iFixit Verdict: MacBook Air Damn Near Impossible to Fix

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If you want a MacBook Air you can fix when things go awry, the latest Apple lightweight notebook won't be for you.

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In a teardown of the new MacBook Air published this week, iFixit gave the device a score of 3 out of a possible 10 for repairability. The MacBook Air did get high marks for "many components" that were modular and easy to access, including the fan, speakers, and ports.

But iFixit derided Apple for soldering the storage and RAM to the motherboard. That means those components, easily upgraded in many other manufacturers' laptops, can't be swapped out. And because the MacBook Air's keyboard is integrated into the top of the computer, a full teardown will be required to service it.

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Apple is notorious for building devices that are difficult, if not impossible, to repair by the end user. The company argues that it needs to use a variety of techniques and tools, such as glue and solder, to get all of the components inside its sleek designs. Not surprisingly, when hardware problems arise, Apple calls on customers to take their devices to the Genius Bar in an Apple Store for a fix.

However, there are many people who like to fix their own devices. IFixit, among other companies in the DIY market, provides the tools to actually do that. The trouble is, when it comes to the new MacBook Air, actually tweaking the device might be more trouble than it's worth.

But aside from repairability, iFixit teardowns also shed some light into what might be hiding under the hood in Apple's products.

For instance, the company found that Apple is using SanDisk flash storage in the MacBook Air and is using Intel's Thunderbolt 3 controller. SKhynix was tapped for the computer's RAM, and Murata got the Wi-Fi module. Apple relied on Texas Instruments for the power controller and NXP for a near-field communication controller, according to the iFixit teardown.

Aside from that, there weren't many surprises inside the MacBook Air. It's a tough-to-take-apart, crowded-on-the-inside MacBook Air. Unless you really know what you're doing. don't take it apart.

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