Mac Mini Late 2012 AirPort/Bluetooth Board Replacement

Replace the AirPort/Bluetooth board in your Late 2012 mini.

Use this guide to replace a broken AirPort/Bluetooth board to regain wireless capability.

Edit Step 1 Bottom Cover  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 1 Bottom Cover  ¶ 

  • Place your thumbs in the depressions cut into the bottom cover.

  • Rotate the bottom cover counter-clockwise until the white dot painted on the bottom cover is aligned with the ring inscribed on the outer case.

    • You do not need to apply much downward pressure while turning.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Tilt the mini enough to allow the bottom cover to fall away from the outer case.

  • Remove the bottom cover and set it aside.

Edit Step 3 Fan  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 3 Fan  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 11.3 mm T6 Torx screws securing the fan to the logic board near the antenna plate.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Lift the ear of the fan nearest the RAM up off the standoff secured to the outer case.

  • Removing the standoff screw is not necessary to remove the fan. You need only raise the fan enough to lift it off the standoff screw.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Lift the fan out of the mini for enough clearance to access its connector.

  • Carefully pull the fan cables upward to lift the fan connector up out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Remove the fan.

Edit Step 6 Cowling  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 6 Cowling  ¶ 

  • Remove the single 3.5 mm T6 Torx screw securing the cowling to the heat sink.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Lift the cowling from the end nearest the antenna plate.

  • Rotate the cowling away from the outer case and remove it from the mini.

Edit Step 8 Antenna Plate  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 8 Antenna Plate  ¶ 

  • Remove the following screws securing the antenna plate to the mini:

    • Two 6.6 mm T8 Torx screws

    • Two 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screws (either screwdriver will work)

  • When putting back together:

  • It can be difficult to get the hard drive seated correctly such that the antenna plate fits in place correctly. If the screw holes don't line up with those on the hard drive, make sure that the two pins that are in the back of the hard drive are properly seated in the holes at the back of the case, above the housing for the second hard drive.

  • The antenna attaches directly to the hard drive (red markers), therefore attaching the antenna can move the hard drive around and loosen the connection of the hard drive cable to the logic board.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Slightly lift the antenna plate from the end closest to the RAM.

  • Carefully pull the antenna plate away from the circular rim of the outer case.

  • Do not remove the antenna plate yet. It is still attached to the AirPort/ Bluetooth board.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Remove the antenna plate from the mini.

Edit Step 12 Logic Board  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 12 Logic Board  ¶ 

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

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to lift the IR sensor connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Make sure to pry up from beneath the wires and not underneath the socket.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Remove the following three screws:

    • One 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screw (either screwdriver will work)

    • One 16.2 mm T6 Torx screw

    • One 26 mm T6 Torx standoff

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • To remove the logic board, the two cylindrical rods of the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool must be inserted into the holes highlighted in red. Inserting instruments into any logic board holes other than the ones highlighted in red may destroy the logic board.

  • Insert the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool into the two holes highlighted in red. Be sure it makes contact with the top side of outer case below the logic board before proceeding.

  • Carefully pull the tool toward the I/O board. The logic board and I/O board assembly should slightly slide out of the outer case.

  • Cease prying when the I/O board is visibly separated from the outer case.

  • Remove the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal tool.

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Pull the I/O board/logic board assembly out of the outer case enough to access the power connector.

  • Use your fingers to disconnect the DC-In cable from the logic board.

  • Pull the power cable connector toward the front side of the mini.

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Carefully slide the logic board assembly out of the mini, minding any cables that may get caught.

Edit Step 18 Speaker  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 18 Speaker  ¶ 

  • Remove the following two screws securing the speaker to the logic board assembly:

    • One 3.5 mm T6 Torx screw

    • One 3.7 mm T6 Torx screw

Edit Step 19  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Lift but do not remove the speaker assembly, as it still remains connected to the logic board via the speaker connector.

  • Carefully lift the speaker wires upward to lift the speaker connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Lift and remove the speaker away from the logic board.

Edit Step 20 AirPort/Bluetooth Board  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 20 AirPort/Bluetooth Board  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both antenna connectors up from their sockets on the AirPort/Bluetooth board.

Edit Step 21  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Use your spudger to help disconnect the AirPort/Bluetooth ribbon cable from its socket on the AirPort/Bluetooth board.

Edit Step 22  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 2.6 mm T6 Torx screws securing the AirPort/Bluetooth board to the logic board.

Edit Step 23  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Remove the AirPort/Bluetooth board from the logic board.

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

For more information, check out the Mac Mini Late 2012 device page.

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 · 42 In stock

Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

54 Bit Driver Kit

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Magnetic Project Mat

$19.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Tech Screwdriver Set

$59.95 · 50+ In stock

Anti-Static Project Tray

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Popular Device Products

500 GB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive

$89.95 · 8 In stock

1 TB SSD Hybrid 2.5" Hard Drive

$119.95 · 9 In stock

Mac mini Dual Drive Kit

$29.95 · 50+ In stock

Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

$8.95 · 50+ In stock

Arctic Silver ArctiClean

$7.95 · 50+ In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

This took a lot of force on my Mac mini. A lot.

nh3, · Reply

I agree. It took a crap ton of force from my thumbs to twist the bottom off.

sleeve,

I accidentally broke the little things that hold the cover to the case. Is there a cheap replacement to the cover? Those clips are held onto it very weakly.

Jacob Halton, · Reply

Don't just use your thumbs... Use your whole palm to twist it, with maybe a thumb in one of the recesses, applying slight downward pressure.

markbart, · Reply

On my mini, the fan has a 3rd screw on the bottom right of its housing just out of sight on the step 3 photo. I believe it was in the hole later referred to as the 26 mm T6 Torx standoff in step 14.

benjamin, · Reply

Remove a third screw at the opposite end of the fan near the DRAM

Craig Foster, · Reply

I needed a T7 for this, and had to remove all three screws before I could take the fan out.

mackrell, · Reply

The fan has in fact, 3 screws that need to be removed before you can lift it out.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

The 3rd screw needed a T5, for me.

Martin Cleaver, · Reply

Contrary to the instructions, I had to remove the fan screw

radonr, · Reply

Same for me, couldn't get it to move without feeling it was going to break so I just removed the screw.

warrencox,

Mid 2011. I too had to remove the standoff screw. It seems to be a T5.

lsbf, · Reply

You will have to remove this screw in step 14, so why not now ;)

mpalma, · Reply

You actually don't need to disconnect the fan. You can just let it hang on the side while working. I accidentally killed my connector trying to pry it loose. It's being held together now by some tape, after spending hours trying to reconnect it and figuring out pin outs.

Nick Michielsen, · Reply

Be careful to LIFT UP on the fan connector cable. Using a spudger tool helps here. I mistakenly thought that the connector would slide off the logic board and tried to remove the connector this way. I ended up lifting the connector off of the logic board, thus ruining my logic board and requiring a $350 logic board replacement at the genius bar. The second time I did a HD/SSD replacement, everything worked fine.

wattmagner, · Reply

Yeah, I did the same thing by following someone elses "shortcut". Now I am going to shell out 289 for quad core i5 board, and a new fan BTW. . . . . . Oh well never a dull moment :) and it gets an upgrade as well!

rob Stewart,

That's probably the must tricky part of the replacement. I did the same thing, i just pull on my cables and the connector stays on the board. Tried many times to switch cables into but any order i try is not the good one.

The avoid this, now, when i want to pull out my fan, i just use a plate screwdriver and lift up the connector. That's work perfectly.

ayottepl, · Reply

I've just pulled out the connector that's soldered to the logic board because I used a pry tool. Be careful at this point to just pull gently on the four cables that go to the fan.

Mike Vlasman, · Reply

The CAUTION in step 13, "Make sure to pry up from beneath the wires and not underneath the socket," applies to this step as well, for removal of the fan wires.

lsbf, · Reply

I screwed it too... Not reading carefully enough, I accidentally removed the whole socket from the board. This happened with the IR connector too. When re-assembling the parts, the socket wouldn't stick to the board, now I know why. I don't want to buy a new logic board, because I can't afford one, so I'm trying to find someone to solder it. Seems hard to find someone able to repair logic boards these days. Hope I'll be successful, otherwise this is an expensive upgrade to my mac...

Floffrob, · Reply

Don't remove it with your fingers, use a tool for that. And underneath the wires!

sebcthiebaud, · Reply

in Step 6 — Cowling ; " Remove the single 3.5 mm T6 Torx screw securing the cowling to the heat sink", does it mean that it is the same T6 Torx screw for the cowling and the heat sink ?

In fact at the end, I mess this T6 Torx screw !

cegondaireun, · Reply

Uhh I can't get this to go back in? Not sure what is going on...

David Inman, · Reply

When reassembling this aerial plate, it may take a very strong force to align the side lips with the screw bays. The circular edge on the body is meant to slot into the plate by less than 1mm. I followed the rule of thumb, which is, if it takes an unusual force, stop and think it out to avoid a disaster! Then, I hit on using a paper clip to get around this problem. Make a paper clip L-shaped to loop through a hole close to the edge of the plate, where the slotting is not deep enough. Gently lifting the paper clip, slide and push the aerial plate in place. This worked like a charm without using a strong force.

al dente, · Reply

Worked like a charm, saved my day!!!

David,

My only real problem in the whole process was putting back the antenna plate. Couldn't get both side screws to align. Ended up leaving one out but might try the paper clip trick now

andrewarwas, · Reply

I had a similar experience, but when I realized the two 5.0mm T8 Torx screws were 2 of a set of 3 that also served to hold the cover on, I wasn't comfortable with only securing the cover with 2.

UNSC Jon 117,

DO NOT BRUTE FORCE the reinstallation of the plate. In my case, the top lip of the antenna plate has a notch which aligns with the edge of the opening was preventing the perfect fit. All I did in my case was use the spudger to pry open the notch a little more to give me a little bit extra space so that edge of the aluminum enclosure fits into that notch on the top of the antenna plate. Hope that helps. :)

chicosy, · Reply

I was installing an SSD in my mini and when I got to this step, an issue came up. The two 6.6mm screws on the antenna plate screw into one side of, and secure, the hard drive. The problem was the SSD was thinner than the original hard drive, so when I tried to reassemble, the hard drive sat too low for the screws to reach it.

Here's how I got around the problem. I loosely attached the antenna plate to the hard drive, leaving plenty of wiggle room between the plate and the drive. I also left the two stand off screws on the logic board off to give me more wiggle room there.

With the SSD attached to the antenna plate, I carefully connected and stowed the Bluetooth cable. Using the antenna plate as a handle, I was able to guide the SSD into the hard drive mount. Once in place, I tightened the 6.6mm screws more, which raised the SSD to the proper level.

After insuring that the screws all lined up, I installed and tightened the logic board, then the other antenna plate screws.

yourgenius, · Reply

The "engineering tolerances" are definitely tight for the AirPort antenna plate. I would recommend trying to replace it as soon as it's removed for the first time, in order to work out the (precise) alignment of it.

Nothing I tried (including the suggestions here) seemed to help me during reassembly. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get the holes for the two 5.0mm T8 screws to line up. Eventually, I had to resort to CAREFULLY and SLIGHTLY re-bending the curved edge of the antenna plate.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

REATTACHING grate - al dente's trick helped me.

The tiny perforations on the grate rest ON TOP of the lip of the case, while the remainder of the grate slides UNDER the lip. It is very hard to see - I used a magnifying glass.

To get it into place, create a tiny hook on the end of a paperclip. Moving along the edge of the grate, lift a perforation with the hook to help it slip into place. Keep moving along the edge until entire grate is shifted into place.

Chris 1000, · Reply

I had several 2-terminal connectors that went to what appeared to be temperature sensors on several components including the hard disk and optical drive. I accidentally pulled the wires out of one of these connectors. Lucky for me, they came out clean and I was able to just re-insert them into the connector

Kyle Jurick, · Reply

On a Mini bought Jan 2014, Red screws were T-9 and orange were 2mm Hex, T-8 didn't work in either one. T-9 didn't work in orange.

michael, · Reply

As everyone else has noted during re-assembly, seating the antenna plate is tricky. For me, what ended up working was to attach the hard drive screws first. After this, with just a little wiggling of the plate, the 2 5mm screw holes lined up perfectly.

jonathansturges, · Reply

Aligning the drive holes with the ones on the antenna grate was easy – just take the pointy end of the spudger. Also, for getting the circular part of the grate set correctly, I had to bend down the outermost part a tiny little bit and then used curved tweezers to lift the grate once it was near its final position to get it slide in the last millimeter. Frustrating at first, but it worked after a few tries.

Julian, · Reply

Has anyone had any trouble getting the two 5.0mm screws back in place? I can't seem to get them in, as they just keep on turning. I thought the thread may have been damaged but I then removed the plate and could screw them in position okay. It seems the depth of the plate is causing the screws to not go down far enough. I've had to leave these off at the moment (obviously not great as this means the bottom cover is loose. Any ideas?

alan, · Reply

I had the same problem but only on one of the two screws. Then I realized there's a little tiny "o-ring" underneath which is acting like a nut. I lost one of them in the process of upgrading. If I could find out where to buy a new one I would!

lyleberman,

The antenna plate seems to give most people problems. Somewhere along the line I found reference to "a wiggle here and a wiggle there" and that seemed to work. Shy away from the brute force - it's the surest way to damage something.

Steen Rancher January 12, 2015

Steen Rancher, · Reply

If 5.0 mm T8 holes don't line up with those on the body, you should hook the antenna up a bit.

manwe, · Reply

Despite all the efforts, I couldn't manage to insert both side screws for the antenna plate. I ended up only using a single one (the one nearest to the HD connector), hoping it will hold the weight of the SSD.

ngt, · Reply

steps 10 11 13 14 15 16 not necessary …

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 17 only needed to change hard drive …

radioman, · Reply

Step 10 is different for late mini Mac 2012

The antennaplug is different (round)

Josse, · Reply

I skipped steps 10 and 11 but had to do the rest to get the drive out. My system had a second drive so that may be why the logic board had to be removed to have enough room to get the drive out past the DIMM sockets.

Craig Foster, · Reply

On the Late 2012 model the antenna connector is hidden under the case, so unlike as indicated in step 10 you can not see the connector and definitely not remove it until the Logic Board has been eased out an inch. Note how the cable makes a loop under the case as it is removed. Remember to reconnect the same way with the loop and connected before the logic board is pushed in all the way.

Indy, · Reply

The antenna connector is underneath a black flap. I just lifted the flap slightly with a spudger and used my fingers to disconnect.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

...in the latest delivery of the mac mini they had changed something. The antenna plug is hidden under a plastic cover and some tape on it.

You have to push up the cover and remove the tape...not really difficult, it was formed so you can put up easilly.

Tom, · Reply

If your machine came with a 7mm drive and you are replacing with a 7mm drive you do not need to move the logic board. I installed an Intel 335 240GB drive which is a 9.5mm drive and to get that drive in I did need to bump the logic board out to clear the memory slot brackets. I did not need to remote any other wires or connections as the logic board only needs to move maybe an 1/8" to get the drive to clear the memory bracket.

klaubscher326, · Reply

When removing the wifi antenna make sure you use a plastic spudger and lever up underneath the wire. I used a metal screwdriver and levered up from the side opposite the wire and ripped the pico-ITX connector right off the board! Fortunately I only use my mini via Ethernet, but now I have no choice!

Kevin Broadey, · Reply

Did you actually break it? It pops out easily and can actually be plugged back in easily too with tweezers or small needle nose pliers. I did the same thing with no permanent damage.

Steen Rancher

January 12, 2015

Steen Rancher,

I skipped this step with no problems.

manwe, · Reply

There's no real need to disconnect the antenna. You can just lay the grill gently on its side and leave it connected.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

That is true if you do not need to remove the logic board (i.e. you are only replacing the drive in the original slot position).

anonymous 3693,

You can leave the antenna plate attached and remove the logic board if you're careful while removing the motherboard.

Dan Wilson, · Reply

It may just be my own experience, but the hard drive connectors appear to be "sensitive" to ANY pressure, even when (re)connected properly. I found that I had to repeatedly re-seat them when re-installing the drive, AirPort antenna, and cowling. I would recommend holding off on putting the screws back for the AirPort antenna and cowling until both are in place, and re-checking the hard drive connectors before installing/tightening those screws.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

This board component is very delicate, I screwed up my Mac Mini IR receiver and HDD led light by doing this wrong. PLEASE take your time to do this delicately.

lcba813, · Reply

I have the same problem. I damaged the connecter for IR Sensor which is on the Logic Board.

Is there a way to fix it?

macnaf@orange.fr

Michel,

Yes, this is extremely fragile. A couple of the pins on the logic board broke off. They are very tiny pins that are secured to the board surface with solder. I was very careful with it too, but they broke nevertheless. There is no repairing that when it happens. Thus, I have no IR sensor (which I never used) and no front LED (minor loss - not worth the cost of a new logic board). Works fine otherwise.

davidw, · Reply

Mannn this part is difficult. Tks for my girlfriend that disconected it for me. Hands of fary!

luiscortex, · Reply

I also just snapped this off by levering at the wrong point. So this is just for the IR sensor and the flashing light? If so, I'll just ignore it and happily carry on with life without these two features that I never used or noticed! I've been searching for someone who can do the delicate welding to reconnect the 5 pins but if what you say is true I'll stop searching.

Recommend emphasizing even more in the instructions, the potential for disaster!

warren, · Reply

Hi, I can't remove the yellow screw, I don't even see it (it look like more like on this picture: http://static.macgeneration.com/img/2012...)

So I don't know what to do, I don't want to damage the tread (if there is actually one..) and I can't move the logic-board..

Do you hav any idea?

broussesimon, · Reply

The "yellow screw" depicted in this picture doesn't exist in the Mac Mini late 2012, at least in mine. Well, to be more precise, it exists but was already removed when the fan was unscrewed (it was actually in the fan).

Jeff Evans,

I found the same as Jeff.

Martin Cleaver, · Reply

For reassembly, note that the red T8/2mm hex screw doesn't screw all the way down. It is for the bottom lid to slide-lock onto. Don't look for a hole beneath it on the logic board.

malcolmgin, · Reply

If you're in a pinch and don't have time to order the removal tool, you can use two 2mm hex wrenches.

philomathius, · Reply

You can also use the probes from a Digital Multi-Meter. Just be very careful not to stab the pointed end into the casing. With a little care, you can get the logic board out.

mattgarfield, · Reply

On re-assembly, when you're putting the HD back in place, before you've pushed the logic board fully back into place, make sure the disk is in the right place for the antenna plate screw holes (step 8/9) or you'll have problems getting the screws back in. I did, and had to back up a few steps to realign the disk drive!

Kevin Broadey, · Reply

Look at all of the images. Initially, I took the text literally. I pulled the tool straight back without letting it pivot, and without success. I suggest the following additions: "The tool acts as a lever. Carefully pull the top of the tool down and toward the I/O board. The logic board and I/O board assembly should slightly slide out of the outer case."

anonymous 1829, · Reply

You can pull the board out about 1cm with the wires intact.

Martin Cleaver, · Reply

While you can remove this pin with your fingers as shown in the photo, putting back in proved frustrating by hand. I finally got out a forcep which allowed me to grab each side of the plug and push it in at a flat angle.

Dan Ochiva, · Reply

I found way easier to remove the power wire line by removing the hard drive (loose already) first!

alextc, · Reply

When reconnect it on the board, make it when the board is in the middle of the mac, or you will be not abble to do it!

luiscortex, · Reply

In April, I purchased a late 2012 mini (MD387LL/A) - 2.5Ghz i5 with 500MB hard drive.

It looks like Apple now secures the drive to the tray with 3 screws. 2 on back side and one on front. This means the entire drive tray has to come out to remove the drive - it no longer just "lifts out" as in step 18. In order to remove the drive tray, you have to remove the power supply (step 22).

Gary Leatherman, · Reply

During reassembly, watch the power harness and connector from the power supply when reinserting the logic board assembly into the case. When the board is close enough for the connector to reach, re-attach it before inserting the board the rest of the way. I found that if the connector is lined up properly, it almost attaches itself.

Also be careful of the hard drive and IR sensor connectors.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

Also, when you're re-assembling (especially with a tight squeeze if you've got dual drives), be sure that the internal AC power connector matches up in profile with the port outline on the rear plate of the main logic board assembly. If the two aren't mated identically, the black port plate won't mate flush with the aluminum case.

johnkimmel,

Speaker trademark? Is it a sony, or a Bose...

I think it is a bad quality speaker.What do you thick?

Hugo BURGUILLOS, · Reply

Does anyone know if the airport/bt board from a mac mini late 2012 can be retrofitted to the 2011 mini? this would add the airdrop functionality to the older device in theory and I have seen a similar procedure performed on MacBook pro's

Steven Fox, · Reply

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 4

Past 7 Days: 31

Past 30 Days: 174

All Time: 8,823