Video Overview

Introduction

ICYMI, Apple’s having a midsummer’s nightmare:

  • June 22: Apple announced a free keyboard replacement program after mounting pressure from a class-action lawsuit over the faulty design of the butterfly keyboard in Macbook Pros.
  • July 12: Apple quietly discontinued the 2015 MacBook Pro after a three-year run—which means every laptop in their Pro lineup comes equipped with the controversial butterfly keyboard.
  • July 13: Apple launched the new MacBook Pro and carefully mentioned that its third-generation keyboard was re-engineered purely for quietude. We found a silicone membrane under each key cap, seemingly designed to prevent the ingress failures we keep hearing about. And then we found a patent to prove it—from 2016.
  • July 16: We teardown the MacBook Pro 15” Touch Bar 2018 and score it a 1.

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your MacBook Pro 15" Touch Bar 2018, use our service manual.

Final Thoughts
  • The trackpad can be replaced without removing the battery.
  • The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board. Repairs and upgrades will be impractical at best.
  • The top case assembly, which includes the keyboard, battery, and speakers, is firmly glued in place—making all those components hard to replace separately.
  • The Touch ID sensor doubles as the power switch, and is paired with the T2 chip on the logic board. Fixing a broken power switch may require help from Apple, or a new logic board.
Repairability Score
1
Repairability 1 out of 10
(10 is easiest to repair)

35 Comments

So.. where is the actual teardown? Or is it video only?

Zezhen Xu (XOD) - Reply

Hang tight it’s coming! And it will be very informative!

Dan -

Can’t wait to see it, very curious about new model.

Faberge Fabulous -

Dan, is the full write up for the 15” still coming?

ryanwgregg -

Then? Nothing?

dottorehouse -

I hope when you do the full teardown that you give us the model number of the screen as i’d like to research the specs of it.

sadi porter - Reply

IFIXIT won’t be tearing down the display assembly that would be pointless as its the same design for the last five years. The only thing different here is the TrueColor sensor built into the iSight camera logic board sitting next to the iSight camera at the top of the lid facing you.

Dan -

Dan - your statement is actually false. They updated the LCD on the 2016 USB-C/TB3 models to be 67% brighter than the previous generation, higher contrast ratio and a 25% wider color gamut that now includes P3 color space.

ryanwgregg -

Wondering if there is any way to improve its cooling system…

Salt Sugar - Reply

I believe a new high quality thermal paste will do a improve it a lot already

Stephen Law -

Yeah, apple applies trash thermo paste on their “pro” laptop. The thing is, with 2016’s new design, you have to take the whole logic board out to unscrew the heat sink(2012 model only needs to unscrew the heat sink). There are probably stickers somewhere, changing thermo paste would possibly affect your warranty.

Zezhen Xu (XOD) -

David Lee used his refrigerator’s ice box for his testing of the new i9 system! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx8J125s...) ;-}

While I’ll agree Apple’s choice of thermal paste is quite poor, I’m not sure if I would be so bold to re-paste it during the warranty period. Once the warranty had expired I think its worth the risk.

But the truth here is Apple messed up on the thermals big time on the i9 model (the testing done on by many shows this to be the case).

I’m not sure if the 6 core i7 is much better. I’ll need to spend sometime reviewing Intels tech literature to figure that out.

Dan -

I doubt thermal paste will help much, the cooling solution is essentially the same as in the 13”

Despite having a higher performance 45W CPU (vs 28W) and discrete AMD GPU (probably another 30-50W)

Vince Longman -

The cooling mechanism is to use a recessed sewing table as your computer desk. Get a cooling block from your camping cooler, put it in the recessed area of the table and place the laptop on top of the cooling block.

randyjackson1970 -

I think you should start thinking about a new kind of repairability score as systems will get increasingly integrated in the future, meaning even less repairability. That is simply the trend all companies are going, and the used scale is not representative for anything anymore.

Jonathan Schostak - Reply

I agree with Jonathan Schostak. Mabey add 0 and negative scores to the scale?

Mining15 -

How difficult is it to swap out the hard drive?

newkiddintowne - Reply

Impossibly difficult.

Faberge Fabulous -

Soldered flash chips - Not possible!

Dan -

Would you guys mind providing some high-res images of the motherboard, especially near the CPU area and on both sides? I’m quite interested in the VRM configuration.

Al2Me6 - Reply

definitely the VRMs need to be changed, because they are not delivering enough power to drive the CPU. This ist the case why the CPU on the i9 clocks down after 1 second when workload is applied. The CPU is not getting warm. but the VRMs are.

Pavitarpal Singhlitt -

A warranty void if removed sticker would be illegal. Hope Apple remembers this.

rockjapan - Reply

Dittoing the VRM comment, there’s been some interesting speculation that it’s the VRMs that are underspecced and overheating before the i9 does.

tipoo - Reply

Waiting for detailed teardown!

matiblaszczak - Reply

Waiting for detailed teardown!

YUHAN FENG - Reply

Waiting for the detailed teardown!

Sunjay Dhama - Reply

Is that any good way to open the back case? I stuck there.

zhpenn - Reply

Waiting for the detailed teardown!

孙景祖 - Reply

why all 15 inch models with touchbar don't have an detailed teardown???

haoyang - Reply

Still waiting

Lennart de Meij - Reply

Still waiting….

Andrew Subali - Reply

I hate to disappoint you all, but we have no plans for a written teardown—the video covers the highlights pretty well, and we did a deeper dive on the keyboard here (using the 13” model, but the keyboard is very similar on the 15”). Of course, we still have the 15” model and all its parts from the video—so if you have any specific questions, feel free to post them here and we might be able to answer them for you!

Jeff Suovanen - Reply

Can you make a photo of the motherboard in high resolution on both sides? Thanks.

Hardfan - Reply

Teardown! Teardown!

Ivan Zykov - Reply

It would be nice to have a guide on removing the motherboard. I’d like to replace thermal paste, but don’t want to remove stuff that I don’t need to remove to get the mobo out.

Philip Thrasher - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 357

Past 7 Days: 2,107

Past 30 Days: 9,712

All Time: 33,766