Introduction

A simple guide to replacing the optical drive in the external optical drive sold by Apple for the MacBook Air. If your optical drive breaks, use this guide to replace it.

If you have the later model (produced after 2012), you will unfortunately need to replace the internal drive from another Apple external SuperDrive, as the contacts on the PCB are soldered to the USB cable directly.

Note: Here's a method to hack the OS X configuration file for the SuperDrive to be used on the older iMac, MacBook, or MacBook Pro systems that the drive normally won't work with. Use with caution!

Open the com.apple.Boot.plist file in a text editor or in terminal use nano you will see a key <key>Kernel Flags</key>

Under it add the following line:

<string>mbasd=1</string>

Reboot your Mac.

Image 1/2: The lower case is attached by 8 clips. Image 2/2: 6 along the sides
  • To open the SuperDrive we must remove the lower case.

  • The lower case is attached by 8 clips.

    • 6 along the sides

    • 2 on the back

<<Add the following>>

Note: Here's a method to hack the OS-X configuration file for the SuperDrive to be used on the older iMac, MacBook, or MacBook Pro systems that the drive normally won't work with. Use with caution!

open the com.apple.Boot.plist file in a text editor or in terminal use nano you will see a key <key>Kernel Flags</key>

under it add the following line

<string>mbasd=1</string>

reboot your Mac

Dan - Reply

Image 1/2: Lightly pry back to gently lift the clip out of place, just far enough to disengage. Image 2/2: Don't lift to far, or the clip on opposite side of drive will be wedged in place.
  • Insert a metal spudger down between the black lower case and the aluminum upper case.

  • Lightly pry back to gently lift the clip out of place, just far enough to disengage.

    • Don't lift to far, or the clip on opposite side of drive will be wedged in place.

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Image 1/2: Continue until all of the clips have been disengaged and the lower case is free. Image 2/2: Continue until all of the clips have been disengaged and the lower case is free.
  • Repeat Step 2 for each of the 8 clips.

  • Continue until all of the clips have been disengaged and the lower case is free.

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Image 1/1:
  • Lift off and set aside the lower case.

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Image 1/2: (A1270) three 3.8 mm with 1 mm deep head #00 Phillips head screws. Image 2/2: (A1379) 2 #00 Phillips head screws (I did not measure their length, sorry)
  • Remove the screws holding optical drive in the upper case

    • (A1270) three 3.8 mm with 1 mm deep head #00 Phillips head screws.

    • (A1379) 2 #00 Phillips head screws (I did not measure their length, sorry)

    • (A1379) 1 T9 torx screw

On later models the bottom-right screw is a TR10 (Torx) screw.

boelaars - Reply

Image 1/2: (A1379) You will need to be even more careful with this model, as there is less wiggle room. Peel back the insulation tape to see the connector. Image 2/2: Be careful of the wires still running from the drive to case.
  • (A1270) Lift the optical drive from the thick side, then pull out.

    • (A1379) You will need to be even more careful with this model, as there is less wiggle room. Peel back the insulation tape to see the connector.

    • Be careful of the wires still running from the drive to case.

  • When re-installing the optical drive insert tongue in groove side first, as pictured.

On later models the cable goes left instead of right, after entering the enclosure. This makes lifting the optical drive harder, but if done carefully it can still be done safely. The cables and the tape that fixes it in place is flexible and sturdy enough.

boelaars - Reply

Image 1/2: two 3.8 mm #00 Phillips head screws. Image 2/2: (A1379) There are similar screws present here, but they only remove the metal shielding plate which gives further access to the USB wires
  • (A1270) Remove screws holding the board to optical drive.

    • two 3.8 mm #00 Phillips head screws.

  • (A1379) There are similar screws present here, but they only remove the metal shielding plate which gives further access to the USB wires

    • Unfortuantely, you cannot disconnect the drive any further without breaking out a soldering iron.

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Image 1/2: The optical drive is now free from the case. Image 2/2: The optical drive is now free from the case.
  • Use a plastic opening tool to remove the board from the optical drive.

  • The optical drive is now free from the case.

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Conclusion

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

27 other people completed this guide.

Alex Jansen

Member since: 04/21/2010

7,723 Reputation

2 Guides authored

6 Comments

After you pry open, inside there is an internal Super Drive.

Please tell me what's the markings/printed words model, name, brand, part number, etc....

Thank you.

gwen kent - Reply

My drive has nothing on that orange part in the middle of the drive (like you can see in the pictures here) except for two QR codes; it has absolutely no markings/printed words model, name, brand, part number, etc. on the inside, except the manufacturing date 2012 stamped inside the black aluminum bottom case cover.

Hope this helps.

cubanpete -

Thank you. My drive from 2012 ist fastened with a six-sided star-shaped Torx screw on the right side. The ones on the left side are black Philips screws and they are so tiny that they are hard to see in normal light. All I want to do is clean the drive from dust since it won't read DVDs anymore, while it has no problems with CDs at all. So now this Torx screw is another obstacle. I will have to waste more time & money buying an extra tool, thanks to Apple.

cubanpete - Reply

Is it possible to replace the internal DVD drive by a Bluray? Does macOS Sierra work with external Bluray drives?

Thanks for helping.

Sincerely

thomasli - Reply

Will any drive works? Is is SATA?

Philippe Morin - Reply

Nope, it's two different models- the first model was IDE, the second model has the USB cable soldered straight to the drive. Most unfortunate.

Josh Calvetti - Reply

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