Introduction

A year after release, Apple just announced its first update to the 12" MacBook with Retina Display. It's sort of a baby update, so we decided to match it with a baby teardown. Besides a faster processor and zippier flash memory, what changed? There's only one way to know: crack it open and spill its secrets. Join us for a mini-teardown of the Retina MacBook 2016.

For a no-holds-barred disassembly of the initial Retina MacBook release, check out our Retina MacBook 2015 teardown.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Retina MacBook 2016, use our service manual.

Image 1/2: 12-inch 2304 × 1440 (226 ppi) IPS Retina Display Image 2/2: 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 processor (configurable up to 1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core m7)
  • With the MacBook jumping on the Rose Gold bandwagon, who knows what's lurking inside? Here's the lowdown so far:

    • 12-inch 2304 × 1440 (226 ppi) IPS Retina Display

    • 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 processor (configurable up to 1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core m7)

    • 8 GB of 1866 MHz LPDDR3 RAM

    • 256 or 512 GB PCIe-based flash storage

    • Intel HD Graphics 515

    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi wireless networking and Bluetooth 4.0

    • Single USB-C port and 3.5 mm headphone jack

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Image 1/2: The exteriors look identical, from the  Pentalobe screws in the lower case all the way down to the model number—A1534. Image 2/2: The only telltale sign that something's different is the updated EMC number: 2991 compared to last year's 2746.
  • If it weren't for the rose gold finish, we'd be hard-pressed to distinguish between this year's Retina MacBook, and the one of yesteryear.

  • The exteriors look identical, from the Pentalobe screws in the lower case all the way down to the model number—A1534.

    • The only telltale sign that something's different is the updated EMC number: 2991 compared to last year's 2746.

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Image 1/2: Before delving any deeper into ''this'' beauty, we take a quick look at the chips powering the trackpad: Image 2/2: Broadcom [https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=BRO-BCM5976A0KUB2G|BCM5976|new_window=true] Touchscreen Controller
  • Popping the hood on this MacBook gives us an indication that the rose gold beauty is much more than skin deep.

  • Before delving any deeper into this beauty, we take a quick look at the chips powering the trackpad:

    • Broadcom BCM5976 Touchscreen Controller

    • STMicroelectronics 32F103 ARM Cortex-M3 Microcontroller

    • International Rectifier IRFH3702 Single N-Channel HEXFET Power MOSFET

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Image 1/3: If you weren't put off by the Pentalobes on the lower case, then a tri-wing probably won't slow you down much—but hey, we'll take what we can get! Image 2/3: Thankfully, all the other internal screws remain standard Phillips and Torx screws. Image 3/3: However, another surprise awaits at the hinge screws, whose Torx heads are filled with some sort of substance that disintegrates when you insert a screwdriver. Are you sealing our MacBook with tamper-evident screws, Apple?
  • What's that? The pesky tri-wing screw we saw last year grew another, um, wing—now it's a regular ol' repair-friendly Phillips.

    • If you weren't put off by the Pentalobes on the lower case, then a tri-wing probably won't slow you down much—but hey, we'll take what we can get!

  • Thankfully, all the other internal screws remain standard Phillips and Torx screws.

  • However, another surprise awaits at the hinge screws, whose Torx heads are filled with some sort of substance that disintegrates when you insert a screwdriver. Are you sealing our MacBook with tamper-evident screws, Apple?

The "Blue" stuff is Loctite and has nothing to do with "Anti-Tamper"-Measuremts.

What sort of experts are you? ;)

Till - Reply

I promise you, we're not talking about the blue stuff. We know what threadlocker is. ;) The substance we're referring to fills the screw heads, not the threads. Have another read and take a closer look at the head of the removed screw vs. the installed one.

Jeff Suovanen -

as a former tech, I doubt they have the capacity to look out for that.

YourMomsAndMe - Reply

Image 1/2: ...Also, the silicon is new and moved from the cable itself to the USB board. Here's a comparison of the new USB-C hardware (top) with that of the 2015 Retina MacBook (bottom). Image 2/2: Parade Technologies PS8741A (likely an iteration of the [http://www.paradetech.com/products/usb-type-c-connectivity/ps8740/|PS8740|new_window=true] USB Type-C Redriving Switch)
  • And at the other end of the MacBook, it seems the USB-C hardware has also changed. The cable is now perma-fixed to the USB board, condensing the two components into a single unit.

  • ...Also, the silicon is new and moved from the cable itself to the USB board. Here's a comparison of the new USB-C hardware (top) with that of the 2015 Retina MacBook (bottom).

    • Parade Technologies PS8741A (likely an iteration of the PS8740 USB Type-C Redriving Switch)

  • This new USB and cable arrangement is one thing that's not compatible with previous Retina MacBooks.

Any color on whether Apple redesigned the USB connector/cable such that it could be removed without having to remove the hinge? (In last year's model, the USB "module" is held captive by the hinge flange.) Esp in light of those tamper-resistant hinge screws.

Scott - Reply

The redesign doesn't seem to have made the USB board any easier to remove.

Jeff Suovanen -

Not tamper-resistant - tamper evident.

And that's a good point - hinge screws should be tamper evident because a loose or wobbly hinge puts strong forces where they shouldn't go and it's possible to damage a chassis and internal boards if they are not torqued correctly Screen hinges are subject to a lot of forces through use and abuse, and while they are strong, the get that strength when properly attached. Do it wrong and you'll put stresses where they weren't designed to be, which can be a cracked or bent case at the best, bent or cracked circuit boards or screen at the worst. So Apple puts it there to see if you've been fiddling with the hinge and possibly caused damage not covered by the warranty.

Worf - Reply

can the USB-C port be replaced when it wears out/fail?

Mike Liang - Reply

Hey any body know where I can find the USB C flex for the 2016 MacBook retina even used would be ok

Sam Garesche - Reply

Image 1/2: And yet somehow, Apple managed to squeeze in a 4% capacity increase from the 7.55 V, 39.71 Wh battery in [https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Retina+MacBook+2015+Teardown/39841#s89847|last year's model|new_window=true]. Apple claims this new 7.56 V, 41.41 Wh Li-ion power source should provide up to 11 hours of iTunes movie playback. Image 2/2: We're guessing this capacity increase is owed to improved battery chemistry (though it's also possible that Apple's engineers have shaved away ''just'' enough material from the lower case to allow for a thicker battery).
  • The battery's form factor seems 100% identical to the multi-lobed cell we found in the 2015 Macbook.

  • And yet somehow, Apple managed to squeeze in a 4% capacity increase from the 7.55 V, 39.71 Wh battery in last year's model. Apple claims this new 7.56 V, 41.41 Wh Li-ion power source should provide up to 11 hours of iTunes movie playback.

    • We're guessing this capacity increase is owed to improved battery chemistry (though it's also possible that Apple's engineers have shaved away just enough material from the lower case to allow for a thicker battery).

  • Unfortunately, they did not squeeze in any of those nifty adhesive pull tabs we've seen in Apple's iDevices.

  • Regardless, our tests indicate this beefier battery is compatible with last year's MacBook. Nice!

What are the "edge-shaped" cutouts on the lower corners of the upper two cells in the picture? Maybe needed for ventilation to work, or to ensure the book doesn't "flex" (or worse, squeeze the batteries too much, ending up with the Note 7 we all know and love..)

jimwitte - Reply

Image 1/1: Intel [http://ark.intel.com/products/88198/Intel-Core-m3-6Y30-Processor-4M-Cache-up-to-2_20-GHz#@ordering|SR2EN|new_window=true] Intel Core m3-6Y30 Processor (4M Cache, up to 2.20 GHz)
  • Logic Board! What chips is this MacBook serving up?

    • Intel SR2EN Intel Core m3-6Y30 Processor (4M Cache, up to 2.20 GHz)

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

    • Micron MT41K256M16LY-107 4Gb DDR3L SDRAM

    • Universal Scientific Industrial 339S0250 Wi-Fi Module

    • Broadcom BCM15700A2 (as seen in several other MacBook models)

    • National Semiconductor 48B1-11

    • F4432ACPE-GD-F (with SSD controller presumably layered underneath)

Will you disassemble F4432ACPE-GD-F to check if there is a "NEW" SSD controller under it? From the marking, the memory is probably LPDDR3 memory from Micron/Elpida. Perhaps, Apple has new NVMe SSD controller for Macbook 2016.

JJ Wu - Reply

Please refer to http://abtronics.kz/components/EDF4432AC...

There is 4Gb LPDDR3 from Micron/Elpida. The part number is "EDF4432ACPE-GD-F-R" that is similar to "F4432ACPE-GD-F" in the Macbook 2016. If it is LPDDR3 truly, probably the NVMe SSD controller in the Macbook 2016 is different from the one used in the Macbook 2015. The memory NVMe SSD controller used in the Macbook 2015 is 4Gb LPDDR2.

JJ Wu - Reply

Agree with you, there should a new SSD controller for Macboo 2016. Can theifixit de-PoP the memory and controller for Macbook 2016 as you did fro Macbook 2015?

CM YANG -

Would the early 2016 logic board be compatible with the 2015 MacBook? E.g. Can you put the 2016 logic board in the old 2015?

James - Reply

Does the retina MacBook have 2x2 or 3x3 antennae?

David Ahn - Reply

Image 1/1: Toshiba [https://chipworks.secure.force.com/catalog/ProductDetails?sku=TOS-TH58TFT0DFKLAVF|TH58TFT0DFKLAVF|new_window=true] 128 GB MLC NAND Flash
  • But wait, there's even more chips on the back:

    • Toshiba TH58TFT0DFKLAVF 128 GB MLC NAND Flash

    • Samsung K3QF4F4 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM (x2, for a total of 8 GB)

    • Apple 338S00066

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

    • SMSC 1704-2 Temperature Sensor

    • Texas Instruments SN650839, TPS51980A, and CD3215B01

    • Intersil 95828

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Image 1/2: Those pesky tri-wing screws are gone, replaced with lovely standard Phillips screws—but tamper-evident hinge screws make you feel like a hoodlum for repairing your own machine. Image 2/2: The processor, RAM, and flash memory are still soldered to the logic board.
  • Retina Macbook 2016 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is the easiest to repair)

    • Those pesky tri-wing screws are gone, replaced with lovely standard Phillips screws—but tamper-evident hinge screws make you feel like a hoodlum for repairing your own machine.

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

    • The battery assembly remains 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.

  • While it's no more repairable than last year's edition, it does benefit from sharing a lot of the same parts and repair procedures.

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39 Comments

Step 8, Apple 338S00066 should not be the SSD controller. It might be the audio codec.

Step7, The SSD controller should be under the chip "F4432ACPE-GD-F".

JJ Wu - Reply

It's been reported that the new Apple designed SSD controller sits next to the NAND flash chip instead of under it.

ericsummers -

Yes. Apple designed SSD controller is next to the NAND flash chip as Step 7 shown. F4432ACPE-GD-F chip is next to Toshiba NAND Flash chip. SSD controller needs memory. In 2015 model, Apple uses PoP package to put it upon the SSD controller.

Retina MacBook 2015 Teardown Step 14

JJ Wu -

So how much RAM in total does it have? 4GB Micron (Micron MT41K256M16LY-107 4Gb DDR3L SDRAM) plus 8GB Samsung (Samsung K3QF4F4 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM (x2, for a total of 8 GB)) ?

JA VE - Reply

4Gb -> 512MB, more likely for SSD cache

mesish -

Micron 4Gb DDR3L is the memory for Broadcom BCM15700A2. Total system memory is 8GB which are two Samsung K3QF4F4 4GB LPDDR3 RAM.

JJ Wu -

It would be nice to have some more information about the camera Apple uses. The rumor mill has some conjecture that they stuck with a 480p camera because there aren't any higher resolution cameras that would fit into the display without making it thicker.

Paul L - Reply

Total system memory is 8GB as the information shown on Apple web site. There are two LPDDR3-1866 from SAMSUNG which is shown on Step 8. The chip is marked in orange color. The part number is K3QF4F40BMAGCF. Most likely, it is customized package for Apple. (It was Elpida/Micron in 2015 model.) Micron MT41K256M16LY-107 4Gb DDR3L SDRAM is for Broadcom BCM15700A2.(It was Micron in 2015 model.) The memory for SSD controller should be F4432ACPE-GD-F shown on step 7. The SSD controller is under "F4432ACPE-GD-F". In 2015 model, it showed the SSD controller uses Apple customized PoP package.

JJ Wu -

indeed. any idea about the camera ? is it still 480P ?

Ilias Leontiadis -

SSD as RAID 0? That is the best way to lose data if one of the disks fails or the controller:

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

Peter Gamble - Reply

this is how ssd are built - almost every ssd on this planet is built from discrete chips internally connected into something you could call raid 60 (but its quite different mumbo jumbo, as there is wear levelling, still concept is very similar)

amadeuszleonardo -

I still believe that it is RAID 0 because of the two modules and because of 2x speeds than current Toshiba flash. Much as this from SanDisk :

SanDisk Extreme 900 portable SSD https://www.sandisk.com/home/ssd/extreme...

The read and write specifications of those drives are twice than the Toshiba flash offerings, which points to RAID 0. That is why I asked, in case someone has more real specific information.

Peter Gamble -

Here is a shocking (RAID) example:

OWC’s Aura SSDs are a good way to add storage to newer MacBooks, with caveats

From a hardware perspective, the 1TB Aura drive is actually two SSD controllers RAIDed together with a Marvell 9230 RAID controller.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2016/04/owc...

Peter Gamble -

"Torx heads are filled with some sort of substance that disintegrates when you insert a screwdriver. "

That sounds to me like "Torque-Seal" or similar products found here: http://www.opcompany.com/

It's a thick liquid, similar in viscosity to toothpaste, that dries to a hard, but very brittle material. It's commonly used in aerospace applications. Typical application is to apply it in a stripe across a nut or screw head and onto the adjacent surface. Any slight rotation of the fastener causes the brittle material to break apart. It's used to spot evidence of loose fasteners due to vibration or damage. It's also used by repair centers to certify their work has not been tampered with. The latter use is similar to the stickers that read "Void If Removed" when peeled off.

voiceofreasonver2 - Reply

Organic Products Company is now ITW ProBrands

http://itwprofessionalbrands.com/dymon-p...

cira -

That's not tamper evident stuff, it's thread locking adhesive!

http://www.loctite.co.uk/loctite-4087.ht...

It's to stop the screws vibrating loose.

jim - Reply

We're referring to the substance filling the screw heads, not the blue threadlocker on the threads. Look at the head of the screw that's been removed, and compare it with the other one that's still in place.

Jeff Suovanen -

Tamper evident screws by simply pushing anything into the screw head? Sure that wont stand up to any questions Apple may put to you, did you open it? No. But the substance in the screw heads has been pushed out. Oh really? Is that on the outside of a case that anyone walking by can puch a pinhead into and scrape it out? Yes...

Wouldnt hold up to any no-warranty claims by apple in my country, try excluding your warranty based on a small substance on a screw head, even the warranty void external labels dont stand up to legal exclusions to warranty claims as they can easily be scratched or removed from an external device with nothing else done.

Hamish Robinson - Reply

Wow your country is so cool, Hamish.

mosburger -

So it's harder to replace components and fix the thing then iPad , iPod touch or cheap chinese PC that's glued together using components that no one can get anywhere ?

I don't really get your scoring tactics - ifixit people...

gg0d - Reply

The Logic Board in 2016 model looks more beautiful than that of 2015 model. The electronic components are arranged much more neatly on this new board. But Apple uses smaller electronic components this time, which I think should be cheaper. So what do you think about the Electrical Performance of the new and old Logic Board?

Joc May - Reply

What size is the trackpad? Is it the same size as the 15" MacBook Pro?

lyallm123 - Reply

More information:

Meanwhile, the PCIe SSD inside now reaches average write speeds of 845 MB/s, according to the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. That's way up from 451.7 MB/s on last year's model, which was already more than what we see on many flagship laptops. Meanwhile, read speeds are now approaching a gigabyte per second, with the rates in my tests coming out to an average of 947 MB/s. That's up considerably from 738.2 MB/s last year.

Source: Apple's updated MacBook is indeed faster with longer battery life

http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/25/apple...

And here is more revealing information: latest Toshiba catalog (March 2016) does not have such SSD with 947MB/s read and 845MB/s write:

http://toshiba.semicon-storage.com/info/...

So, again, all that points to RAID 0 in Toshiba SSD inside MacBook.

Peter Gamble - Reply

The SSD inside Macbook is not Toshiba solution. The SSD controller is Apple proprietary NVMe SSD solution. The Toshiba part is 128GB MLC NAND Flash. In Macbook 2015, SSD controller uses 4-lanes PCIe 2.0 interface. But, in MacBook 2016, the SSD controller is 2-lanes PCIe 3.0.

JJ Wu -

thx very cool.

sirichaipolprom - Reply

Yes! that's good for repairing hardware parts,

How to solve if the system or operating system are not working.

What the possible solution we need.

please help me.

Rjames Tabuzo - Reply

This is a hardware repair site

bluesix -

The LCD screen CAN BE separated from the housing. As the macbook pro retina.

It cost less than change the whole LCD assembly with Facetime, antennas ... Aluminium cover

Alexandre Galeotti - Reply

so Ray serves the chipset BCM15700A2

Leonel Tirado - Reply

so ray serves the Chipset BCM15700A2

Leonel Tirado - Reply

Hi,

do you know where the humidity sensors are located?

Thank you in advance.

Hans - Reply

So my 2015 logic board is fried and was wondering if one could put in a 2016 logic board (I guess with the new USB-C cable since that changed)? At least get an upgrade when repairing this princess machine that couldn't handle 20 rain drops while in a bag (assuming I can find a '16 LB and cable used).

aknabi - Reply

Is each size of SSD in the latest macbook the same model? That is, the speed of the 2TB SSD the same as the speed of the 512GB one?

Wayner - Reply

Thank you for this tutorial, it is very helpful. Unfortunately, I need a laptop with 16GB RAM for memory intensive tasks, and this laptop has no option to upgrade, which means I need to look somewhere else. Thanks again.

Andy Leung - Reply

are the keyboard and the trackpad molded into the upper case?

Sacha Pewzer - Reply

Cant be upgraded at all, slower then previous MacBook, worse battery life, lack of ports, expensive, and removed of magsafe. So can you tell me why its worth it?

sam errett - Reply

It's Rose Gold. The review says nothing about it being slower or having worse battery life.

mosburger -

Is it possible to replace the keyboard on these models like older ones, if water gets on it for instance?

tipoo - Reply

Hello friends!

Need this CD3215b01.

iobukhovich@gmail.com

Ilya - Reply

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