MacBook Unibody Model A1342 Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

We were curious to see why Apple thought the MacBook Polycarbonate Unibody was so special, so we took it apart! We got the MacBook from our local Apple store on October 20, 2009.

Want up-to-the-minute updates? Follow @ifixit on twitter. You can also check out the YouTube video slideshow!

Wired and iFixit are hosting a Sony Teardown contest. Take apart anything made by Sony, take photos, and use our editor to post a teardown. You could win a PS3 or PSP Go!

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Edit Step 1 MacBook Unibody Model A1342 Teardown  ¶ 

  • Oh, plastic MacBook, how we've missed you...

  • Apple has made a bunch of changes to their base workhorse, including:

    • A polycarbonate unibody upper case

    • An LED backlit display with the same 1280x800 resolution as previous models

    • A glass multi-touch trackpad

    • An integrated lithium-polymer battery

    • Non-slip coating covering the bottom panel.

  • The case revision also allowed Apple to update the aesthetics on the new Macbook. Its contoured edges fit right in with the rest of the unibody lineup.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Top: New MacBook, Middle: MacBook Pro, Bottom: Old MacBook

  • FireWire is gone! If you need FireWire, now only a MacBook Pro will do.

  • Also gone is an IR port for a remote. As far as we know, that makes the MacBook the only currently shipping Apple laptop that doesn't support a remote.

  • There's also no external battery indicator, a feature borrowed from the MacBook Air.

  • Apple has also replaced Mini-DVI with Mini DisplayPort, and replaced the two audio jacks with a single audio in/out port.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • After more than three years, the MacBook finally gets a new model number! A1342.

  • Unfortunately, Apple only allows those with 20/20 vision to find out their model and serial number. That text is incredibly tiny and difficult to read.

  • This new MacBook weighs in at 4.7 lbs. That's .3 lbs less than the old plastic MacBook, but .2 lbs more than the 13" Unibody MacBook Pro.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Removing the lower case...

  • There are no more rubber feet to tear off!

  • Eight Phillips #00 screws hold the lower case in place, two less than the 13" Pro.

  • The lower case is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at 266 grams. The lower case is actually a sheet of aluminum with rubberized coating injection-molded onto one side.

  • In contrast, the lower case on the 13" Pro weighs only 142 grams, so the rubber coating nearly doubles the part's weight.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Apple boasts an impressive seven hour battery life from the new MacBook, matching that of the 13" and 15" MacBook Pros.

  • The battery is held in with both tri-wing and Phillips screws, an indication that Apple doesn't want you replacing the battery yourself.

  • One of the three tri-wing screws is beneath a warning label in the top left corner of the battery.

  • For most repairs, removing the battery is not necessary, you just need to disconnect it from the logic board. You can use a spudger or your fingernails to lift battery connector straight up out of its socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • The battery is 60 watt-hours, the same capacity as the 13" MacBook Pro.

  • The previous plastic MacBooks featured a 55 watt-hour battery and claimed a 5-hour run time. Apple has added 5 watt-hours of battery capacity and two hours of run time. Either this machine is substantially more efficient than its predecessor (thanks to the LED backlight?), or Apple's new battery life claims are overly optimistic.

  • Despite its higher capacity, this new battery is actually lighter than the previous MacBook's battery. This battery boasts a power to weight ratio that's 23.5% better than its predecessor.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • The MacBook now uses PC3-8500 RAM. Conveniently, all Apple portables with RAM slots as well as the iMacs currently use the same RAM type.

  • Like the Pro models, the RAM chips are stacked vertically, one directly above the other.

  • Our machine came with two 1 GB chips. Apple says the machine will support 4 GB maximum. There are 4 GB PC3-8500 chips available, and users have reported successful installations of 8 GB chips in this model.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • The hard drive isn't as easy to replace as it used to be, but it can be done. The hard drive is still considered "user replaceable" by Apple. It's strange that the hard drive is "user replaceable", but the battery is not.

  • After removing two Phillips screws and the hard drive bracket they hold down, lift the hard drive out of the MacBook by its pull tab and disconnect the SATA connector.

  • If you're installing a new hard drive, you'll need a T6 Torx screwdriver to transfer the mounting screws to your new hard drive.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Getting to the optical drive takes a bit more work...

  • The rear vent is held in place by both Phillips #00 and T8 Torx screws.

  • The cast aluminum vent plate is painted with a satin white rubberized paint and probably adds a good amount of rigidity to the device.

  • The lack of structural supports like these in previous plastic MacBooks accounts for their flexibility.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • The digging continues as we remove the speaker/AirPort/Bluetooth card assembly.

  • After popping off a few connectors, removing a few screws (including one inserted into the side of the optical drive), the optical drive is almost free.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Unlike the earlier plastic MacBooks, AirPort and Bluetooth share the same board.

  • The Bluetooth model number is BCM943224PCIEBT.

  • All three antenna cables appear to route into the display assembly. This may be an improvement for Bluetooth range, since on previous MacBooks the Bluetooth antenna was located above the optical drive and not inside the display assembly.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • After removing the final few screws, lift the optical drive out of its comfy plastic unibody home.

  • No surprises here. The optical drive is an 8x SATA SuperDrive. It's a Panasonic model UJ898, made in China September of 2009.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • It has a fan.

  • After a few twists of a screwdriver and the flick of a spudger, the fan lifts right out.

  • The fan design appears relatively unchanged from previous plastic MacBooks, except that it mounts to the upper case on this model.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Six T6 screws and several fragile connectors stand between us and logic board freedom.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • The logic board removed.

  • Like the MacBook Pro Unibody, Apple nicely designed this machine so the logic board and heat sink come out as a single part. This way, you'll only need to get your hands dirty with thermal paste if you're replacing the logic board.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • The MacBook sports a NVidia 9400M GPU and an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26 GHz CPU.

  • This is exactly the same GPU and CPU in the base model 13" Unibody MacBook Pro. This CPU offers a whopping 130 MHz increase over the 2.13 GHz chip that powered the old plastic MacBook.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Like other MacBooks, the MagSafe port gets its own board.

  • Even though the new MacBook ships with a new-style MagSafe adapter, older Magsafe adapters should work just fine.

  • Notice the silver grate of a speaker on the right side of this photo. This machine sports two small tweeters beneath the keyboard, one below the caps lock key, and the other below the return key.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • The display assembly is secured by two large T8 screws, one on each side.

  • Apple's certainly giving us quite the screw variety on this machine. We've found tri-wing, Phillips #00, T6, and T8 Torx screws.

  • We sell a screwdriver kit that will enable you to remove all these screws. The tri-wing screws will come out using a 1 mm flathead bit. We'll be adding true tri-wing bits to our screwdriver kits in the near future.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • The display assembly. (We did turn it on briefly, and it looks really nice!) On the right side are the three wireless antennas, and on the left side is the single display data cable.

  • Since the MacBook now uses a LED backlit LCD, there's no inverter cable. All data and power is transmitted through a single cable.

  • Apple has shaved about 50 grams off the weight of the display assembly compared to the one on the previous plastic MacBook.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Success! The new MacBook is quite a nice machine to disassemble.

  • We'll be creating detailed repair guides for this machine in the future, enabling you to repair your MacBook if and when something goes wrong.

  • We plan on taking apart Apple's new iMac as soon as we can get our hands on it. Apple's made some major improvements on their new iMac, so it should be interesting to see what's inside. Follow @ifixit on twitter and we'll keep you updated.

Required Tools

TR8 Torx Security Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 29 In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 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 · 40 In stock

Popular Device Products

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Im getting one of these in about a week... How do I keep good maintenance of the battery? Do I keep the battery plugged in when its fully charged?

WALLY, · Reply

Dear Miroslav,

Do you know how the unibody part is made? Is it welded together, or did Apple perform some magic with injection moulding? Is it possible to post detailed pictures of the sides of the enclosure?

This has been bugging me for several months now... Thanks for the great teardown!

Gregor van Egdom, · Reply

Thanks for the fantastic breakdown, found it really useful before carrying out a few upgrades! (8GB RAM and more recently a new Samsung SSD)

I was wondering though, is it possible to change the entire logic board in the name of upgrading the processor and graphics card? Is it something which would be advisable?

On another note I am also having some trouble with my Macbook getting rather hot, particularly whilst streaming video. It's sat on a flat desk with nothing obstructing the air intakes. I generally have an external display plugged in and the lid closed (using a bluetooth mouse and keyboard). The heat appears to be emanating from the logic board, I was wondering wether it's related to the graphics card being overloaded or something. I don't know much about all this stuff so i was wondering wether you have any potential diagnosis? Is it possible to upgrade the fan maybe? Thanks, Rob.

Robert, · Reply

Does the new MacBook White Unibody "use the 64-bit kernel" ???

Apple should atualize this list: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3770

Vrumm, · Reply

Quote from Vrumm:

Does the new MacBook White Unibody "use the 64-bit kernel" ???

Apple should atualize this list: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3770

Well, given that the Macbook is unlikely to be running the server version of OSX, I don't think that list is too relevant......

cython, · Reply

Apple's official site says the macbook has built-in stereo speakers. But I only see one speaker in the middle. Are there other speakers somewhere else?

halfapie, · Reply

Quote from halfapie:

Apple's official site says the macbook has built-in stereo speakers. But I only see one speaker in the middle. Are there other speakers somewhere else?

There are two. See the photos at Step 17 and Step 18.

mbm, · Reply

Quote from halfapie:

Apple's official site says the macbook has built-in stereo speakers. But I only see one speaker in the middle. Are there other speakers somewhere else?

That's not a speaker in the middle, that's the fan.

ZPrime, · Reply

Quote from Vrumm:

Does the new MacBook White Unibody "use the 64-bit kernel" ???

Apple should atualize this list: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3770

i've got a unibody macbook (before they turned them into pro's) and unfortunately Apple lock the MacBook's in to the 32-bit kernel (at time of writing), the Pro model's get the 64-bit mode enabled. I'll post a guide on how I got around this on my blog later www.red91.com

Annoying they've done that though, personally like the option of replacing my battery, the previous one went thru 3!

indiehead, · Reply

There is no battery indicator on this new MacBook

NaN, · Reply

"Also gone is an IR port for a remote. As far as we know, that makes the MacBook the only currently shipping Apple laptop that doesn't support a remote."

And the Mac Pro doesn't support a remote either. What a contrast.

ranron, · Reply

That older MacBook looks pretty dirty. Try using a Mr.Clean Magic Eraser, take all the dirt off mine.

dylanbyrnes9, · Reply

Quote from Solipsism:

There is no battery indicator on this new MacBook

No there isn't. Which is quite sad, that is such an awesome feature normally.

Nat Welch, · Reply

didnt you mean to say " yes, there isnt......" since the first person wrote " there is no battery indicator" -is it jusst me or is my english suggestion wrong?

and now to the subject: does the new unibody mac have a backlight keyboard?

Quote from nwelch:

No there isn't. Which is quite sad, that is such an awesome feature normally.

hellraiser, · Reply

Quote from hellraiser:

didnt you mean to say " yes, there isnt......" since the first person wrote " there is no battery indicator" -is it jusst me or is my english suggestion wrong?

Pedantic, and unfortunately incorrect. The sentence was a statement, then the second person said "no" in agreement. Besides if you change the original statement into a question: "is there no battery indicator?" then the answer would still be "no there isn't."

And since we're being pedantic, "is it just me or is my English suggestion wrong" is basically tautological. Yes it's just you, and yes your English suggestion is wrong. You should write "is it just me or is that statement wrong?".

Jowie, · Reply

Is this the view of the bottom half? I have read of a non-slip bottom. Is it seen here or was it removed?

gruenekaefer, · Reply

Nooooooooooo, not firewire, oh well, ive still got my TiBook, and my Powermac G4 MDD

Chris Green, · Reply

I have a question, when I try to open the lower case, it seems to be stuck in the middle..

I can turn it about 20° to the right and the left but I can't get it open..

what am I doing wrong?

tierce, · Reply

I got it, just had to pull a lil harder xD

tierce, · Reply

Apple doesn’t want you removing the battery yourself so it can be disposed on properly.

NaN, · Reply

Quote from Solipsism:

Apple doesn’t want you removing the battery yourself so it can be disposed on properly.

There is plenty of infrastructure for recycling user replaceable batteries in any country where people can afford to buy apple hardware. Requiring two different tools just to replace a battery that definitely will not last any significant international flight or workday is indisputable handicapping. The very minimum battery life where it starts to become acceptable is >10 hours rated, which would probably get you 7-8 hours actual use. At least then you could make it through a days work.

wastedspace, · Reply

How do you disconnect the battery from the logic board?

cbee, · Reply

I’d wager that the increased run time is due to the LED-backlighting over LCD and that the stated run times are as accurate as previous models.

NaN, · Reply

Quote from Solipsism:

I’d wager that the increased run time is due to the LED-backlighting over LCD and that the stated run times are as accurate as previous models.

You mean LED backlighting vs CCFL?

LCD is still the display tech. There would be a possible marked difference if it was an OLED display, but given the amount of white on our desktops and that current OLED displays draw significantly more power to display white, it may not save that much power were it to be used.

Diggsby, · Reply

May iFixit send me a feedback about the upgrate of the RAM memmory to 8GB, please?

Vrumm, · Reply

Is it possible to change HDD without removing battery?

ZururuX, · Reply

The Mac Mini's also use ram like that, i just upgraded from 1GB to 4, now this thing screams.

Chris Green, · Reply

Quote from ZururuX:

Is it possible to change HDD without removing battery?

Yes, simply remove the two Phillips screws that hold down the hard drive bracket, as described above in step 8

m k, · Reply

What is the interface between the HDD and the CPU? SATA or SATA2 (1.5GB/s or 3.0GB/s)? What make of HDD would you recommend for a 7200RPH HDD upgrade? Thanks.

tomcat89, · Reply

Quote from tomcat89:

What is the interface between the HDD and the CPU? SATA or SATA2 (1.5GB/s or 3.0GB/s)? What make of HDD would you recommend for a 7200RPH HDD upgrade? Thanks.

Western Digital, or a seagate baracuda 7200.**, as long as it isn't a 7200.11, they have a lot of firmware problems

Chris Green, · Reply

Is this UJ898 standard 12.7mm height?

Apple must of got first dibs on this new drive, I only see UJ-875A and UJ-880A on the Panasonic Industrial website.

wefixit, · Reply

How much does the optical drive weigh?

spicyj, · Reply

"several fragile connectors stand between us and logic board freedom"

I could really use some more advise on how to disconnect those "fragile connectors" without damaging them! I have been at it for a few hours, but can't find a safe way of doing it. Please help!

Leon R, · Reply

Repair guides for this device can be found here.

Andrew Bookholt,

The connector you see at the top right (with the pad on it) is removed by pulling up gently on the black tab, lifting the hinged O-shaped ring free.

EmbraceIT, · Reply

That's an extremely efficient design to have the heat sink and logic board come out in one piece so you don't have to reapply thermal paste every time. Speaking of, looks like apple really cleaned up their act and applied a correct amount of thermal paste this time around. If it were in old 2,2 MacBook Pro you would be seeing the over applied thermal paste spilling over. Do you have photos of the CPU and GPU before you cleaned the paste off?

wefixit, · Reply

It Didn't have any thermal paste on it? or did you guys remove it?

Chris Green, · Reply

Quote from Chris Green:

It Didn't have any thermal paste on it? or did you guys remove it?

removed

Nick, · Reply

Any idea what type of display panel this is? I believe the Macbook Pro is using an S-IPS panel, but the old Macbook was using a TN panel. Is this still TN, or is it S-IPS (or something else)?

chad515, · Reply

Quote from chad515:

Any idea what type of display panel this is? I believe the Macbook Pro is using an S-IPS panel, but the old Macbook was using a TN panel. Is this still TN, or is it S-IPS (or something else)?

It's a TN display. All of Apple's (and most other companies) notebook's use TN displays because they're slimmer than IPS.

Having said that, there are different qualities of TN panels. For example, the Macbook Pro 15" panel has a much nicer viewing angle range than the Macbook Pro 13".

paulius, · Reply

Hey guys, can you tell if the plastic case was machined or injection molded? Just curious... thanks.

warrenginn, · Reply

Quote from warrenginn:

Hey guys, can you tell if the plastic case was machined or injection molded? Just curious... thanks.

It was injection molded, you can't machine somthing like that cost effectively, and it wouldn't look as nice as it does.

Chris Green, · Reply

How difficult is it to remove the LCD from the housing? Could you show that?

Kirk, · Reply

Can i change the processor on my MacBook Pro core 2 duo 2,53 Ghz?

Greyzard, · Reply

Quote from Greyzard:

Can i change the processor on my MacBook Pro core 2 duo 2,53 Ghz?

The processor is soldered to the board, so you would have to replace your whole logic board.

Andrew Bookholt, · Reply

From a structural point of view, this is more like a aluminum-reinforced-plastic, instead of the unibody-plastic that some people are claiming. Still, I applause apple for bringing improved rigidity to their low-end Macbook.

kamf, · Reply

How is the Bezel installed? Is it the same clip design as the old model, so hyper kids can pick at it while in class and pull it off? (I work at a school with Macbooks). It looks as if it is inlaid a bit versus the last model the bezel was set above the frame a bit....thanks for the great take-apart!

ssjonker, · Reply

Hi mate.

I was tearing down my macbook pro unibody and now when i put the parts pack it does not start, there is no responce what so ever. I am so worried. Is there anything i can do to identify the malfunctioning part. Would i still be covered under warranty, its just 4 months old. Could you please mail me your responce. -

cheers

Arun

mailaved@yahoo.com

Arun, · Reply

hi to everybody!!ii've a technical question..!is it possible to replace the keyboard of the macbook with a backlighted keyboard of a macbook pro?

ziobru, · Reply

Quote from ziobru:

hi to everybody!!ii've a technical question..!is it possible to replace the keyboard of the MacBook with a backlighted keyboard of a MacBook Pro?

I would like to know similar thing. Is it possible to dissasemble a1342 keyboard. I need to wash it, because it's get cup of bear.

cheskapac, · Reply

Is it possible to replace the keyboard without removing everything else first? what are the chances of destroying parts during this procedure. is it safe? my keyboard dosn't work, but i dont want to risk destroying the logic board while replacing it

arthur, · Reply

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