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After years of neglect, Apple has finally updated the widely-beloved MacBook Air. Does this new lightweight have what it takes to keep up with ultraportables of 2018? Or is it just full of hot air? Let’s open it up and find out.

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Bu teardown bir tamir kılavuzu değildir. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 cihazınızı onarmak için, servis kılavuzumuzu kullanın.

  1. Let's clear the Air about some of these specs:
    • Let's clear the Air about some of these specs:

      • 13.3" LED-backlit IPS Retina display; 2560 x 1600 resolution (227 ppi)

      • 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz) with integrated Intel UHD Graphics 617

      • Apple T2 custom security chip / coprocessor

      • 8 GB of 2133 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM

      • 128 GB PCIe-based SSD

      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2

      • Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports supporting charging, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB 3.1 Gen 2

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  2. Before venturing inside, we take a quick survey of some of the the new Air's external features.
    • Before venturing inside, we take a quick survey of some of the the new Air's external features.

    • On its underbelly we find some fine print, and some color-matched pentalobe screws.

      • Looks like we've got some new numbers! Model A1932 and EMC 3184.

    • Opening it up, we're greeted with a familiar 3rd-gen butterfly keyboard, and we immediately have MacBook Pro flashbacks.

    • The Air bears a remarkable resemblance to the Touch Bar-less 13" MacBook Pro—apart from thickness and Touch ID, they are nigh indistinguishable.

    • ...and despite the "Air" nomenclature, this makes the 12" MacBook look like a lightweight by comparison.

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    • Of course, no external survey would be complete without a little X-ray reconnaissance.

    • With the help of our friends at Creative Electron, we get a peek at what's to come.

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    • One last detour before we head inside: we can't resist popping off our favorite command key for a peek at the noise dampening ingress-resisting membrane.

      • Love it or hate it, it looks like butterfly is here to stay.

    • After a few twists of our pentalobe driver, one good tug pops the lower case free of its two clips, and we're in.

      • This simple procedure brings a smile to our face in comparison to some of the booby-trapped lids we've found on MacBooks and MacBook Pros lately.

    • Inside, we spy: a small logic board, one lonely fan, a pair of large elongated speakers, and an interesting radiator-esque heat sink.

    Looks like you took a bite out of the ribbon cable over the fan!

    Malcolm Hall - Yanıt

    • Just six Torx screws and a few cable connectors stand between us and logic board removal—not bad! Certainly nothing our Marlin Screwdriver Set can't handle.

    • Out it comes! The Air's logic board is not mustachioed like the Pro's, nor is it quite so minuscule as the MacBook's.

      • So far this is easy, but we'd prefer to see upgradeable components or straightforward battery access—AKA device-life extenders—than board access at this point.

    • Next we snag the daughterboard, which hosts a (highly endangered) headphone jack and some connectors for the speaker and Touch ID sensor.

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    • This board may be small, but it's still packing some decent processing power:

      • Intel SREKQ Core i5-8210Y processor

      • Apple APL1027 339S00535 T2 coprocessor

      • SanDisk SDSGFBF12 043G flash storage (128 GB total)

      • Intel JHL7540 Thunderbolt 3 controller

      • 338S00267-A0 (likely an Apple PMIC)

    The Apple T2 Chip is already almost as large as the Intel i5 Chip. Imagine what will happen in a few years when ARM is replacing x86-64 on MacBook.

    Yang Jackie - Yanıt

    • We flip the board to find even more silicon:

      • 2x SKhynix H9CCNNNCPTAL LPDDR3 RAM (8 GB total)

      • Murata 339S00446 1ZE SS8915047 (likely a Wi-Fi module)

      • Intersil 95828A HRTZ X829PMJ

      • NXP 80V18 secure NFC module

      • Macronix MX25U3235F serial multi I/O flash memory

      • Texas Instruments CD32-15C00 power controller

      • Texas Instruments TPS51980A synchronous buck converter

    I believe that TI’s CD3215C00 is a USB 3.1 redriver.

    Franc Zabkar - Yanıt

    • Opposite the headphone jack, we spy some super modular Thunderbolt ports!

      • This MacBook is off to a good start as far as we're concerned—all the ports sit on their own boards and are easily replaceable.

    • Finally we meet the part responsible for blowing the air in this ... Air.

    Can I just point out how much like a Lightning connector the “guts” of a Type-C connector is? Have we found a double-sided Lightning connector in the wild yet, maybe in the iPad Pro USB 3 Camera adapter?

    Scott - Yanıt

    • Continuing the repair-friendly (or at least friendlier) trend, we find stretchy adhesive pull tabs under these elongated speakers!

      • We don't love adhesive—reusable screws are nearly always better—but hey, pulling out this iPhone-esque stretch-release stuff is loads better than gooey solvents and blind prying.

      • Plus, the mere presence of stretch-release adhesive generally means that someone at least thought about possible repair and disassembly situations.

      • Are you there, Apple? It's us, iFixit. Have you heard our pleas?

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    • Moving on, we direct our attention to the trackpad.

    • Unlike the newer MacBooks Pro, which have first-step replaceable trackpads, this trackpad shares a cable with the keyboard, which is pinned under the logic board.

      • Looks like any trackpad repairs will have to go through logic board removal first.

    • As the trackpad comes out, we can't help but think of a certain TIE fighter...

    Are you certain that the split in that trackpad cable over the center battery wouldn’t allow a bit of “service loop”, just enough to disengage the cable connector from the socket on the trackpad with a spudger without needing to remove the logic board? Seems a rather conspicuous cable design to not provide some benefit. If anything, I’d bet that flexing that cable split does yield some length, yet also leaves permanent (no warranty for you!) evidence it was done.

    Scott - Yanıt

    No guarantees, but it didn’t look like it could be done safely. The end of the cable is also pretty firmly glued to the trackpad near its socket, so getting it off would be tricky, and there’s not really any slack to speak of. The photograph that has been circulating from Apple’s internal service manual for replacing the battery also appears to show the logic board removed.

    Jeff Suovanen -

    Wow, ugh. Thanks for the reply. Once again, Apple’s “master” Designers do (seemingly) really stupid things.

    Scott - Yanıt

    • Thanks to our friends at MacRumors, we had a hunch that removing this battery might be less nightmarish than in some Retinas we know.

      • Sure enough, we find four screws and six friendly pull-to-remove adhesive strips securing this AirPower Air's power pack.

    • A sturdy frame, vaguely like those in Airs of old, supports the gaggle of battery cells and makes removal a snap.

    • Here it is: the 49.9 Wh power plant. In case you're keeping track, that's slightly smaller than Dell's new XPS 13 (52 Wh), but larger than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 (45.2 Wh) and HP's upcoming Spectre x360 (43.7 Wh).

      • All of these devices boast 10+ hour battery life, but the Air's competition manages to do so while also running faster, more power-intensive Intel U-series processors.

    Are the battery cells terraced / wedge shaped or the same Z-height throughout? I can’t quite make that out from the photos…

    repoman27 - Yanıt

    The batteries are not terraced and reside in the same plane. All three cells are laid flat on top of the metal tray.

    Arthur Shi -

    • Things are starting to look Air-y inside this golden chassis—we can almost see the finish line!

    • Still lingering above the battery cavern are the metal antenna bracket and the new (modular!) Touch ID sensor, each secured by Torx screws.

    • A few more Torx screws later, the display is free! This new Retina panel is almost the same as the one found on the MacBook Pro line, differing mainly in peak brightness (a mere 300 nits vs. the Pro's 500) and P3 color gamut support.

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    • We'll just let this MacBook Air out a little so you can admire its particles!

    • Featuring modular ports and pull-to-release adhesive, the new MacBook Air stands out against a trend of declining repairability in Apple's laptops.

    • Unfortunately, you'll still have to work around pentalobes, and neither storage nor RAM is upgradable. Though this update seems to favor experienced technicians more than the average DIYer, we're hoping it's the first step back toward repairable MacBooks.

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  4. Son Düşünceler
    • Many components are modular and straightforward to access—including the ports, fan, and speakers.
    • Apart from the pesky pentalobe screws, this laptop opens about as easily as any.
    • The battery is secured with a combination of screws and repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive—but you'll have to remove the logic board and speakers for access.
    • The keyboard is integrated into the top case, requiring a full teardown for service.
    • Soldered, non-serviceable, non-upgradeable storage and RAM is a serious bummer on a $1,200+ laptop.
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    Onarılabilirlik 10 üzerinden 3
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44 Yorum

Am I losing my eyesight, or is that fan not directly connected to any type of heat dissipating hardware? Looks like it’s either just providing a general low-pressure-air-flow throughout the internals - OR - it pushes air back through that antenna/heatsink-bracket-type-thing and coming out the other end of it?

Could you confirm or explain this in more detail?

alexander.lagergren - Yanıt

I think it is just an exhaust fan, that removes hot air from a laptop case outside (from the right side of the case, under the screen) and creates a negative pressure inside, which helps a laptop to “suck“ some cool air from the outside through the intake on the left side of case, under the screen. The shape of the radiator ribs also suggests some airflow from left/right side of the case to the opposite side.

Serge B. -

The only thing that fan is doing is moving a (tiny) bit of air indirectly across the logic board and the heatsink. Or at least that is what I think it does. As there is no direct heat conduction from logic board to case, the fan isn’t there to cool the case, that’s for sure.

Federico Barutto -

Yeah it is just a case ventilation fan, it doesn’t blow any heatsinks directly. Although with the very low TDP of the processor, a case fan with radiator type heat sink should do the job.

Tom Chai -

Yes, as the 12” Macbook with a ~5W TDP chip manages without a fan, I’m sure a slower general airflow together with that heatsink works well for the 7W chip in the 2018 MBA.

And when looking closer - the vents on either side of the antenna bracket, that the fan exhausts through on one side - air is drawn in on the other side and then guided by the vanes in the ventilation holes, allowing it to flow easily from right to left (when viewing bottom/inside of the MBA) over the heatsink cooling fins. There doesn’t appear to be any other openings in the chassi, so Apple has probably designed the airflow pretty efficiently in this fashion.

Pretty cool! Only Mac laptop I’ve seen with a fan but without heat-pipes/sinks by the fan.

alexander.lagergren -

This thermal design reminds me of the old Titanium Powerbooks, especially the heatsink. That had two fans I believe, one pulling in from the side and one blowing out the back. I think this pulls air from one side of the monitor hinge vents and exhausts out the other.

Ian Holland -

Why don’t they use the aluminum body directly as a huge heatsink?

Haley Pearse -

You’ll notice that they’ve sealed the mid-area under the display bezel, with only an opening on the side furthest from the fan, nothing above the CPU, and an outlet the fan blows air out of.

I’m guessing they did this to cool both the low power, yet still warm T2, as well as draw air over the CPU.

It’s not blowing directly on a heatsink connected via heatpipe to the CPU, no, but I’m guessing they weighed up the pro’s and con’s of heatpipes, and decided that sucking air through a tightly controlled path is preferable to the bulk added by heatpipes.

It’s no different than the trashcan mac pro, is it? That just sucks air up over the heatsinks if I remember correctly.

What matters is that airflow is limited to a strict path, that’s in the left side of the laptop, over the T2 and SSD’s heatspreader, over the CPU’s radiator, through the fan, and out the right side.

Ryan Michell -

It’s really bad to know that neither storage nor RAM is upgradable. If I go for 128 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM then I can never upgrade them, disappointed :(

Amit Gupta - Yanıt

That is the main reason why you should avoid those Apple new laptops. The other one is that each of the Apple laptops has design flaws (and this has happened for many years) : check Louis Rossmann videos on youtube, this is eye opening.

Oli Wek -

When will the new iPad pro teardown be revealed plz. Deadly waiting for it

MotorBottle - Yanıt

They’re still heating up the glue.

timothytay -

Interesting, confirms what I thought in their render that showed the insides, that the fan was too close to the back for their usual spacing for a heatsink there. Looks like the fan just ambiently cools the chassis and moves internal air, rather than directly passes over a heatsink.

tipoo - Yanıt

These MacBook logic boards are gonna end up in iPhones soon if they continue shrinking

grahammcclure - Yanıt

lol that was a nice one :)

leartzajmi -

Not being able to upgrade RAM, fine, not the end of the world but if they had made the SSD upgradeable then this could have been a truly great machine.

Jon Lewin - Yanıt

The wifi module is interesting. Not Intel or Broadcom. Scouting around the internet, it looks like maybe it’s shared with the new iPad Pro??????

jridder - Yanıt


“These MacBook logic boards are gonna end up in iPhones soon if they continue shrinking”

I think you have that backwards.

fastasleep - Yanıt

I’m still confused about how the display data cables interact with the hinge. In the 2016 MBP teardown, I thought iFixit said they get rolled up or something. While the pictures in this teardown helped shed some light on this mechanism, I’d really like to see some detailed shots of how exactly that all works. Maybe in classic iFixit style where the position of just a few things within the frame changes seemingly magically between two pics. Thoughts/comments?

iEvan - Yanıt

Hey iEvan! This is a teardown, which is an entertaining (and abbreviated) peek inside the device, not a step-by-step disassembly guide, hence the “magical” changes. If you want to see how MacBook Air display cables and hinges interact, check out our MacBook Air display replacement guide, in concept the process hasn’t changed.

Sam Lionheart -

If I am reading this correctly, there is absolutely nothing about Battery being better positioned to be easily replaceable. Merely that Apple guidelines now allow Battery to be replaced without changing the top case.

That is Apple stopping all those who had Apple Care to get a new top case with their battery replacement or people getting ( used to ) getting around their Keyboard problem with battery replacement.

K Sec - Yanıt

Thanks for a great review. I’m really enjoyed your works. Thumbs up..

akmaljohar - Yanıt

I think this review just swayed me from Surface Laptop 2 to the new Air. I can live with two cores vs having to throw away the laptop at the first hurdle. Plus the resale value of all surface devices is, well, pretty much non-exitent. And for a good reason.

Marko Nesovic - Yanıt

What influence will the T2-processor have on repairing / replacing parts?

thekryz - Yanıt

Where is the hardware microphone disconnect?

Ben Leggiero - Yanıt

Why there is a NFC chip on board? Does MacBook Air even support NFC?

Yang Jackie - Yanıt

Or it’s some kind of secure enclave?

Yang Jackie -

Secure Enclave would be on the Apple T2; good question about that NFC if that’s its sole function

VaughnSC -

NFC chips tend to pop up on devices without NFC from time to time, the Droid Razr had one, I’ve seen them from time to time on other phones, and now this.

I’m half guessing they’re added on in production, and nearing the end NFC gets cut from the hardware for whatever reason and it gets left there.

I’m sure some schematics, or in time, Louis rossmann will work it out (when it dying ends up killing boards)

I’d say secure enclave, but that’s the T2’s job. Maybe the T2 (coughA10cough) depended on the NFC chip it expected on iPhones, so they through it on just to keep the thing happy? I wonder if the iMac Pro has one…

Still, I’d expect NFC to be a more Macbook thing, maybe a reader under the trackpad for pairing that got scrapped?

Ryan Michell -

Exactly what i thought: why not use case as heatsink?

Andru Nl - Yanıt

What about the hinges? Did you guys take a good look at them? Are they the same as the MBP, or did Apple use a different design? Wondering what their durability is going to be over the long term.

Lambert John - Yanıt

can this retina display be installed on old macbook air models? like early 2015 model

macklemore - Yanıt

comes with mojave oder high sierra? Dragon Dictate discontinued :-(

Michael Kraker - Yanıt

It comes with MacOS Mojave installed.

Arthur Shi -

So is there absolutely no way to replace the SSD in this machine?

planshet50082 - Yanıt

There is no way to replace the flash storage in any current Mac (MacBook Pro, mini, iMac, iMac Pro, and the Air) with a T2 chip acting as the storage controller/encryptor.

jbgurman -

Thank you for doing this guys.

Enrique Sandoval - Yanıt

Thank you very much for doing this. I had been turning away business on this MBA 2018.

Ted Horodynsky - Yanıt

So, is anyone going to buy it? I’m gonna change my ‘14 MBP 13’’ one day, but can make up my mind — base Air, Pro and 12” cost same.

Yoba Boba - Yanıt

Could I add external micro SSD to USB c I mean is there any space inside the laptop to put external SSD and connect it to USB c by mini USB hub? Will be a maybe good idea to add more storage

lovely.3raq - Yanıt

Aren’t there three identical SanDisk chips on the logic board? The two labeled ones on one side, and one unlabeled one on the other… doesn’t this mean that this MBA contains 192 GB of NAND?

GetalMearDolis - Yanıt

@getalmeardolis The “043G” on the package indicates a 43 GB chip. Three chips x 43 GB = 129 GB. (There’s probably some rounding to account for the extra GB.) But yeah, three identical chips!

Jeff Suovanen -

Complimenti ad Albertob per l’ottima traduzione!

nikanz - Yanıt

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