet again or move on to a new machine.

    mapercortesia -

    Thanks for providing me another incidence of this cable being the culprit in what seems to be a frequently reported bug on this particular model of the MacBook pro.

    dramitkrsharma -

    I'm having the same intermittent trackpad and keyboard issue for the last few weeks. I've narrowed it down to the cable based on feedback from people like yourself and would love to know where you procured your replacement cable from (and the part number if you happen to know it).

    dramitkrsharma - Reply

    Hello! I ordered the IPD Trackpad Flex Cable (Item CMP-5726-UTW0) from Command Mac Parts.

    mapercortesia -

    Last update for anyone affected by this issue: this is fundamentally a design flaw. Temperature fluctuations cause the extremely small points of contact between each end of the cable and its respective connector to disengage. Unless the cable itself is truly kaput, reseating it often resolves the problem, but only temporarily. Allowing the machine to adjust to room temperature (after carrying it around outside in colder weather, for example) may also get the keyboard and trackpad working again. Tapping on the case beneath the spacebar, at the base of the trackpad or underneath the trackpad can also get the components working properly. But, again, this is not a permanent solution. I'm not sure if there is a permanent solution. And since carrying an external keyboard and mouse around with me is preposterous (imagine someone sitting in a cafè with a keyboard on their keyboard), I'm not going to deal with this anymore. It will be a long time before I consider purchasing another Apple product.

    mapercortesia - Reply

    • Operation: Battery Extraction is underway! Since we've seen retinas before, we've got a bit of an eye-dea how to proceed, but you aren't going to hear it since the speakers are out next.

    • Where once there were four screws holding the battery frame in place (perhaps superfluously, with all of the adhesive used), there are now four rubber stoppers.

      • The previous gen's adhesive seemed plenty strong—so, is Apple poofing away these screws because they weren't ever needed, or because they aren't needed now? Perhaps a stronger adhesive made these screws unnecessary? We shudder at the thought.

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    • If it's a battle you want, Apple, it's a battle you'll get. As the old Klingon proverb says, today is a good day to die trying to unseat a battery.

    • Armed with our trusted tools, iOpener and plastic card, we begin heating and prying the battery, taking care not to puncture anything with "potential for fire or burning."

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    • These components are putting up an orchestrated effort to avoid our eyes. We use our plastic opening tool to nudge the trackpad control board out of our way, but not remove it...

    • Apple decided to solder the largest cables onto the trackpad board, meaning we'll have to just flip it out of the way for now. Y U NO ZIF, Apple?

    • The new trackpad board has some interesting ICs:

      • ST Microelectronics 32F103 ARM Cortex-M based microcontroller

      • Broadcom BCM5976 touch screen controller


    孟令涛 - Reply

  3. Spread Fixmas Cheer
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    • Arrrgh. We begin the arduous process of carding this underaged battery for substance abuse. In our view, adhesive should be a controlled substance, and only used responsibly.

    • The central cells seem tougher to remove than in in years gone by. Maybe we're just weaker.

    • Peeling back the battery reveals... gunk. Either Apple doesn't think you need to replace this battery, or someone accidentally dipped it in tar.

    Tar video is unavailable :(

    No Reply - Reply

    Tar video is gone :(

    No Reply - Reply

    • We performed a battery of procedures in order to remove this 74.9-watt-hour array of lithium-polymer cells.

    • Apple claims that this new 11.42 V, 74.9 Whr battery provides up to 10 hours of web browsing and up to 12 hours of video playback.

      • For the Late 2013 model, we got 71.8 Whr—so we're up a whole 4% capacity, for an extra 11% runtime. We're gonna chalk the rest of the boost up to the Broadwell architecture's efficiency gains.

      • The Dell XPS 13, however, manages an HD screen and an (alleged) 11 hours of run time on a 52 Wh battery.

    • This familiar Retina denizen, the Texas Instruments BQ20Z451 Gas Gauge IC, measures battery life.

      • This IC should be similar to the older BQ20Z45, or its replacement, the BQ20Z45-R1.

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    • Here it is, folks—the all-new Force Touch trackpad. To put it to the test, we bring in our littlest employee, Gus the Ewok Cavapoo, to investigate.

      • Thusfar, Gus is unimpressed. (Maybe he's not pressing hard enough?)

    • You can't judge a trackpad by its cover, so we remove the 10 screws securing it.

      • We're trying not to judge it; at least it's not adhesive. But the sight of 10 more screws in the trackpad underneath the cover makes us groan. Just how much force is in this trackpad?

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    • The Force is with us. Well, the Force Touch trackpad that is.

    • Hinted at as far back as 2007, we finally have our hands on the Taptic Engine, which provides the haptic feedback for the Force Touch.

      • Confused? Let's break these ridiculous rhymes down. Haptic feedback is just a fancy way of saying that the trackpad will use vibration and pressure to let you know what's happening. "Taptic Engine" is Apple's term for the underlying electromagnet that makes it shake, rattle, and roll.

      • Tl;dr: Rumble Pak.

    Any chance this is compatible with an older 13" rMBP or 15" rMBP?

    Shrivatsa Somany - Reply

    Does the force touch track pad fit into a 2013 MBP?

    jantheiss - Reply

    • At their event on Monday, Apple showed us some incredible renders of the new MacBook's cutting-edge Force Touch trackpad.

    • We were expecting the MacBook Pro to receive the same trackpad—but this looks somewhat different, with a full lower panel and four springy mounts.

      • Not that we're criticizing—there's certainly a big difference between retrofitting technology into an existing laptop like the MacBook Pro, and a ground-up design like the MacBook. But we'll be excitedly looking for the differences when we get our hands on the MacBook.

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    • Let's take a gander under the hood of the Taptic Engine, shall we?

    • The rubber we hoped to simply cut open needed to be cut away chunk by chunk.

    • Finally, the coils are free! Well, bare at least.

    • Force Touch looks to be a clever application of a technology that dates back a ways—the year 1824, to be exact.

      • Made of wire coils surrounding a ferromagnetic core, the electromagnet in the Force Touch Trackpad is used to create the vibrational feedback you feel.

    • We're guessing that the four separate coils here are used to vary the feedback given to the user. Turning different sets of the four coils on and off varies the strength and direction of the vibration, and how it feels to your finger.

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    • Let's continue unraveling the secrets of the trackpad, starting with the coils—we were hoping to find some evidence of linear oscillators in the taptic engine, but it looks like it's just a series of electromagnets.

    • The magnets rapidly push and pull against a metal rail mounted beneath the trackpad, to create a tiny "buzz" of feedback with each click (and a second buzz for a "force click").

    • So that explains the buzzing, but what about the sensing?

    • A patent issued last year hints that the Force Touch might utilize strain gauges to measure pressure on its surface.

      • We're going to just have to crack this bad boy the rest of the way open to see if that's the case.

    I'll give you big kudos if you can wind that coil back up and have it work again.

    cityzen - Reply

    Patent applications related to that trackpad were published in the end of 2013, under an unknown applicant name: Yknots Industries LLC, in Delaware... See for example,, among others. Once those worldwide patent applications enter in national phases (such as US), they become assigned to Apple Inc.

    Does Apple create fake company entities to conceal its published patent applications?

    Doc Godo - Reply

    • Removing the trackpad from the bracket requires slicing through four pads of glue.

    • With the pad splayed open, we get our first look at the pressure sensors.

      • And popping the sensor bracket under a microscope, we get a second, closer look.

    • Based on the wiggly pattern of traces stuck to the metal tabs, we're pretty sure the magic pressure sensors in the new Force Touch trackpad are tiny strain gauges. Mounted on flexing metal supports, they detect the amount of flex on each—and based on that, the force from above.

    • This works in conjunction with the traditional capacitive touchpad up top, to pinpoint where you're applying force.

    • Be sure to check out our in-depth video analysis of the Force Touch trackpad!

    Add Comment

    • This looks familiar... The all-new and twice-as-fast flash memory has the exact same ICs as the one found in our recent teardown of the MacBook Air 13":

      • Samsung S4LN058A01 PCIe 3.0 x4 AHCI flash controller

      • Samsung K4E4E324ED 512 MB LPDDR3 DRAM

      • 8 x Samsung K9LDGY8S1D-XCK0 16 GB flash storage (128 GB total)

    • Just like its MacBook Air brother, this SSD benchmarks at significantly faster speeds than the previous generation.

    So will I be able to order their proprietary SSD from Apple and then be able to upgrade? Will they (Apple) do the upgrade for a charge (albeit a very steep charge)? Say 128 to 512? Surely third parties will as well once warranty goes out on the model..

    chrisdublynn - Reply

    I would wait at the moment. There is one website that sell the SSD but at a ludicrous price. You can check eBay for the drive, but make sure it's for your apple macbook pro.

    Mit Amin -

    • This MacBook loses its cool, and moments later the logic board flips out.

    • Not to worry—we've got this under control. Apart from that metastasizing blob of thermal paste, this looks like our old friend from teardowns of yore: same form factor, same removal procedure.

    Why is the thermal pipe not touching the GPU die?

    Jack - Reply

    The thermal pipe contact surface does cover the combined CPU+GPU die completely, so no problem there (though it looks like there's an awful lot of thermal paste on iFixits device...).

    The part I think you're looking at (clean with no thermal paste and too far from the thermal pipe contact surface to be covered by it) is the PCH die, which apparently doesn't put off enough heat to matter.

    Speculating, if they HAD extended the thermal pipe contact surface to the PCH, it would almost certainly have transferred some of the heat coming off the CPU+GPU die over to the PCH, which in addition to being counterproductive, might be something the PCH can't handle :)

    Steve -

    • We forgot our IC decoder ring, but no matter—a lot of these chips look very familiar:

      • Intel SR26K Dual-Core i5-5257U Processor with Intel Iris Graphics 6100


      • Cirrus 4208-CRZ Two-Channel Low Power HD Audio Codec

      • Intel DSL5520 Thunderbolt 2 Controller

      • Texas Instruments TI 58872D

      • 2 x Fairchild Semiconductor DE46SY

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    • More familiar friends! These are the ICs that bespangle the back of the lobo:

    Add Comment

    • The I/O board looks unchanged, but what about the onboard chips? Looks like some of them have swapped sides:

      • Parade Technology PS8401A HDMI Jitter Cleaning Repeater

      • Genesys Logic GL3219 SDXC Card Reader Controller

      • NXP Semiconductors PCA9501 8-bit I/O Expander with an On-Board 2-kbit EEPROM

    Has apple really not changed to the now 4 year old SD4.0 standard for SDXCcards? this is a 5 year old part yes? Max throughput 104MB/s?

    jimmyjimjim - Reply

    • MacBook Pro with Retina Display 13" Early 2015 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • Proprietary pentalobe screws continue to make opening the device unnecessarily difficult.

    • The battery assembly is entirely, and very solidly, glued into the case, thus complicating replacement. Additionally, the battery covers the screws holding the trackpad in place, meaning it's impossible to replace the trackpad without first removing the battery.

    • The Retina display is a fused unit with no separate, protective glass. If anything ever fails inside the display, the entire ($$$) assembly will need to be replaced.

    • The RAM is soldered to the logic board. Pay for the upgrade now, or be stuck with 8 GB forever. There is no chance of upgrade.

    • The proprietary PCIe SSD still isn't a standard drive. Cross your fingers for future compatible drives; for now, you're stuck with what you've got.

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How are the SSDs propriotery? They are just a M.2 SSD available in most places! The Samsung ones are just harder to get.

theodorlas - Reply

They appear to be M.2 but they aren't. If you look closely to the connector you can spot some differences.

Andre Fonseca -

It's the same as in the old Macbook Retina. A Proprietary connector, it's a modified SATA3 connector. Every macbook aberration has even its own form factor. So upgradability will be not possible that easy.

ydar -

I would edit the part "Pay for the upgrade now, or be stuck with 8 GB forever. There is no chance of upgrade."

It should rather say "There is no chance of upgrade FOR THE ORDINARY PEOPLE OUT THERE."

I don't know how skilled at soldering technicians you have in the US, but from where I come from (Czech Republic), I work with a guy who can do wonders, and that includes upgrading, usually the 2012 15" Retina Macbooks Pro from 8GB Ram to 16GB ram.

And if there's something this guy can't do, then he has his Polish friends who can resurrect computers that 99.9% technicians out there would consider unrepairable, dead, useless weight.

I wish I had their skills. I guess there's a long way ahead of me

Marhowl - Reply

The 2012 15 inch macbook pro is upgradable to 16GB by anyone with a phillips screwdriver. Sorry, not that impressive.

Anthony Ourada -

Actually he is correct. The 2012 15" retina has the RAM soldered to the board. The 2012 15" without the retina display does have removable RAM chips. So yes upgrading the 2012 Retina does take some pretty good soldering skills. Here is an image of the 2012 15" Retina motherboard

gverrault -

I think the PCIe 3.0 SSD is not a good reason to give this a 1 score. First off, it's smaller. And then it's super fast, has less protocol overhead and can virtually be upgraded with any future PCIe compatible SSD provided Apple builds the support required inside OS X.

brokenthorn - Reply

Noooooooop. This is not a standard M.2 SSD. It's got a proprietary connector.

mikeswelch -

I'd like a comparison with the old trackpad to see how it compares. Check overall volume,part volume, part location, height of system and parts, all weights... Maybe edge sealing around the pad...

The point being that I want to know how much does this actually gain or loose. That new Lenovo is about 15% lighter when compared to the new macbook so I'm curious where the weight is coming from.

fastm3driver - Reply

This means if I have a mid-2014 13" Retina and I buy a new 2015 13" Retina I can't swap the SSD? I was hoping I could, I have a 1TB model now, I'd like to move my SSD into a new 13" Retina.

KarmicJustice - Reply

you may actually be able to... no word on it yet however

bcredeur97 -

Does the Force Touch trackpad have the same connection and mounts as the old Macbook Pro trackpad? Thinking about retrofits here.

xcorlett - Reply

Great teardown as usual. "Proprietary" was the beginning of the end for IBM - anybody remember the PS2? Apple is getting cocky and not caring about its customer base the way Microsoft did in the 90s - which led to its irrelevancy of today. Not letting your customers upgrade their SSD down the road is simply cruel, like a doctor telling a patient s/he will only get one battery for the pacemaker. It will come back to bite Apple, as history has proven many times. Anybody remember Apple being close to bankruptcy in the late nineties?

TonyInMontreal - Reply

yep and lets not even mention the terrible quality of the iPhone 6 and 6+, they are either out of touch or simply dont care

Roger -

Any chance you can retrofit the force track pad to a late 2013 retina macbook pro?

huecobros - Reply

do you want to be the first to try it? xD

bcredeur97 -

Hi guys, I have a 128 GB Macbook Retina Early 2015. I would like to have a 500 GB SSD. Is this possible without the warranty going void?

siva - Reply

hi guys.. wishes from abu dhabi

i have macbook pro retina 13" late 2012.. is it possible to upgrade its ssd ?

Sulaiman Nissar - Reply

I did it on a MacBookPro Early 2011, be sure of compatibility.

Riccardo Mereu -

I knew when Steve Jobs died that Apple would not be able to carry on satisfying customers. It only took a couple of generations of the Macbook to alienate the customer. The many changes are not for us, they're for Apple. Old trick - planned obsolescence. If you cannot upgrade the device you have to buy a new one sooner. Great for Apple - bad for customer. But wait, what if customer no longer buys them? I refuse to buy any computer that I cannot upgrade. And I know I'm not the only one. History is repeating itself. No Jobs = bad decisions at Apple. Sell your stock boys, this time he ain't commin' back!

Cave Dave - Reply

Sorry to break it to you but Steve Jobs was the one who first decided Apple should take the closed system approach way back in the 1980's with the introduction of the Macintosh, he wasn't quite the hero of the company he appears.

Ben -

What do you exactly need 1 Tb of internal storage for? I have a 128 Gb model and a removable 1 Tb external solid state drive that was £50. Im studying for a masters in mechanical engineering here in England and the macbook is perfect. Its solid as a brick, reliable and stable. Compared to the surface book its cheap.

I have a monster gaming rig the size of a fridge for home use.

Its a tool, you don't perform surgery with a sledgehammer. I would recommend the pro to anyone. Apart from gamers.

Steve - Reply

Where did you get a 1TB external SSD for £50?

aldrinjtauro -

Lol, I paid £150 for an external thunderbolt drive. 1TB HDD. Theres no way you managed to pull an SSD for that price.

AdamA -

I'm planning tobuy retina macbook pro 2015 13inch


1.Whether ram is soldered or ram upgradable

2. Many people facing problems strains on retina display

3. We can manuallu updgrade ssd in this model

4. whehter it is best for CATIA,ANSYS,SOLID WORKS working environment

chidella jayachand - Reply

If you are doing advanced video editing then even then the 13" is good. I use Adobe Audition and Adobe After Effects with it and it doesn't lag. But the 15" has a dedicated graphics card, that might be better for you if you do 3D modelling as it is more powerful. It is also quad core as opposed to dual core.

AdamA -

OMG was I the only one who loved hearing her say the names of all the components? haha! Great tear down guys!

Daniel Scott - Reply

Hi, where is the reed switch/hall sensor that let the macbook goes in stop mode when you close the lid?

Nagus - Reply

I really wish you guys had taken off the keyboard backing to show that it is now held in place by rivets, not screws. Wasted 3 hours getting it apart, realizing I couldn't replace the keyboard then putting it back together still broken. Not angry at iFixit. !#^&@@ off at Apple for this blatant disregard to repair-ability.

jerbil24 - Reply

Hello, I would like to know if it is possible to remove the motherboard without removing the heatsink. Can anyone help me?

Riccardo Mereu - Reply

Even though the battery is a monster to remove is replacement plausible?

RikoTiko - Reply

Hey RikoTiko! Lucky for you we created a product for replacing Retina batteries with adhesive remover, making this job way easier! We have the adhesive remover kit here, and a battery replacement kit here, for use with this guide. Since this requires such a specialized solution, the repairability score still stands, despite being plausible. =)

Sam Lionheart -

Well, now I understand (yea, right!) why you guys make the big bucks right out of puberty. So, here’s my question: To begin with, it is now April 2018 and I’m asking about a 2015, 13” 2.9, I5 Retina MB Pro with the 6100 graphics that’s going bad (which should really inspire another blog altogether about why the !&&* Adderrall wasn’t available in the 80s when I clearly needed it), and therefore i’ve been offered this otherwise perfect condition laptop for a song. So, how much will this repair cost, and is there someone in the Washington, D.C. area capable of performing same while I wait, hopefully without being bent over toooo far? Only a day or two to decide … HEEELP!!


Phil - Reply

Is the processor soldered to the system board in this model??

SAR - Reply

could i upgrade my MacBook pro 13” early 2015 from 8 ram to 16 ??

Abdullah Alnaqbi9 - Reply

Is there a Processor Upgrade i can Get?? And how do i replace it?? Is it Soldered on??

The i5 is not enough for me!

preston.douglas3 - Reply

To you and @yourtechy: you can’t upgrade, it’s soldered straight to the board. That’s the norm with laptops unfortunately!

Jeff Suovanen -

Do we have to replace keyboard and trackpad also only to replace the battery?Because my battery has failed.

Chaitanya Pohnerkar - Reply

I have 2015 model a1502 macbooc pro, retina and hard drive crashed. Can I fix myself? Local applestore is almost asking half price of macbook. What SSD can fit this model.

Greg - Reply

@gogababa I think this is the guide you’re looking for. It includes a link to some compatible parts. They are pricey, but far less than half the retail cost of the machine.

Jeff Suovanen -

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