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MacBook Pro 2021 teardown shows Apple gave repair at least some thought, iFixit says

But what about Apple's $19 Polishing Cloth? Well, iFixit looked closely at that, too.

Abrar Al-Heeti Video producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET breaking down the latest trends on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, while also reporting on diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has twice been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
2 min read
MacBook Pro 2021 iFixit teardown

We get a closer look at the new MacBook Pro, thanks to iFixit.


Apple's new MacBook Pro, featuring the next generation of the company's in-house chips

and the much-welcomed return of an HDMI port and SD card reader, makes "better use of interior space," according to a teardown by iFixit. But when it comes to repairability, there's room for improvement.

"Apple's M1 silicon is rocketing the industry forward in a bunch of ways, and it's unfortunate repairability isn't advancing as quickly," iFixit writes. "Still, this design represents a major move in the right direction." For instance, the process of replacing a battery is slightly less difficult now.

Watch this: MacBook Pro M1 Buying Guide: Everything to Know About Your Next Apple Upgrade

Compared to 2019's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the newer models pack speakers and batteries in "every cozy cranny, without sacrificing a robust-looking cooling assembly," iFixit notes. And replacing the power button doesn't appear to be too much of a headache. 

But the rest of the keyboard is "problematic to replace," iFixit says.

"Apple stores and AASPs (Apple Authorized Service Providers) will likely continue replacing your entire top case rather than deal with the hassle of repairing their own keyboard design," the post reads. "(Thankfully it's not a butterfly affair anymore, so repairs should be far less frequent—just be sure to keep a tight grip on your latte.)"

Another factor complicating repairability is the laptop's "soldered-down, non-removable storage." iFixit adds, "Forget about removing the drive to protect your data during repair or when you sell it; you've gotta shred the whole logic board if you want failproof security."

$20 bill being used to wipe a phone screen

Nearly $20 for a cloth, you say?


And what about that $19 Polishing Cloth from Apple? iFixit took a look at that, too (in jest, really), calling it an "object of beauty worthy of being cleaned itself," before coming to its senses and asking, "Where did our twenty dollars go?"

Ending on a sarcastic note, iFixit says, "The new Apple Polishing Cloth earns a 0 out of 10 on our repairability scale, for distracting us from a very important MacBook Pro teardown and not going back together after we cut it into pieces with scissors."