Online tech repair guide and parts retailer iFixit has published its latest teardown for the new 2021 MacBook Pro and reveals at least one small win for reparability: the ability to replace the battery pack modules.
The battery modules in the new MacBook Pros, much like many mobile devices, are now attached via adhesive strips with pull tabs. This makes it easier to remove them, as long as none of the tabs rip while pulling. The trackpad needs to also be carefully removed to reach the remaining pull tabs.
Batteries in MacBook Pros used to have their own frame or shell, which made them easier to install or remove via screws or locking tabs (although that takes more interior space). Starting in 2012, Apple wanted to make laptops thinner, so battery structures were removed to save some real estate. The biggest issue with MacBook Pro model years 2012–2020 was that Apple used glue to all but permanently fuse the battery to the top case of the laptop.
HDMI and SD card ports are fixed to the logic board, but the rest of the ports are modular, though you would have to remove the whole logic board to replace them. Fans and the speakers also require a logic board removal before a replacement is possible.
The only real remaining qualms are that replacing the screen would mean losing True Tone, and replacing Touch ID would lose its main ability. While Touch ID in iPhones being non-repairable used to make sense for security reasons, it’s interesting to see no new development on reparability here since Apple’s new wireless Touch ID keyboard can be paired to different M1 computers.