MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Upper Case Replacement

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The ins and outs of replacing your upper case.

Sections
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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 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 Mid Wall  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 5 screws securing the mid wall to the upper case:

    • Three 10.5 mm Phillips screws.

    • Two 3.7 mm Phillips screws.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Lift the mid wall out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 8 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • Remove the following six screws securing both the right fan and the left fan to the logic board:

    • Four 3.5 mm Phillips screws.

    • Two 3.2 mm Phillips screws.

  • Use a spudger to pry both the right fan and left fan connectors straight up and out of their sockets on the logic board.

  • It is useful to twist the spudger axially from beneath the fan cable wires to release the connector.

  • The fan socket and the fan connector can be seen in the second and third pictures. Be careful not to break the plastic fan socket off the logic board as you use your spudger to lift the fan connector straight up and out of its socket. The layout of the logic board shown in the second picture may look slightly different than your machine but the fan socket is the same.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Lift both fans out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • If necessary, peel off the foam bumper covering the subwoofer connector.

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

  • Be very careful. This connector is delicate, and can be easily broken off the logic board.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector straight up off the logic board.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the IR/sleep LED ribbon cable retaining flap.

  • Pull the IR/sleep LED ribbon cable straight out of its socket.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the keyboard ribbon cable retaining flap.

  • Pull the keyboard ribbon cable straight out of its socket.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the express card cage ribbon cable retaining flap.

  • Pull the express card cage ribbon cable straight out of its socket.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Grab the plastic pull tab secured to the display data cable lock and rotate it toward the DC-in side of the computer.

  • Pull the display data cable connector straight away from its socket.

  • When disconnecting the display data cable, do not pull on the black tab secured to the cable lock. We recommend wiggling the cable while applying tension to slowly "walk" the connector out of its socket.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Locate the keyboard backlight ribbon cable (near the left fan space).

  • Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the keyboard backlight ribbon cable retaining flap.

  • Pull the keyboard backlight ribbon cable straight out of its socket.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Remove seven 3.2 mm Phillips screws securing the logic board to the upper case.

  • Do not remove the logic board yet! There are connectors attached to the underside of the logic board that must first be disconnected.

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Remove two 7 mm Phillips screws securing the DC-in board to the upper case.

  • Note: This step is not completely necessary, but it will make it easier to disconnect the cable that is connected to the DC-in board.

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Remove two 3.5 mm Phillips screws securing the bottom case clip to the upper case.

  • Lift the bottom case clip out of the upper case.

  • Some MacBook Pro Unibodies do not have a bottom case clip and do not require this step.

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Carefully lift the logic board assembly from the left side and work it out of the upper case, minding the port side that may get caught during removal.

  • Do not entirely remove the logic board yet!

  • Ensure that the logic board is free from all connections to the upper case (except the battery connector) before proceeding.

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Edit Step 26  ¶ 

  • Lift the logic board enough to grab the battery connector and pull it straight away from its socket on the logic board.

  • Lift the logic board assembly out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 27 Battery Connector  ¶ 

  • Remove three 2 mm Phillips screws securing the battery connector cover to the upper case.

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Edit Step 28  ¶ 

  • The battery connector cover is held onto the upper case by a strong adhesive. Use a spudger to loosen the adhesive around the edges of the battery connector.

  • Lift the battery connector cover out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 29  ¶ 

  • Peel the battery connector cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

  • De-route the battery connector cable through the gap in the upper case and remove it from the computer.

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Edit Step 30 Upper Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following screws securing the ExpressCard Cage to the upper case:

    • Two 4 mm Phillips screws.

    • Two 1.9 mm Phillips screws.

  • Lift the the ExpressCard Cage out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 31  ¶ 

  • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the hard drive bracket to the upper case.

  • This screw is captive to the hard drive bracket.

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Edit Step 32  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive by its pull tab enough to grab and remove the retaining bracket.

  • Lift the hard drive out of the upper case, minding the cable attaching it to the computer.

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Edit Step 33  ¶ 

  • Remove the hard drive from its cable by pulling the cable connector straight away from the drive.

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Edit Step 34  ¶ 

  • 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.

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

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Edit Step 35  ¶ 

  • Remove the following four screws securing the subwoofer and right speaker to the upper case:

    • Two 3.2 mm Phillips screws.

    • One 2.6 mm Phillips screw.

    • One 5.0 mm Phillips screw.

  • Lift the subwoofer and right speaker assembly out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 36  ¶ 

  • Peel the hard drive cable from the adhesive securing it to the upper case, and maneuver the plastic retaining block out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 37  ¶ 

  • 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.

  • Seperate the camera cable bracket from the camera cable and remove it from the computer.

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Edit Step 38  ¶ 

  • Remove the 7 mm Phillips screw from the LVDS cable bracket.

  • This screw may remain captive in the LVDS cable.

  • Lift the LVDS cable bracket out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 39  ¶ 

  • Remove two outer 6 mm T6 Torx screws securing each side of the display to the upper case (4 screws total).

  • We intentionally have you leave one screw in each hinge to aid in the following steps.

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Edit Step 40  ¶ 

  • Open your MacBook Pro so the display is perpendicular to the upper case.

  • Place your opened MacBook Pro on a table as pictured.

  • While holding the display and upper case together with your other hand, remove the 6 mm Torx screw from the lower display bracket.

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Edit Step 41  ¶ 

  • Be sure to hold the display and upper case together with your other hand. Failure to do so may cause the freed display/upper case to fall, potentially damaging each component.

  • Remove the last remaining 6 mm Torx screw securing the display to the upper case.

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Edit Step 42  ¶ 

  • Grab the upper case with your right hand and rotate it slightly toward the top of the display so the upper display bracket clears the edge of the upper case.

  • Rotate the display slightly away from the upper case.

  • Lift the display away from the upper case, minding any brackets or cables that may get caught.

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

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 26 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

This requires a Torx T6 (Step 39) that is not included in the "Required Tools" list.

dan, · Reply

Thanks Dan. The T6 Torx screwdriver is now part of the required tools list.

Walter Galan,

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

Pry under the side where the wires connect.

colleenthompson, · Reply

There's a little shiny piece of plastic holding this item in place to keep it from sliding out of it's slot. It's glued on and if you don't take it off first, you'll likely bend the connector so that it won't work anymore. Ruined a motherboard because this step was missing.

maccentric, · Reply

What this guy said - REMOVE the shiny plastic block first. Also the "straight away" means sliding outwards TOWARDS THE OPTICAL BAY - *NOT* upwards.

Damien, · Reply

On reassembly, check carefully that none of the fiddly little cables are trapped under the logic board. I had to back up and liberate the subwoofer connector. It takes some careful jiggling to get the sockets seated in the port holes.

colleenthompson, · Reply

The two screws closest to the optical drive have smaller heads. (May not be critical.)

Marty Swartz, · Reply

My clip is oriented 180 degrees (flipped) from this picture.

colleenthompson, · Reply

The bottom case clip is screwed to a black plastic bracket that's glued onto the upper case. My replacement upper case did not come with this bracket. I had to carefully pry it off the old upper case, taking care not to break it, and glue it to the new upper case before replacing the logic board.

colleenthompson, · Reply

I have a 2.66ghz 15inch Unibody Macbook Pro (A1286) and this step was not necessary.

Andrew Mostajo, · Reply

Quote from Andrew Mostajo:

I have a 2.66ghz 15inch Unibody Macbook Pro (A1286) and this step (24) was not necessary.

Andrew Mostajo, · Reply

Apropos to the last tip in this step, the replacement unibody I purchased omitted the receiving end of this clip, but it was in my original. As it only captures (but does not secure) a small metal tab on the bottom cover, I skipped transferring it.

Brett Deriso, · Reply

This whole procedure - removing the battery connector - is NOT NECESSARY! This battery connector is included on the Apple supplied replacement part. DO NOT go through the excessive effort to remove this part if you're getting an Apple part - you'll only end up giving them back an incomplete core part. Boo.

Matt Falcon, · Reply

When I took this apart, I was concerned about getting it back together again! I was relieve to see that the replacement upper case came with its own preinstalled battery connector cable and cover.

colleenthompson, · Reply

Hi Colleen, thanks for this detailed tutorial. I'm trying to put my MacBook Pro together after a major liquid spill, I have done a stupid mistake by removing the trackpad screws, now I can't find/recognize them, could you please point these out? what length/size should they be?

maxheater, · Reply

Maxheater, sorry, i don't know, having only worked on one of these. Maybe there's a trackpad tutorial with the info.

colleenthompson, · Reply

Quote from colleenthompson:

Maxheater, sorry, i don't know, having only worked on one of these. Maybe there's a trackpad tutorial with the info.

hi again, I managed to recognize them at last! thankfully :D they're so unique and not what i thought... now i got it back together (the whole lappy) and the screen represents weird yellowish dynamic line shades!! only on certain points, the problem is in a certain degree of grey, it shows as a flicker or a yellowish shade.... have u been through this before?

maxheater, · Reply

This whole procedure - removing the battery connector - is NOT NECESSARY! This battery connector is included on the Apple supplied replacement part. DO NOT go through the excessive effort to remove this part if you're getting an Apple part - you'll only end up giving them back an incomplete core part. Boo.

Matt Falcon, · Reply

... And unstick the "camera cable" (I'd imagine it includes more than just the camera!) from the optical drive first.

Matt Falcon, · Reply

See the bracket that the right side of the optical drive is screwed to? My replacement upper case did not come with that, so I had to remove it from the bad case and move it to the new one. The instructions leave that out.

colleenthompson, · Reply

This middle bar that screws the optical drive down is NOT included on the Apple supplied replacement part, and SHOULD be removed prior to sending back the old part for a core. Much to my dismay.

Matt Falcon, · Reply

My replacement upper case came with its own preinstalled, preglued hard drive cable.

colleenthompson, · Reply

Same, the Apple supplied replacement part includes a preinstalled, preglued hard drive cable. DO NOT remove this if you're using an Apple part! Just some unnecessary effort in an otherwise perfect guide. :)

Matt Falcon, · Reply

This is a great step by step tutorial. Thanks!

Andrew Mostajo, · Reply

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