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MacBook Pro with Touch Bar teardown: Good luck replacing anything inside

by Todd Haselton | November 16, 2016November 16, 2016 7:30 am PDT

Now that the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar laptops are starting to ship, we’re beginning to learn a lot more about how they operate and what’s inside. Yesterday, for example, we learned that the SSD storage can’t be upgraded at all. Now, thanks to an iFixit teardown, we’re learning that it’ll be difficult to replace almost anything.

Here’s a taste of what you can’t do with the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar:

  • Proprietary pentalobe screws continue to make working on the device unnecessarily difficult.
  • The battery assembly is entirely, and very solidly, glued into the case, thus complicating replacement.
  • The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board.
  • The Touch Bar adds a second, difficult to replace, screen to damage.
  • The Touch ID sensor doubles as the power switch, and is paired with the T1 chip on the logic board. Fixing a broken power switch may require help from Apple, or a new logic board.

iFixit does give the machine credit for one thing, though: You can replace the trackpad without removing the battery first. The teardown reveals some other interesting tidbits, like that the Touch Bar is powered by a Broadcom BCM5976TC1KUB60G touch controller and this little gem: “The speakers are not located under the speaker grilles. The speaker grille doesn’t even go clear through the case. These speakers likely blast their impressive sound through the side air vents.”

Buy AppleCare+

If you’re buying a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, or any MacBook for that matter, you should probably buy AppleCare+. We’ve never seen a teardown that actually gives high ratings to Apple’s computers, so this isn’t out of the ordinary, it just means you need a professional to fix your computer. For folks who prefer to do these things themselves: you may want to look elsewhere.

iFixit

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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