New MacBook Air is easier to repair

Macbook Air teardown
© iFixit

But it still only gets a 3 out of 10 from iFixit.

Apple calls their new MacBook Air "the greenest MacBook ever." They are proud of their Recycled aluminum, and I have admired their product longevity. But one of the most important Rs in our list of 7 is Repair, and Apple products have long been criticized for their lack of repairability. Katherine quoted a favourite source recently:

iFixit gives some beautiful perspective: "Would you buy a car if it was illegal to replace the tires? Would you buy a bike if you couldn't fix the chain?" The idea is outrageous, of course.

Now the iFixit team have got their pentalobe drivers on the new MacBook Air and, while they are still underwhelmed, they consider it a step in the right direction.

Under that eco-friendly (but still only pre-consumer) recycled aluminum, this Air rocks modular ports, and not one but ten pull-to-remove adhesive tabs securing its battery and speakers. After years of declining repairability, this is a refreshing change for Apple notebooks.

It still has those proprietary pentalobe screws and the RAM and storage are still soldered to the logic board so you can't upgrade anything. But they "hope this is just the beginning of an upswing in repairable design."

While we’re pleasantly surprised by the Air’s relative repairability (compared to recent Apple notebooks), fixed storage and RAM are still a bummer on a pricey laptop. All things considered, the MacBook Air earns a 3/10 repairability score.

Instead of permanently gluing everything together, iFixit finds a stretchy adhesive with pull tabs.

We don't love adhesive—reusable screws are nearly always better—but hey, pulling out this iPhone-esque stretch-release stuff is loads better than gooey solvents and blind prying. Plus, the mere presence of stretch-release adhesive generally means that someone at least thought about possible repair and disassembly situations.

The battery was easy to remove, and they found modular ports that can be repaired or replaced. "Though this update seems to favor experienced technicians more than the average DIYer, we're hoping it's the first step back toward repairable MacBooks."

repair rankingsiFixit/Screen capture

For all of us environmentally conscious Mac-toting bloggers, this is all very good news. When you look at iFixit's laptop repairability scores, this is the only Apple product on the list that gets as high as 3. (There are HP and Dell machines that get 10.) Where the Macs have proprietary screws, Dell even sends out "clear repair and disassembly instructions." But at least Mac is going in the right direction.

New MacBook Air is easier to repair
But it still only gets a 3 out of 10 from iFixit.

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