Introduction

Navigating through your computer using the TAB key is not fun. Replace a broken trackpad using this guide.

  • 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

Image 1/1:
  • 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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Image 1/2: Bend the battery cable slightly away from the logic board so the connector will not accidentally contact its socket. Image 2/2: 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.

I performed this on my MacBook Air (11-inch, Mid 2011), model A1370. Rather than using the spudger to un-attach the batter connector, I gripped either side with my fingers as the second photographs indicated, and gently pry/wiggled it up and out by initially pinching into the side gap with my finger nails. The reason I did it this way is that the spudger works by leverage and I was afraid to rest it against the components surrounding the connector. The photos and instructions are excellent and illustrate the maneuver perfectly.

Allen - Reply

Hello there... In my case by battery exploded.... Can I still try to change it using these instructions?

Fabio Matos - Reply

The instruction to lift the edges of battery connector before disconnecting is certainly not clear. In my case, the cconnector pins came off the board with the battery, requiring further costly repairs. I would suggest that this instruction be more specific and include a caution.

Deirdre Rogan - Reply

Image 1/1: Two 5.2 mm T5 Torx screws
  • 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

In my case the screw points connecting the old battery the case had fractured or broken. The broken bits needed to be cleaned out of the case before installing the replacement battery. Didn't want any loose fragments rattling about inside.

Allen - Reply

Image 1/1: Lift the battery from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.
  • 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.

What if new battery comes with what looks like plastic around the 6 cells?

Allison - Reply

I'm having trouble reconnecting the pins to the new battery cable. Any suggestions?

Deirdre Rogan - Reply

Image 1/2: Gently slide the ribbon cable out of the ZIF connector. Image 2/2: Adjust, but do not remove the T5 Trackpad Sensitivity Screw to change the trackpad's depth sensitivity.
  • Use the point of a spudger to lift the ZIF connector retaining flap on the trackpad data cable.

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

  • Adjust, but do not remove the T5 Trackpad Sensitivity Screw to change the trackpad's depth sensitivity.

The Trackpad Sensitivity Screw in this model is a T6 Torx screw

andresaldana - Reply

Need a description of why and how much to adjust the sensitivity screw. Do you need to put the screw back to its original position?

blairweaver - Reply

Image 1/3: Use a spudger to flip up the retaining flap. Image 2/3: Gently slide the cable out of the connector. Image 3/3: Gently slide the cable out of the connector.
  • With one hand, push the keyboard ribbon cable in slightly to access the ZIF connector beneath it.

  • Use a spudger to flip up the retaining flap.

  • Gently slide the cable out of the connector.

Be careful with the retaining piece on the ZIF connector, it released with a bit of a fight but then broke when I tried to close it after reinserting the cable. :(

thea - Reply

Mine popped off too but I managed to get it back on. The clip has two very small bumps on the side that goes down the way so look for them when trying to re-attach it.

David McKeitch -

Mine broke too when re-inserting the cable, had to order a new trackpad because of this. Couldn't get it back in and broke off a small piece of plastic trying to fix the latch. I ordered a new trackpad. I really don't hope this happens with the new trackpad.

Markus -

Note on the two ZIF connections. The smaller connection has it's ZIF lock toward the front of the laptop while the wider ZIF connection faces the KB. I busted the keyboard connections thinking the ZIF was in the opposite direction. Had to replace it with a new trackpad.

I have found that I was able to wiggle the cables out of the ZIFs carefully. idk if this works for all ZIF connections and I'd love to hear anyone who has an opinion on removing ZIF cables. But this makes it much easier to remove and not break the ZIF connections.

BeingBoston - Reply

I work with a Magnifier with a light. Blowing up the subject so you have it really magnified to a high degree helps enormously. I have removed and reattached many zif cables successfully without a hitch. Act like a surgeon.

Paolo Alberto - Reply

Worked fine. Even the keyboard ZIF Cable. Reinserting it was bit tricky.

hschreiber - Reply

I had a bit of trouble getting the keyboard cable back in before noticing that it needs to be off the surface of the trackpad to slide in. The whole arrangement is awkward; just be patient and take it slowly.

mrsharumpe - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the six 1.5 mm Phillips #00 screws holding the trackpad in place.

Phillips #00 screwdriver should be added to the tool list

brian - Reply

The trackpad sold to me by ifixit did not come with the little hinge plates. I had to remove the six other screws and transfer these to the new trackpad. If this is based on using the part as sold here then the photo needs to be corrected to show the six red circles on the phillips screws that are on the trackpad and not on the Mac itself. These are installed quite tightly and I nearly destroyed two of them (on the body side as indicated in the photo) using the correct tool. The six that screw into the trackpad are much more gently installed. I don't think you are generally supposed to remove the six to the chassis of the MBA. Please update this to correct this - UNLESS THE PART FROM APPLE INCLUDES THESE TWO HINGE PLATES AND SCREWS. In that case, please INDICATE THIS difference in the text of the article. It added work and a bit of stress when the two screws were nearly trashed and I realized the new part did not come with replacements. Not good. However, this was otherwise a very easy project. THANKS!

Wade Rackley - Reply

If someone could please respond ASAP, i was removing one of these screws from the above picture and it was completely destroyed despite my best efforts. The other 5 came out no problem but i have one screw that is stripped beyond use and i have no clue what do to with it at this point

jed falone - Reply

Image 1/3: While holding the bottom of the trackpad, press up on the side of the trackpad closest to the logic board to free it from the upper case. Image 2/3: Remove the trackpad from the device. Image 3/3: Remove the trackpad from the device.
  • Open the device about 10 degrees.

  • While holding the bottom of the trackpad, press up on the side of the trackpad closest to the logic board to free it from the upper case.

  • Remove the trackpad from the device.

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Conclusion

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

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