Skip to main content

The MacBook Air’s battery is easier to replace, but you can’t do it at home

Source: MacRumors Image used with permission by copyright holder

To go along with the environmentally friendly theme of the new MacBook Air for 2018, Apple is making the battery easier to replace inside its latest laptop, though home users still may not be able to service the battery themselves. The process isn’t quite as simple as popping open the MacBook Air’s casing and swapping out a depleted battery for a new one, but in redesigning the notebook, Apple is giving service technicians the necessary tools to replace just the battery, rather than the whole top case.

Like Apple’s current crop of notebooks, including the MacBook and the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air’s battery is still affixed inside via glue. However, according to Apple’s service documents sent to its service providers and glimpsed by MacRumors, Apple, authorized service centers will now be given the tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one should servicing be needed. “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 publication reported. “The glue strips are exactly the same as those used for iPhone batteries.”

In the past, replacing internal components that required service technicians to also replace the top case contributed to increasing repair costs. A widely documented example of is the repair costs associated with Apple’s first- and second-generation butterfly switch keyboards. Because replacing the keyboard required replacing the top cover as well, keyboard repairs were reported to be twice as much as keyboard repairs on older Apple notebooks.

By allowing technicians to save the top case and just replace the battery, Apple is essentially reducing the cost and waste associated with repairs related to battery issues. Apple made a big deal about the MacBook Air’s design and environmental impact when it introduced the laptop in late October, with executives highlighting that the laptop is Apple’s first Mac made from 100 percent recycled aluminum. In addition to aluminum, Apple also claimed that the Air is made from 60 percent recycled plastic.

Though the process for replacing the battery is more complex than the older generations of MacBook Air, Apple may have had to rely on adhesives to keep the design of the laptop slim. On older models, the battery was secured by screws, which are accessible once the laptop was opened.

In addition to making battery repairs simpler for technicians and Apple’s own Genius Bar staff, the service guide also points out that the new larger trackpad and Touch ID sensor can also be individually replaced. On the MacBook Air, if the Touch ID fingerprint scanner fails, replacing the sensor no longer requires a full replacement of the logic board. However, Apple states that the laptop has to pass a diagnostics test for the repair to be completed.

Editors' Recommendations

Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
I needed to buy a new MacBook. Here’s why I bought a power bank instead
Baseus Blade 2 65W power bank for laptops kept on a green couch.

I rely on a 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2020 for most of my work. Despite its age and being a base variant model, it continues to stack up well against my expectations for all these years.

Since MacBooks are known for longevity, the fact that my MacBook Pro still holds up well a few years later shouldn't sound surprising. However, the first signs of aging recently arrived in the form of a warning about the battery's plummeting health. I was already dreading the idea of having to replace what was otherwise a perfectly good laptop.

Read more
Apple quietly backtracks on the MacBook Air’s biggest issue
The MacBook Air on a white table.

The new MacBook Air with M3 chip not only allows you to use it with two external displays, but it has also reportedly addressed a storage problem that plagued the previous M2 model. The laptop now finally has much faster storage performance since Apple has switched back to using two 128GB NAND modules instead of a single 256GB module on the SSD drive.

This was discovered by the YouTuber Max Tech, who tore down the entry-level model of the MacBook Air M3 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. In his tests, thanks to the two NAND modules, the M3 MacBook Air is nearly double faster than the M2 MacBook Air. Blackmagic Disk Speed tests show that the older M2 model with the problematic NAND chip had a 1584.3 Mb/s write speed, and the newer M3 model had 2108.9 Mb/s for the M3 model, for a 33% difference. In read speeds, it was 1576.4 Mb/s on the old model and 2880.2 Mb/s on the newer model.

Read more
Why gaming on the M3 MacBook Air has left me impressed
Baldur's Gate 3 being played on the M3 MacBook Air.

Upon getting the new MacBook Air M3 in my possession, I had one major question: Can you play games on it?

That might sound like a silly first thought for a laptop of this type. After all, it's not marketed as a gaming laptop -- it's an incredibly thin, fanless laptop. Not exactly something even meant for any high-performance tasks.

Read more