Installing MacBook Unibody Model A1278 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.

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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.

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Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

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

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

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Edit Step 4 Lower Case  ¶ 

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

    • One 3 mm Phillips screw.

    • Three 13.5 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  ¶ 

  • Using the flat end of a spudger, pry the subwoofer connector straight up off the logic board.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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

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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 the two Phillips screws securing the subwoofer to the upper case.

  • The longer of the two screws is on the right.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • The subwoofer is still connected to the right speaker, so don't completely remove it just yet.

  • Lift the subwoofer off the optical drive, and set it above the computer.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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

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

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Remove the three 2.5 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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

  • The hard drive cable may become disconnected from the logic board when removing the optical drive. Ensure it is connected during reassembly.

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Edit Step 14 Optical Drive  ¶ 

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

  • This connector is particularly deep, so be sure to pull away from the drive at the center of the connector.

  • 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 15  ¶ 

  • 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 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 Unibody Model A1278 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

On my model, it seemed the top-left was 3.5mm and the bottom 4 were 3 mm.

Jim, · Reply

Me, too, broke the subwoofer connector from the motherboard. I'd suggest removing the padding first so that you can see what kind of connector it is, then pry it loose (insert spudger where the cables enter the connector).

petterwolff, · Reply

DO NOT REMOVE THE SUBWOOFER CONNECTION. Step 6 IS NOT NESCESSARY.

You can complete this guide without doing step 6 just BE CAREFUL as you already should be.

kenneth rhem, · Reply

The subwoofer cable is NOT removable on some models, attempting to remove it, brakes it off the circuit board and them you are @@%#$$, like me. Thanks iFixit. Also it is not necessary to remove it to replace the optical drive.

todd, · 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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