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We damaged our 16-inch MacBook Pro, so you don't have to

Take care when opening any recent MacBook Pro, not just the new 16-inch model. (Image source: Notebookcheck)
Take care when opening any recent MacBook Pro, not just the new 16-inch model. (Image source: Notebookcheck)
The 16-inch MacBook Pro may have pleased fans and reviewers alike with its scissor-switch keyboard, Apple's latest laptop remains just as difficult as ever to disassemble. Even a mundane task like cleaning the fans poses the risk of damaging the device if you remove its bottom case incorrectly. We accidentally damaged our review unit, but you don't have to.

As you may have already seen, we have spent a few days with Apple's latest laptop, the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Our first impressions of the device have been good, it proved devilishly tricky to have a spy at its internals. In fact, it is so difficult to remove the bottom case of the 16-inch MacBook Pro that we managed to bend it in the process of doing so.

While many OEMs have now moved to securing the bottom case of their laptops with plastic retaining clips and screws, Apple has gone even further. The bottom case on the 16-inch MacBook Pro also contains numerous metal clips that Apple has distributed across two clusters. These metal clips lock underneath two brackets that sit in between the display hinge and fans, keeping the bottom plate firmly in place.

According to iFixit teardown guides, Apple started including these clips when it switched to the fourth-generation MacBook Pro series in 2016. By contrast, the company had previously secured bottom cases with just screws. While iFixit recommends pulling the bottom case of all fourth-generation MacBook Pros, including the new 16-inch model, towards the front of the device and away from the hinge, it does not warn of what could happen if you try a different approach.

As our video below demonstrates, trying to lift the bottom case away from the chassis rather than pushing it away from the hinge has disastrous results. Doing so will damage the bottom case by denting the area around those metal retaining clips. While we are unsure whether this external damage would void the device's warranty, it would tip off any Apple technician that you had, unsuccessfully or otherwise, removed the bottom cover at some point.

While the 16-inch MacBook Pro contains hardly any user-replaceable components, the presence of these metal clips means that a simple task like cleaning the fans poses a risk of damaging a machine that can cost upwards of US$6,099. Unacceptable, or another design innovation?

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 11 > We damaged our 16-inch MacBook Pro, so you don't have to
Alex Alderson, 2019-11-29 (Update: 2019-11-29)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.