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Introduction

Use this guide to replace the Touch ID sensor in a 2018 MacBook Air.

Note that Touch ID will not function after replacing the Touch ID sensor. The MacBook’s original Touch ID sensor is uniquely paired to the T2 chip on the logic board at the factory—and without Apple’s proprietary calibration process, even a genuine replacement Touch ID sensor from another MacBook Air won’t work.

If you replace the Touch ID sensor, you must install a paired logic board to retain Touch ID functionality.

  1. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Remove the screws securing the lower case: step 1, image 1 of 1
    • Before starting this procedure, you should disable your Mac's Auto Boot feature. Auto Boot powers on your Mac when you open the lid, and may be accidentally triggered during disassembly. Use this guide to disable Auto Boot.

    • If your MacBook is running Big Sur v11.1 or later, disabling Auto Boot may not work. You can proceed normally, but make sure to disconnect the battery as soon as you're inside.

    • Completely power off and unplug your MacBook Air before you start. Close the display and flip the entire laptop upside-down.

    • Use a P5 driver to remove the following screws:

    • Two 7.9 mm screws

    • Two 7.1 mm screws

    • Six 2.6 mm screws

  2. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Remove the lower case: step 2, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  3. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Disconnect the battery: step 3, image 1 of 1
    • Peel back the tape covering the battery connector enough to reveal the connector underneath.

  4. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 4, image 1 of 2 MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 4, image 2 of 2
    • Use a spudger to slide the battery connector parallel to the logic board and out of its socket on the logic board.

  5. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Disconnect the right speaker: step 5, image 1 of 2 MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Disconnect the right speaker: step 5, image 2 of 2
    • Slide the tip of a spudger underneath the speaker cable and pry straight up to disconnect the speaker.

  6. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Disconnect the audio board: step 6, image 1 of 2 MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Disconnect the audio board: step 6, image 2 of 2
    • Use a T4 Torx driver to remove the three 1.4 mm screws securing the audio board cable bracket.

    • Remove the cable bracket.

  7. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 7, image 1 of 2 MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 7, image 2 of 2
    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the audio board connector straight up and disconnect it.

  8. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 8, image 1 of 2 MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 8, image 2 of 2
    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the Touch ID sensor connector straight up and disconnect it.

  9. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Remove the audio board: step 9, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the following screws:

    • Two 4.3 mm, T5 Torx screws

    • One 2.4 mm, T4 Torx screw

  10. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 10, image 1 of 1
    • Slide the flat end of a spudger underneath the Touch ID sensor cable to slice through the adhesive securing it to the audio board.

  11. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 11, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the audio board.

  12. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Remove the Touch ID sensor: step 12, image 1 of 2 MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement, Remove the Touch ID sensor: step 12, image 2 of 2
    • Use a T3 Torx driver to remove the six 1.6 mm screws securing the Touch ID sensor and its bracket.

    • Remove the Touch ID bracket.

  13. MacBook Air 13” Retina Display Late 2018 Touch ID Sensor Replacement: step 13, image 1 of 1
    • Turn the MacBook right-side up and open the display.

    • Lift the Touch ID sensor sensor out of its recess and remove it.

Conclusion

Compare your new replacement part to the original part—you may need to transfer remaining components or remove adhesive backings from the new part before installing.

To reassemble your device, follow the above steps in reverse order.

Take your e-waste to an R2 or e-Stewards certified recycler.

Repair didn’t go as planned? Check out our Answers community for troubleshooting help.

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Adam O'Camb

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