Introduction

Use this guide to replace a cracked or broken display.

  • Shut down and close your computer. 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 5-point Pentalobe screws can be found here.

When you say:

Remove the following ten screws:

Two 8 mm 5-point Pentalobe screws

Eight 2.5 mm 5-point Pentalobe screws

Do the 8mm & 2.5mm dimensions refer to the LENGTH of those screws, or the size of the pentalobe? That is, are there other sizes of pentalobe drivers like there are for hex, phillips and torx? When only one dimension is provided, it is usually the socket/driver size, not the screw length, maybe since the length cannot be seen when the screw is installed.

Can I suggest that you clarify your instructions so folks are confident they are only in need of _one_ pentalobe driver?

Nerdily yours,

Larry (whose iPhone 4S can now get through a day without 6 recharges thanks to ifixit.com ;-)

larryleveen - Reply

The 8mm and 2.5mm are the length of the screws. One pentalobe P5 screwdriver suffices for all the screws (P5 is implicitly the size of the pentalobe screw heads).

Michael Welham -

I sourced all the parts from ifixit, plus a magnetic project mat which I found to be very useful for organising the teardown and reassembly.

Allen - 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.

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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.

My macbook air's configuration (Mid-2011 core i5) has a different battery connector. It slides into a receptacle on the logic board. If your battery connector does not look like the one pictured, use the pointy end of a spudger to depress the small indentation in the middle of the battery connector cable terminal, and pull aft to release the clasp mechanism.

Ethan Cross - Reply

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.

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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.

When you've completed all these steps to replace your SSD, don't despair if the MacBook Air shows a flashing folder with a question mark when you first power up the MacBook Air.

- Power off the machine, then keep the option key (= Alt key) pressed down, power on the machine again, and keep the option key pressed down until a prompt appears.

- If you've set a firmware password, then type it in at the prompt

- You should now be prompted for a hard drive to boot from. Select "EFI Boot"

- The MacBook Air should now boot to a window showing "OS X Utilities"

- Click on the  at the top left, then select "Startup Disk..."

- Select your SDD/Hard drive, and restart.

Michael Welham - Reply

When replacing the SSD, be careful about the connector orientation. Replacement boards look almost the same if they are upside-down. Note that the connector is not reversible - there is a notch that will only line up if the board is right-side up. If it doesn't seem to line up, flip the board over.

shamino - Reply

Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the I/O board cable up from its socket on the I/O board.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the I/O board cable up from its socket on the I/O board.

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Peel the I/O board cable up from the adhesive securing it to the fan.
  • Peel the I/O board cable up from the adhesive securing it to the fan.

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Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the I/O board connector up and out of its socket on the logic board Be sure to lift straight up on the connector as you disconnect it from its socket. The socket is very deep on the logic board and prying it from side to side may damage the logic board
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the I/O board connector up and out of its socket on the logic board

  • Be sure to lift straight up on the connector as you disconnect it from its socket. The socket is very deep on the logic board and prying it from side to side may damage the logic board

  • 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.

The replacement fan's ribbon cable is a few mm longer than the original. I t will loop upwards a bit after mounting. The rubber lip on top of the old fan needs to be transferred to the new fan.

Martin Heinrich - 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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Black Friday
Broken doesn't stand a chance.
Do not touch or squeeze the six lithium polymer cells when handling the battery.
  • Do not touch or squeeze the six lithium polymer cells when handling the battery.

  • Lift the battery 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 free the adhesive loop securing the I/O board power cable to the upper case. Disconnect the I/O board by pulling the power cable away from its socket on the logic board.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to free the adhesive loop securing the I/O board power cable to the upper case.

  • 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 to flip up the retaining flap on the keyboard backlight 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 to flip up the retaining flap on the keyboard backlight ribbon cable ZIF socket.

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

  • Pull the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket.

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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. 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.
  • 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.

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

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While holding the lock away from the socket, gently pull the display data cable out of its socket.
  • While holding the lock away from the socket, gently pull the display data cable out of 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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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.

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

  • 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.

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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 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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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 of the retaining loops.

The plastic loops stay with the bottom and the wires go with the top (screen).

Dennis Fennell - Reply

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

These screws are extremely tight, but they'll go!

Michael Sweetser - 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.

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Conclusion

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

30 other people completed this guide.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg

Member since: 10/17/2009

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5 Comments

Amazing guide, finished in under 3 hours for less than $300!

sillemleatea - Reply

Step 21, be careful when de-routing the wifi cables. Ensure they are Well away from the logic board when you remove it. The connectors appear to be little more than pushed onto the aerial wires and they can become EASILY separated from the cables if not fully pulled AWAY.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Pete B - Reply

Yep! I was warned but managed to pull one off anyway!Why are they so impossible to put back on? I bought a replacement cable and swapped them over. Getting that bezel off was a little stressful.

But thanks A Goldberg for the guide. Invaluable.

Andy Hannen -

Hello Andrew, congratulations for the amazing guide! Wonderful job!

I need help trying to understand what's happening with a similar model which turns on only when he wants :)

I disassembled all of it and found nothing wrong, although it still shows the same behaviour. When it turns on (rarely), it works pretty fine, but randomly reboots sometimes. I suspect that there's something wrong with the switch key inside the display part, with some faulty electrical contact. I was trying to remove the black plastic bar below the "MacBook Air" label, but it seems to break if I force it.

My questions are: How can I remove this black bar without breaking it? Is it possible instead to remove first one of the display hinges to remove the black bar by sliding it to the side? Is there any way at all to make sure that the problem is not with the switch key inside it? Unfortunatelly I don't have a spare display to test it :(

I know it can be difficult to solve, but I appreciate any help if you have!

Thanks in advance!

Marcio Tavares - Reply

So, I found this mac in an e-waste pile, and the display is broken. Handling 10.7 drivers, and I want to get the screen back... Although Macs are all about pretty (and I like pretty, too), if I'm not looking for pretty, and I can just put the screen on top of the broken one, can't I just unplug the data cable for the LCD, plug the new one back in and then do everything I need to do? Two screens isn't *half* as bad as one. I'm just asking to sum it up, remove data cable to screen one, attach it to another working screen, and bam? No? Yes? Plz, I really want to know. Alternatively, someone please write a guide on how to remotely make a monitor mirror a screen? That would be great! And thanks to the people that understood my subtle joke.

Andrei Yang - Reply

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