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MacBook Pro 2021 gets poor repairability score — but there’s some good news

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple's products have established a reputation for being difficult to repair, forcing many customers to opt for an Apple Care plan and service their devices at designated Apple Stores. But, at least with the new MacBook Pro 2021, Apple has made opening up the device for small repairs slightly easier, even if it's still a chore.

According to a recent video by iFixit (opens in new tab), the site was surprised to see how relatively easy it was to open up Apple's latest device. Getting inside only required the removal of a handful of screws and the prying apart of the bottom panel. This is a major reprieve for MacBook fans that have had to deal with near-unrepairable units from the Touch Bar era. 

A major issue of concern for laptop owners is swapping out the batteries. Batteries don't last forever, and considering the immense prices of the new MacBook Pros, starting at $2,000, users will likely want to hold on to their devices for as long as possible.

While the new MacBook Pro's batteries are broken up into six individual units, each unit is held down by sticky strips that can easily be pulled out. Once out, it'll be possible to order a new replacement battery module and plop it in place. 

That's not to say the rest of the machine is easy to take apart. There are plenty of tiny screws that can easily be lost. And having to do a full screen replacement will be a complicated mess. But at least it's possible. And the ribbon cables attaching the screen to the motherboard are thankfully longer this time around.

Even then, for iFixit, the new M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros received a repairability score of 4/10. That's not great, and a far cry from the Framework Laptop, which received a perfect 10/10 score (opens in new tab). Still, a 4/10 is much better than the Touch Bar iterations of the MacBook Pro from 2016, which received a dismal 1/10 (opens in new tab)

While it's a disappointment the new MacBook Pro doesn't have user-upgradeable storage, let's hope Apple never goes back to a design with batteries that glue into the chassis. 

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.