Installing MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Dual Hard Drive

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

Use this guide to install a second hard drive in place of the optical drive.

There are many benefits to adding a second hard drive to your laptop such as improved speeds, greater storage space, and less heartache when installing new software. Use this guide to install one using our optical bay hard drive enclosure.

Relevant Parts
Image #1

Edit Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

  • With the case closed, place the Unibody top-side down on a flat surface.

  • Depress the grooved side of the access door release latch enough to grab the free end. Lift the release latch until it is vertical.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • The access door should now be raised enough to lift it up and out of the Unibody.

Image #1

Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

  • Be sure the access door release latch is vertical before proceeding.

  • Grab the translucent plastic tab and pull the battery up and out of the Unibody.

  • If the latch is depressed it will lock the battery in place.

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Edit Step 4 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following eight screws securing the lower case to the chassis:

    • One 5.4 mm Phillips screw.

    • Three 14 mm Phillips screws.

    • Four 3.5 mm Phillips screws.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Using both hands, lift and remove the lower case off the upper case.

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Edit Step 6 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the camera cable by pulling the male end straight away from its socket.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Deroute the camera data cable from the channel in the optical drive.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger to pry the optical drive connector straight up off the logic board.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Remove two 8 mm Phillips screws securing the camera cable bracket to the upper case.

  • The rightmost screw may remain captive in the camera cable.

  • Lift the camera cable bracket out from the upper case.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Remove the following three Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case:

    • One 3.5 mm Phillips screw.

    • Two 2.5 mm Phillips screws.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Lift the optical drive from its left edge and pull it out of the computer.

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Edit Step 12 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the optical drive cable by pulling it straight away from the optical drive.

  • If you have a CD or any other object jammed in your optical drive, we have an optical drive repair guide.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Remove the two black Phillips #0 screws securing the small metal mounting bracket. Transfer this bracket to your new optical drive or hard drive enclosure.

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Edit Step 14 Dual Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the plastic spacer from the optical bay hard drive enclosure by pressing in on one of the clips on either side and lifting it up and out of the enclosure.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Make sure that the hard drive connectors are facing down before placing it into the enclosure.

  • Gently place the hard drive into the enclosure's hard drive slot.

  • While firmly holding the enclosure in place with one hand, use your other hard to press the hard drive into the enclosure connectors.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Once the hard drive is snug, reinsert the plastic spacer while holding the hard drive against the bottom of the enclosure.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Use two Phillips #1 screws to secure the drive to its enclosure.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Attach the optical drive bracket to the new enclosure with two Phillips #0 screws.

  • Reconnect any cables you have removed from the original optical drive onto the optical bay enclosure.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Don't ditch that drive! You can still use your optical drive externally with the help of our SATA Optical Drive USB Cable.

  • Align the cable's SATA connector with the drive's port and plug in securely.

  • Plug the USB connector into your laptop and your optical drive is ready for use.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

The A1286 has no Access Door.!!

I actually can see no sign of the battery!...

aguib, · Reply

Quote from aguib:

The A1286 has no Access Door.!!

I actually can see no sign of the battery!...

I assume you have the newer model, with the built-in battery. It's still removable with tools, but these are the wrong instructions for that model.

lgc90, · Reply

when will there be a guide for the other unibody macbook pro. that does not have an access door?

irishking, · Reply

Is there a manual to show, how disasembly the display, i mean, after step 5, to check the display between lcd and aluminiun back case?

Max

Max, · Reply

On other guides you state the height of the HD that can be supported, e.g. http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Repair/Insta... , I have read ( but have not confirmed ) that the uni-body MacBook Pro can be fitted with the 750GB and 1TB 12mm drive from Western Digital.

Can you confirm this?

Many thanks in advance.

ahothabeth, · Reply

Quote from SHerwood Ball:

My display and aluminum casing has separated.

I don't know if it just snaps back together or does it need to be glued.

I dropped mine on the carpeted stairs and the display still works.

I'm hoping I can just snap it back together and that no plastic pieces or teeth of the snapping

portion have been broken........

SHerwood Ball, · Reply

When you say "left fan" is this "left when looking at the logic board after turning the computer over and looking it up opening it up" or "left when sitting at the computer keyboard and typing on it"?

thvv, · Reply

We always use left and right in reference to the computer when you're using it.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg,

About midway along each edge is a snap. To release each snap, gently slide the flat edge of a Spudger under the lower case, then lift the lower case away.

jonathansturges, · Reply

And in that case, I lost my camera and bluetooth connection.

Ian Ho, · Reply

You have to be EXTREMELY careful when detaching and reattaching this cable!!! It carries your Bluetooth, iSight camera, and Wifi connections!! I was being very careful when reattaching it and ending up either messing up the connector on the logic board or the cable itself- both cases are equally as bad. The cable doesn't snap back in or have guides, and it is therefore difficult to know if it's in as far as it needs to be, etc. If you mess up the connector on the logic board (that's what it's connecting to), you have to replace the entire logic board, and if you mess up the cable itself (it has very small, delicate metal connectors), you have to replace your entire display!! Each costs around $500/ea! I did a ton of research before embarking on this procedure and really wish someone had made a note of this prior- learn from my mistake!

Evan Roth, · Reply

I had some difficulty getting the 'isight' cable back on. Pay close attention when you remove it as you will need to reattach the cable at an angle to get the small protrusion on the right side of the connector passed the little black plastic block that is glued onto the system board. It looks like this little block is there to keep the cable from slipping out... so it makes it tricky getting it back in.

Andrew Gill, · Reply

I can't remove one of the Two 2.5 mm Phillips screw, the one on the top of the picture.

It seems to be very tight and I am using a newertechnology PH00 from my Mac repair tool kit.

I am afraid to damage the head of the screw. What do you suggest to do?

Thanks

Francisco, · Reply

You most likely need a jewelers screwdriver to remove the two 2.5 mm screws. they are very tiny and very tight

jsjamieson33, · Reply

ph 000 will do the trick

jsjamieson33,

The screws outlined in red are actually 3mm long.

bmehilos, · Reply

I ruined the head of the 3.5 mm Phillips screw. What kind of screw is this (M1, M1.2, ...?)?

Michael Domhardt, · Reply

The top screw was locked tight for me also and I eventually stripped the phillips screw head. The only thing I could do is drill it out. Since I replaced the optical drive with an SSD, I didn't need the screw after all.

Darren Deffner, · Reply

One more thing - you need to remove the bracket next to the cable.

shigmas, · Reply

The bay and dvd drive cable at iFixit is $40.00 (http://www.ifixit.com/Apple-Parts/9-5-mm...)

But for $10 more you can get an external casing that will protect your super drive form MCE (http://store.mcetech.com/Merchant2/merch...) A total of $50 dollars. It is what I used and works great and looks pretty and is guaranteed to protect your superdrive. MCE also gives you a disk with software to patch the DVD Player to work with external dvd drives. So For an extra $10 dollars you get better software functionality and a case for your super drive. It works great.

Robert Wacker, · Reply

It is not a good idea to put fast SSDs into the optibay. System tries to negotiate at 6 Gbit, but it fails; disk is recognized but it couldn't even be formatted. I've waisted a lot of time to find a reason. After swapping SSD with original mac's HD both work properly, one at 6, another at 3 Gbit

nicholas, · Reply

No problems here with a Samsung EVO in the optical bay. Only downside that is not really fast (80-90 mb/s) but amazing performances on booting time, shut off and opening programs.

Mike, · Reply

I have to withdraw my comment. It is NOT a good idea to put a SATAIII SSD in the optical bay. It gives random freezes. Swapping it with a HD is indeed better. Better read/writes too. Only downside is that SMS won't work on the optical bay so treat your baby with care. Also Sleep issues might occur when placing a HD in the optical bay (a total freezing system). I already wasted a HD that was in the optical bay.

Mike, · Reply

I've replaced the optibay with a samsung 840 pro but can't format it nor copy files (a few files work) to it. Do you suggest putting the HDD in the optibay instead? Did you clone the HDD to the SSD before swapping them? Will my Mac boot from the HDD the first time I boot even though it's in the optibay? I would really appreciate an answer, I've spent too many hours trying to figure it out!

Carl, · Reply

Also had this same problem. Tried and failed a Samsung firmware upgrade. Ended up send drive back to Amazon.

Andrew,

Okay it seems like some models of MacBook Pro have issues with a fast (6Gbit/s) SSD in the optical bay. Even though my Mac says it offers 6Gbit on both bays it simply didn't work in the optical bay. So I switched places between the two drives and everything seems to work. My Mac booted from the old HDD in optical bay automatically and then I cloned it afterwards and changed the startup disk to the new one. As said before, don't put a fast SSD in the optical bay!

Carl, · Reply

Make sure you have removed the 2 screws at the end of your super driver unit and move it to your NewHD bay with the metal piece eye loop.

Kamiiyu, · Reply

Normally with the HD enclosure there come a set of screws. use these to screw down the HD in the enclosure since you need to flip it up side down to reinstall it into the MBP

Bart, · Reply

Here they picture Crucial as their choice, you can also find some great options at Samsung (it is what I installed and it works just as good if not better than the crucial I installed in my wife's iMac. here is their site http://www.samsung.com/us/computer/solid...

Its just another great option. Also when installing SSDs make sure to enable TRIM support (crashes can and probably will occur if you don't) TRIM enabler is available free and the pro version is $10 http://www.cindori.org/software/trimenab... It is the easiest solution for this issue.

Robert Wacker, · Reply

With the particular drive bay adaptor I used, these attachment screws were already fitted to the adaptor but were found at the sides, not underneath. Indeed, the adaptor had no screw holes on the underside.

jjsanderson, · Reply

At first I couldn't get my machine to even turn on - thought it was the battery connector, but in the end I just had to reset the SMC. (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3964 - see "Resetting the SMC on portables with a battery you should not remove on your own").

talksrealfast, · Reply

I have the drive installed with this bay, but the drive does not appear in the Disk Utility. I see a 'Nvidia MCP79 AHCI' in the system information, but no drive listed with it. Is there some special driver needed to get the MCP to see the drive?

toddfletcher, · Reply

Replaced the optical with hdd, as well as replaced the hard drive with an ssd. Now I get the circle with a line through it. But, when I hold the option key down, it gives me both hard drives, PLUS, the thumb drive I have in the USB port with a Mountain Lion installer. It even shows the recovery disks, but gives me the circle with the line when I choose one. Any help is appreciated.

claude, · Reply

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