Apple has made battery replacements for its 2018 MacBook Air relatively easier compared to previous models, according to a new report.
The battery in the new Mac notebook can now be individually replaced without needing to swap other attached components, an Apple internal service document obtained by MacRumors indicated. That’s a big win for repairability and sustainability.
Previously, most Mac notebooks had batteries that were glued to their top casing. Thus, when it came time for a customer to swap out their battery, Apple technicians needed to replace the top aluminum enclosure — which included the keyboard and trackpad.
While the service document indicates that the battery in the new MacBook Air models is still glued to the top casing, Apple says it is providing Genius Bar staff and Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove and replace them without installing a new top case.
Once the battery is removed, repair technicians are instructed to place new adhesive strips and use a display press tool to adhere the new battery back to the top chassis.
It’s not clear what changes Apple has made to make the repair process easier for technicians. But it’s likely that we’ll see third-party device teardowns in the coming weeks that could shed some light on the new models.
It’s not the only internal component that should be easier for Apple technicians and Authorized Service Providers to replace.
Apple’s Newfound Repairability
According to Apple’s internal document, the Touch ID sensor can also be replaced or repaired without swapping out the logic board. Similarly, the trackpad on the new MacBook Air models can also be individually replaced.
Apple likely made the change on the new MacBook Air models to allow its products to sport better repairability and environmental responsibility. That’s a point of contention among repairability and sustainability advocates — so this is undoubtedly a welcomed change.
It’s worth noting that the previous version of MacBook Air shared a similar design that allowed the battery to be swapped without replacing the top case. But the 2018 MacBook Air is the only Retina notebook with that level of repairability.
What’s not clear is whether or not the new method will work on previous Retina Mac notebooks with the battery adhered to the top casing — such as the 12-inch MacBook or 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro devices.
But if the new MacBook Air is a sign of the things to come, it’s plausible that Apple will make new versions of those models more repairable.
On the other hand, several third-party outlets, like iFixit, do have do-it-yourself guides on replacing the batteries on previous Mac notebooks. But these methods are effort- and time-intensive and will void your warranty, so they’re not recommended.