Apple Says Battery Can Be Replaced Individually in New MacBook Air With Retina Display

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,733
10,141



Big news for repairability and environmental responsibility: the battery can be individually replaced in the new MacBook Air, according to Apple's internal Service Readiness Guide for the notebook, obtained by MacRumors.

Apple demonstrating removal of battery in the new MacBook Air

In all other MacBook and MacBook Pro models with a Retina display released since 2012, when a customer has required a battery replacement, Apple has replaced the entire top case enclosure, including the keyboard and trackpad. This is because the battery is glued into the top case in Mac notebooks with Retina displays.

The battery in the new MacBook Air is still glued into the top case, the aluminum enclosure that houses the keyboard and trackpad, but Apple will be providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one with no top case replacement required.

Once the new battery is installed, technicians are required to place the notebook in Apple's existing iPhone display press tool to activate the new adhesive. The glue strips are exactly the same as those used for iPhone batteries.

"This is a huge step forward," said Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, a popular website dedicated to repairing Apple products. "Apple's glued-down battery design has been a challenge for consumers, recyclers, and for Apple's own technicians. Preserving the removability of the MacBook Air's battery is really important."

The trackpad in the new MacBook Air can also be individually replaced, according to the Service Readiness Guide, obtained from a reliable source.

We'll have to wait until iFixit tears down the new MacBook Air for a closer look inside the notebook, but Apple has presumably made design changes that allow for Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers to more easily replace the battery and trackpad, eliminating the need for a full-out top case replacement.

If there are indeed design changes, then Apple likely won't extend its new method to individually replace the battery to existing MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, but it is certainly possible with next-generation models.

iFixit does have do-it-yourself guides for replacing the battery in MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, which requires purchasing its battery replacement kit, but the process requires quite a bit of work and a careful hand. Do-it-yourself repairs also void Apple's warranty.

For comparison, the previous-generation MacBook Air has a screwed-down battery that can be removed and replaced by Apple and its service providers without a top case replacement, in line with other non-Retina notebooks.

In related news, Apple also states that replacing the Touch ID button on the new MacBook Air does not require a logic board replacement, but the notebook must pass Apple diagnostics in order for the repair to be completed.

Apple replacing the entire top case for a simple battery swap-out has always been a point of contention, so this change should be well received by the repair industry. It's also better for the environment, and will likely save Apple money, so it's a win-win-win. We've reached out to Apple for comment.

Article Link: Apple Says Battery Can Be Replaced Individually in New MacBook Air With Retina Display
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,706
21,374
"You hear that rattling when I shake the MBA?"

"Yeah, what is that?"

"I think it's… the battery."

"Oh, man, we gotta fix that so it—"

"No, we'll say they're 'individually replaceable' batteries!" :cool:
 

coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,643
4,680
Vancouver, BC
What is the advantage of glue strips over screws, I wonder? Quicker assembly? Less weight? More overall strength of the finished product? More environmentally-friendly? Is the glue biodegradable?
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigpics

coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,643
4,680
Vancouver, BC
If Apple truly cared about the "environment" they would make most parts of a computer easily replaceable or repairable. Thats what I would like to see more of in the future.
On the flip side, Apple continues to reduce the size of components and circuit boards, which is a huge step forward in terms of the environment. Unlike many companies out there chasing the cheapest way to build, and being wasteful in the process, Apple continues to chase the best way to build, cost aside.
 

rek89

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2015
43
102
If Apple truly cared about the "environment" they would make most parts of a computer easily replaceable or repairable. Thats what I would like to see more of in the future.
That really isn't how computers work these days, and certainly won't in the future. Have you looked at the component density and/or component size on modern circuit boards?
 

shoulin333

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2007
700
21
California
I paid $100 for a out of warranty 2013 MBP battery replacement and got a new top case, keyboard, and trackpad along with it.

No more shiny keys and trackpad feels like new. I think that was worth it. I bet they will now still charge $100 just for the battery.

I’m sure apple did this to save money, not to make our lives easier.
 

MauiPa

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2018
869
1,155
"Do-it-yourself repairs also void Apple's warranty." Why would anyone perform a do-it-yourself repair while a product was under warranty? Really, I'm sure there are tinkerers out there who love to open things up break them and then get a warranty repair, but is it a serious concern. In china, they open products, strip out high quality components and replace them with low cost crap, then take it in for warranty service.

I must be missing something
 

tgarg

macrumors newbie
Nov 7, 2018
1
0
I paid $100 for a out of warranty 2013 MBP battery replacement and got a new top case, keyboard, and trackpad along with it.

No more shiny keys and trackpad feels like new. I think that was worth it. I bet they will now still charge $100 just for the battery.

I’m sure apple did this to save money, not to make our lives easier.
Hey, can you tell me where to get the battery replacement for $100. Apple told me it will be
$199 + tax.
 

KPandian1

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2013
1,493
2,428
Apple is getting praise for stopping an environmentally wasteful, expensive to Apple (read: Apple shareholders), way of replacing a battery, that should never have been implemented in the first place. A battery is the main degrading component of the computer, with a life expectancy of about three years.

Next they are going to do the same for the keyboard - no need to replace the top case for that too.

Bigger applause will be when the audio jack and SDXC card reader are returned.

The biggest will be when the MagSafe and USB 3 ports are restored.
 

Spanky Deluxe

macrumors 601
Mar 17, 2005
4,894
460
London, UK
Do people replace their Macs battery often? I never have.
I've replaced the battery in my MacBook Pro twice. Once, just under three years in, shortly before the warranty expired and so I got it for free and a second time five years later. It doesn't last long when not plugged in now, maybe an hour but I think that there's something funky with the charging circuit. It just turned ten years old.
 

Kabeyun

macrumors 68030
Mar 27, 2004
2,608
4,863
Eastern USA
If there are indeed design changes, then Apple likely won't extend its new method to individually replace the battery to existing MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, but it is certainly possible with next-generation models.
I agree that Apple won’t completely redesign their current laptops to make the components more easily swappable. :rolleyes:
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.