2013 MacBook Air gets low repair score from iFixit teardown

With proprietary parts and RAM soldered to the logic board, the new 13-inch MacBook Air scored only 4 out of 10 on the iFixit repairability scale.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Apple's new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs.
Apple's new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs. Apple

Newly unveiled by Apple, the 2013 13-inch MacBook Air has received the teardown treatment from the folks at iFixit, who gave out low ratings on the ability to repair and upgrade the laptop.

At its WWDC keynote on Monday, Apple revealed several enhancements to its 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air ultrabooks, including a faster solid-state drive, an upgrade to Intel's fourth-generation core processor, increased battery life, and support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

On the outside, the new MacBook Air is virtually the same as its predecessor. But a peek at the innards of the 13-inch version uncovered the new tech. With the right set of tools, the iFixit crew found that the MacBooks are easy enough to open. Ripping apart the new Air, iFixit bumped into a larger battery, a smaller module for the solid-state drive, and the updated Wi-Fi AirPort card.

To coax more speed out of the SSD, Apple switched from a SATA connection to a faster PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) connection. Apple even gave work to its archrival and supplier Samsung, which manufactured the flash storage, flash controller, and RAM modules for the new Air.

Finally, iFixit discovered the new MacBook Air's dual microphone setup, which promises to cut down on background noise.

The final grade? The new MacBook Air scored only 4 out of 10 (10 being the best) on the iFixit repairability scale. The screws are proprietary, demanding a certain type of screwdriver. All of the components are proprietary, including the RAM and SSD. The RAM modules themselves are soldered to the logic board, and the SSDs aren't compatible with prior AirBook models.

"As with the prior iterations, this MacBook Air's biggest detractor is the lack of upgradeability," iFixit said.

Watch this: Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, June 2013)