New MacBook Pro uses battery pull tabs for easier replacement

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 28
Apple's redesigned 14-inch MacBook Pro battery swaps glue for pull tabs, a change that could make parts replacement and repair a more user-friendly process.

MacBook Pro


Discovered in repair firm iFixit's ongoing teardown of the new 14-inch MacBook Pro, battery pull tabs, or stretch release adhesive tabs, allow for secure installation and easy removal of parts without screws or glue. The design consideration is used in iPhone and other Apple devices, but has not transferred over to Mac beyond recent MacBook Air models.

While pull tabs for MacBook Pro's four outer battery cells are easily accessible, extracting the two central cells will take a bit more finagling as they are situated beneath the trackpad. Removing the part reveals cutouts in the top case that provide access to the battery cells' adhesive flaps. Further, iFixit notes that the logic board no longer appears to obstruct battery access.

Apple's professional laptop line once incorporated replaceable batteries that could be swapped out through an easy-access panel. That was more than ten years ago. In 2009, the company made the switch to built-in batteries that were initially held in to the device's unibody top case by screws. The company moved to glue in 2012, making home repairs a difficult and risky operation.

iFixit's disassembly is still underway and it is unclear if the battery pull tab design extends to the 16-inch MacBook Pro model.

Early customers offered sneak peeks into Apple's 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros on Tuesday, revealing an internal design largely borrowed from 2019. There are obvious differences, however, including thermal system tweaks for Apple's M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, speaker adjustments and consideration for additional ports.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,200member
    This really is a return of Macintosh greatness, after half a decade of frankly disappointing hardware.

    replaceable battery! Awesome. Does that mean the M2 MBA will also have it, and maybe, just maybe, upgradeable storage? 
    [enters swoon dream]
  • Reply 2 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,723member
    entropys said:
    This really is a return of Macintosh greatness, after half a decade of frankly disappointing hardware.

    replaceable battery! Awesome. Does that mean the M2 MBA will also have it, and maybe, just maybe, upgradeable storage? 
    [enters swoon dream]
    No on storage. Apple has integrated storage in a way that replaceable storage can’t compete with. Same with memory. I don’t see how Apple could add the ability to use replaceable NVMe storage that would run in the 5000MB/s range unless they provide multiple sockets with hardware RAID. I think this, along with the ridiculous bus speed, might be how Apple gets that storage speed. Best way to add storage is through Thunderbolt. 
    kurai_kagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,200member
    Or an SD card slot. Bulk secondary storage doesn’t have to be super quick.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    For consideration: "Seagate FireCuda 530 1TB Solid State Drive - M.2 PCIe Gen4 ×4 NVMe 1.4, speeds up to 7300 MB/s"  www.gamingpcbuilder.com/best-m-2-nvme-ssd  

    I've replaced batteries in a couple of iPhones including one with adhesive pull tabs that both broke. The latter I found by design a much tougher and arguably riskier process given the phyical stress required to remove the battery. www.robsonforensic.com/articles/lithium-battery-fire-expert-witness
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 5 of 11
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,124member
    rob53 said:
    entropys said:
    This really is a return of Macintosh greatness, after half a decade of frankly disappointing hardware.

    replaceable battery! Awesome. Does that mean the M2 MBA will also have it, and maybe, just maybe, upgradeable storage? 
    [enters swoon dream]
    No on storage. Apple has integrated storage in a way that replaceable storage can’t compete with. Same with memory. I don’t see how Apple could add the ability to use replaceable NVMe storage that would run in the 5000MB/s range unless they provide multiple sockets with hardware RAID. I think this, along with the ridiculous bus speed, might be how Apple gets that storage speed. Best way to add storage is through Thunderbolt. 
    The integrated storage doesn't have to be replaceable, but an extra NVMe m.2 slot to add an extra drive would be a really cool move for Apple.  That can be plenty fast, and while Thunderbolt expandability is great, packing extra storage into a notebook is far better.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,959member
    These moves are moves in a better direction.

    In all likelihood Apple is already well aware of moves by the EU for a directive on repairability - built into the design - of products. I would expect further improvements to their designs as the consultation phase comes to an end the directive gets closer.

    We all know one of the main reasons why Apple doesn't want upgradeable storage: to gouge users through upsell at purchase time. 

    There are zero decent reasons why Apple can't offer an upgradeable option.

    There used to be a time when Apple would introduce a new feature and claim it was the number one feature requested by users. 

    We, the users, were never informed of exactly what features were most requested and the second and third most popular features were never ever mentioned.

    It would be truly courageous of Apple to push a questionnaire out to anyone with an active AppleID and publish survey results to be able to compare how much of Apple's product decisions truly reflect users' wish lists.

    Fat chance of that happening, though. 
  • Reply 7 of 11
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,727member
    rob53 said:
    entropys said:
    This really is a return of Macintosh greatness, after half a decade of frankly disappointing hardware.

    replaceable battery! Awesome. Does that mean the M2 MBA will also have it, and maybe, just maybe, upgradeable storage? 
    [enters swoon dream]
    No on storage. Apple has integrated storage in a way that replaceable storage can’t compete with. Same with memory. I don’t see how Apple could add the ability to use replaceable NVMe storage that would run in the 5000MB/s range unless they provide multiple sockets with hardware RAID. I think this, along with the ridiculous bus speed, might be how Apple gets that storage speed. Best way to add storage is through Thunderbolt. 

    I generally object to soldered in stuff that traditionally has been replaceable or upgradeable -- such as storage, RAM, etc...

    But, if it is necessary in order to improve functional performance, then go for it.
    But, consumers should be aware of the trade-off -- that they may have buy-up to cover potential future needs.

    For example:  when I bought my grandson his 2017 MacBook I knew I could upgrade the storage if needed -- so I went with the base level of 128Gb.  That SSD is now laying on my workbench as I had to upgrade it to 500Gb.  But, I knew I could never upgrade its RAM -- so I made sure it was enough to future-proof the machine.

    To me, there are two main issues:
    1)  Is it done to improve performance of functionality -- or just to lower the cost of the machine?
    2)  Does the buyer understand the ramifications of what they're buying?  For example:  Apple told me that the 128Gb SSD in that machine was NOT upgradeable and I would have to pay more to future proof that machine -- but ONLY because I knew enough to ask.  Thankfully, I also knew enough to know they were full of shit.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    neilmneilm Posts: 917member
    This is big! 

    I manage a small fleet of Mac laptops, mostly 2016-2020 Intel MBPs, and now several M1 Airs. In intensive daily use our batteries last about 3-4 years, plus or minus. Failure modes are loss of charge capacity, often together with battery swelling. 

    The cost of battery replacement by Apple is $520 and requires shipping to a service center. Turnaround is very quick, sometimes even same day, but even with overnight shipping that’s still at least 3 days effective downtime. That means I have to provide and configure a loaner laptop to bridge the repair period.

    Back in the “old days” I replaced lots of Mac laptop batteries, usually for $150 or so and maybe 20 minutes of downtime. It would be great to be able to do that again.
    edited October 28 jas99russwGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,124member
    I very much enjoy the angry owl x-ray :smiley: 
  • Reply 10 of 11
    neilm said:
    This is big! 

    I manage a small fleet of Mac laptops, mostly 2016-2020 Intel MBPs, and now several M1 Airs. In intensive daily use our batteries last about 3-4 years, plus or minus. Failure modes are loss of charge capacity, often together with battery swelling. 

    The cost of battery replacement by Apple is $520 and requires shipping to a service center. Turnaround is very quick, sometimes even same day, but even with overnight shipping that’s still at least 3 days effective downtime. That means I have to provide and configure a loaner laptop to bridge the repair period.

    Back in the “old days” I replaced lots of Mac laptop batteries, usually for $150 or so and maybe 20 minutes of downtime. It would be great to be able to do that again.
    Why can't you? I've replaced the batteries on my 2015 MBP. All it takes is a new battery ($40 on eBay) and some dental floss to saw through the old adhesive without risking damaging the old cells. Of course, the hard part is getting all the other parts out of the way, but that's Apple for you.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,727member
    neilm said:
    This is big! 

    I manage a small fleet of Mac laptops, mostly 2016-2020 Intel MBPs, and now several M1 Airs. In intensive daily use our batteries last about 3-4 years, plus or minus. Failure modes are loss of charge capacity, often together with battery swelling. 

    The cost of battery replacement by Apple is $520 and requires shipping to a service center. Turnaround is very quick, sometimes even same day, but even with overnight shipping that’s still at least 3 days effective downtime. That means I have to provide and configure a loaner laptop to bridge the repair period.

    Back in the “old days” I replaced lots of Mac laptop batteries, usually for $150 or so and maybe 20 minutes of downtime. It would be great to be able to do that again.
    Why can't you? I've replaced the batteries on my 2015 MBP. All it takes is a new battery ($40 on eBay) and some dental floss to saw through the old adhesive without risking damaging the old cells. Of course, the hard part is getting all the other parts out of the way, but that's Apple for you.

    Lenovo, in their Thinkpad line makes the distinction between "Field Replaceable" versus, well, "Don't try this at home" stuff.
    Anything designated as field replaceable (which, at least in older Thinkpads, can be most of the machine all the way down to the CPU & motherboard) can be replaced with a (regular!) screw driver.

    Some of it can get pretty involved.  But then they assume whoever undertakes the job has the skills -- but then Thinkpads are aimed at a corporate market where it would be a professional doing the work.

    I wish Apple would adopt the same approach.  But then, they may not consider ANYTHING to be field replaceable.


    edited October 29 muthuk_vanalingam
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