Teardown of Apple’s new ultraportable reveals that the heat is removed only by thermal paste and graphite tape. Apple has also increased the battery capacity compared to the M1 version.
The teardown specialists at iFixit have set their sights on Apple’s latest MacBook Air, which we had the opportunity to test. They first noticed, like us, that there are only four screws to remove to remove the back cover, which is very practical.
But the surprise is mainly at the level of cooling. As we know, Apple relies on passive cooling, without a fan. But unlike the M1 model, the MacBook Air M2 has no heatsink. The computer has in its innards nothing but thermal paste and graphite tape. We can see them from 2 min in the video below.
This explains the higher temperature of the computer, equipped with a more powerful processor, in intensive use. We measured a maximum of 47.4 degrees, compared to just 37 degrees for the M1 version. For its part, the MacBook Pro, thicker and equipped with a fan, is below 42 degrees. Our test also showed that the MacBook Air M2 is forced to throttler a little its performance in intensive use, because of the heat.
Another change between the two generations: the battery. Apple opts for a capacity of 52.6 Wh for the M2 version, contrary to what was officially announced, against 49.9 Wh for the M1 model (see at 3 min 22 s in the video). This allows the machine to maintain a very good autonomy.
Disassembly reveals that the loudspeakers have changed places (visible at 2 min 20 s). They are now placed above the keyboard instead of on the sides in the MacBook Air M1. This change is explained by the fact that the case unibody aluminum is not perforated to let sound through, as is the case of the MacBook Air 2020.
Extracting the motherboard shows the presence of a single 256 GB flash memory chip for storage, instead of two 128 GB chips (see at 1 min 30 s in the video). This finding is also valid for the MacBook Pro M2 with 256 GB of storage. A detail that is not one, because it has a direct effect on the reading and writing performance of these machines.
Finally, the iFixit disassemblers also found an accelerometer on the motherboard, but its use is not yet known. One can imagine fall or orientation detection, but Apple hasn’t said anything about it.