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MacBook Pro 14 (M1 Pro) is found to have an anti-repair design

A MacBook Pro with a screen replacement. (Source: Hugh Jeffreys via YouTube)
A MacBook Pro with a screen replacement. (Source: Hugh Jeffreys via YouTube)
Apple's reputation for software-locked hardware components has reportedly spread to the MacBook Pro. A device-restoration vlogger claims that swapping these parts between 2 identical units of the same 14-inch SKU results in specific screen defects, as well as missing functions and settings in some cases. These findings suggest that the OEM is indeed trying to "kill" third-party display replacements in even more of its hardware.

The YouTuber Hugh Jeffreys has set out to test reports of MacBooks Pro that exhibit sudden deficiencies in some fairly essential functionality following a non-Apple-approved screen replacement, in the manner of some iPhones over the last few years. The vlogger followed the channel's usual protocol for doing so: source 2 identical units of the same product, swap their screens and/or motherboards and see what breaks.

In the case of this latest video, the hardware to be assessed were dual M1 Pro-, 16GB RAM- and 1TB SSD-equipped MacBooks Pro 14, which can run a buyer thousands of dollars in Jeffreys' native Australia.

Following a disassembly stage (that involved the removal of 45 screws, compared to 9 in a Framework PC), the vlogger switched the 2 laptops' screens, which resulted in the abrupt appearance of LED backlight defects in 1 of the units.

Given the regular shapes of the darkened patches next to the MacBook's notorious notch, one might assume that they had arisen due to a faulty display connector, or the failure to pop one or more back in correctly.

However, given that the second laptop had the exact same issues following a simulated display replacement, it might be that Apple is indeed pairing each original MacBook Pro 14 display to its motherboard so as to dissuade third-party repair.

Jeffreys also found that swapping a small magnetic lid-angle Hall sensor resulted in significant discrepancies in the MacBook's trackpad, keyboard and sleep responses.

Therefore, it seems Apple is indeed discouraging independent repair right from the first generation of M-series MacBook Pros. Then again, the YouTuber did disclose that the laptops in question came from a supplier of refurbished Apple products in the UK, and not from Apple directly.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 08 > MacBook Pro 14 (M1 Pro) is found to have an anti-repair design
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2023-08-13 (Update: 2023-08-13)