Installing MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2011 Dual Hard Drive

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

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

Use this guide to replace your optical drive with a second hard drive or SSD.

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
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Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following ten screws securing the lower case to the upper case:

    • Three 13.5 mm (14.1 mm) Phillips screws.

    • Seven 3 mm Phillips screws.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Using both hands, lift the lower case near the vent to pop it off two clips securing it to the upper case.

  • Remove the lower case and set it aside.

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Edit Step 3 Battery Connector  ¶ 

  • For certain repairs (e.g. hard drive), disconnecting the battery connector is not necessary but it prevents any accidental shorting of electronics on the motherboard. If you do not disconnect the battery connector, please be careful as parts of the motherboard might be electrified.

  • Use the edge of a spudger to pry the battery connector upwards from its socket on the logic board.

  • It is useful to pry upward on both short sides of the connector to "walk" it out of its socket.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Bend the battery cable slightly away from its socket on the logic board so it does not accidentally connect itself while you work.

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Edit Step 5 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the camera cable connector from its socket on the logic board.

  • Do not lift up on the cable as you disconnect it from the logic board. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth connector up from its socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the optical drive connector up from its socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Remove following two screws:

    • Take care, as these screws are unusually easy to strip. Apply firm pressure while unscrewing. Read comments on the right before proceeding.

    • One 8.6 mm Phillips screw

    • One 3.9 mm Phillips screw

  • Carefully rotate the AirPort/Bluetooth board housing (with AirPort/Antenna cables still attached) out of the lower case.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Remove the three 3.5 mm T6 Torx screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Lift the optical drive near its connector and pull it away from the upper case to remove it from the computer.

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Edit Step 11 Optical Drive Cable  ¶ 

  • Pull the optical drive cable out of the optical drive.

  • Be sure to pull by the edges of the connector, not by the cable itself.

  • 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 12 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 13  ¶ 

  • 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 14  ¶ 

  • 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 15  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • 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 17  ¶ 

  • 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 2011 device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 33 In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Related Products

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Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

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Inspection Scope

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Frictionless Ratchet

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Portable Anti-Static Mat

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Doesn't this work with SSD's?

anaxyd, · Reply

Step 1 (technically step 9 - replacing the base plate) Apparently one of my screws was a micron or two smaller than the others. This screw belongs to the hole above the optical drive, which is also apparently a couple of microns smaller than the others. It took seven attempts to figure which screw had originally been in that hole; all the other screws were too large, but fitted perfectly everywhere else.

Bizarre much?

Will, · Reply

It might be a matter of how the screws are driven in, and not that they're slightly different sizes. When I reassembled my MacBook, a couple of the screws, including the one over the optical drive you mention, were hard to drive in and jutted up a little bit instead of sitting entirely flush. Swapping screws didn't help. The solution was to unscrew them and drive them in at a bit of an angle - perpendicular to the slightly curved surface of the back plate where the screw holes were, instead of fully vertical with respect to the ground the Macbook is sitting on. Doing it that way, the screws were easier to drive in and they all ended up flush in their holes. Didn't matter which screws they were. (I swapped a few around just to check after reading this.)

Andrew Janke,

I discovered a great way of organizing the screws. I used an ice cube tray and added the screws in order, keeping the different kinds together. So when it came to reversing the steps, the screw order was an added control step to returning everything in its place.

leonie, · Reply

nails work pretty well as well...

Sibe Jan Kramer, · Reply

At first sight I was confused when I read the description at this step, 'cause it seemed that disconnecting the battery connector was optional, in order to eliminate static discharge. While it's a helpful advice in other circumstances (as mentioned as an example changing hard drives), when changing the battery it is not an option - you have to disconnect the battery connector.

It would have been better to mention the optional disconnecting recommendation in a side-note.

Other than that, an excellent guide!

Damienn, · Reply

the fact that this step is optional can not be stressed enough. i tried disconnecting the battery and in the process it short circuited which now leaves me with an even more expensive problem than i had before when i just wanted to change hard drives (at least the new hard drive works fine..)

the hard drive changing worked though.

nina, · Reply

Excellent guide, it was as easy as a breeze to replace my battery. I can't believe I nearly followed Apple in their saying that this part was not user replaceable. Great job for this description, and many thanks. iFixIt is THE reference for Mac owners.

Patrick.

Patrick Demaret, · Reply

So - I have a weird comment about this. I wanted to make sure that I was getting the right model - so I opened up my laptop and then thought "well, why not just remove the battery while i'm in here, it's shot anyway". Though, I forgot about the stupid screws (Apple really did us over on that one!). Though I disconnected the battery connector and didn't bother to re-connect it when I was finished and just put the cover back on.

Here's the weird part - when I went to turn my laptop back on...MY BATTERY WAS RECOGNIZED...AND WORKING! I was under the impression that the connector "connects" the battery's charge to the laptop, but this just doesn't make sense! Plus, now my very dead battery is in "normal" condition according to the system report. I haven't worked for apple, but have about 5 years of IT experience and am baffled by this! I'm starting to think i've experience a miracle! Has this happened to anyone else?

Shelly, · Reply

Beware of step 8. Screws strip extremely easily. For some reason, that are extremely tough to get out and the metal is extremely soft so you are likely to screw yourself over real quick even if you use the right screwdriver. Happened to me and now it's impossible for me to take the @$%# thing off so I have to return my HDD bay and deal with having a useless disc drive.

Alex Pascal, · Reply

I got burned here also. Unfortunately iFixit defaults to comments off, so I didn't see this until it was too late.

eawortman,

Yes, and I got stuck on step 8 for this simple task. Is there no way we can get the drive out while leaving the wireless/bluetooth board in place? I prefer to drill a small hole in the plastic of the board to reach the drive's screw underneath and find a way to slide it out towards the hard disk side.

Albert Kok, · Reply

I had the same thing happen with the 3.9 mm screw. To remove the drive afterwards I used a 1/16" drill bit to carefully remove the (stripped) screw head. I left most of the screw threads intact, and the remaining "post" is enough to hold the airport/bluetooth fixture in place with the one remaining screw. These are some seriously soft screws, folks, be careful!

Steve, · Reply

i also screwed the screw, never saw a screw this soft. Still figuring out how to "unlock" it again...

KlawWarYoshi, · Reply

Hmm. well, unfortunately after putting everything back together, my trackpad no longer works, and I can't login to my computer. removing the dual drive caddy and closing it back up returns trackpad functionality, but I really want the extra drive space. Anyone have any suggestions?

Russell Humphress, · Reply

Does anyone know the part number of the 3.9mm screw? It got chewed up the second I tried to loosen it..had to get a 3.5mm drill bit and gently remove the head. I was able to remove the remain piece of the screw, and would of course like to replace this thing..

Ole Andre, · Reply

Well. I too stripped the head on the left side screw. First I used a cheap #000 screwdriver. Stripped the head and the driver. Not realizing just how bad I had stripped the screw I got a #0000 and the right one came out. I made sure to apply firm downward pressure to minimize slip. The left side was to far gone. So...

I broke the housing. Yep. I'm a brute.

Anyway. I rolled it up out of the case as if I had actually removed the screw. Only to realize I don't have a T6. [facepalm]. I've spent way too much time just getting that #0000. I'll order myself a nice kit for future 'repairs'.

Oh and yes, the bluetooth and wifi work just fine. The right screw and the tight fitting of the housing seem to keep it in place ok.

David Couch, · Reply

Also stripped the right screw, taking to to Apple Genius Bar, hopefully they can get it out...

Adrian, · Reply

I also failed here.... How can i unscrew both screws if the star of the head is destroyed??

Alex de Graaff, · Reply

I located the part number for the 2 easily stripped screws in this step. The 3.9mm is Apple part 922-8974 and the 8.6mm is Apple part 922-9107 pbparts.com has them available for $2 each.

Hope this helps, it was not easy to track down.

Roger, · Reply

I too stripped the screw on the right, and while I tried a few basic things to remove the screw, eventually I drilled out the screw head so I could remove the airport/bluetooth housing. Only the head came off, enough to free the housing, but it sits pretty snugly on there with just the one screw and that's enough for me.

talksrealfast, · Reply

The part numbers from Roger on Feb 11 aren't right. They were too large.

dan Lim, · Reply

Hi, Dan. The Apple part numbers supplied were used to order exact replacements now in my MBP 15. I have also checked them against Apples official Screw Chart for the MBP 15. I am very sorry you have been supplied the wrong screws but the part numbers listed are correct.

Roger, · Reply

I found that placing the SSHD back into the laptop was a major issue; it was a very tight fit back into the rest of the machine.

joelfirenze, · Reply

Mine too. I'm going to retry back in original position which is less likely to overhead or be shocked because no rubber mounts

Failing that buy a WD 7mm drive which is not ideal.

Andrew,

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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