Introduction

Use this guide to replace the upper case, including the backlit keyboard.

  • Before proceeding, power down your machine. Close the display and lay it on a soft surface top-side down.

  • Remove the following ten screws:

    • Two 9 mm P5 Pentalobe screws

    • Eight 2.6 mm P5 Pentalobe screws

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

These pentalobe screw sizes can't possibly be right - not even close. Should they perhaps be 0,8 mm and 1,2 mm?

Rulle Boer - Reply

The screw sizes refer to the length of the shaft, not the diameter of the head or socket. P5 is the standard pentalobe size for all these screws, regardless of length.

I agree that the notation is a little confusing. I think it's because, with standard sized hardware like for your house, you have shaft diameter (say 1/8" or 3mm) and shaft length (say 3" or 7.5cm). So we're programmed to think of small numbers like that as diameter. But in this case, they're length.

budpegasus - Reply

Pulling the fan cable out was terrifying but you actually just pull on the cable itself. No way to get any leverage at the connector to dislodge it. Did come out easily but like I said, scared me!

allison - Reply

Draai de schroefjes voorzichtig los en leg ze op een stabiele plek neer en let erop dat de schroefje een verschillende lengte hebben.

bwgvanderveer - Reply

I thought I could replace my 256 Gb SSD with 512? regards

ola m - Reply

Do you have good Test Point Voltages? It appears there are silver colored Test points on the I/O Board. I am working on a water spill and trying to troubleshoot if both the I/O board and the Logic need replaced.

andrew - Reply

It's probably not necessary but may be a little safer to completely discharge the old battery before replacing it.

Larry Smith - Reply

tell a model that was not inferior to the speed of the one in the laptop.

Thank you

ilyabuhov - Reply

Image 1/1: Remove the lower case and set it aside.
  • 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.

There is a nub on the inside of the case which is attached to the battery. When you try to pull it open, it appears to be attached to the plastic casing of the battery, which sometimes splits. I gently unhooked the nub from the battery before removing the case fully. This seems to happen if the battery has suffered some drop damage (plastic parts broken around screws and parts of plastic frame split). Just an FYI in case your lower case doesn't pull away easily.

Jeannie Crowley - Reply

Image 1/2: Grab the clear plastic pull tab attached to the battery connector and pull it toward the front edge of the Air to disconnect the battery from the logic board. Image 2/2: Be sure to pull the connector horizontally toward the battery, and not straight up from the Air, or you may damage the socket on the logic board.
  • As a precaution against accidental discharge or shock, disconnect the battery connector from the logic board.

  • Grab the clear plastic pull tab attached to the battery connector and pull it toward the front edge of the Air to disconnect the battery from the logic board.

  • Be sure to pull the connector horizontally toward the battery, and not straight up from the Air, or you may damage the socket on the logic board.

The clear plastic tab is missing on mine. Whoever worked on my laptop before me seems to have ripped it off. Now what?

mjmorawski - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • 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.

Be really careful when reconnecting the I/O board cable connector. The deep connector has a tendency to bend the pins with very little force applied. If this is the case, check to see if the gold pins are bent down, you may only see one row of gold pins vertically, or none.

They can be lifted with a flat head screwdriver bit. Gently slide the bit under the pins, this may need a small amount of pressure depending on how far they are bent down. Lever the pins back to the vertical position.

I found attempting to insert this connector was easier while holding the MacBook on a slight angle to see down the pins as I aligned the connector.

Another way to tell if the I/O connector cable is in place correctly is to run an Apple Hardware Test. Hold down the letter D while booting the mac and follow the prompts. If no issues found, you're all good.

A common error for a misconnected I/O Connector is 4SNS/1/C0000008:TS0P--124. This means the system cannot read the palm temperature sensor. Fix the cable and you're good

Ben - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Carefully peel the I/O board cable from the top of the fan.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: Remove the I/O board cable.
  • 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.

This step can be skipped, not required for removing the fan.

yurkennis - Reply

Agreed, there is no need to remove this cable.

David Robillard - Reply

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.

It is not necessary to remove the fan cable.

ezequielaceto - Reply

It's certainly necessary to remove the fan cable, as you won't be able to remove the fan in Step 10 if you don't!

Goth70 Fuzed - Reply

If you break the ZIF socket, it could be a bad day.... It happened to me. Not one to throw in the towel, I fashioned a hold-down with a length of paperclip held in place by the nearby screw. So far, it is working like a charm. Hopefully, it continues to work and this helps some other poor soul.

Lester Newsom - Reply

I also haven't removed the fan cable. No need for this step IMHO. Just let the fan on the side instead of completely remove it.

David Robillard - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Peel the rubber gasket off the adhesive on the top of the fan.

Add Comment

Image 1/1: One 3.6 mm T5 Torx screw
  • Remove the following three screws securing the fan to the upper case:

    • One 3.6 mm T5 Torx screw

    • One 2.7 mm T5 Torx screw

    • One 3.6 mm T5 Torx screw with a short head

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.

Would like more detail about removing the fan cable. Looks like it just pulls out to the right. I thought I ripped it off.

kennyavis81 - Reply

On re-installation of fan cable cable no tool required - just wiggle it in from from side/above (side force aided by bend of cable)

Super easy - my first computer repair..hope all is well

paul deacon - Reply

The ribbon connector held in the socket by a tiny square on top, which enters a square hole in the top of the socket. An xacto blade used to pry the top of the connector gently up will help release the connector.

peteragries - Reply

This helped me no end, I agree with the people above that it's worth explaining how the ribbon cable is held in and that

it's simple to remove and reinstall. Thank you for a brilliant guide.

leesparey - Reply

Year, from the top, the ribbon appears to be just the plastic strip. Copper connectors are on the bottom but at first glance it looks like I pulled the connector off the ribbon. Mine pulled straight out away from the connector, no upward angle needed or desired.

Allen - Reply

Image 1/1: Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board toward the right edge of the Air.
  • 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 right edge of the Air.

Add Comment

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 hinge of the Air to disconnect it from its socket, using the tip of a spudger to help push the connector out of its socket.

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

Do you have to replace the IO board and the Logic Board together? Are they matched in some way, or can I just leave the IO board in place, or put back in the original when swapping the Logic Board?

John Howell - Reply

Use the corner of the flat edge of a spudger to push alternately on the metal ears to help disconnect the cable.

peteragries - Reply

And when reinstalling, push the metal ears from behind to snap the connector back into the socket

peteragries - Reply

Image 1/1: 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.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Use the tip of a spudger to remove the volume button ribbon cable from its ZIF connector on the I/O board. Image 2/2: Use the tip of a spudger to remove the volume button ribbon cable from its ZIF connector on the I/O board.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the retaining flap securing the microphone ribbon cable to the I/O board.

  • Use the tip of a spudger to remove the volume button ribbon cable from its ZIF connector on the I/O board.

This is throwing me for a loop. It won't fit back in. Are the volume and mic cable the same cable?

david nieto - Reply

Use the tip of the spudger on the plastic ear at the back of the connector (the ear is on the battery side), to push the connector out of the socket.

peteragries - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the single 4.0 mm T5 Torx screw securing the I/O board to the upper case.

Add Comment

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

Add Comment

Image 1/1: Three 6.3 mm T5 Torx screws
  • Remove the following five screws securing the battery to the upper case:

    • Three 6.3 mm T5 Torx screws

    • Two 2.4 mm T5 Torx screws

Be careful when screwing in again not to overtighten, the plastic of the battery breaks easily with tightening.

Mike Dacre - 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 four exposed lithium polymer cells.

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

Add Comment

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.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, '''not''' the socket itself. Image 2/2: Use your spudger to help pull the 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.

  • Use your spudger to help pull the cable out of its socket.

Add Comment

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.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: 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. Image 2/3: Do not pull upward on the display data cable as you disconnect it, as its socket may break off the logic board. Image 3/3: 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.

Regarding the second photo on step 22, I believe the placement of the spudger is incorrect. If the second photo's purpose is to demonstrate the placement of the spudger described in the second bullet--"...use the tip of a spudger and your fingers to gently remove the display data cable..."-- then such placement could lead to damaging the connector. View this annotated screenshot to see what I'm trying to convey: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s4/sh/1f5....

Christopher Fernandes - Reply

I agree, I used tweezers to pull it gently and it worked beautifully

Gian Carlo -

Agree. Use tweezers.

sdcsoup -

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.

When reconnecting, how will I know which cable connects to the connectors?

Ringo CoC - Reply

Fits oneway only. See length of the cable connectors

yuroen - Reply

I put a small piece of red tape on the right wire to identify.

kcunningham - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Gently de-route the antenna cables from the slot cut into the logic board.

Add Comment

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the single 2.85 mm T5 Torx screw securing the SSD to the logic board.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Pull the drive straight out of its socket and remove it from the logic board. Image 2/2: When reinstalling the SSD, be sure it is properly seated before reinstalling its retaining screw.
  • To avoid damaging its socket, 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.

Add Comment

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the six 6.3 mm T5 Torx screws securing the logic board to the upper case.

Please Please Please remember to re-attach your antenna cables if you are replacing the upper case with a new or refurbished one. They have a way of slipping under the logic board.

Timothy Button - Reply

These screws are easily stripped. If you accidentally push too hard, you will strip the screw when re-attaching. If that happens, get a pair of needle nose pliers and gently work the screw out taking care not to damage the board.

Timothy Button - Reply

My screws were 4.xx mm

Gabe - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the inner two 4.9 mm T8 Torx screws securing the antenna cable retainer and left clutch hinge to the upper case.

These are T9-sized torx screws, not T8.

Hanii Puppy - Reply

This is good to know. I think I need to order a screwdriver set - all I have is the pentalobe and one other that came with my SSD replacement kit.

forestsprite -

I also had T9 screws on my device.

I found it helpful to loosen the 3rd screw of the hinge already a TINY bit. The screws are quite tight so it´s easier to loosen them while the case is lying flat on the surface. This procedure comes in handy in Step 34 where you have to hold the case perpendicular with one hand, while unscrewing this screw with the other hand.

wolfgang07 - Reply

Mine were T8 screws, but I was able to use a T9 torx with pressure and that worked.

kcunningham - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Push the antenna cable retainer away slightly and remove the 3 mm T5 Torx screw securing the end of the heat sink to the upper case.

"remove the 3 mm T5 Torx screw securing the end of the heat sink to the upper case" -- an optional step when detaching components from upper case for cleaning, eg after a liquid spilled to keyboard.

yurkennis - Reply

Image 1/1: Hold the antenna cables out of the way as you lift the heat sink end of the logic board out of the upper case.
  • Carefully remove the logic board assembly from the upper case, minding any cables that may get caught.

  • Hold the antenna cables out of the way as you lift the heat sink end of the logic board out of the upper case.

Add Comment

Image 1/1:
  • Gently de-route the antenna cables out of the channel cut into the upper case.

Add Comment

Image 1/1: We intentionally have you leave the third screw in to aid in future steps.
  • Remove the inner two 4.9 mm T8 Torx screws securing the right display hinge to the upper case.

  • We intentionally have you leave the third screw in to aid in future steps.

Again, these are T9 screws, not T8.

Hanii Puppy - Reply

Dear all,

on my Air I dropped water and now the display looks without backlight... I can type with no issue, as well the backlight of the keyboard is working fine, audio too but the display doesn't show the light also if boosted at top. What's happened?

Thanks,

sev7en - Reply

I also had T9 screws on my device.

Like in Step28 I found it helpful to loosen the 3rd screw of the hinge already a TINY bit. Comes in handy in Step 33 where you have to hold the case perpendicular with one hand, while unscrewing this screw with the other hand.

wolfgang07 - Reply

Does anyone know if it will work without the display assembly all together? I just want to remove it and plug into an external monitor.

Andrew White - Reply

I recommend to loosen outward screws at this step, so it is easier to completely unscrew them on the next step.

yurkennis - 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.

During reassembly, once the two screws are in the left and right hinges, close the laptop and flip it over so that the display is down on the table. Run your fingers along the edge of the laptop where the display meets the lower assembly. If it is not flush, loosen the two screws in the hinges slightly and adjust, then retighten.

Ethan Cross - Reply

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.

Add Comment

Image 1/1: 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.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: Remove the right speaker from the upper case. Image 2/3: Remove the right speaker from the upper case. Image 3/3: 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.

  • Remove the right speaker from the upper case.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: Remove the left speaker from the upper case. Image 2/3: Remove the left speaker from the upper case. Image 3/3: 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.

  • Remove the left speaker from the upper case.

Add Comment

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 left side of the upper case.

  • Remove the microphone from the upper case.

  • Upper case remains.

My microphone appears slightly different, featuring a ribbon cable which is difficult to re-route when re-assembling.

Under no circumstances try to pull the microphone out using any pulling motion on the cable, as the microphone assembly will come apart in two pieces (as mine did), and will most likely not function on re-assembly (as mine doesn't).

Goth70 Fuzed - Reply

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 rear 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 rear edge of the Air.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, '''not''' the socket itself. Image 2/3: Pull the keyboard ribbon cable straight out of its socket toward the front edge of the Air. Image 3/3: Pull the keyboard ribbon cable straight out of its socket toward the front edge of the Air.
  • While carefully lifting the keyboard ribbon cable with one hand, use the tip of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable ZIF socket.

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

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

I was hoping there would be a way to take the keyboard apart after step 41. I have a shorted power switch I was hoping to try and clean. $250 to replace the upper case on a Mac that's worth $550 if working and $250 as parts doesn't make sense. Super fun to take this apart though!

allison - Reply

Image 1/1: Six 1.6 mm Phillips screws securing the trackpad to the upper case.
  • Remove the following seven screws:

    • Six 1.6 mm Phillips screws securing the trackpad to the upper case.

    • One 1.4 mm T5 Torx set screw from its tapped hole near the front edge of the upper case.

  • During reassembly, do not over-tighten the set screw, as the button will cease to click at a certain point. Adjust the set screw until the movable side of the trackpad has minimal play.

I found that the solo T5 for step 41 can be stripped easily. I used a T6 bit making sure to press down firmly before unscrewing.

Christopher Fernandes - Reply

I think these are phillips #000. I tried a cheap eye-glass repair phillips on these with little luck. I ended having to buy a $26 craftsman set to get a #000 phillips, but what a difference it made.

elijahbuck - Reply

This is the info I needed! Thanks.

forestsprite -

Image 1/1: Remove the trackpad from the upper case.
  • Carefully lift the edge of the trackpad closest to the keyboard from its recess in the upper case by lifting it away from the brackets attached to the upper case.

  • Remove the trackpad from the upper case.

  • The upper case remains.

Add Comment

Conclusion

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

39 other people completed this guide.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg

Member since: 10/17/2009

326,248 Reputation

872 Guides authored

Team

iFixit Member of iFixit

Community

126 Members

5,821 Guides authored

5 Comments

On step 41 the 1.4 mm T5 Torx set screw remember that this screw does not come out. I was racking my brain for like 30 minutes and realized that this screw is not and can not be removed, rather it's just used to adjust the sensitivity of the clicking on the mouse pad.

dtlam76 - Reply

I got mine out, but it was unnecessary for the procedure. You're right that it doesn't hold anything down really.

lionfish -

I had a Torx 6 in order to not strip the screw...

jan szubert -

I spilt liquid on my MacBook Air and luckily only busted the keyboard, mainly the power and right arrow key buttons.

I purchased the uppercase from iFixit and it is a good quality part. The install took about 45 minutes, but there was a good hour of troubleshooting afterwards. See my comment on connecting the I/O connector cable above.

After doing any sort of hardware install, especially one as extensive as this, run the Apple Hardware Test application by holding down the D button while booting. It looks at a range of issues that you might miss (like a fan that doesn't spin!) that could cause you problems down the track.

Happy repairs.

Ben - Reply

This was an awesome and clearly understandable guide, helped by color-coded circles for the various screw sizes! I disassembled, replaced the top and keyboard and reassembled in less than an hour, with my son watching over my shoulder. Well done!

Zac Imboden - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 24

Past 7 Days: 229

Past 30 Days: 966

All Time: 28,623