Prolific repair site iFixit has published their first teardown of the 2018 MacBook Air — and noted a number of repair-friendly changes.
The deep dive into the MacBook Air’s internals provides users and repair aficionados with a first glimpse at the new notebook’s design, including several changes that hint at a more repairable future for Apple’s laptops. Of course, most of what iFixit found was pretty standard.
Various components, from the logic board to Apple’s T2 security chip, remained relatively changed from other Retina Mac notebooks. Unusually for a Mac with a lower-power chip, the 2018 MacBook Air does sport a fan.
Echoing 2018 MacBook Pro devices, the third-generation butterfly keyboard in the new Mac notebook also sports the silicone membranes underneath its keycaps. That should mitigate problems with dust and noise.
On the other hand, iFixit discovered that the MacBook Air’s two Thunderbolt 3 ports are actually modular — allowing them to be swapped much easier than other Retina notebooks.
“This MacBook is off to a good start as far as we’re concerned,” the site wrote. “All the ports sit on their boards and are easily replaceable.”
Similarly, the repair site corroborated a previous report from this week suggesting that the MacBook Air’s battery was also much easier to replace.
iFixit found ten pull-to-remove adhesive taps securing the notebook’s battery to its top casing. That is especially notable because it’s a stark change from every other Retina notebook related thus far.
“The mere presence of stretch-release adhesive generally means that someone at least thought about repair and disassembly situations,” the site wrote.
Previously, swapping out a battery required the entire top casing to be replaced as well. That was largely because past Retina MacBook batteries permanently adhere to the top casing — which also contains the notebook’s trackpad.
As was suggested in the same report on repairable batteries, iFixit also discovered that the MacBook Air’s Touch ID sensor is modular. That means it can be swapped out individually without needing to replace the entire logic board.
The subtle addition of removable adhesive and modular components is a big win for both the environment and repairability. And it may suggest changes to Apple’s notebook design in the future.
For its part, iFixit says it hopes that the 2018 MacBook Air shows ”just the beginning of an upswing in repairable design” for Apple’s products.