Introduction

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

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

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the single 2.9 mm T5 Torx screw securing the SSD to the logic board.

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Image 1/2: Do not lift the end of the SSD excessively. Image 2/2: Pull the drive straight out of its socket and remove it from the logic board.
  • 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

Image 1/1:
  • 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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Image 1/1:
  • Peel the I/O board cable up from the adhesive securing it to the fan.

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Image 1/2: 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 Image 2/2: Remove the I/O board cable.
  • 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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Image 1/1: Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, '''not''' the socket itself.
  • 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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Image 1/1: Two 5.2 mm T5 Torx screws
  • 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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Image 1/1:
  • 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

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

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Image 1/1: Lift the battery from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.
  • 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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Image 1/2: Disconnect the I/O board by pulling the power cable away from its socket on the logic board. Image 2/2: Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board toward the front edge of the Air.
  • 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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Image 1/2: Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, '''not''' the socket itself. Image 2/2: Pull the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket.
  • 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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Image 1/2: Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, '''not''' the socket itself. Image 2/2: Pull the trackpad ribbon cable straight out of its socket toward the front edge of the Air.
  • 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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Image 1/1:
  • 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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Image 1/1: Pry up from beneath the cables.
  • 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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Image 1/3: Remove the small rubber gasket from the corner of the upper case near the display data cable. Image 2/3: Remove the small rubber gasket from the corner of the upper case near the display data cable. Image 3/3: 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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Image 1/1: Do not pull upward on the display data cable as you disconnect it, as its socket may break off the logic board.
  • 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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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • 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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Image 1/1:
  • 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.

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Image 1/1:
  • 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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Image 1/1:
  • Remove the small rubber gasket from the corner of the upper case nearest the I/O board.

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Image 1/2: Be sure you are prying up on the retaining flap, '''not''' the socket itself. Image 2/2: Pull the microphone ribbon cable straight out of its socket.
  • 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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Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: Pry up from beneath the wires.
  • 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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Image 1/1: Do not lift upward on this cable as you disconnect it, as its socket may break off the logic board.
  • 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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Image 1/1:
  • Remove the single 3.6 mm T5 Torx screw securing the I/O board to the upper case.

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Image 1/1:
  • Carefully lift the I/O board from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.

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Image 1/3: Gently pull the cable loops slightly out of the channel cut into the upper case one at a time. Image 2/3: Use your spudger to open up the plastic loops as you de-route the antenna cables through them. Image 3/3: Repeat this for all of the retaining loops.
  • 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

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • 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

Image 1/1: While holding the Air steady, remove the remaining 4.9 mm T8 Torx screw from the lower display bracket.
  • 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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Image 1/1: Remove the last 4.9 mm T8 Torx screw securing the display to the upper case.
  • 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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Image 1/2: Once the two display hinges have cleared the upper case, remove the display and set it aside. Image 2/2: 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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Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: Remove the right speaker from the upper case.
  • 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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Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: Remove the left speaker from the upper case.
  • 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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Image 1/2: Remove the microphone from the upper case. Image 2/2: Upper case remains.
  • 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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Image 1/3: Push/lift the keyboard ribbon cable off of the upper case with one hand. Image 2/3: With the other hand, use a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the ZIF connector. Image 3/3: Once the retaining flap has been flipped up, carefully pull the ribbon cable straight out of its socket.
  • The ZIF connector for the keyboard ribbon cable is hidden under the cable itself.

  • Push/lift the keyboard ribbon cable off of the upper case with one hand.

  • With the other hand, use a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the ZIF connector.

  • Once the retaining flap has been flipped up, carefully pull the ribbon cable straight out of its socket.

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Image 1/2: The cable is held in place with adhesive. Work carefully, and be sure to not let the spudger slip and damage any components. Image 2/2: The cable is held in place with adhesive. Work carefully, and be sure to not let the spudger slip and damage any components.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to separate the trackpad ribbon cable from the underside of the keyboard.

  • The cable is held in place with adhesive. Work carefully, and be sure to not let the spudger slip and damage any components.

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Image 1/1: Check your replacement upper case—if it doesn't have this wide T5 screw, remove it to transfer into the replacement.
  • Remove the six 1.5 mm Phillips #00 screws securing the trackpad to the upper case.

  • Check your replacement upper case—if it doesn't have this wide T5 screw, remove it to transfer into the replacement.

    • This is an adjustment screw to set the distance of the click of the trackpad—on reassembly, test the click and adjust this screw until it feels right.

Also you will need to remove the T5 screw at the bottom of the trackpad, closest to the edge. It's located right underneath the hill shape in the aluminum. Without it the trackpad will not physically click.

Orioles4L - Reply

I needed the #000 bit instead of #00.

wanderchic - Reply

I also needed #000.

alyssaberns -

#000 is a necessity to remove those six screws - #00 is just too thick to fit.

Michael Sweetser -

Image 1/3: Remove the trackpad from the upper case. Image 2/3: Remove the trackpad from the upper case. Image 3/3: Remove the trackpad from the upper case.
  • Holding the upper case up off the table with one hand, gently push the trackpad up through the upper case.

  • Remove the trackpad from the upper case.

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Image 1/1:
  • The upper case remains.

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Conclusion

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

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Andrew Optimus Goldberg

Member since: 10/17/2009

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2 Comments

This is an excellent guide, thank you! I used it in combination with the procedure at http://www.insidemylaptop.com/replacing-... to replace a keyboard after water damage. The only issue I had was with that second procedure sealing the black backer film around the keyboard upon reassembly. There is a little light leakage but not terrible. Thanks again Andrew for this fantastic guide.

Patrick Langvardt - Reply

Impossible without this guide!

cthree87 - Reply

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