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Circuit Breaker

iFixit’s new Retina MacBook Pro repair kit lets you change your old battery

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Just your usual repair kit: screwdrivers, pry bars, and solvent

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If you own one of Apple’s Retina MacBook Pros (from 2012–2015, which is the model before the newest, Touch Bar-equipped iteration), then you know that they’re not exactly meant to be taken apart once you’ve bought one. Most parts are attached directly to the logic board, and the battery is particularly hostile to user replacement. The entire unit is physically glued in place with some industrial adhesive.

Still, the good folks over at iFixit believe that everyone should be able to repair, replace, and upgrade the gadgets that they own, and they’ve spent some serious time and effort coming up with a way to allow Retina MacBook Pro users to replace their batteries, allowing them to dramatically extend the usable lifespan of their laptops.

The end result is the company’s new Battery Replacement Kits for 2012–2015 Retina MacBook Pros, which cost between $89.95 to $109.95, depending on your particular model. The kit comes with all the parts and instructions you’ll need to resurrect your aging MacBook Pro.

The catch is that the process of actually replacing the battery isn’t exactly what you’d call simple. The location of the battery makes heating up the glue to weaken it unfeasible. (Remember: fire + batteries = bad.) So iFixit had to take a slightly more ridiculous-looking approach: it developed a chemical solvent that can dissolve Apple’s adhesive so you can remove the old battery successfully. It’s an impressive workaround. As iFixit notes, even Apple doesn’t remove the entire battery for in-house repairs, instead the company just replaces the whole piece of the case that the battery is attached to.

Step 37: Inject the acetone solvent underneath your MacBook Pro’s battery to dissolve the adhesive glue...
Photo: iFixit

Even with the kit and iFixit’s detailed instructions, battery replacement isn’t for the faint of heart. But if your MacBook Pro’s battery has been giving you issues and you don’t mind the extra effort, then grab your screwdriver, plastic pry bar, and your trusty syringe and get to work.