iFixit tears down the Mac mini and MacBook Air

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Teardown —

iFixit tears down the Mac mini and MacBook Air

It’s not hard to improve on the 2014 Mac mini.

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  • You can easily unscrew and remove the fan after opening the enclosure, revealing the innards.

    iFixit

  • The RAM is enclosed in a metal cage, but this is removable after dealing with four screws.

    iFixit

  • The RAM can be removed and replaced.

    iFixit

  • The logic board of the Mac mini.

    iFixit

On schedule as always, iFixit has documented teardowns of the new Mac mini and MacBook Air and given them each a repairability score. The Mac mini is an improvement over the 2014 model in a few ways. The MacBook Air has some positive points for user serviceability, but it requires a significant teardown to do much.

Starting with the Mac mini, iFixit found that after opening the enclosure, you just have to unscrew and remove the fan to get inside. The logic board can be removed without special tools. Unlike the 2014 Mac mini's RAM, the RAM in this model can be replaced. It's covered by a metal cage, but once you unscrew and remove that, it's easy. The power supply can also be removed and replaced, but you'll want to use a tool for it. On the negative side, the CPU cannot be replaced, and damage to any of the ports would require a logic board replacement.

  • The MacBook Air, opened up.

    iFixit

  • This board is home to Apple's T2 chip, the Thunderbolt 3 controller, flash storage, and more.

    iFixit

  • The ports are modular and can be replaced.

    iFixit

  • The MacBook Air disassembled.

    iFixit

Moving on to the MacBook Air, iFixit found that it's easier to get into than some past Mac laptops. Once you're in, the logic board can be removed just by unscrewing some screws and unplugging some cables. Unfortunately, you have to do this to replace the battery. Further, the RAM is not replaceable, and the keyboard is built into the case, so significant work is required to service it.

iFixit gave the Mac mini a 6 out of 10 for repairability, and the MacBook Air a 3 out of 10. For more details, visit the teardown pages for each product.

Listing image by iFixit

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Samuel Axon Based in Los Angeles, Samuel is the Senior Reviews Editor at Ars Technica, where he covers Apple products, display technology, internal PC hardware, and more. He is a reformed media executive who has been writing about technology for 10 years at Ars Technica, Engadget, Mashable, PC World, and many others.

Email samuel.axon@arstechnica.com // Twitter @SamuelAxon

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