MacBook Disassembly Shows Interesting Things

by Tom Bridge

Over at OWC, they not only received their 15" MacBook Pro, they took photos of its immediate disassembly. The photos reveal some interesting design changes that are worthy of note. Anyone who's ever disassembled their 12" or 15" PowerBook know what it's like to keep the screws straight. They also know what it's like to curse Apple, Jonathan Ive, their own mothers for giving birth to them, and any manner of other inanimate objects nearby. Because taking apart a PowerBook to replace a cooked HD is Painful. I know, I bear a cut on my right index finger from doing one last week.

Looking at the MacBook, though, they seem to have simplified the design a bit. Three screws on either side, that's the same, but that's about all that's the same. Beneath the battery are three screws that hold in the RAM access coverplate, which in turn reveals two torx screws that secure the top cover in place. Take out those, the four screws on the bottom, and the three on either side, and we're looking at 15 screws instead of 20 to get inside. Except, wait, it gets better. The whole lid just appears to unlock and swivel upward, instead of needing to remove the keyboard (and the 12 screws that requires) to unlock the top plate, the whole lid come off. Now, this may well be the case with the Aluminum PowerBooks with the lit keyboards, but I'm not real sure.

More to follow


Phil Dokas
2006-02-22 10:27:00
By and large these are very similar to the final two revisions of the Aluminum G4's. A hybrid of sorts between the 15" and the 17" (mostly in relation to the battery). The memory panel on the MBP is very similar to the 17"s - three screws holding it on with a pair of T8's underneath and the top case doesn't actually swivel, it's just resting vertically. The keyboard doesn't need to be removed for any non-keyboard repairs, the 12" is the only PB to have ever required that and a pain that is. Also, I did a screw count and it's actually 21 screws to remove the top case - 4 per side, 2 on the back, 4 on the bottom and 7 for the battery (not all are visible in the images), so it is certainly a continuation of Apple's policy of using more screws than conceivably possible.
2006-02-22 20:58:58
It's interesting that there appear to be two antenna cables. I wonder if one is for 2.4 GHz (802.11b/g) and the other is for 5 GHz (802.11a).
2006-02-23 09:36:47
Typically one antenna cable is for airport, the other is bluetooth.
Rob Speed
2006-02-24 22:02:45
12" PowerBooks are the devil. We've stopped taking them in for repairs if the heatsink needs to be removed.

Like Phil Dokas said, the keyboard doesn't need removal. Indeed, this is very similar to a 17" PB.

Rob Speed
2006-02-24 22:05:24
I just noticed that they got rid of the two T-6 screws in the upper two corners of the topcase. Small, but appreciated improvement there since you won't need to switch tools.
Kyle Wiens
2006-05-21 23:16:58
We posted a more detailed Guide at, if you're interested. We also sell PowerBook parts (and soon MacBook) for those times you're not just curious about what's inside.
2006-06-07 11:05:31
would be nice to be able to convert this trashy dc-in board on my 12" powerbook for a mag-safe :)