Late last month, Apple announced a sorely needed update for the Mac mini. We’ve gone four years in between models, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that simply by looking at 2018’s Mac mini, as it shares a familiar aesthetic with its predecessor. Obviously, the internals are a lot different, which begs the question of how easy the new Mac mini will be to repair. As always, iFixit has torn the Mac mini to shreds in pursuit of an answer to that question.
If you’re familiar with iFixit’s teardowns, you’re probably used to hearing about devices that are difficult to crack open. With the Mac mini, however, that isn’t really the case – though iFixit needed to pry the base off with its opener tool, the antenna plate that’s underneath is merely held in place by six TR6 Torx screws.
Disassembly doesn’t really get more complicated once iFixit actually breaks into the device, as the fan is similarly held in place by screws and the logic board slides out of the chassis with no tools at all once the cables have been disconnected. Once the logic board has been removed, iFixit confirms that the SO-DIMM RAM modules are indeed user-replaceable, only requiring that you remove a metal shield that’s held in place by four Torx screws.
Of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way through. Though Mac mini disassembly is pretty straightforward, the CPU and storage are both soldered into the logic board, which means do-it-yourself repair or replacement for those two items is pretty much out of the question for many users. iFixit also takes issue with the fact that repairing one of the Mac mini’s ports will require swapping out the entire logic board, turning was should be a fairly cheap repair into an expensive one, perhaps prohibitively so.
Those unfortunate realizations knocked a few points off of iFixit’s final repairability score, which came in at 6 out of 10. iFixit really seemed to like the fact that there wasn’t any adhesive securing components in place (we would too if we tore down as many devices as it does), along with the fact that disassembly is a fairly easy process so long as you have the necessary tools. If you’re thinking about picking up one of the new Mac minis yourself, be sure to read through iFixit’s full teardown, as it gives a fascinating look inside this teeny tiny computer.