The tinkering and gadget repair pros at iFixit dismantled Apple’s recently updated 12-inch MacBook. Inside they found a new battery model, which may or may not have anything to do with the MacBook’s increased hour of battery life. The SSD speed is faster in the new MacBook, and iFixit found that Apple moved the SSD controller and replaced it with one that has a slightly new model number.

macbook retina inside

Here’s a look most consumers will never see. . . .

The new MacBook gets a sixth-generation Intel Core M processor, and even when you add up the faster SSD, the end result is a very minor upgrade in noticeable performance for most consumers. What’s this mean? I means that the 12-inch Retina MacBook is still really only a great MacBook for those who want an ultraportable Mac experience and want a Retina display. For most everyone else, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is still the best overall buy from Apple. To learn more, check out my 12-inch MacBook review here . . . and MacBook vs. MacBook Pro: How to Choose.

Of course, if you aren’t aware of how hard Apple’s latest MacBooks are to repair . . . and how nearly impossible to upgrade they are, well, the new MacBook doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, iFixit gives the new MacBook a repairability scale of 1 out of 10, where 10 is the easiest to repair.


macbook repair score

So, yeah, the MacBook is basically a bitch to repair. . . .

The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board, and the battery assembly is very solidly glued to the lower case. The Retina display is a fused unit, which iFixit says will cost a lot to replace if it ever needs it. (This choice doesn’t seem surprising to me at all, though, because Apple has been working to reduce the layers in its screens to reduce thickness and reflection/glare.)

iFixit revealed that Apple might be using some new tamper-evident goop — some Torx screw heads seemed to filled with something that disintegrated when they inserted a screwdriver. These were hinge screws, which makes a guy like me wonder if Apple expects that the hinges might sometime need a little repair.

Inside the Rose Gold MacBook

Here’s one thing I found interesting: When you’re working inside of a regular silver MacBook, the interior aluminum case is also silver — essentially something you don’t really notice. When you crack open a rose gold MacBook, though, the rose gold is pervasive throughout the interior of the MacBook . . . I’m not sure how Apple applies the finish, but I’m guessing it’s some specialized powder coating process, in which Apple takes care to ensure that any exposed areas inside the MacBook get completely coated, too. Makes me curious as to how far Apple will go with mechanical interior fit and finish if they end up building an Apple car. . . .

Which, when I think about it, would be one heckuva iFixit teardown!

About the author

Chris Maxcer

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I've been writing about the tech industry since the birth of the email newsletter, and I still remember the clacking Mac keyboards from high school -- Apple's seed-planting strategy at work. I'm a big fan of elegant gear and great tech, but there's something to be said for turning it all off -- or most of it -- to go outside. Online I like to call out cool stuff on Wicked Cool Bite and blog with my buddies at Man Makes Fire. To catch me, take a "firstnamelastname" guess at the url of this site.