Installing MacBook Pro 17" Unibody 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 Lower Case  ¶ 

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

    • Three 13.5 mm Phillips screws.

    • Seven 3 mm Phillips screws.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Wedge your fingers between the lower case and the vent, and lift upward to release the clips holding the lower case to the upper case.

  • Remove the lower case.

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Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

  • Whenever working near the logic board, it is always wise to first disconnect the battery to avoid short circuits.

  • If present, grab the plastic tab attached to the battery connector and pull it toward the front edge of the device.

  • If the plastic tab is missing, use a spudger to pry the connector up from its socket.

  • Pull the tab parallel to the face of the logic board.

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Edit Step 4 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Before disconnecting the camera cable, a small plastic retainer stuck to the logic board must first be moved out of the way.

  • Use the tip of a spudger to push the small plastic cable retainer away from the camera cable socket for enough clearance to remove the camera cable.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Pull the camera cable toward the optical drive opening to disconnect it from the logic board.

  • The camera cable socket is very fragile. Do not apply any upward force to this socket, as it may break off the logic board. Pull the camera cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Carefully pull the Bluetooth cable toward the fans to disconnect it from the Bluetooth board.

  • Pull the cable parallel to the face of the optical drive.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to peel the thin plastic cover off the top and sides of the Bluetooth board housing.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the Bluetooth antenna connector up and off its socket on the Bluetooth board.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • If present, remove the small piece of EMI foam near the Bluetooth board.

  • De-route the camera cable from the slot molded into the Bluetooth board housing.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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

  • To remove the screw closest to the battery, it may be helpful to use a T6 Torx screwdriver to first remove the upper case bracket directly above it.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Remove the optical drive from the upper case, minding any cables that may get caught.

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Edit Step 13 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Grab the optical drive cable by its connector and pull it away from the body of the hard drive.

  • Pulling on anything but the connector may damage the optical drive cable.

  • 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  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 2.2 mm Phillips screws securing the Bluetooth board to the side of the optical drive.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Remove the Bluetooth board from the optical drive.

  • Optical drive remains.

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Edit Step 16 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 17  ¶ 

  • 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 18  ¶ 

  • 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 19  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • 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 21  ¶ 

  • 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 17" Unibody device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Related Products

Unibody Laptop Dual Drive

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1 TB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive

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Comments Comments are onturn off

I went through these steps. I dint really have any trouble but now my computer won't turn back on. I have a fair bit of experience opening macbook pros, but I can't figure out what happened. I retrace the steps and look through everything but I can't see why it won't turn on. Any thing I can test? Any help?

signupjordanmathis, · Reply

I was able to use the original HDD for Time Machine backups and put a SSD in the original HDD spot, which is a great setup. Of course, I have backups going to a Time Capsule too. The only thing with my model MBP (mid-2011) is that I only get 3 Gigabit speeds, which isn't a huge deal since I'm mainly using the extra space for backups. I really like that I don't have to hear the DVD drive winding up and making spinning noises when I boot up anymore.

mtlangr, · Reply

important to reassemble the "lower case" successfully: the threads of the seven 3mm phillips screws are drilled at an angle :-/

mysterioes, · Reply

I recommend using anti-static protection, i.e., wearing a ground strap, or at least touch metal chassis inside the computer before unplugging cables. Otherwise, you might create an ESD discharge into your RAM and have to replace it like I did!

d68ef792, · Reply

This step is a little difficult in reverse, that is, when re-attaching the battery. It helps to tilt the laptop up so you can see the edge of the board that accepts the plug. It may look like there are two slots for it, it goes in the bigger slot that is further away from the board.

yary hluchan, · Reply

Is this step really necessary? It is not part of the instructions how to replace the HDD in Apple's User Manual of the 2011 17" MBP.

Tobias Hahn, · Reply

As it says in the step: "Whenever working near the logic board, it is always wise to first disconnect the battery to avoid short circuits." It is not required, but it is simple insurance to avoid a $1000+ repair should you accidentally short components on the board with something metal.

Andrew Bookholt,

There was no tab on my model. Battery is affixed to board and screws must be removed.

bhodges2, · Reply

Mine also, and looks as if removing connector could damage motherboard.

Stephen,

* There is no tab on the A1297 (late 2011) model's battery connector. Be careful with the connector, it chips off the edges easily! Otherwise the same as bhodges2 & Stephen's notes.

** (Pleas also include the exact Model and Part numbers like P/N: MD311D/A; Mod.: A1297 in the comments and notes for your MBP)

Pinguman, · Reply

Why are there no guides for the Late 2011 17" MacBook Pro A1297 (2.4GHz i7 quad core, MD311LL/A)??? I just replaced the RAM in mine and discovered that not only is there no tab on the battery connector, but the connector pulls straight up, perpendicular to the logic board, rather than parallel. I almost ripped the wires out of the connector by trying to pull it out parallel to the logic board like this guide instructed! After finally getting it out, my advice to those with the Late 2011 model is to use a spudger to loosen the edges of the connector then lift the connector straight up to get it out safely.

Dave, · Reply

My A1297 looks very different from this picture. The camera cable is not affixed with any plastic piece, it was a small blade connector that was at the top left corner of the mobo. It is removed by pulling it horizontally from the socket. It is my least favorite type of cable connection and the one most likely to be bent in the process (or the socket, be careful).

maccentric, · Reply

Once again, this step, and the rest that follow regarding the bluetooth board, bears no resemblance to my A1297. Luckily, it looks like things have been made simpler. Remove the camera cable from it's socket, the bluetooth cable (flat, black, just shy of .5" wide), and the DVD cable from their sockets. Remove the screw from the top right side of the black plastic piece that holds the bluetooth board and all the skinny black cables. Remove the screw at the top of this piece that fastens to the hinge (look for the shiny metal). Then just lift that piece out of the way, remove the 3 screws holding the DVD in place, and you can pull the drive out (I just grab it by the orange cable and pull it out, but that's probably not the preferred method).

maccentric, · Reply

Is there any real need to remove these cables from the Bluetooth Board? Are you not able to simply conduct step 14 here instead, leaving cables in place, therefor not jeopardising integrity of the housing?

Does the indicated Dual HDD housing replicate the holes found on the Optical Drive to allow this?

Fletch Christian, · 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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