IFIXIT 2021 M1 Apple MacBook Pro teardown – Apple’s notebook renaissance

MacBook Pro teardown

Introducing the powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max processors – while making amends for some of Apple’s past blunders – the 2021 M1 Apple MacBook Pro teardown reveals the notebook that many Apple fans have been waiting for.

The push for ultra-thin yet ultra-powerful notebooks has seen Apple build some ultra-difficult to dismantle and repair MacBook Pros over the years. IFIXIT has taken the knife to the latest MacBook Pros to discover exactly what lies under the bonnet, spying a few improvements.

It’s not just the powerful Apple Silicon that has caught IFIXIT’s attention. The 2021 models are a “renaissance” which brings the MacBook Pro out of the “Dark Ages”. It’s a glimpse of what the 2016 MacBook Pro could have been – making amends for the dearth of ports and loss of MagSafe, while finally abandoning the oft-maligned Touch Bar and butterfly keyboard.

What’s inside?

The 2021 M1 Apple MacBook Pro teardown reveals an impressive bill of materials, with a few highlights likely to capture people’s attention:

Battery 16-inch MBP99.6 Wh (11.45 V, 8693 mAh)
Battery 14-inch MBP69.6 Wh battery (11.47 V, 6068 mAh)
StorageKioxia KICM225UZ0460 128 GB NAND Flash Memory 
Thunderbolt 4 RetimerIntel JHL8040R 
DisplayPort-to-HDMI ConverterMegaChips MCDP2920
Card Reader ControllerGenesys Logic GL9755A 
Bluetooth/WiFi ModuleUSI 339S00912
USB Type-C Port/Power Delivery ControllerTexas Instruments CD3217B12
Audio CodecCirrus Logic CS42L84A-CWZ
Audio AmplifiersTexas Instruments SN012776B0


Despite a few improvements, the new MacBook Pro still only earns a 4/10 on IFIXIT’s repairability scale.

On the plus side:

  • Glue-free opening
  • Battery replacements are reasonably well prioritised, if not exactly easy
  • Display replacements have been greatly streamlined
  • Many other components are modular and can be independently replaced, including the trackpad, most I/O ports and fan

On the minus side:

  • Repairs are hindered by pentalobe screws, a glued and riveted keyboard, glued-down speakers and some software barriers
  • SD card reader and HDMI port soldered to the logic board
  • Permanently soldered storage – a huge detriment to a “Pro” laptop
  • No service manual or replacement parts are available from Apple at time of publishing

The new MacBook Pro’s long-term repair options – or even removal of parts for salvage or recycling – are slim. Everything is on the board. The RAM can’t be upgraded, so it is important to consider your future needs. Meanwhile, upgrading the storage may be technically possible, but is highly impractical.