Apple’s latest MacBook Pro models have a host of new features, including the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipset, mini LED displays with ProMotion, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, fast charging with MagSafe 3, and more. As the first teardowns begin to be shared online, iFixit has revealed a previously unknown improvement with the new hardware.
On the 14-inch MacBook Pro, iFixit explained that the device now features pull tabs for the battery cells, which the repair site said allows for easy battery replacement.
MacBook Air models of 2018 and later also come with battery pull tabs, but the MacBook Pro has had batteries that have been known to be difficult to replace since 2012. This is because they’re glued to the “top case,” a large part that houses the keyboard and trackpad. When an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider needs to replace the battery in these earlier MacBook Pro models, the entire top cover must also be replaced, though the customer only pays the $129 to $199 battery service fee out of warranty.
Inside the new MacBook Pro, the four external battery cells have pull tabs that are as easily noticeable as the iPhone, and once the trackpad is removed, there are cutouts in the chassis to access the pull tabs that hold the two middle battery cells in place, accordingly. to iFixit.
All four external battery cells feature thin but noticeable pull straps, aka stretchy adhesive — those thin white strips we know and love from the iPhone and MacBook Air. If your technique is correct, simply pull on these things to stretch the adhesive and, in theory, everything attached to it falls off instantly.
Some types of adhesives are 10 times more fun than others. Like stretch, the most gentle adhesive we know.
Even better, it appears that this battery is not confined under the logic board. This could enable a direct battery swap without removing all the brains first – a procedure we’ve been dreaming of for a while.
But wait, we don’t see any drag tabs on the two central cells, and they refuse to budge. Are we screwed up – or worse yet, stuck together? (This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve found some tabs that look promising, but we’re just letting them down.)
This blew us away a bit, until we had a desperately cool idea to remove the trackpad. We were hoping for a better look under the battery, but we got something better.
It turns out there are tow strips under the remaining battery cells, accessed through tiny holes in the chassis, under the trackpad. What do you know – some smart people have fixed it and come up with some thought.
In this way, the battery is disposed of. Without alcohol. There are no pry tools. No cursing does not stop.
It’s not clear if pull tabs will change Apple’s repair procedures, but they will certainly benefit your do-it-yourself repairs by making it easier to access the battery cells. While most MacBook Pro users hope they’ll never need to replace the battery, this improvement could make new hardware last longer and is a step in the right direction for the right to repair advocates.
To learn more about what the high-end new MacBook Pro models have to offer, check out our comprehensive roundup.