If you think that the M1 iMac looks like a giant iPad, just wait until you see what Apple did to its insides. Part two of iFixit’s M1 iMac teardown reveals that Apple is willing to sacrifice repairability and upgradability for thinness and aesthetics, even in a machine that will never leave your desk.
When we covered the first half of iFixit’s M1 iMac teardown, we were surprised to see that the iMac’s insides are still relatively accessible, so long as you don’t mind removing the display. Now that iFixit has finished its teardown, we can see a few more surprises, like the iMac’s modular USB-C ports, headphone jack, webcam, speakers, and power button, which a relatively easy to replace.
But good luck repairing anything else in the iMac. Like other M1 devices, the new iMac has most of its core components soldered directly to the logic board, including the RAM and storage. The power supply, now outside of the iMac, is completely unfixable (though it’s easy to replace), and because the iMac’s hinge hardware is no longer accessible from the outside, you have to open the entire computer if you want to use VESA hardware. (My advice? Buy an iMac with a VESA mount adapter from the get-go.)
Another troubling component of the M1 iMac is its new Magic Keyboard, which is the first to feature a Touch ID sensor. Like in iPhones and MacBooks, the Magic Keyboard’s Touch ID sensor is cryptographically paired to its original hardware. If the sensor in your Magic Keyboard breaks, well that’s too bad, you have to buy an entirely new keyboard.
While the M1 iMac’s lack of repairability isn’t really all that surprising, it’s still disappointing. Apple’s experience with mobile phones, tablets, and laptops now dictates its entire approach to computing, and that approach simply doesn’t accommodate for people who want to repair their own devices. Just check out iFixit’s repairability score for the M1 iMac, it’s pretty bad!
I guess there’s only one lesson here. If you buy a new Apple device, try not to break it.