Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro With Touch Bar Teardown Hits New Low For Repairability And Upgrades

If you were following along two weeks ago, shortly after the launch of the 13-inch MacBook Pro (sans Touch Bar), then you know that Apple has been making it increasingly difficult to repair and upgrade its Macs. Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro was mocked for the consolidation of components onto a single logic board and received a 2 out of 10 reparability score from iFixit.

It should come as no surprise then that the more expensive 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar continues down that same path (and actually goes even further). Delving inside the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar was no different than its lesser sibling — you’ll first need to remove six pentalobe screws, and then slide the bottom panel out to detach it from clips that secure it to the base.

mbp touchbar 1

Once inside, we see that the Touch Bar-equipped model has two internal cooling fans instead of one and a smaller battery (49 WHr versus 54.5 WHr). Like the lesser model, the massive trackpad is easily removed, and the internal battery can be removed (although you’ll have to fight through a lot of adhesives to achieve your mission).

Once you get to the logic board, which wraps around the two internal fans, you’ll find another big change: the SanDisk SSD is no longer removable and is instead soldered directly onto the logic board. So if you were hoping to somehow upgrade your SSD down the road instead of opting for one of Apple’s expensive upgrades, you’re out of luck.

mbp touchbar 3

It should be noted that while many have lamented the loss of MagSafe (now that Apple has gone to Thunderbolt 3 for power/connectivity), an accidental yank on the power cord — while possibly destructive to the internal ports — doesn’t mean that you’ll have a costly DIY repair (as long as the MacBook doesn’t go flying to the floor). iFixit explains:

Now that our beloved MagSafe connector has been retired, a wayward step on the power cord is much more likely to damage your ports—so, it's heartening to see the USB-C hardware can be replaced separately (although you'll have to remove the logic board to get to it).

The Touch Bar itself, which is a long and thin OLED panel, can be dislodged with a bit of heat and a prying tool. However, complete removal of the panel is made difficult due to the fact that the flex cable routes under the upper case.

mbp touchbar 2

Overall, iFixit didn’t have much good to say about the repairability of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and gave it an even lower score than its standard model: a pathetic 1 out of 10 rating.