In reviewing the new 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro, I wrote, “It’s no exaggeration to say that Apple simply removed the M1 and replaced it with the M2 and voilà — new laptop.” Well, it turns out it might is a little over the top.
YouTuber Luke Miani actually put that statement to the test. He carefully removed the circuit boards from both the old and new 13-inch MacBook Pro, then installed the M2 board into the M1’s case. And when he pressed the power button on the laptop, nothing happened.
Miani’s video features side-by-side shots of the circuit boards, and they look identical except for the NAND flash, where the M2 board has one 256GB chip and the M1 board has a pair of 128GB chips. The boards even have the same zipper, so fitting the M2 board into the M1 MacBook Pro was a relatively simple task.
But no matter what Miani did, the laptop wouldn’t boot. He tried swapping Touch ID buttons, using the Apple Configurator, and confirming that all the connectors were in the right place, but to no avail. When he put the circuit boards back in their original cases, they worked.
The commenters on Miani’s video have some ideas as to why the switch didn’t work. Some speculate that the M2 has different power requirements. One commenter said the M2 has a different way of connecting the keyboard and trackpad, which would prevent the power button from working. Others suggested there is a security lock that won’t activate, different pin configurations or the board doesn’t recognize the components like the battery.
Whatever the reason, Apple did more than just replace the M1 with the M2, however much it appears to be. So if you want the faster chip, you’ll have to buy a new Mac.