MacBook Pro 17" Unibody Optical Drive Replacement

Replace a burned-out optical drive on your MacBook Pro 17" Unibody.

Use this guide to replace your MacBook Pro's optical drive. The Bluetooth board and optical drive cable are not included with a new optical drive.

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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 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.

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

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 17" Unibody device page.

Required Tools


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

iFixit Lock Pick Set

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Inspection Scope

$39.95 · 50+ In stock

Frictionless Ratchet

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Portable Anti-Static Mat

$34.95 · 41 In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

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.


* 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

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