MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Late 2011 Optical Drive Replacement

Replace a broken optical drive in your Late 2011 MacBook Pro 13" Unibody.

Use this guide to replace a broken optical drive.

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Three 14.4 mm Phillips #00 screws

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following ten screws:

    • Three 14.4 mm Phillips #00 screws

    • Three 3.5 mm Phillips #00 screws

    • Four 3.5 mm shouldered Phillips #00 screws

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Remove the lower case.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Use your fingers to pry the lower case away from the body of the MacBook near the vent.

  • Remove the lower case.

Edit Step 3 Battery Connection  ¶ 

Image 1/2: It is useful to pry upward on both short sides of the connector to "walk" it out of its socket. Be careful with the corners of the connectors, they can be easily broken off.

Edit Step 3 Battery Connection  ¶ 

  • Use the edge of a spudger to pry the battery connector upwards from its socket on the logic board.

  • It is useful to pry upward on both short sides of the connector to "walk" it out of its socket. Be careful with the corners of the connectors, they can be easily broken off.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Bend the battery cable slightly away from its socket on the logic board so it does not accidentally connect itself while you work.

Edit Step 5 Optical Drive  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 5 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth ribbon cable connector up from its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Though not recommended by iFixit staff, some users opt to omit this step completely. For information on this, see the step comments.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Carefully pull the camera cable out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Though not recommended by iFixit staff, some users opt to omit this step completely. For information on this, see the step comments.

  • Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board. Pulling it upward may damage the logic board or the cable itself.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

Image 1/2: De-route the camera cable out from under the retaining finger molded into the AirPort/Bluetooth bracket.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Carefully move the AirPort/Bluetooth ribbon cable out of the way as you peel the camera cable off the adhesive securing it to the subwoofer and the AirPort/Bluetooth bracket.

  • De-route the camera cable out from under the retaining finger molded into the AirPort/Bluetooth bracket.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

Image 1/2: De-route the antenna cable from under the finger molded into the AirPort/Bluetooth bracket.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry the antenna connector closest to the logic board up from its socket on the AirPort/Bluetooth board.

  • De-route the antenna cable from under the finger molded into the AirPort/Bluetooth bracket.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Two 10.3 mm Phillips screws

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Remove the following five screws:

    • Two 10.3 mm Phillips screws

    • Two 3.1 mm Phillips screws

    • One 5 mm Phillips screw

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Move the AirPort/Bluetooth assembly and the subwoofer away from the top of the optical drive.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Pull the AirPort/Bluetooth assembly and the Subwoofer upward near the center of the side of the optical drive until they clear each other.

  • Move the AirPort/Bluetooth assembly and the subwoofer away from the top of the optical drive.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Pull the right speaker/subwoofer cable upward to disconnect it from the logic board.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Pull the right speaker/subwoofer cable out from under the retaining finger near the side of the optical drive.

  • Pull the right speaker/subwoofer cable upward to disconnect it from the logic board.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Bend the hard drive cable away from the optical drive.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector up from its socket on the logic board.

  • Bend the hard drive cable away from the optical drive.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the optical drive connector up from its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Remove the three 2.7 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Pull the optical drive upward from its edge closest to the display and remove it from the upper case.

Edit Step 16 Optical Drive  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Be sure to pull on the connector, not the cable itself.

Edit Step 16 Optical Drive  ¶ 

  • Pull the optical drive cable away from the optical drive.

  • Be sure to pull on the connector, not the cable itself.

  • 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.


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

Now that you've finished, share your repair story with others.

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Add a comment

Does void the warranty?

jfondeur - Reply

No, it does not void the warranty. More specifically:

oakdragon12 - Reply

How much weight can I save by removing the optical drive?

gunes314 - Reply

You can save a lot of weight if lets say your installing a solid state drive or putting in a second hard drive but if you know that you use the CD/DVD disc drive a lot then you might just want to leave the drive alone.

Marshall Helgren -

Also wondering how much weight I'd save by just removing. My drive is broken for ages, but I have not needed it in ages. The HD was already replaced by a cheap SSD (second best thing after upgrading to 8GB), so I'd appreciate losing some weight. I mean, the computer. Although I could lose some too... erm... well, anyway, I guess the lack of the DVD would not interfere with anything, right? Opinions?

Carlos Duarte do Nascimento - Reply

Apple has meticulously balanced the MacBook's weight from left to right, and removing the optical drive may off-balance the Mac.

skimmilk05 -

I'm thinking you'd probably be OK losing the DVD drive without a problem. Just make sure the optical drive cable is secured or you might hear it rattling in there from time-to-time.

John Adam Wickliffe - Reply

Hey guys,

this website is amazing. I read it to guide me on fixing my mac book pro, but on the video, the girl gives a wrong information.. She says that is not possible replace just the keyboard... But I managed to replace only my keyboard. It is boring because I have to remove approximately 70 screws but it is possible. Thanks a lot! You guys helped me save about US$300 thats because in Brazil some technicians would charge me with that amount!

I posted some pictures on your facebook page..

renatumb - Reply

Tip: Use one of those weekday pill holders to have a cheep way to store screws you remove and each day of the week can be for different sizes or parts. It has been handy to have (much less expensive than the magnetic mat.

Robert Wacker - Reply

Great tutorial. I found that using a Phillips #0 in lieu of the #00 worked much better.

kschmesk - Reply

I tried the PH #00 for the 10 screws that hold the bottom case and it's too big, instead PH #000 works perfectly. Are you sure this screws are #00?

Alex - Reply

The likely problem with your wifi is not the card but the antenna leads that go into the plastic clutch

. Ifixit don't have a guide to change this as it it includes the isight camera so the screen has to be disassembled which is fairly hard

I got round it by using the camera cable from the old set and cutting off the new one

brian whittle - Reply

Hello MacWorld,

Just want to say that this site is a great resource for repairing or upgrading your Mac. I had a bad SATA cable in my MacBook Pro and after ordering a new one from the "IFIXIT" site I received the cable within two days, replaced it and was up and running again in no time. Thanks IFIXIT for you help!

wer 10/5/15

tayseer999 - Reply

I have found that my MacBook Pro 13 Late 2011 has five shouldered screws and not four. I am not sure exactly where it goes but I have put it in the top left corner of the picture as it is the odd one out.

GotMac - Reply

Hello, where can I buy the screws I need in case I lose one of them?

taylornya - Reply

Is this step of removing the battery connector required?

manodh - Reply

yes - as with disassembly of any electronic component you have to remove any power source. You don't want to accidentally turn the Mac on

khull -

This step is not really required. Apple does not recommend it.

Steven Layton - Reply

My Battery does not get recognized after i disconnected it, screw this site!

Diego Hernandes -

Rather than be careful of the corners of the connector i would say don't use the spudger anywhere near the corners. While the corner looks like the obvious place to begin to pry it up from, it will break. Levering from the sides as the instructions suggest works well.

ausmkv - Reply

wonder why apple does not recommend it?!

Peter - Reply

I would recommend it, one careless short and the whole board is dead......

John - Reply

simply remove the battery rather than disconnecting the cable

toiu - Reply

Don't know what the deal is with the battery, but this IS a necessary step to keep from frying the logic Board if you accidentally touch something and short it out. I did this step every time during my troubleshooting and The battery was ALWAYS recognized by the system the next time I turned the MBP on. So be safe and don't fry your logic board in the process...

fasthans - Reply

Prying the battery connector off does not take much force. I did exactly what the guide suggested (walked it off back and forth) with the spudger without any problems. Just be very gentle, much like with anything inside laptops, they are very fragile and need to be worked with carefully. A+ instructions, battery replacement was a success.

aekinaka - Reply

Installed/upgraded 4gb RAM to the system maximum 16gb and installed a 500 gb SSD today....DID NOT disconnect the battery issues at all when I powered back up. Then did a clean install of OSX I used a time machine backup to put all my stuff back on the new HD. From start to finish it took about 4 hours. Macbook boots up right at 16 seconds now.

MacProUser - Reply

Easiest to use two spudgers, one on each short end, I found.

Simon Mundy - Reply

I took off th Airport /Bluetooth connectors but the number J3 connector is broken and so where can i buy J3 connecter for the Airport/bluetooth board

Zeerachen - Reply

Its a lot easier and safer (corner wise) to pry it using the flat side of the black spudger directly in front of the connector (don't go/use the corners) very easily you will be able to pry it further by inserting the spudger into a better and thicker plastic section of the connector

Ed Oliver - Reply

DON'T remove the Battery Cable, you risk the battery NOT being recognised when you start the Mac up again, or breaking it!! More to the point, APPLE DOES NOT RECOMMEND THIS, so don't do it! I Installed 2x 8GB ( 16Gb total) of Crucial Mac RAM at 1333Mhz for my Late 2011 MacBook Pro, and it works beautifully, fully recognised and working well. I followed these instructions, but as Apple didnt recommend disconnecting the battery, I skipped this step, and as well as taking less time, nothing was damaged or broken, and everything works perfectly!!! Just make sure that you DISCHARGE ALL STATIC ELECTRICITY FROM YOUR HANDS, by touching a metal surface in the Mac. Apple recommends the edge of the Optical Disk Drive ( Big silver thing ) before touching any parts. Also, Take care removing the RAM out of its packet, DO NOT touch the Gold connectors, and hold the RAM by the edges. Finally, be PATIENT, GENTLE and it should all go perfectly. I managed it first time, with no technical ability, so follow my advice. Good luck!

Bradley Marks - Reply

What are the changes of it broke when i bend it?, after i disconect it does not work anymore

Diego Hernandes - Reply

The guide worked perfectly, as it has in the past (our family has three Mid-2012 Macbook Pros that have been separately upgraded with RAM and SSD).

The PH00 screwdriver fit perfectly.

One note on getting the screws to seat easily and thread perfectly...always turn them gently a couple turns to the left (CCW or Anti-Clockwise) until you hear a small click. That's where the threads will grab. Works with any screw, but when threads are fine, this will help ensure that the screw is at the correct angle and will grab and seat perfectly.

Great guides. Thanks!

timgunkel - Reply

Got RAM in but only one slot is working and now I can't remove! The RAM won't pop up like before and tabs don't seem to do anything. Please advise.

Sal Ergrapes - Reply

"Carefully pull the camera cable out of its socket on the logic board."

I followed these instructions to the letter, heeding the warning to pull vertically.

The camera cable broke at the connector.

The connector was pretty tight in the socket. Had to use a tiny screw-driver to free it. There was no way simply pulling would have worked.

A quick google of "macbook pro camera cable broken" shows that this has happened to many other people, and been reported to ifixit. But no mention in the instructions. Disappointing.

The MBP no longer boots. The cable is soldered to the LCD, which must be replaced. $500?

Someone, PLEASE fix the instructions. It looks like many people have been hit by this.

Brian - Reply

Actually it says to pull parallel away from the board, so horizontally. It never said vertically and actually warns against pulling verticaly.

Technic Mender - Reply

I'd to disassemble my MBP two times because my SSD did not work properly in optibay. While doing it a second time, I omitted steps 6 and 8. It is really not necessary, but step 6 is really scary.

nicholas - Reply

Do you even need to do this?? I've seen guides where they just leave those on and slide the superdrive out from underneath that module..??

Philip - Reply

I've replaced 4 dvd's with hdd's already, in different macbooks, so wasn't too fussed about #5. However; this time I broke the camera connector cable :(

The connector is stil in it's socket, and I can't get it out no matter what I try. My guess is that some of the glue that connects the socket to the logic board, got into the socket as well. Prying with a small screwdriver, pulling with a pair of tweezers... nothing works. And this mbp belongs to a friend who uses his camera a lot for skyping...

I hope we're still friends after I tell him.

The thing is; I think it might be possible to do the whole operation with that cable still in its sockets; if you pull the rest of the cable free of the fingers, you can probably fold it out of the way when you lift the dvd out.

puchelaar - Reply

This is Sooo Unnecessary!! don't do it!

grant reynolds - Reply

I actually found it necessary to do this step. If not done you can rip chord, if you read the wording carefully and do as it says it should not break.

Robert Wacker - Reply

After having initially skipped this step, I finally followed it. I couldn't find a way to move the airport / bluetooth assembly away otherwise, and in the end it's a pain to put the small screws back in. Didn't have any trouble unplugging the camera cable, but it is indeed scary because it looks pretty fragile.

I only skipped step 8, as it didn't seem necessary.

JoGersen - Reply

I also broke my camera cable!!! And I just realized that removing that lovely cable was not necessary for the following steps!!! Thank you!

I dont know how to fix this problem and I asked it in this question: How can I fix broken camera cable

Please, help...

Yusuf - Reply

I omitted this step successfully

Diego Posadas - Reply

I skipped this step, but did step 8.

There was no way I was doing this step -- just remember that the cable is still plugged in, and work VERY CAREFULLY.

Serah Merrick - Reply

totally unnecessary. You can remove optical drive easily without disconecting that cable

hukko - Reply

Technic Mender, he is talking about Step 11. It says upward. Most untouched MBP's have a piece of sticky foam over the right subwoofer connection to the logic board, so you can't see how it is really supposed to come out but that step says pull upward. Ripped my right subwoofer connection straight from the logic board. Thanks iFixit, Step 11 has an unnecessary line that costs me money. You pull it laterally, not up.

tsmith - Reply

This step is unnecessary, as is step 8. You can get the SuperDrive out and put the caddy in without pulling the cable out.

Steve - Reply

The disk utility sytem recognises my new HD however when I try to do the recovery setup I receive an error message.

daniel001 - Reply

I omitted this step too. It's not necessary.

Diego Posadas - Reply

Is all of these screws can be removed by phillips #00 screwdriver? I can't remove left 10.3 screw and bottom 3.1 screw. Another screws can be removed easily… My macbook pro is 13-inch, Late 2011. What can be wrong?

Ilya - Reply

Note the position of the little grounding rings when removing the red (10mm) screws. You'll have to make sure to re-seat them when reassembling!

James - Reply

I think you should remark when re-assembling the machine, you should pay attention to the metal clip in Step 9, the upper left screw position, it's easy to miss when assembling, because there are so many wires, and it may be very easy forgetting putting the metal clip back in place.

Mac - Reply

No idea how I'm supposed to put back the "grounding rings". Anybody?

Sarge Izzard - Reply

As far as the grounding ring goes, it slips back over the screw hole, be patient and gentle. You may have to finagle the airport board under it first and then lay the board flat and reattach the subwoofer. I will see if I can add a pic in the near future. But that the best way to describe it.

Robert Wacker - Reply

Another comment on step nine I have is about the subwoofer. In my case the screw hole that is for the "One 5 mm Phillips screw" (its currently circled in yellow) was broken [Mind you I have never dropped this computer so it came that way from apple. So be carful, it may be fragile and need some repair. Apple really needs to have better quality control on parts like this .(also they won't care that it was that way, they didn't like that I opened the computer, so even though its their fault, I should never have known and therefore they shouldn't be held responsible in their mind.) This may not void warranty as an over all upgrade, but any parts 'broken' or in my case 'found broken' during the fix are not covered any longer. So just be aware of this possible defect. Happy fixing.

Robert Wacker - Reply

No need to unscrew the 2 orange-marked 3,1mm screws - they just keep the two black plastic pieces together. In the contrary, unscrewing these makes the job more wobbly.

de757 - Reply

I removed all the screws in this step with the PH0

casse89 - Reply

i managed to strip two of the 3 #00 Phillips screws on this step, so im going to try and explain how i removed them.

i got a ratchet that is about 5" long, and a 1/4" socket that fit the bits in the 54 bit driver kit

there are all of the parts that you need in that kit to connect it to the ratchet

with this tool of torque i dropped down a size and use the #000 Phillips bit

i pressed good and hard, and watched the head. if it didnt turn i pressed harder

one screw was the worst and the #000 didnt work on it, just stripped it further

so i threw the j000 on the end and gave it a go

the shaper point on the j000 seemed to do the job

i was on the verge of JB Welding bits to them and trying that

but i didnt need to

allen - Reply

This step was also unnecessary. You can do the whole operation while leaving the subwoofer cable in place.

Steve - Reply

I removed it and after reassemble it looks like the speaker has no bass.

Rafael Carvalho - Reply

It also happened to me :( Did you solve it out?

Meenchul Kim -

The two screws at the left are stuck. Anyone having this problem or know how to remove them? I used a Phillips #00 as stated and it doesn't work.

maximejobidon - Reply

I had the same issue. I got to Step 14 with no problems and then stripped the bottom left screw head! I was able to get it out with the help of a rubber band. You lay a section of the rubber band across the stripped screw, place your screwdriver on the screw pinching the rubber band. Then place a decent amount of force to engage the screw as you turn. Worked like a charm for me! Also, if you bought the ifixit optical bay hard drive enclosure they included two of those screws in the bag of screws (at least they did in mine).

andrewsimpsonx -

I had to drill mine. I cannot for the life of me understand how those got to be so tight or so easily stripped. The is no reason for either. Both mine stripped like a hot knife through butter.

I had to drill mine out. Not that hard with even the crappiest of drill bits. One I had to drill completely out, although honestly I just got the head off and left it. The drive bay replacement I got only had a place for two screws anyways. The other came out as expected, one I got enough into the head I was able to reverse directions and it came out.

I also did this without removing the camera cable and other items, just moved things out of the way. I took one tiny pull on the camera cable and knew better than to bother. You should be able to easily manage the items out of the way without causing any damage. Also, if you can only get one screw in, just make it one of the left screws. The unibody setup and placement of other items make it so that no matter what the drive is secure no matter what.

scottmilliken -

I'm having the exact same issue here. Left two screws are in there really tight. I got the top one out with the rubber band trick, but no dice with the bottom one.

Zachary Tatom - Reply

Same Problem one of the screws wont come out. I think it is stripped . What should I do now ?

binualexander - Reply

I stripped mine as well. Anyone know where I can buy these screws for cheap?

wyatt jones - Reply

As complained, the left bottom one was also annoying me, stripped out. If it is moderately stripped, then the rubber band would be the best answer as guided by andrewsimpsonx. The screw is tiny and shallow, so all you need is just one very hard pressing the screw, pinching the rubber band.

By the way, I was doing this to lighten my laptop, but note that it is not that affecting :(.

Meenchul Kim - Reply

can i reuse this optical drive again

justcause3 - Reply

Sure you can. Use it in anything. Stick it in a USB enclosure and carry it.

scottmilliken -

As complained, I'm stuck at step 14, because of one loisy screw... I've tried the rubber band trick, but it does not work with my screw ( bottom left one). Now the screw is also completely stripped, because of the rubber band trick. Does anyone have any recommendations, how to get the screw out ?

Rocky De Wiest - Reply

Well, that was a crock. I managed to get all the way to the end, didnt have to remove my camera cable, and the two last screws stripped out easier than a hot knife through butter.

I tried the rubber band trick, nothing on either one. Guess it will go to the drill.

scottmilliken -

Does anyone have a problem that the cd/DVD won't fit in their SuperDrive once reinstalled? I am unable to fit a cd in, as well as eject any cd as well.

Jonathon Derr - Reply