New MacBook Pro teardown reveals surprising internal tweaks


iFixit just got its hands on Apple’s newest 13-inch MacBook Pro, which can only mean one thing: It’s time to take a look at what’s inside its svelte aluminum shell.

The new model ships with a Touch Bar, Touch ID, and the Apple T2 Security Chip as standard. It also boasts newer Intel chips that promise up to 83% faster multi-core performance.

But that’s not all you get for your money. There’s a bigger battery inside it, too — plus some other surprising tweaks. And not every change is a good one.

Apple’s newest notebooks came at a time when it looked like its prices would not stop rising. And yet, they deliver a lot more for your money. Even if you own the previous 2017 model, the newest 13-inch MacBook Pro looks like it’s well worth the upgrade fee.

But there are some things you should be aware of.

2019 13-inch MacBook Pro teardown

Let’s start with the good news. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro packs a slightly bigger battery. It has a 58.2 Wh capacity, exceeding the 54.5 Wh offered by the previous model.

iFixit suspects the additional charge is required to power the Touch Bar, Touch ID, and T2 chip while maintaining the same 10 hours of battery life MacBook Pro owners have come to expect.

A slightly bigger battery should mean the same 10-hours of use.
Photo: iFixit

The MacBook Pro’s butterfly keyboard is the latest iteration — the same one that ships in the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro introduced in May. It uses different materials in an effort to eliminate issues, but it’s still covered by Apple’s repair program.

In addition, the Thunderbolt board and speakers inside the new machine are modular. That means they’re no longer soldered in place, so if they fail, they can somewhat easily be replaced.

The bad news

Some of the changes Apple has made for this revision aren’t so welcome. To make room for its Touch Bar, the new Pro uses a slightly smaller heatsink. One of its speakers has also shrunk.

It’s not yet clear whether the smaller heatsink will affect performance — or if the smaller speaker will have any impact on sound.

2019-MacBook-Pro-13-teardown-3
Old (top) vs. new.
Photo: iFixit

Early benchmarks suggest the new Pro has no trouble outpacing its predecessor. But as we’ve learned from the 15-inch model, its slim design can lead to thermal throttling as things get too hot inside. We’ll have to wait and see what real-world performance is like.

The biggest disappointment iFixit uncovered is that MacBook Pro’s flash storage is now soldered in place. It was modular before, which meant it could be replaced or upgraded. Now you’ll need a whole new logic board if it fails.

Not great for repairability

Like all of Apple’s newest gadgets, the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro is a repairer’s nightmare. iFixit has awarded it a two out of 10 for repairability as a result.

Check out the full teardown for more details on what’s inside the machine.



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