MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo Model A1211 Hard Drive Replacement

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

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

  • Author: iRobot
  • Difficulty: Moderate

You can install hard drives up to 9.5mm thick.

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Edit Step 1 Battery  ¶ 

  • Use your fingers to push both battery release tabs away from the battery, and lift the battery out of the computer.

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Edit Step 2 RAM Shield  ¶ 

  • Remove the three identical Phillips screws from the memory door.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Lift the memory door up enough to get a grip on it, and slide it toward you, pulling it away from the casing.

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Edit Step 4 Upper Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 2.8 mm Phillips screws in the battery compartment near the latch.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 6 screws:

    • Two 10 mm T6 Torx screws on either side of the RAM slot.

    • Four 14.5 mm Phillips screws along the hinge.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the four 3.2 mm Phillips screws on the port side of the computer.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees and remove the two 3.2 mm Phillips screws from the rear of the computer.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees again and remove the four 3.2 mm Phillips screws from the side of the computer.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Do not yank the upper case off quickly. The case is attached to the logic board via a ribbon cable.

  • Lift up at the rear of the case and work your fingers along the sides, freeing the case as you go. Once you have freed the sides, you may need to rock the case up and down to free the front of the upper case (there are some hidden plastic clips that need to be clicked off).

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the trackpad and keyboard ribbon cable from the logic board, removing tape as necessary.

  • Remove the upper case.

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Edit Step 11 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the orange hard drive ribbon cable from the logic board.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger to carefully loosen the adhesive securing the sleep light and IR sensor connectors to the top of the hard drive.

  • The entire ribbon cable may be glued to the hard drive. In that case, just carefully pry it up bit by bit with a spudger.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Remove the two T6 screws that are holding down the hard drive retaining bracket (on the right side of the drive).

  • Some machines may use Phillips screws.

  • Lift the hard drive retaining bracket up and out of the computer.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Lift up the hard drive with one hand and use your other hand to disconnect the hard drive cable.

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Edit Step 15 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the two silver T6 Torx screws and black rubber bumpers from the right side of the hard drive.

  • You'll need to transfer these screws and bumpers to your new hard drive if you're changing drives.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Remove the two black T6 Torx screws and black rubber bumpers from the left side of the hard drive.

  • You'll need to transfer these screws and bumpers to your new hard drive if you're changing drives.

  • If you are installing a new hard drive, we have an OS X install guide to get you up and running.

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

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo Model A1211 device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 32 In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

very well explained. I did it by my self and your help using only a little screwdriver of my victrorinox (swiss knife).

tks a lot for your path.

see u soon ;)

giorgio

giorgio, · Reply

Thank you all very much, this guide is perfect for everyone, no matter your level of expertise, i never opened my mac before and i succesfully replaced my old 120 gb HD with a new 320 gb HD 7.200 RPM :) And worked flawlessly!!

BIG UPS to ifixit, this guide is perfect for everyone!

lanu39, · Reply

P.S. The only thing that went wrong is that the button to open the macbook is not working perfectly, i have to press it harder than usual, i guess i have to disarm it again and check that everything is in place, other than that it is working flawlessly ;)

lanu39, · Reply

If your button to open mac is hard to use after you re-assembled the computer, check to see if the proper length screws were reinstalled. I had that problem and I switched the 2 screws. One was a tad longer. The longer one when screwed in, interferred with the button function.

Mike, · Reply

The 2 screws I mentioned are probably the last 2 you'll install, the ones in the battery compartment right behind the button to open mac.

Mike, · Reply

Tip for new players - print this guide, then use Sello tape to tape the screws from each step on the picture. Keeps them all organised and easy to know which screws belong to which step when putting it all back together

MPB Monkey, · Reply

Quote from MPB Monkey:

"...Tip for new players - print this guide, then use Sello tape..."

It's one word: Sellotape, the biggest brand in Europe. :-)

matthk, · Reply

In regard to the incredible amount of TINY screws, get an Ice Cube Tray or something with AT LEAST 8 compartments, then, when taking out the screws, mark EACH compartment with the step # and how many screws that were taken out, and used for THAT STEP (such as Step # 3 = 4 of 4 screws. Label EACH compartment, and keep them in line of each step. When it comes time to put everything back together, just reverse your Ice Cube Tray, and follow the Steps in Reverse!

As far as marking each compartment, try these POST IT PENS!!!

http://www.staples.com/Post-it-Flag-Ball...

GOOD LUCK! Take your time, it's not as difficult as it seems!

JerseyJeepGurl

JerseyJeepGurl, · Reply

This guide helped me to remove the keyboard on my MBP, but it doesn't take you further to take the keyboard apart. If you REALLY want to look inside the keyboard, you'll need to remove additional phillips screws (10), and carefully remove the inner plastic/clear layers inside the keyboard.

I did this to look for physical damage inside the keyboard and noticed that the black plastic? sheet was torn on my letter 'v', which was one of the keys not working. I did not see any physical sign anywhere else on the keyboard, though.

So, after pulling the defective keyboard away and installing the new one purchased from iFixit, putting everything back together is not too difficult, just reverse.

One thing, though: Check and double-check before you tighten the case screws to make sure your keyboard backlight is working. I noticed I had forgotten to plug it in, luckily for me before I put all the screws on the case.

To avoid losing any screws, print this guide and use clear tape to tape the screws next to the step. Use double-tape to avoid tearing or one of the tiny screws from falling out.

Good luck!

Thanks iFixit for helping me replace my MBP's keyboard!

juanortuno, · Reply

Thank you for some excellent advice form JerseyJeep Gurl

Quote from SubodhJ:

SubodhJ, · Reply

Worked perfect on my 4,1 mbp. Took ~15 min.

I don't see a boost in speed... or is just me?

I used 500 GB 7200 RPM Seagate SATA Hard Drive model ST9500420AS.

(if has a G letter at the end (ASG) is the one with built in shock protection who conflict sometimes with the mac own G protection).

kriss13, · Reply

This guide was awesome. I used JerseyJeepGurl's suggestion and used an egg carton, numbering each cavity as a step in the guide. So for a step that had me remove 3 different kinds of screws, I had a cavity for each, numbered: 1a, 1b, 1c and wrote a,b,c on the guide itself next to each bullet point in the step. It was awesome.

I guess that before starting I overlooked what a T6 torx actually was. I started this process at 8pm and realized right away that I did not have a set that small and of course all stores were closing. Lowes actually had an awesome fine torx driver set for only 7 bucks!

So that you fixit.

tech4eleven, · Reply

Quote from tech4eleven:

This guide was awesome. I used JerseyJeepGurl's suggestion and used an egg carton, numbering each cavity as a step in the guide. So for a step that had me remove 3 different kinds of screws, I had a cavity for each, numbered: 1a, 1b, 1c and wrote a,b,c on the guide itself next to each bullet point in the step. It was awesome.

I guess that before starting I overlooked what a T6 torx actually was. I started this process at 8pm and realized right away that I did not have a set that small and of course all stores were closing. Lowes actually had an awesome fine torx driver set for only 7 bucks!

So that you fixit.

Thank you everybody for "thanking me" on the compartment advice! Also, just about ANY Auto parts store will have a set of Torx Screw drivers, in a handy little set, that is all together. Good luck everybody,,remember,TAKE YOUR TIME, BREATH, AND DON'T GET FRUSTRATED!!! (STEALING ADVICE FROM PEARL JAM,,BREATH,JUST BREATH),,,,AND YOU'LL BE ABLE TO DO IT YOURSELF!

JJG

JerseyJeepGurl, · Reply

Quote from JerseyJeepGurl:

In regard to the incredible amount of TINY screws, get an Ice Cube Tray or something with AT LEAST 8 compartments, then, when taking out the screws, mark EACH compartment with the step # and how many screws that were taken out, and used for THAT STEP (such as Step # 3 = 4 of 4 screws. Label EACH compartment, and keep them in line of each step. When it comes time to put everything back together, just reverse your Ice Cube Tray, and follow the Steps in Reverse!

As far as marking each compartment, try these POST IT PENS!!!

http://www.staples.com/Post-it-Flag-Ball...

GOOD LUCK! Take your time, it's not as difficult as it seems!

JerseyJeepGurl

Michael Fredrickson, · Reply

Quote from Michael Fredrickson:

I get a piece of "corrugated" cardboard and draw an outline of the laptop and all the "compartments" that are accessed. When you take a screw out simply punch it threw top layer of the cardboard exactly where it goes. Multiple compartments - just draw another diagram on the cardboard. Voila!

Michael Fredrickson, · Reply

I just finished replacing my hard drive following these instructions and they were perfect. The only minor complication involved the ribbon cable connecting to the sleep light and IR sensor connectors. The entire cable was tightly glued to the hard drive. But I got it loose with 10 minutes of gentle prying with a spudger.

To keep track of the screws I just sketched an outline of the bottom panel, taped the screws in the right places and numbered them with the step numbers.

Tom McAuliffe, · Reply

I just used that Glad Press' N Seal. I just cut a 4 in piece, cut slits in it to about half way, Put the screws on there, and fold the pieces over the screws. You can number them, i just kept track of them. Also, you might not need that much, i just cut that much just to be safe.

benchallinor27, · Reply

I use magnet

I use the magnet that close the refigerator door.

The screws are put on the magnet, so it didnot fall from the table.

i am french so sorry for my english

Madoc,

Just another idea for a container for all the little screws: pillbox. I got one for about $1.00 at the store with 14 compartments.

Brian Littmann, · Reply

"port side of the computer" should read "starboard side". It's on the right-hand side when the computer is positioned normally in front of you.

joeycoole, · Reply

Port side as in I/O port side, as in the side that has the FireWire and ethernet ports. This is a MacBook, not a sailboat ;)

Andrew Bookholt,

Maybe I'm too used to running flight simulators on my Macs. But to us sailors or pilots, it would perhaps be clearer if the instructions mentioned "I/O port side" as Andrew did above.

Honestly, it never crossed my mind that 'port' refered to in/out…

joeycoole,

In my machine the screw closest to the power connector had a slightly thicker head, and would not sit flush, upon reassembly, unless it was returned to the same hole.

Martin Kenny, · Reply

Be super careful not to bend the metal tabs that hook the upper case into the lower case. If bent these make it challenging to close and reattach the upper case.

lama, · Reply

Kudos for this fantastic walk-through of replacing the hard drive. I just swapped in a new SSD and it was a piece of cake!

On Step 10, I tried just propping up the keyboard and leaving it connected to the logic board. It worked for a while but eventually the ribbon popped off. Luckily it wasn't damaged and it's super easy to replace.

DJR, · Reply

How do you reconnect the hard drive cable to the logic board?

fletchfoo4, · Reply

I think this step can just as well be omitted.

Basiliscus, · Reply

Quote from fletchfoo4:

How do you reconnect the hard drive cable to the logic board?

Just plug it back in... Push on it, and it sort of clicks in.

Basiliscus, · Reply

Be very careful when removing the hard drive cable from the logic board. Even though I was very gentle the connector came away from the ribbon rendering the cable useless. A replacement cost me $70 here in the UK.

As Basiliscus says it would probably be better to omit this step as it is possible to remove the hard drive without disconnecting the cable from the logic board.

tritec, · Reply

re: Tritec: I wish to God I had figured that out sooner. I'm actually upset that the writer implied that this step is mandatory. Who in their right mind would tamper with something so delicate, if it wasn't absolutely necessary? Do you sell these?

***SKIP STEP 11***

Sarah, · Reply

It's not necessery to remove this ribbon cable from the logic board as you have to remove the cable from your "old" harddrive anyway afterwards.

mmreisefieber2007, · Reply

Gently peal the ribbon cable up if glued down.

Doug, · Reply

In my 15" Book the cable itself was glued to the harddrive. I have used a plastic case lifter out of my iPhone repaire box to separate the cable from the disc.

pbel, · Reply

The default position of the sleep light and IR sensor connector assembly is directly over the hard drive breather hole on many replacement hard drives, including Hitachi Travelstar 7K500 and 5K250 models. Other brands also have breather holes in similar places. Be careful not to cover the hole with the adhesive portion of the connector tape, as this can interfere with proper operation of the drive. I was able to reinstall the cable twisted at a slight angle in order to keep the hole open.

josehill, · Reply

dental floss works well in removing an adhesive heavy cable

dealer390, · Reply

It is important to reattach the ribbon cable very tight to the hard drive. I also had to put additional glue under one of the connectors. The first time there must have been a mechanical contact to the case which resulted in vibrations. At first I thought, that the new drive caused this but I opened the computer again and now the vibrations have completely vanished.

Thomas Bleek, · Reply

Mine had Phillips head screws, not the noted Torx.

gaffer, · Reply

Light gray silicon rubber bumpers are alternately used.

Doug, · Reply

When re-attaching the upper case, you will see small plastic clips along the front edge which need to seat into receiving clips on the lower case front edge. It is these clips which sort of "popped" loose when removing the upper case. You need to apply firm pressure for these clips to reattach properly, and you will hear a click when they seat into the bottom.

Mitchell, · Reply

The left hand bumpers may be gray with black torx screws

draks, · Reply

When reassembling the unit be sure the ribbon cable on top of the hard drive does not cover the hard drive's breather hole. This small hole is located in different positions on various manufactures hard drives. It usually has the warning "DO NOT COVER" next to it.

Doug, · Reply

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