Video Overview

Introduction

Apple describes its new Retina MacBook as "the future of the notebook." Its all-new design certainly has us intrigued. The whiff of aluminum in the air and the whisper of screws unwinding to reveal the mysteries within can only mean one thing: The teardown has begun. Join us as we expertly dismantle the Retina MacBook 2015.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Retina MacBook 2015, use our service manual.

Since it was announced on March 9th, we've been eager to get our hands on the sleek new MacBook.  Before we tear inside this beauty, we take a glance at its specs: 12-inch, 2304-by-1440 pixel (~226 ppi) IPS "Retina" display
  • Since it was announced on March 9th, we've been eager to get our hands on the sleek new MacBook. Before we tear inside this beauty, we take a glance at its specs:

    • 12-inch, 2304-by-1440 pixel (~226 ppi) IPS "Retina" display

    • 1.1 GHz or 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor (optional 1.3 GHz processor available)

    • 8 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 memory

    • 256 GB or 512 GB flash storage

    • Intel HD Graphics 5300

    • Single USB-C port

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While we want to commend Apple for adopting the new USB Type-C standard, they've done so in a way that makes it impossible to use old adapters on new devices. The MagSafe and Thunderbolt ports of old are gone. The new MacBook has one USB-C to rule them all. For comparison's sake:
  • While we want to commend Apple for adopting the new USB Type-C standard, they've done so in a way that makes it impossible to use old adapters on new devices. The MagSafe and Thunderbolt ports of old are gone. The new MacBook has one USB-C to rule them all.

  • For comparison's sake:

    • 10-watt iPad USB adapter (left)

    • 29-watt USB-C power adapter included with the MacBook (middle)

    • 60-watt MacBook Air Magsafe 2 (right)

  • This is the first MacBook in memory to ship without some form of MagSafe adapter. The breakaway nature of MagSafe made it less likely to damage ports and plugs when yanked.

    • Hopefully users will benefit from the standardization, and not trip over their cables too often.

Can we heap some scorn on Apple for not also including/designing in a 1A USB Type A connector on this charger block? An additional 5W wouldn't have made the guts substantially bigger, if at all. Coupled with the ridiculously short Type-C cable that they ship it with, if a road warrior wants to charge their MacBook and iPhone "on the go", they're SOL. And since the Type-C cable is so short, the charger block is likely to be ON your desk, not under it; the exact same place you'd expect an iPhone charging block. Not seeing fit to put both functions in one block speaks multitudes to me about Apple's design philosophy towards its users: greedy contempt. They are, in effect, saying "We know you're going to have to buy another, 3rd party block. Haha."

Scott - Reply

@ScooterComputer,

The one thing most folks are missing about this laptop - it is designed to be used on your lap! No cables, no cords, no restrictions on movement, the battery lasts all day. You use it like an iPhone or an iPad, carry it around, move it, take it here, take it there. You plug it in to charge at the end of the day.

You do not leave it on a desk. Get an iMac or MacBook Pro if you want to leave it on your desk plugged in. "Think different."

misc4brian - Reply

Did "think different" magically become "defend whatever apple shoves down our throats" ?

Cmon, sometimes they make stupid choices, and the reality here is that in their ecosystem those choices are forced onto their consumers because there is no "other makers" it's either use the device apple makes or move on.

That being the case then this is a bad decision. Because it creates a situation that doesn't benefit their userbase in any way. It creates a situation of dissatisfaction with their products. They are basically forcing you to buy dongles for ports that cost ridiculous amounts of money when designing in even just a usb 3 port would have cost them pennies.

Miguel Simoes -

I want to be able to charge the stupid thing along with my iPhone without having to carry around two power bricks. Is that so much to ask? With older MacBook models I could plug in my MacBook and plug my phone into that and they'd both charge. What is the point of having an ultra portable if you're forced to carry around a 5lb gear bag to hump all the rest of the necess-ories??

Scott -

USB-C doesn't rule them all. It just displaces them all...

lemonlev - Reply

The new MacBook is less than half the thickness of its 2009 ancestor, measuring 0.52 inches at its thickest point. At 1.08" thick, the 5 pounds of polycarbonate-swathed 2009 MacBook dwarfs our 2.03 pound Retina MacBook.
  • The new MacBook is less than half the thickness of its 2009 ancestor, measuring 0.52 inches at its thickest point.

  • At 1.08" thick, the 5 pounds of polycarbonate-swathed 2009 MacBook dwarfs our 2.03 pound Retina MacBook.

    • Apple probably shaved off a lot of that weight in removing ports. Back in 2009 we had MagSafe, ethernet, Mini DisplayPort, 2x USB, audio, and a security slot.

    • We'd also remind you to say goodbye to your optical drive, but that ship has pretty much sailed.

Add Comment

Those are pretty short keys. Bursting from its cocoon is Apple's newly-designed keyboard, equipped with a butterfly mechanism. Let's see if this keyboard will go twice as high as the traditional scissor-switch mechanism. We zoom in on the Retina display, described by Apple as the thinnest, most energy-efficient Retina display ever on a Mac. The pixels themselves have a larger aperture, enabling more light to come through, resulting in greater energy efficiency without compromising brightness.
  • Those are pretty short keys. Bursting from its cocoon is Apple's newly-designed keyboard, equipped with a butterfly mechanism. Let's see if this keyboard will go twice as high as the traditional scissor-switch mechanism.

  • We zoom in on the Retina display, described by Apple as the thinnest, most energy-efficient Retina display ever on a Mac. The pixels themselves have a larger aperture, enabling more light to come through, resulting in greater energy efficiency without compromising brightness.

The "twice as high" link is linking to a Doors music video!

Dev 4 iOS - Reply

I was searching for the reference in this, what do they even mean by twice as high?

Leigh Ellis -

The keyboard has a "butterfly mechanism". The "twice as high" line is a reference to the Reading Rainbow theme song, which has the lyrics "Butterfly in the sky/I can go twice as high". The link is to Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison in The Doors, doing a parody cover of the referenced theme song.

Steven Collins -

Yes, them singing "you can fly twice as high."

Calion - Reply

Please take the screen apart and show how to update the webcam from 480p to some iSight thing using a spare part of an old iPod or iPhone with camera.

mahal - Reply

We make a quick note of the newly-minted model number—A1534—before moving forward. This may be the future of laptops, but Apple has stuck to their tradition of using tamperproof 5-point pentalobe screws for the new MacBook. Le sigh.
  • We make a quick note of the newly-minted model number—A1534—before moving forward.

  • This may be the future of laptops, but Apple has stuck to their tradition of using tamperproof 5-point pentalobe screws for the new MacBook. Le sigh.

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Time to rip off that boring, plain ol' aluminum lower case, and get to the good— What is this new devilry? Cables!? A battery and logic board in the lower case? The standard pop-open-at-the-hinge practice still holds, but then the cables go taut. Then you have to hinge the case back forward to access the connectors and open the case.
  • Time to rip off that boring, plain ol' aluminum lower case, and get to the good—

  • What is this new devilry? Cables!? A battery and logic board in the lower case?

  • The standard pop-open-at-the-hinge practice still holds, but then the cables go taut. Then you have to hinge the case back forward to access the connectors and open the case.

  • The standard plastic clips of old are replaced with futuristic pegs and weird spring clips.

    • "If it ain't broke, make it out of, like, three more metal pieces in funky shapes." — Some Apple designer, we assume.

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Reminiscent of the Macbook Pro 13" Retina released in March, this MacBook comes equipped with the fancy Force Touch trackpad. We disconnect the trackpad/keyboard cable for a little more maneuvering room. With the springy trackpad/keyboard cable disconnected, we can fold the whole enchilada flat on the table. Time to survey the field and see what we're up against this time.
  • Reminiscent of the Macbook Pro 13" Retina released in March, this MacBook comes equipped with the fancy Force Touch trackpad. We disconnect the trackpad/keyboard cable for a little more maneuvering room.

  • With the springy trackpad/keyboard cable disconnected, we can fold the whole enchilada flat on the table. Time to survey the field and see what we're up against this time.

So if the trackpad is shot the keybored will stop working ?

tariqaa2001 - Reply

  • Wait, this is a notebook, right? Where's the battery connector?

  • At a loss, we play with this little yellow button for a bit. Boop.

  • We've seen something like this before—in the iPad, Apple loves to hide the battery connector under the logic board. This is the first time we've seen it in a laptop, so it looks like it's time for...

  • Our newly-minted battery isolation pick turns out to be just the trick we need to keep the juice away from the logic board's spring contacts.

Did you guys ever find out what the button is for on the battery connection tab for the PCB?

hakuriyellowsaber - Reply

It's a reset button. If your mac locks up you can press and it will operate normally again.

Allen - Reply

  • In our quest to begin the Great Cable Disconnect of 2015, we find a tri-wing screw!

    • Lucky for us, that's something we can handle.

  • We finally disconnect the 3-in-1 display/power/I/O port cable that runs to the MacBook's lone USB-C port.

    • It's funny because while there are three functions, there's only one port, and no I/O board.

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We guessed that the thinnest Retina display ever would come with some other changes—but this is one weird display connector! We tweeze away the "audio board" connector that ties in the headphone jack and dual microphones. Finally, the two halves are free to fly. Now it's time to get to that logic board!
  • We guessed that the thinnest Retina display ever would come with some other changes—but this is one weird display connector!

  • We tweeze away the "audio board" connector that ties in the headphone jack and dual microphones.

  • Finally, the two halves are free to fly. Now it's time to get to that logic board!

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We carefully lift the lovely logic board from its aluminum nest. Apple points out that the logic board in the Retina MacBook is 67% smaller than the logic board in the 11-inch MacBook Air. Apple's use of the new Intel Core M processors allows for smaller form factors and fun little heat sink covers.
  • We carefully lift the lovely logic board from its aluminum nest.

    • Apple points out that the logic board in the Retina MacBook is 67% smaller than the logic board in the 11-inch MacBook Air.

  • Apple's use of the new Intel Core M processors allows for smaller form factors and fun little heat sink covers.

  • More impressive than the updates is the conflict-free production of the Core M processors. Thanks, Dodd—Frank!

  • The heat sink is nicely machined to provide multiple points of contact on the logic board—perhaps even to cool the reverse side of the logic board a bit.

I think the temperature will be around 60-70 degrees (Under load).

Cooling is similar to Apple TV 3 generation.

VISION463 - Reply

Would you please measure the logic board? I'd like to know how small it actually is.

plink53 - Reply

It's about 4.5" x 1.5", not including the battery contact protrusion.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

I have a base model 1.1/256GB. Seems exporting 1080p video in iMovie generates the most heat. Mine hovered between 84-87C thru the 12 minute process with a high them reading of 88.20 Cooling was immediate after export was complete. Down to 54C within 10 seconds. Intel lists the high gem for the 5Y31 at 95C

Michael Bell - Reply

ugh.....did you have to get political????? stick to repairing things. and just FYI dodd-frank is directly responsible for raising my CC APR from 5% to 18% amongst other things. Thanks, Dodd-Frank!

crevz - Reply

Seems to be significant thickness of paste between the heat sink and the CPU.

Yishai Sered - Reply

Apple is going down, I better buy a few second hand 2012 model for the future, when mine will give up, no way I'm buying an no upgradable computer! I might have to think seriously to try to make a hackintosh also!

tregouetsylvain - Reply

It's time to put the chips on the table! Let's see what this logic board has to offer:
  • It's time to put the chips on the table! Let's see what this logic board has to offer:

    • Elpida/Micron FB164A1MA-GD-F 8 GB LPDDR3 Mobile RAM

    • Toshiba TH58TFT0DFKLAVF NB2953 128 GB MLC NAND Flash memory (+ 128 GB on the reverse side for a total of 256 GB)

    • NXP 11U37 microcontroller; 128 kB flash, 10kB SRAM

    • SMSC 1704-2 Temperature Sensor

    • Texas Instruments SN650811 (probably power converter related to SN6501)

That can't be SLC but MLC or TLC, right? Also, where is the %#*@ SSD controller?

Matthieu L - Reply

SSD is scolded into logicboard. It's immovable. SSD controller is on the rear part.

tonyadams66 -

Toshiba TH58TFT0DFKLAVF is 128GB MLC NAND Flash

JJ Wu - Reply

Anandtech had found something.It is Apple own design SSD controller.

JJ Wu - Reply

I wonder how one would extract/recover data from a retina MacBook 2015 with a dead logic board (you know s..t happen)? On MacBook Pros/previous gen MacBooks you could simply remove the SSD and place it to another Mac or external enclosure (not to mention the older models with the usual SATA interface).

It's OK if you backup your data regularly (most users don't hence the data recovery business is flourishing) what will you do if there is no backup? Sure sometimes logic boards can be repaired, but sometimes even L. Rossmann can't fix them...

Bloob Box - Reply

I need to restore my mail back from SSD drives. My logic board is dead. Is there a way I can do it. I am willing to remove SSD from the dead logic board. Any ideas on how I may do this.

Simple Ply - Reply

Humming a logical tune, we peruse the back side of the most logical of boards:
  • Humming a logical tune, we peruse the back side of the most logical of boards:

    • Intel SR23G Core M-5Y31 CPU (Dual-Core, 1.1 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 2.4 GHz) with Intel HD Graphics 5300

    • SK Hynix H9TKNNN4GDMRRR-NGM 4 Gb (512 MB) LPDDR2-SDRAM

    • Toshiba TH58TFT0DFKLAVF 128 GB MLC NAND Flash

    • Elpida/Micron J4216EFBG-GNL-F DDR3 SDRAM

    • Broadcom BCM15700A2, appears to be a wireless networking chipset

    • Murata 339S0250 (Likely an iteration of the 339S02541 Wi-Fi module found in the iPad Air 2)

    • Texas Instruments/Stellaris LM4FS1EH SMC Controller (Replacement codename for TM4EA231)

The Toshiba 128GB NAND Flash is not SLC. It is 128GB MLC NAND Flash. As the information Apple announced on the web site, MacBook uses PCIe-based SSD. There should be an PCIe-based NAND Flash controller. And, as the teardown result you did, there is an additional memory chip, SK Hynix H9TKNNN4GDMRRR-NGM. Can you recheck the chip? Is there a chip under SK Hynix H9TKNNN4GDMRRR-NGM? I guessed the PCIe-based NAND Flash controller is under SK Hynix H9TKNNN4GDMRRR-NGM which is PoP package.

JJ Wu - Reply

Should SK Hynix H9TKNNN4GDMRRR-NGM be LPDDR2?

Refer to https://www.google.com.tw/url?sa=t&rct=j...

JJ Wu - Reply

The TM4EA231 is a Texas Instruments Tiva series ARM Cortex M4 microcontroller. It is the replacement code name for the LM4FS1EH.

seandlh - Reply

What is the 4Gb SK Hynix LPDDR3-SDRAM used for in Macbook?

AnsonH - Reply

it should the memory for SSD controller.

JJ Wu -

SK Hynix H9TKNNN4GDMRRR-NGM is not LPDDR3. It is 4Gb LPDDR2 with Apple customized PoP package.

JJ Wu - Reply

It would be interesting, if the components on the whole board are something new, or can be found in similar configuration in other models on the market.

There are voices saying, that the hardware is highly overpriced. It would like to have objective comparisons or analyses, not emotion and religion-driven affects of the Apple haters and on the other hand of the fan boys.

Is anybody here with real expertise?

giuseppe naniscola - Reply

Yes. It is something new. Mostly, PoP package is used on SmartPhone and Tablet. Apple should be the first one to use PoP package on the SSD controller.

JJ Wu -

In 2011, Apple acquired Anobit, an Israeli flash memory controller designer.
  • In 2011, Apple acquired Anobit, an Israeli flash memory controller designer.

  • Four years later, it looks like they might now have something to show for it—thanks to Anandtech's report that the MacBook's SSD looked a little unusual in the system profiler, we took our heat gun to the SK Hynix SDRAM to see what was hiding underneath.

  • Where we expected to see something by Samsung or Toshiba, we found an unbranded chip with a very Apple-esque part number: 338S00055.

  • Our friends at ChipWorks took a peek, and have confirmed this is definitely an Apple custom device, fabricated at TSMC. We'll have more details soon!

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It was too much to hope that the battery would be secured with a few screws, MacBook Air-style. Time to break out the heat and the cards. Apple's new terraced battery technology is supposed to provide 35% more battery cell capacity than would have been possible before. We had hoped this would have provided room for a few screws, or some of those fancy little clips we saw on the case. Apparently not.
  • It was too much to hope that the battery would be secured with a few screws, MacBook Air-style. Time to break out the heat and the cards.

  • Apple's new terraced battery technology is supposed to provide 35% more battery cell capacity than would have been possible before.

    • We had hoped this would have provided room for a few screws, or some of those fancy little clips we saw on the case. Apparently not.

  • iOpener on a lower case? This just feels weird...

  • Scrape, peel, scrape, peel. Look at all that nasty adhesive.

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Ugh! Even the center cell of the battery is glued down, and we had hoped the sticky cells we found in the new 13" MacBook Pro wouldn't be a trend... To complicate the procedure, the battery sits down in a well; the only safe place to pry is over this aluminum wall.
  • Ugh! Even the center cell of the battery is glued down, and we had hoped the sticky cells we found in the new 13" MacBook Pro wouldn't be a trend...

  • To complicate the procedure, the battery sits down in a well; the only safe place to pry is over this aluminum wall.

    • Apple says that they use photos from high-speed cameras to help align these batteries in their cases, accounting for variations at the microscopic level.

    • This level of precision works well for fitting the largest battery possible, but it doesn't bode well for the ideas of battery replacement.

  • Well, it's finally out—in all its multi-segmented glory.

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In order to power this slender gadget, Apple produced this form-fitting 7.55 V, 39.71 Wh, and 5263 mAh battery. According to the specs, this is just a hair more than you get from this year's almost-pudgy-by-comparison, 5100 mAh MacBook Air 11"—though Apple touts equal battery performance of up to nine hours surfing the net, or ten hours of iTunes video playback.
  • In order to power this slender gadget, Apple produced this form-fitting 7.55 V, 39.71 Wh, and 5263 mAh battery.

  • According to the specs, this is just a hair more than you get from this year's almost-pudgy-by-comparison, 5100 mAh MacBook Air 11"—though Apple touts equal battery performance of up to nine hours surfing the net, or ten hours of iTunes video playback.

  • For comparison's sake: With its slightly larger 7.6 V, 5380 mAh (42.4 Whr) battery, Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 also promises "9 hours of web browsing."

Add Comment

We've struck gold! ...Or maybe just a dielectric coating on aluminum. The treasure antennas sit in channels routed into each speaker assembly. If this is a dielectric coating, some of Apple's recent patents could suggest that Apple is using the speaker assemblies to form a compound antenna, helping maximize power efficiency in this smaller form factor.
  • We've struck gold! ...Or maybe just a dielectric coating on aluminum.

  • The treasure antennas sit in channels routed into each speaker assembly.

    • If this is a dielectric coating, some of Apple's recent patents could suggest that Apple is using the speaker assemblies to form a compound antenna, helping maximize power efficiency in this smaller form factor.

What kind of speaker design is this? Why not traditional round speakers?

Brad Fortin - Reply

Finally, we reach one of the most talked-about trackpads in town. As we could expect, the Force Touch trackpad in the Retina MacBook looks like a slimmer, daintier version of the one we found in the 13" MacBook Pro. Once we cut away the bracket, we get a clear view of the Taptic Engine. Once we cut away the bracket, we get a clear view of the Taptic Engine.
  • Finally, we reach one of the most talked-about trackpads in town. As we could expect, the Force Touch trackpad in the Retina MacBook looks like a slimmer, daintier version of the one we found in the 13" MacBook Pro.

  • Once we cut away the bracket, we get a clear view of the Taptic Engine.

Is that black cable to connect to whole keyboard module?

jerrylrg - Reply

Only four strain gauges? Seems unlikely... Time to hunt around. Ahah! Some strange rubbery glue was holding a cable over the second half of each strain gauge pair. As we found previously in Apple's Force Touch, the strain gauges on this trackpad sense pressure from your fingers without really moving.
  • Only four strain gauges? Seems unlikely... Time to hunt around.

  • Ahah! Some strange rubbery glue was holding a cable over the second half of each strain gauge pair.

  • As we found previously in Apple's Force Touch, the strain gauges on this trackpad sense pressure from your fingers without really moving.

    • With the virtual feedback of the Taptic Engine, the new trackpad has essentially no moving parts, which usually makes for a more durable component.

I'm sure the new strain gauge trackpads are more durable than the old diving board trackpads (which had a tiny dome switch + fragile plastic/rubber nub making up the physical button, mine failed there), but the strain gauges DO wear out, don't they?

Is it likely to be something that people who press hard will see failing at some point during the Macbooks lifetime?

Steve - Reply

With the strain gauge bracket removed, we take a closer look at the chips powering this newfangled trackpad:
  • With the strain gauge bracket removed, we take a closer look at the chips powering this newfangled trackpad:

    • Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller

    • STMicroelectronics 32F103 ARM Cortex-M based microcontroller

    • Linear Technology LT3954 LED Converter with Internal PWM Generator

What's the LT3954 on the trackpad for?

adrianpike - Reply

Another tri-wing bites the dust, and the USB-C port cable turns out to be an interconnect cable. And the dang port is trapped by the display hinge! How rude.
  • Another tri-wing bites the dust, and the USB-C port cable turns out to be an interconnect cable.

  • And the dang port is trapped by the display hinge! How rude.

    • Someone really doesn't want us to replace our sole everything-in-one port...

  • We'll come back for you later, USB-C.

    • Dang it! We should have said "USB-C you later."

There is metal shielding on the cable which is for USB Type C cable.

Is there any chips under the metal shielding?

JJ Wu - Reply

  • Well at least the audio assembly is modular, allowing easy removal of the audio jack board. But that means the dual microphones are left behind.

  • Behind the keyboard that is—curses!

  • Wait, are those screws? No rivets? We can actually get in? Nice!

    • To be fair, that screw you see in the corner is a pentalobe—a P2. That's an iPhone-sized screw. Apple doesn't really want to let us in.

What is the audio codec vendor?

JJ Wu - Reply

Three pentalobes later... ...and 10 Phillips screws with weird sloping spacers, allowing them to secure the keyboard at an angle... ...and finally two screws that fit into the case clips (throwback to step 6).
  • Three pentalobes later...

  • ...and 10 Phillips screws with weird sloping spacers, allowing them to secure the keyboard at an angle...

  • ...and finally two screws that fit into the case clips (throwback to step 6).

  • We can't complain too much, I mean screws are better than adhesive—oh my goodness.

  • The adhesive backing (a kind of layered tape) is stuck to the keyboard, and barely holds together upon peeling.

  • Under the blanket of tape is a field of disheartening stars. Two pentalobes per key, plus a row at the top and bottom, for a total of 83, plus the three from before.

    • "Look on my Macs, ye Mighty, and despair." — Jony Ive, probably.

On either side of the keyboard are phillips screws which I assumed were 000 size because that is the only screwdriver of that size that was listed in your tools needed section - I even ordered the driver from ifixit but it does not work. Can someone please tell me the correct size driver for these screws - I ordered the JIS version of the 000 today - I think that might be it. Thanks!

markpowers - Reply

Daunted by the pentalobe-packed rear panel, we opt for frontal access. The keys pop off easily enough and seem to simply snap in place. With very few moving parts inside, is it possible that this plastic butterfly mechanism might actually be a repair win? Although we're a tiny bit worried about the plastic hinge fatiguing and breaking at its flex-point, we'll give Apple the benefit of the doubt and assume they've thought of that and designed for it.
  • Daunted by the pentalobe-packed rear panel, we opt for frontal access. The keys pop off easily enough and seem to simply snap in place.

  • With very few moving parts inside, is it possible that this plastic butterfly mechanism might actually be a repair win?

    • Although we're a tiny bit worried about the plastic hinge fatiguing and breaking at its flex-point, we'll give Apple the benefit of the doubt and assume they've thought of that and designed for it.

  • The bracket is held in with tiny little clips; so cute.

How much pressure did you apply to pop the keys off?

Matt Turner - Reply

Not a lot. A pretty light flick with a thing plastic tool like our opening pick works well enough, once you get it jammed in the gap between the key and the aluminum frame.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

Do the keys go back on after doing this? Being able to remove keys could be useful for cleaning.

Will Franzen - Reply

How bout the plastic cup where the plastic butterfly mechanism can you able to detach it also?

michaelhgabrielmg - Reply

What mechanism controls the "spring" in the key (driving the key back up)? The hinge controls the up and down motion, but where is the spring that drives the key up? And is it easy to replace this spring portion for keys that appear slightly less responsive?

John Jerney - Reply

I can't put the shift key back in properly, it won't snap back to it's place. Do you have any ideas?

siavashmsgh - Reply

Me too OTL. Did you solve the problem?

Wookjong Kim -

"Although we're a tiny bit worried about the plastic hinge fatiguing and breaking at its flex-point, we'll give Apple the benefit of the doubt and assume they've thought of that and designed for it."

I went back and watched the introduction keynote. It's not plastic, it's glass-filled nylon.

bdfortin - Reply

How do replace the Spacebar? Do I put in the hinge first than the key. Or do I put the hinge and key already attached together back into the Spacebar area and apply firm pressure?

Adriel Lemus - Reply

If you remove the butterfly mechanism, be very careful to not flex it the 'other' way. The plastic will become fatigued and you will lose the pop-up action of the key.

Robert Vasquez - Reply

Don't use the triangular spatula in the picture. I broke my keyboard's key and key thickness is under 1mm. You should use fiber cable and apply on the up corner of the key.

Musto - Reply

I feel I should point out that the removal of that key cracked one of the itty bitty plastic clips on its underside, no good.

Adam Tolley - Reply

Now to remove the display and get to that pesky multipurpose port! Ahh, USB-C! This lil' guy combines charging, data transfer, and video output into a single port. We can't help but wonder why Apple chose to only include a single USB-C port. This means that if you want to charge your MacBook and use a USB device at the same time, you'll need a $79 adapter. We're all for change Apple, but come on.
  • Now to remove the display and get to that pesky multipurpose port!

  • Ahh, USB-C! This lil' guy combines charging, data transfer, and video output into a single port.

    • We can't help but wonder why Apple chose to only include a single USB-C port. This means that if you want to charge your MacBook and use a USB device at the same time, you'll need a $79 adapter. We're all for change Apple, but come on.

    • Some critics have also argued that while the single USB-C port helps to maintain the MacBook's sleek profile, it could leave the new notebook open to some serious security problems.

  • USB-C supports a top speed of 10 Gbps (this port maxes out at 5 Gbps), bi-directional 20V/5A power, and a reversible design aimed to solve all of your USB woes.

I'd like to see a bit more contempt for Apple's decision to wedge that USB Type-C connector behind the display hinge. Looking at the design, by using the aluminum case as the connector body they clearly are -trying- to make that port robust; but in doing that they're pushing the failure point onto the plastic tongue. The amount of aluminum on the part shows they KNOW that. The design is clever, modular. But to then wedge the thing IN, that's just asinine. They're over-engineering one point in an attempt to compensate for poor design at another. Then again, can't knock 'em much more than the 1 out of 10.

Scott - Reply

Not sure what you're getting at - what would a solution be? Make the aluminum weaker? I think that the extra metal there is to keep the corner from denting during a drop. As for the "wedging the connector in" part, that's a non issue since it is probably installed before the display is attached.

Jeffery Daniels -

@Jeffrey Daniels: By removing MagSafe, Apple is necessarily making the user accept a greater risk of breaking the Type-C connector. That the connector is modular, and designed the way it is, pretty much reflects Apple understands that. However, instead of merely making the connector modular AND easy to replace (a fast repair job), they make it a substantially longer job requiring the removal of the display (and a bunch else to get that far). The one part that carries the most risk of causing repair...they then go and make replacing it puzzlingly more difficult than the part's modularity would convey. (If you have to do that much work to get it out, why bother even making the thing compactly modular at all?)

Scott -

USB 3.1 Gen 2 supports 10Gbps, however Apple's implementation is USB 3.1 Gen 1…which only supports 5Gbps (just 1 lane of HiSpeed USB). AKA USB 3.0. See http://www.apple.com/macbook/specs/

Scott - Reply

What Scooter said. Type-C is a form-factor.

Stephen Jones - Reply

How much stress / abuse / ware etc. do you think the hinges can take? Say repeatedly picking the computer up by the hinge while open.... I mean at the extreme corner only?

Mark Huntemann - Reply

Apple has opted to transition from using a row of LEDs with a light guide panel, to installing individual LEDs beneath each key. And behind those keys, we find:
  • Apple has opted to transition from using a row of LEDs with a light guide panel, to installing individual LEDs beneath each key.

  • And behind those keys, we find:

    • An array of four Texas Instruments TLC5951 PWM LED Drivers

    • A pair of NXP PCAL6416A I/O Expanders

  • They claim that this new keyboard design provides even lighting across the whole keyboard, while maintaining a higher level of power efficiency than previous designs.

Array of 4 Drivers for the keyboard LEDS, each supported 24 output channels. Someone's going to have to make a bit of software to led flash sequences of keys for alerting. Email from mom? M-O-M lights up, goes dark, lights up. etc. That would be awesome.

chris - Reply

That would be awesome. Im guessing theyre all wired in parallel to the same control signal and doubt they would be individually addressable.

Christopher Johnson -

It'd be cool, but I don't think each key has its own led. At least, in the past models there were 4 leds for the whole keyboard.

enryko95 - Reply

Each key has its own led. Apple has touted this itself.

Christopher Johnson -

Any idea if Apple's design allow for the individual LEDs to be controlled by user programs?

.

Since they use those TLC5951 LED drivers with 24 channels and that chip allows each channel to be adjustable individually, for 24 channels x 4 chips that's 96 channels total... is it possible to use them like disco lights? :D

or maybe as a strobe / morse code blinker / other light games?

JustMe - Reply

One of the most common repairs we do in our shop is to replace the keyboard after failures. (Usually spills). It looks like this previously arduous but fairly inexpensive task will remain arduous but no longer inexpensive.

Theo - Reply

When repairing the keyboard after liquid damage, do you swap out the keyboard, or must you swap out the whole topcase?

Audricus -

The MacBook 2015 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair) Proprietary pentalobe screws continue to make opening the device unnecessarily difficult, and new cable routing makes the procedure even trickier.
  • The MacBook 2015 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

    • Proprietary pentalobe screws continue to make opening the device unnecessarily difficult, and new cable routing makes the procedure even trickier.

    • The USB-C port is secured by tri-wing screws, and buried under the display brackets, complicating replacement. Also, being the only port, it will experience more use and wear than a typical single-purpose port.

    • The battery assembly is entirely, and very solidly, glued into the lower case.

    • The Retina display is still a fused unit with no separate, protective glass. If the display needs replacing, it'll cost a pretty penny.

    • The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board.

Just replace the bottom case with the battery together. I don't see why you guys are so determined to pull the battery off the case when replacing it, it's just a cheap stupid metal bottom.

Also pentalobe screws are no longer "proprietary" when you can get 10 for like 1 dollar.

Apart from those. I agree this thing gets no more than 1 score on repairability though

Tom Chai - Reply

There's slightly MORE than the battery on the bottom case. Things you *might* need - like the logic board, speakers, antennae...

It may not be as trivial as you seem to think.

Craig B - Reply

Just don't pull the battery off the case, replace those two as an assembly.

Speakers and antennas are not so expensive either, but they are easily removable so not a problem.

Tom Chai -

22 Comments

Hello,

Have you checked the content of the power adapters?

patrice Hamard - Reply

Le commentaire. As you say, pentalobe is tamperproof, and surely most of us now have a screw driver set? About time we forgave Apple, and it's good for your merchandising business ;-)

Tom Wiersma - Reply

Yeah I'm thinking the same… I vaguely got the point behind the complaints when iPhone 4 came out, but that is now five years ago, and I am sure that anyone trying to fix the MacBook has ordered some part for one of the *last five iPhone models* and gotten the pentalobe screwdriver with it, so… And then the tri-wing screws just get a quick mention, although tri-wing screwdrivers are far less common by now, which just isn't fair :D

overtension -

Great tear down & photos. However I have to disagree with the score of 1 out of 10. I think some slack should be given Apple due to the extreme thinness of the laptop in that things will not be as repairable as in a standard notebook. Getting into a form factor as thin and light as this laptop is an incredible engineering feat to say the least. Is it perfect ? Obviously not and it I am sure will be improved upon in future upgrades.

Everyone and their brother has a set of pentalobe screwdrivers now. The batteries being glued in is likely due to Apple trying to keep the weight as light as possible. I would prefer screws, but I am sure there was a reason to go with glue. Seems like they could come up with a super thin velcro system but… whatever. The glass & screen are one piece which lets them have a thinner form factor, obviously it will more costly to replace both than just the glass. JMO

johnandtai - Reply

yeah lets change our rating criteria since its apple. They use adhesive? whatever its apple. Its not repairable? whatever its apple, give them at least an 5/10. Yep thats your retarded logic

invaderspanky -

Yes I totally agree there are most likely practical reasons for the design choices they've made and they aren't just vindictive towards repairing. However I disagree that should in anyway affect the score its given. Regardless of why they have made it difficult to repair doesn't change the fact that it is.

Mike Doe -

About the battery in the lower case, I think it's a rather good idea (the MacBook Air way would have been better), you can just replace the bottom case. At least it's a compromise

nic - Reply

Could you please start using HDR, or a better camera maybe? Your images are mainly black (objects) and white (background), and things can hardly be seen, like for example on this image:

https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/ig...

David Peters - Reply

no clue what you are talking about I think its an issue with your display as I can see just fine, unless you are talking about the black PCB

Jacob Feiner -

I think you just have a crappy display on your computer. Since I can see literally everything clearer then my eyes would probably be capable of discerning at the distance that picture was taken. I could even zoom in close enough to see even the tiniest writings on the tiniest chip on the PCB in the picture and read it just as if it were right in front of me. So in conclusion, don't blame the camera because it is clearly your cheap computer screen. Its ok though not everyone can actually afford a retina screened Macbook and you are clearly one of them.

Robert B -

"Could you please start using HDR, or a better camera maybe? "

I have a MS in Mech Engineering and for seven years was Principal Staff Mech Engr, a technology research role that in part included doing incredibly detailed "tear downs" on competitive (including Apple) products for a very large multinational employer. That req'd a macro-photo setup worth about $5000, including camera, lighting and light tent.

I rate iFixit a solid 9 out of 10 on their teardown photos, meaning their photos are way better than 99% of other teardown photos on the internet

While HDR would slightly improve the photos, it is not practical from a time standpoint because hundreds of photos for a tear down are typically taken in a (VERY HOT) light tent while holding camera with hands (for speed). HDR would require every shot with a tripod (bracketing must be from exact same position), and that would increase by 10X the time to photograph an entire teardown.

I'm extremely impressed by iFixit's teardown photos!

stockstradr -

I could not find - what sound chip is used inside?

Yaroslav Serhieiev - Reply

Definitely not an upgradable computer. Even the little bigger MacBook Air offers easy battery, SSD and cpu fan replacement.

Agnostos Gnostos - Reply

Considering there is no fan in the new Macbook Retina. You can't really hold that against it.

Robert B -

I believe the BCM15700A2 chip is related to the camera:

02:00.0 Multimedia controller [0480]: Broadcom Corporation 720p FaceTime HD Camera [14e4:1570]

Leif Liddy - Reply

Is there a way to remove Firmware Password ?

aamor73 - Reply

Thanks for the teardown, iFixit. Are the camera and microphone(s) unpluggable? I've been able to unplug my camera/microphones based on your teardowns of past Apple devices, but I can't tell from any of these pictures. Thanks!

wizfish mcfrabblegabben - Reply

Has anyone been able to replace the bezel? I ordered a new bezel as my current one is cracked, but it appears the black bezel (with the MacBook logo beneath the retina display) is glued on.

SeanMSilver - Reply

Savvy comments - I learned a lot from the info - Does someone know where I could grab a template WI DoT MV2118 version to edit ?

harry ellis - Reply

What is the best way to tackle a minor liquid spill on the keyboard? Everything is working, but a few keys are sticky.

David Bancroft - Reply

It helps lot when you shown the repairing posts. I know that people can understand the problems they faced with apple products like phone, laptop etc. you given the guarantee to the people these apple products once problem gets can be replaced and repaired. Thanks for your efforts in showing interest for us.

tajsunil744 - Reply

Is there a tutorial to remove the space button? thank you

Kertvellesy Laszlo - Reply

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