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.

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
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
18 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: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
:eek:

they...
listen?!
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 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)
Avatar
18 months ago
Do people replace their Macs battery often? I never have.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch 'by Months'

Wednesday March 25, 2020 12:51 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple is preparing to delay the launch of the 2020 iPhones expected to be equipped with 5G technology, according to sources with knowledge of Apple's plans that spoke to Japanese news site Nikkei. Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the launch "by months" over fears of how well iPhones would sell in the current situation, and supply chain sources...

Apple Helps Source Over 10 Million N95 Masks for Healthcare Providers in the U.S.

Wednesday March 25, 2020 10:25 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple over the weekend announced plans to donate millions of N95 masks to hospitals in the United States and Europe, and according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has been able to source more than 10 million N95 masks in the U.S. and millions more in Europe. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Saturday that Apple was aiming to donate supplies to healthcare providers fighting COVID-19, and clarified...

Hands-On With the New 2020 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

Wednesday March 25, 2020 2:10 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week announced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of today, the new iPads are arriving to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what's new and whether it's worth buying. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. When it comes to design, the new iPad Pro models are identical to the 2018 iPad Pro models, but ...

Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:19 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap,...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 With New Mail Toolbar, iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad and More

Tuesday March 24, 2020 9:56 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4, the latest major updates to the iOS 13 operating system that was released in September. iOS and iPadOS 13.4 come two months after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Screen Time Communication Limits. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 With Screen Time Communication Limits and Real-Time Apple Music Lyrics

Tuesday March 24, 2020 10:21 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. The macOS Catalina 10.15.4 update...

Apple Says MacBook Air With Retina Display Can Exhibit Anti-Reflective Coating Issues, Unclear if Eligible for Free Repairs [Updated]

Thursday March 26, 2020 8:16 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple this week acknowledged that MacBook Air models with Retina displays can exhibit anti-reflective coating issues, as indicated in a memo shared with Apple Authorized Service Providers and obtained by MacRumors. "Retina displays on some MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro computers can exhibit anti-reflective (AR) coating issues," the memo states. Apple's internal service documentation ...

Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Tuesday March 24, 2020 12:38 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now. We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad...

Hands-On With the New $999 MacBook Air

Thursday March 26, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside new iPad Pros last week, Apple also refreshed the MacBook Air, adding more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and an updated keyboard. We picked up one of the new machines to take a look at some of the upgrades added in the 2020 update. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, there are no real external changes to the MacBook Air's body,...

Mobile Networks in Multiple Countries Display 'Stay Home' Message When Users Connect to Cellular Instead of WiFi

Tuesday March 24, 2020 3:46 pm PDT by Juli Clover
iPhone users in several countries who disconnect from WiFi on their devices will see a "Stay Home" message at the top of the Control Center where cellular network information is displayed. Image via Matt Navarra According to reports on Twitter, the status bar messages are showing up in countries that include Germany, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Turkey, India, Luxembourg, Romania,...