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.
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 MBP
99.6 Wh (11.45 V, 8693 mAh)
Battery 14-inch MBP
69.6 Wh battery (11.47 V, 6068 mAh)
Samsung K3LKYKY0EM-ZGCP 8 GB LPDDR5 SDRAM Memory
Kioxia KICM225UZ0460 128 GB NAND Flash Memory
Thunderbolt 4 Retimer
Card Reader Controller
Genesys Logic GL9755A
USB Type-C Port/Power Delivery Controller
Texas Instruments CD3217B12
Cirrus Logic CS42L84A-CWZ
Texas 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:
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.