iFixIt CEO Kyle Wiens notes that a month ago, he and his team called the MacBook Pro with Retina display “the least repairable laptop we’ve taken apart.” However, Weins says “we wouldn’t be the ‘repair manual for everything’ if we tapped out on the difficult projects. So guess what? We just completed writing the repair manual for the 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display.”
Wiens observes that many components inside the ultra-thin laptop can be removed without much fuss, provided one uses the correct tools. Apple’s proprietary Pentalobe screws fasten the lower case in place and Torx screws secure everything else. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are absolutely necessary, he says, since many of the components are designed with such tight tolerances that using fingertips is simply not an option.
However, Weins warns that working on this laptop is no easy task, and some repairs are simply unfeasible. For example, he notes that there is no way to replace the trackpad without removing the battery, and while it’s theoretiacally possible to remove the battery, chances are high that it will be punctured in the process, and puncturing Lithium-polymer batteries releases noxious fumes and can cause fires, so not cool. Additionally, he cautions that removing the LCD glass from its aluminum frame will almost certainly break the glass. So components residing under the LCD such as the FaceTime camera will have to be replaced with the entire assembly.
Also, finding replacements for the machine’s proprietary components is currently difficult. Wiens says iFixIt is working to source parts, but that may take some time, and while they’ve developed a technique for removing the battery, there remains a high risk of puncturing the cells so they’re still working to improve on the battery removal procedure.
Wiens comments that in the context of iFixIt’s philosophical belief that everyone has the right to maintain and repair their products. the design direction Apple has taken with the Retina MacBook Pro is “disturbing,” and he estimates that third party battery replacements will cost over $500 if technicians follow the safer Apple-suggested procedure and replace the entire upper case assembly along with the battery. For more on that and related matters visit:
However, he says that while Apple isn’t making this easy, iFixIt are committed to making repair as straightforward as physically possible.
The takeaway here is that if you’re comfortable and extraordinarily handy at working on the innards of electronic gadgetry, you may be able to successfully execute some DIY repairs on the Retina MacBook Pro. Everyone else ought to seriously consider buying AppleCare coverage with a purchase of one of these machines.
Apple Internal Memo to Service Technicians Confirms That Battery In Retina Display MacBook is Not Replaceable
TreeHugger.com’s Jaymi Heimbuch notes that according to an internal service tech announcement sent from Apple to its technicians, a couple training courses are required for techs to be authorized to service the new Retina MacBook Pro laptops. The document also explains some handling must-dos for parts of the computer, a notable one being that the rMBP’s battery must be replaced with the top case assembly, and confirming that the glued-in battery alone is not a replaceable part, and the service memo warning that “batteries should not be separated from the top case assembly for any reason.”
Because having to buy the entire top case assembly in order to replace the battery won’t be cost effective for anyone but Apple, effectively Apple becomes the sole source for rMBP battery replacement, for which it charges $179.
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