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

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.

macbook air battery

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.

Related Roundup: MacBook Air
Related Forum: MacBook Air

Top Rated Comments

theheadguy Avatar
69 months ago
Astonishing that we need to applaud the undoing of a previous stupid decision. They needed to make it right and they did.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ploki Avatar
69 months ago
:eek:

they...
listen?!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bladerunner2000 Avatar
69 months ago
Astonishing that we need to applaud the undoing of a previous stupid decision. They needed to make it right and they did.
Headphone jack next.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cb3 Avatar
69 months ago
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.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shoulin333 Avatar
69 months ago
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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DrJohnnyN Avatar
69 months ago
Do people replace their Macs battery often? I never have.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Monday February 19, 2024 6:52 am PST by
Apple last month confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU and Apple Podcasts transcripts. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay later this year. More details about the new...
General Apps Messages

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 am PST by
Apple today announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks." Apple believes the PQ3 protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps," according to its blog post:Today we are announcing...
samsung galaxy ring

'Apple Ring' Allegedly in Development to Rival Samsung Galaxy Ring

Tuesday February 20, 2024 2:27 am PST by
Apple is speeding up development of a smart ring that can be worn on the finger to track users' health biometrics, claims a new report coming out of Korea. Teaser image of Samsung Galaxy Ring shown at Galaxy Unpacked in January Apple has toyed with the idea of a ring wearable for several years, as indicated by several patents, but with Samsung preparing to bring its own product to market, the ...
volvo s60 drivers apple maps

iOS 17.4 Beta Adds CarPlay Option to Show Upcoming Maneuvers in Instrument Cluster

Tuesday February 20, 2024 10:47 am PST by
The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 that Apple released today adds a new CarPlay feature, according to the notes that Apple provided to developers. In supported CarPlay vehicles, there's now an Apple Maps option to show information about upcoming maneuvers in the instrument cluster. CarPlay users will be able to swap the display type between the main and instrument cluster by tapping on the map...
m3 macbook pro 14 16

Apple Now Selling Refurbished M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro Models

Monday February 19, 2024 5:04 pm PST by
Apple today began offering refurbished versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max chip options, offering the machines at a discount for the first time since their October 2023 release. The release of M3 Pro and M3 Max models on Apple's refurbished store comes almost two weeks after the entry-level 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro first appeared on the store....
apple wallet drivers license feature

Apple Said iPhone Driver's Licenses Will Expand to These 8 U.S. States

Monday February 12, 2024 7:51 am PST by
In 2021, Apple introduced a feature that lets residents of participating U.S. states add their driver's license or ID to the Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch, providing a convenient and contactless way to display proof of identity or age. Unfortunately, states have been slow to adopt the feature since it was first announced in September 2021, with IDs in the Wallet app only available ...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

Apple's Upcoming OLED iPad Pro Models Rumored to Be Much Thinner

Tuesday February 20, 2024 1:39 pm PST by
Apple is planning to update the iPad Air and iPad Pro lineups as soon as March, and the new iPad Pro models will be significantly thinner according to dimensions shared by 9to5Mac. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, the site claims that the larger version will be more than 1mm thinner. The current 12.9-inch iPad Pro measures in at 6.4mm thick, but the new model is said to be 5mm ...