Introduction

Use this guide to replace your MacBook Air's upper case. The upper case includes the keyboard and trackpad.

  • Before proceeding, close your computer and lay it on a soft surface top-side down.

  • Remove the following ten screws:

    • Two 8 mm 5-point Pentalobe screws

    • Eight 2.5 mm 5-point Pentalobe screws

  • The special screwdriver needed to remove the eight 5-point Pentalobe screws can be found here.

I recommend that one of the tools you obtain is a jeweler's loupe that mounts on your glasses. It makes things easier.

blairweaver - Reply

This is not correct. You need the pentalobe tool at this point.

Duane Hellums - Reply

Wedge your fingers between the display and the lower case and pull upward to pop the lower case off the Air.
  • Wedge your fingers between the display and the lower case and pull upward to pop the lower case off the Air.

  • Remove the lower case and set it aside.

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In this step you will disconnect the battery to help avoid shorting out any components during service. Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both short sides of the battery connector upward to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.
  • In this step you will disconnect the battery to help avoid shorting out any components during service.

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both short sides of the battery connector upward to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.

  • Bend the battery cable slightly away from the logic board so the connector will not accidentally contact its socket.

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Remove the single 2.9 mm T5 Torx screw securing the SSD to the logic board.
  • Remove the single 2.9 mm T5 Torx screw securing the SSD to the logic board.

What happens if the 2.9mm t5 screw got stripped?

Charles - Reply

So when i change my ssd in mac do i have to reinstall Mac OS

sai prahalad Alluri - Reply

Correct, the SSD does not come with OS preinstalled. To install the OS you can completely clone your existing hard drive or you will need to create a bootable flash drive and format your SSD and create a partition in order to be able to install the OS.

Ethan Lockwood -

use super duper

jimmyli564656 -

So my wife spilled a Martini on her MacAir and it no longer works and is not repairable, all her music and pictures are stored on the drive, I would like to transfer these files to another drive. What is needed to read the drive once removed?

prastonis - Reply

Use a spudger to help lift the free end of the SSD just enough to grab it with your other hand. Do not lift the end of the SSD excessively.
  • Use a spudger to help lift the free end of the SSD just enough to grab it with your other hand.

  • Do not lift the end of the SSD excessively.

  • Pull the drive straight out of its socket and remove it from the logic board.

  • When reinstalling the SSD, be sure it is properly seated before reinstalling its retaining screw.

I performed all the steps above and fitted a Transcend JetDrive 500 which was very easy however when I re-assembled and turned on all I get is a question mark in the middle of the screen, can you explain if I did anything wrong?

Ian Ashton - Reply

Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the I/O board cable connector upward out of its socket on the I/O board.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the I/O board cable connector upward out of its socket on the I/O board.

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The following connector has an especially deep socket. Use care when disconnecting it.
  • The following connector has an especially deep socket. Use care when disconnecting it.

  • While gently pulling the I/O board cable upward near its connection to the logic board, use the tip of a spudger to pry upward on alternating sides of the connector to help "walk" it out of its socket.

  • Remove the I/O board cable.

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Use the tip of a spudger to carefully flip up the retaining flap on the fan cable ZIF socket.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to carefully flip up the retaining flap on the fan cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

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Remove the following three screws securing the fan to the upper case:
  • Remove the following three screws securing the fan to the upper case:

    • Two 5.2 mm T5 Torx screws

    • One 3.6 mm T5 Torx screw

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Lift the fan out of the upper case and carefully pull the fan ribbon cable out of its socket as you remove it from the Air.
  • Lift the fan out of the upper case and carefully pull the fan ribbon cable out of its socket as you remove it from the Air.

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Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both short sides of the battery connector upward to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board. Bend the battery cable slightly away from the logic board so the connector will not accidentally contact its socket.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both short sides of the battery connector upward to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.

  • Bend the battery cable slightly away from the logic board so the connector will not accidentally contact its socket.

This is the same as step 3 isn't it?

No Name - Reply

Remove the following five screws securing the battery to the upper case:
  • Remove the following five screws securing the battery to the upper case:

    • Two 5.2 mm T5 Torx screws

    • One 6 mm T5 Torx screw

    • Two 2.6 mm T5 Torx screws

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When handling the battery, avoid squeezing or touching the six exposed lithium polymer cells.
  • When handling the battery, avoid squeezing or touching the six exposed lithium polymer cells.

  • Lift the battery from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.

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Disconnect the I/O board by pulling the power cable away from its socket on the logic board.
  • Disconnect the I/O board by pulling the power cable away from its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board toward the front edge of the Air.

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Use the tip of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the trackpad ribbon cable ZIF socket. Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.
  • Use the tip of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the trackpad ribbon cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Pull the trackpad ribbon cable straight out of its socket toward the front edge of the Air.

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Use the tip of a spudger to de-route the right speaker cable from the slot cut into the logic board.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to de-route the right speaker cable from the slot cut into the logic board.

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Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the right speaker cable connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the right speaker cable connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Pry up from beneath the cables.

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Gently push the tip of a spudger under the black plastic flap stuck to the display data cable lock to make the lock pop upward and away from the socket. While holding the lock away from the socket, use the tip of a spudger and your fingers to gently remove the display data cable from its socket. Do not pull upward on the display data cable as you disconnect it, as its socket may break off the logic board.
  • Gently push the tip of a spudger under the black plastic flap stuck to the display data cable lock to make the lock pop upward and away from the socket.

  • While holding the lock away from the socket, use the tip of a spudger and your fingers to gently remove the display data cable from its socket.

  • Do not pull upward on the display data cable as you disconnect it, as its socket may break off the logic board.

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Remove the small rubber gasket from the corner of the upper case near the display data cable.
  • Remove the small rubber gasket from the corner of the upper case near the display data cable.

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Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both antenna cable connectors up and off their sockets on the AirPort/Bluetooth card. Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both antenna cable connectors up and off their sockets on the AirPort/Bluetooth card.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both antenna cable connectors up and off their sockets on the AirPort/Bluetooth card.

Heads up when replacing a late 2010 display with a 2011 or later... On later model Airs the wifi card orientation changed, which causes two issues: 1) the antenna cables are longer on the newer displays, so you have excess wire to deal with, 2) On 2010 displays the longer wire goes on the antenna port closer to the battery, on 2011 and later displays the longer cable goes on the port further from the battery (flip-flopped). If you switch them up, your wifi reception will be terrible

John - Reply

Gently de-route the antenna cables from the slot cut into the logic board.
  • Gently de-route the antenna cables from the slot cut into the logic board.

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Remove the three 3.6 mm T5 Torx screws securing the logic board to the upper case.
  • Remove the three 3.6 mm T5 Torx screws securing the logic board to the upper case.

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Gently lift the logic board assembly out of the upper case, minding the fragile heat sink and any cables that may get caught.
  • Gently lift the logic board assembly out of the upper case, minding the fragile heat sink and any cables that may get caught.

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Pull the camera cable parallel to the face of the I/O board toward the rear edge of the Air to disconnect it from its socket.
  • Pull the camera cable parallel to the face of the I/O board toward the rear edge of the Air to disconnect it from its socket.

  • Do not lift upward on this cable as you disconnect it, as its socket may break off the logic board.

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Remove the small rubber gasket from the corner of the upper case nearest the I/O board.
  • Remove the small rubber gasket from the corner of the upper case nearest the I/O board.

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Peel up the six cable loops securing the antenna cables to the upper case. Gently pull the cable loops slightly out of the channel cut into the upper case one at a time. Use your spudger to open up the plastic loops as you de-route the antenna cables through them.
  • Peel up the six cable loops securing the antenna cables to the upper case.

  • Gently pull the cable loops slightly out of the channel cut into the upper case one at a time.

  • Use your spudger to open up the plastic loops as you de-route the antenna cables through them.

  • Repeat this for all five retaining loops.

The last cable loop on the right side, was actually stuck around the screw which hold the I/O board.

A hole was specially made in the cable loop, it was not an assembling error.

So I had to remove this screw to be able to peel the cable loop.

Julien Vollekindt - Reply

I actually did the lcd only repair but this guide led me through getting the display out and reassembly. I would recommend this particular guide to anyone! Professional technician or hobbyist.

Stephen Napoleon - Reply

Remove the outer 4.9 mm T8 Torx screw securing each display hinge to the upper case (two screws total). Remove the outer 4.9 mm T8 Torx screw securing each display hinge to the upper case (two screws total).
  • Remove the outer 4.9 mm T8 Torx screw securing each display hinge to the upper case (two screws total).

The screws on my hinges are actually T9 size. A T8 driver worked to unscrew them, but I noticed that the driver "spun" a little when I screwed one back in, and discovered that a T9 driver fit perfectly.

edward - Reply

Tried to edit a comment from earlier, but had to delete and start over. I echo Edward's comment but stronger: Try a T-9 before you try a T-8. Or you could end up completely stripping the head before you can even react (one turn, in my case). Then you're left staring at a $500 screw stuck in your MBA case...

bshigenaka - Reply

Open the display until it is perpendicular to the upper case and place it on a table as shown.
  • Open the display until it is perpendicular to the upper case and place it on a table as shown.

  • While holding the Air steady, remove the remaining 4.9 mm T8 Torx screw from the lower display bracket.

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Before removing the last display screw, be sure to hold the display and upper case steady with your other hand. Failure to do so may allow the components to fall onto the table, causing potentially expensive damage.
  • Before removing the last display screw, be sure to hold the display and upper case steady with your other hand. Failure to do so may allow the components to fall onto the table, causing potentially expensive damage.

  • Remove the last 4.9 mm T8 Torx screw securing the display to the upper case.

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Push the upper case slightly toward the display assembly, then rotate it away from the front of the display assembly. Once the two display hinges have cleared the upper case, remove the display and set it aside.
  • Push the upper case slightly toward the display assembly, then rotate it away from the front of the display assembly.

  • Once the two display hinges have cleared the upper case, remove the display and set it aside.

  • Keep track of the shims under each of the two display brackets. When installing the display, be sure a shim is installed under each display bracket (against the upper case) as shown in the third picture.

Is there a way to tighten the display hinge?

Steve - Reply

Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the right speaker off the adhesive securing it to the upper case. Only pry up on the speaker from the areas of bare aluminum on the upper case. Prying up from the keyboard area may damage the keyboard and the speaker itself.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the right speaker off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

  • Only pry up on the speaker from the areas of bare aluminum on the upper case. Prying up from the keyboard area may damage the keyboard and the speaker itself.

  • Remove the right speaker from the upper case.

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Use the tip of a spudger to carefully flip up the retaining flap on the microphone cable ZIF socket. Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to carefully flip up the retaining flap on the microphone cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Pull the microphone ribbon cable straight out of its socket.

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Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the left speaker cable connector up and out of its socket on the I/O board. Pry up from beneath the wires.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the left speaker cable connector up and out of its socket on the I/O board.

  • Pry up from beneath the wires.

  • De-route the left speaker cable from the notch cut into the I/O board.

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Remove the single 3.6 mm T5 Torx screw securing the I/O board to the upper case.
  • Remove the single 3.6 mm T5 Torx screw securing the I/O board to the upper case.

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Carefully lift the I/O board from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.
  • Carefully lift the I/O board from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.

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Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the left speaker off the adhesive securing it to the upper case. Only pry up on the speaker from the areas of bare aluminum on the upper case. Prying up from the keyboard area may damage the keyboard and the speaker itself.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the left speaker off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

  • Only pry up on the speaker from the areas of bare aluminum on the upper case. Prying up from the keyboard area may damage the keyboard and the speaker itself.

  • Remove the left speaker from the upper case.

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Use the tip of a spudger to pry the microphone away from the side of the upper case. Remove the microphone from the upper case.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry the microphone away from the side of the upper case.

  • Remove the microphone from the upper case.

  • Upper case remains.

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Use the tip of a spudger to pry up the retaining flap on the trackpad data cable ZIF connector. Be careful to pry on the hinged flap, not the connector itself; the connector is delicate and may break.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry up the retaining flap on the trackpad data cable ZIF connector.

  • Be careful to pry on the hinged flap, not the connector itself; the connector is delicate and may break.

  • Gently slide the trackpad ribbon cable out of the ZIF connector.

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With one hand, lift the keyboard ribbon cable up and push it slightly away from the trackpad to access the ZIF connector underneath. Use a spudger tip to pry up the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable ZIF connector. Be careful to pry on the hinged flap, not the connector itself; the connector is delicate and may break.
  • With one hand, lift the keyboard ribbon cable up and push it slightly away from the trackpad to access the ZIF connector underneath.

  • Use a spudger tip to pry up the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable ZIF connector.

  • Be careful to pry on the hinged flap, not the connector itself; the connector is delicate and may break.

  • Gently slide the keyboard ribbon cable out of the ZIF connector.

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Remove the six 1.5 mm Phillips #00 screws that secure the trackpad assembly to the upper case.
  • Remove the six 1.5 mm Phillips #00 screws that secure the trackpad assembly to the upper case.

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While supporting the upper case, press up on the side of the trackpad closest to the logic board. Remove the trackpad. Remove the trackpad.
  • While supporting the upper case, press up on the side of the trackpad closest to the logic board.

  • Remove the trackpad.

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Conclusion

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

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Brett Hartt

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3 Comments

There is a T5 screw-thing in the upper case below the track pad. Adjusting this changes the play in the track pad 'click', though be careful since nothing stops it from being screwed too far in. It's not mentioned in the guide, but if you're replacing the upper case you will want to make sure the screw is installed and adjusted to your clicking taste!

netherby - Reply

netherby makes a good point about the tension screw for the trackpad!

This is a funny headless screw which goes in between the trackpad and the edge of the upper case. I pulled the trackpad from the old case without noticing this, reassembled to find the trackpad all weirdly loose. Tension screw fixed it.

Max Weiss -

The hard case is great for putting in my backpack and not worrying about the computer getting damaged. http://bestapplecases.com/best-macbook-a...

nuna - Reply

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