In honor of the Mac's 30th anniversary today, iFixit has partnered with Cult of Mac and The Vintage Mac Museum to tear down an original Macintosh 128K. Analysis of the well-known vintage hardware obviously reveals no surprises, but does highlight just how far technology has come in the past 30 years.

ifixit-128kb

Thirty years of progress yields some impressive changes to input peripherals. Keyboards and mice are now wireless, thinner, and comprised mainly of sturdy, non-yellow metal.

And we now have arrow keys! In typical Apple fashion, they ditched the arrows on the original Mac to force people to use the mouse, a strange new accessory at the time.

The engineering of the Macintosh 128K reflects the do-it-yourself culture from which this Mac emerged. Unlike the current Mac models, the 128K is relatively easy to repair, earning a repairability score of 7 out of 10. Most main components, with the exception of RAM, are user replaceable and easy to access since adhesive was not used in the assembly process. Deep-set case screws and electrocution hazards from power supplies are the biggest hindrances to a self-repair.


Originally released as the Apple Macintosh, the Macintosh 128K was unveiled thirty years ago by Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984 at the company's annual stockholders meeting. The presentation showcased the computer's then revolutionary graphical UI and speech technology.

Top Rated Comments

JosephAW Avatar
110 months ago
We have a dozen or so of these mac at our kids camp. I noticed that some of the 128k macs have white ceramic 68000 CPUs instead of the black chip.
Many still work and we have them networked to play a custom trivia game we wrote using Microsoft basic.
Still have some of the old games like alien arcade golf and Tetris.
We still have some of the original boxes and we have several of the carrying bags with zippers.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mousse Avatar
110 months ago
The engineering of the Macintosh 128K reflects the do-it-yourself culture from which this Mac emerged. Unlike the current Mac models, the 128K is relatively easy to repair, earning a repairability score of 7 out of 10. Most main components, with the exception of RAM, are user replaceable and easy to access since adhesive was not used in the assembly process. Deep-set case screws and electrocution hazards from power supplies are the biggest hindrances to a self-repair.

The deep screws were easy to remove using the special allen wrench :apple: gave repair techs back then. I remember the biggest pain in the tush part was cracking open the case. :apple: had a special prying clamp/wrench for that too. It was still a pain the the (_!_).

I use to repair those old Macs. 30 years already? Now I feel old.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Slix Avatar
110 months ago
We really have come a long way.

Happy Birthday Mac!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Casiotone Avatar
110 months ago
The deep screws were easy to remove using the special allen wrench :apple: gave repair techs back then. I remember the biggest pain in the tush part was cracking open the case. :apple: had a special prying clamp/wrench for that too. It was still a pain the the (_!_).

I use to repair those old Macs. 30 years already? Now I feel old.

Here's a funny story (it's funny now, it wasn't funny then) :

For some reason I had to open my Mac Classic (upgrading the RAM I think?) when I was a teen. I didn't have the right tools as I was not a repairman.

Not sure what I used to pry open the case, but it didn't work well and the case was still stuck to the front.

So I put the thing face down on a bed and pull to remove the back as hard as I can, and it eventually pops out, but I heard a "crack" then "Pssshhhhhhhhhhh".

I knew that there was only one thing that could've made that sound... The CRT which normally has vacuum inside! The case had hit the little board on the tube's neck and broke the little glass thing at the end of the tube, which let all the air in!

I was smart enough to know that it meant, but I still tried to turn it on which resulted in a loud buzzing noise and blue sparks inside the tube's neck! :)

We (me and my dad) eventually found a replacement monitor (a Samsung!) but it wasn't easy since weren't a repair shop.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
neuromajor Avatar
110 months ago
Radical! Booting from a 3.5 floppy is so bad!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
notjustjay Avatar
110 months ago
I loved those old keyboards. Every key click had a very satisfying "ktung!" sound.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

2022 back to school apple

Apple Launches 2022 Back to School Offer: Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Friday June 24, 2022 5:08 am PDT by
Apple today launched its annual "Back to School" promotion for college/university students in the United States and Canada. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans during the promotion. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with the purchase ...
widgets ios 16 feature

Gurman: iPhone 14 Pro to Feature Always-On Display Showing iOS 16's New Lock Screen Widgets

Sunday June 26, 2022 7:36 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro models are widely expected to feature always-on displays that allow users to view glanceable information without having to tap to wake the screen. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman said the feature will include support for iOS 16's new Lock screen widgets for weather, fitness, and more. "Like the Apple Watch, the iPhone 14 Pro will be...
m2 mac mini screen feature

Gurman: Apple Planning M2 Pro Mac Mini, New Apple TV With A14 Chip, Revamped HomePod With S8 Chip, and More

Sunday June 26, 2022 6:31 am PDT by
In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman outlined additional M2 Macs on Apple's product roadmap, including new Mac mini models with M2 and M2 Pro chips, new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, and a new Mac Pro tower with M2 Ultra and "M2 Extreme" chips. Following the M2 series of Macs, Gurman said the first M3 series of...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

Base 13-Inch MacBook Pro With M2 Chip Has Significantly Slower SSD Speeds

Sunday June 26, 2022 2:52 pm PDT by
Following the launch of Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip, it has been discovered that the $1,299 base model with 256GB of storage has significantly slower SSD read/write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation model. YouTube channels such as Max Tech and Created Tech tested the 256GB model with Blackmagic's Disk Speed Test app and found that the SSD's read and...
M2 Pro and Max Feature

Apple's Upcoming M2 Pro Chip for High-End MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Will Reportedly Be 3nm

Monday June 27, 2022 7:31 am PDT by
TSMC will manufacture Apple's upcoming "M2 Pro" and "M3" chips based on its 3nm process, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. "Apple reportedly has booked TSMC capacity for its upcoming 3nm M3 and M2 Pro processors," said DigiTimes, in a report focused on competition between chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung to secure 3nm chip orders. As expected, the report said TSMC will...
airpods pro 2 1

AirPods Pro 2 Said to Feature Upgraded H1 Chip, Find My, Heart Rate Detection, USB-C and More

Friday June 24, 2022 9:48 am PDT by
The next-generation AirPods Pro could come with a long list of new features that include heart rate detection, the ability to function as a hearing aid, and a USB-C port according to a report from 52Audio. The site claims that it has received new information on the AirPods Pro 2, and it has used that information to provide some renders on what the earbuds might look like. Design wise, there...
tesla carplay hack

Tesla Apple CarPlay Hack Updated to Work With Any Tesla Model

Monday June 27, 2022 3:38 am PDT by
Polish developer Michał Gapiński has released a new and improved version of his "Tesla Android Project" which brings Apple's CarPlay experience to more Tesla vehicles than ever before. According to Gapiński, version 2022.25.1 provides "100% functional CarPlay integration for any Tesla," and comes with several new features and bug fixes. The project now supports DRM video playback so that...