MacBook Air Models A1237 and A1304 Hard Drive Replacement

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

Replace the hard drive in your MacBook Air Models A1237 and A1304.

Replacing your hard drive is easy! Also, you can upgrade to a higher capacity drive for more storage space.

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 10 screws securing the lower case to the Air:

    • Six 2.8 mm Phillips screws.

    • Two 3.8 mm Phillips screws.

    • Two 5.4 mm Phillips screws.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Slightly lift the lower case near the vents and push it toward the rear of the computer to free the mounting tabs.

Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the battery connector by pulling it straight out of its socket.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Remove the following nine screws securing the battery to the Air:

    • Four 2.9 mm Phillips.

    • Four 3.8 mm Phillips.

    • One 7.2 mm Phillips.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Lift the battery out of the Air.

Edit Step 6 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the port hatch ribbon cable from the logic board by pulling it straight up by its black pull tab.

  • Pull the audio out ribbon cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

  • Use a spudger to pry the audio out ribbon cable connector board off the hard drive bracket.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the audio out cable from its socket on the port hatch ribbon cable.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector up off the logic board.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Use the sharp end of a spudger to de-route the microphone cable from the hard drive bracket.

  • Remove the cosmetic screw cover from the adhesive securing it to the hard drive bracket.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Remove the four Phillips screws securing the hard drive assembly to the upper case:

    • Two 4.7 mm screws.

    • Two 3.9 mm screws.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive assembly out of the upper case.

Edit Step 12 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Use your thumbs to push the hard drive away from its bracket.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Peel the rubber shock isolator off the perimeter of the hard drive.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • If present, remove the small piece of black tape covering the ribbon cable connector.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • The two different versions of MacBook Air have different hard drive connectors. Failure to perform the action appropriate to your machine will damage your hard drive! Be very careful when disconnecting the hard drive cable. The ZIF connectors are fragile.

  • If you have the original MacBook Air (A1237), use a spudger or your thumbs to flip up the ribbon cable retaining flap TOWARD the cable (seen in picture 1).

  • If you have the A1304 version of MacBook Air, use a spudger or your thumbs to flip up the ribbon cable retaining flap AWAY from the cable (seen in picture 2).

  • Pull the hard drive cable straight away from its socket.

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • If you are installing a new hard drive, we have an OS X install guide to get you up and running.

  • If you need to, transfer the foam from your current hard drive to the new one. The foam does come off by using a spudger and some patience.

  • The two primary options for reading CDs and DVDs on a MacBook Air are to either purchase an external SuperDrive or to use an Apple feature called Remote Disc. Remote Disc allows the optical drive of a nearby Mac to be borrowed for use in mounting discs on the MacBook Air.

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

For more information, check out the MacBook Air Models A1237 and A1304 device page.

Required Tools

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

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Recommended Tools

54 Bit Driver Kit

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Pro Magnetic Project Mat

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Pro Tech Screwdriver Set

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Comments Comments are onturn off

It is not necessary to remove the battery. The hard drive can easily be reached while the battery is in place, although you have a little bit more space if you do remove the battery.

It probably is a good idea to unplug the battery before replacing the hard drive, so you do not accidentally short-circuit anything.

Remco Dijkman, · Reply

My hard drive replacement (a Mach Xtreme Nano PATA ZIF 120GB SSD) actually went in the other way up from the stock Apple Drive. ie The ZIF connector is seen when put back together, rather than under the drive as is the case with the Apple Drive (as seen in Steps 10&11). This also meant the cable came up past the drive on the inside of the bracket then to the mother board. I had tried several times the same way as the Apple drive was, and the cable kept being pulled out of the ZIF connector when putting it back together. Luckily this did not damage my drive.

Charlie, · Reply

I cannot tell you how thankful I am for your comment. I bought exactly the same SSD and spent the better part of today trying to get the computer to see it in Disk Utility. I tried everything (at least I thought so!), tweaking the ZIF cable, resetting the rubber bumper, and so on. Must have done ten or more restarts to no avail. The only thing I didn't do was turn the drive upside down! Thank you so much!

Peace Freak,

This guide was very helpful and accurate for our A1304 Air, I have commented/adjusted the guide to give some extra info which I felt was missing, useful for identifying the correct model/revision and related replacement part.

I fitted a RunCore 128GB SSD to our A1304 (Revision B) Air, it was easy enough and works exactly as we hoped! The A1304 (Revision B) model Air has a LIF connector. RunCore have different SSD products for the different Air revisions, it would be easy to order the wrong part, so be sure you you what modle/revision of Air you're working on!

Read the guide in full for, for all the details.

Kyle Milnes, · Reply

I think the hard drive connector cables for the A1237 & A1304 are different. I purchased a Samsung 120GB (HS12UHE/A) and the cable on my A1237 didn't fit.

Sean McKenna, · Reply

HELP! I replaced my Original Macbook Air hard drive with a Samsung 1.8" 120 G PATA HS12YHA hard drive. Now my Mac gives me the flashing folder with the "?" and Disk Utility doesn't recognize the new drive. Any suggestions??

Deborah, · Reply

I installed the new hard drive. Your instructions were very accurate. However, when I turn the machine on, I see a blinking folder image with a question mark in the middle. I am assuming since the hard drive is completely blank, there is no "boot" routine. However, since this is an Air, there is no internal disc drive so I don't know how to run the original install discs. Any thoughts?

kevin c, · Reply

There is a little restore USB that came with that MacBook Air that can be used to install the OS on the new hard drive.

Mike,

Hi

Did you have response to. Your question? I have same problem ?

Moh,

The foam looking parts on the HDD - what are they and where do I get them from ? Are they required or can the replacement drives go in without them? I have the rubber shock absorber and the casing but I don't have the felt or foam stick on parts. I hope someone knows what the !@#$ i'm talking about!

Max, · Reply

Yay!

All went smoothly installing a Toshiba 160GB MK1634GAL HDD.

"Look! It's moving. It's sha — it's... it's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive! It's alive, it's alive, it's alive! It's ALIVE!"

Thank you sooooo much!

SRE, · Reply

Great guide, but huge overkill!

As has been mentioned by others, I

1) removed the cover,

2) disconnected the battery (but left it in place)

3) unhooked the cable from the top edge of the hard disk bumper.

4) disconnected the wide 'port hatch' ribbon cable that sits on top of the drive, moving it back but not removing it completely.

5) disconnected the data cable for the hard disk where it plugs onto the logic board.

6) removed the screws holding the hard disk bumper in place

7) removed the hard disk.

Everything else is not needed, and you still have loads of room to work in. The more you touch in there, the easier it is to break something.

Thanks for the guide

PhilH, · Reply

Just in case anybody doing resurrection these old things.

As post upside mensioned, there are difference HDD thingy between Early 2008(A1237) and Late 2008 + Mid 2009(both A1304). 1st gen A1237 uses 40pin ZIF connector and internal PATA(=E-IDE) protocol. 2nd gen A1304 uses 24pin LIF connector and internal SATA protocol. They don't compatible each other both cable and disk.

If you want to replace 1g A1237 HDD, you can just buy 1.8" 40pin ZIF HDD and replace it. No problem.

But if you try to replace 2g A1304 HDD, There is no way to buy 24pin LIF connector used HDD or SSD (with proper price, at least). And that's because LIF24 is specific design for some Apple devices. But LIF24 internally uses standard SATA pins. So you can jump from the LIF24 cable's pin header. It provides 3.3v, GND, SATA data A+, A-, B-, B+. If you going to use mSATA SSD or 1.8" SATA SSD, it just uses 3.3v only so jump LIF24 to mSATA should works. By any chance it needs 5v, there's always 5v in USB.

Anonymous, · Reply

I skipped the step (6c) of prying the audio out ribbon cable connector board off the hard drive bracket (& disconnecting it), since it doesn't come off real easily, and I didn't want to damage it. It only requires a little more care when removing the HD from it's bracket if you skip step 6c.

amiller770, · Reply

This is not necessary and looks pretty risky too.

eugene, · Reply

Agreed, I encountered no issues when I skipped this on a Rev.B model.

Kyle Milnes,

Reversing step 8 is where I ran into trouble. The replacement fan I had was slightly thicker than the original and caused the ZIF cable to work its way out of the tenuous connection it had to the SSD, resulting in a "?" missing boot drive error upon startup. Took me three tries to get it right! The difficulty is to get the drive connector to the logic board to reach and seat without pulling the other end out of the drive.

aaronmiller, · Reply

Longer screws on top.

Adam Nelson, · Reply

Two 3.9 mm Phillips screws.

Two 4.7 mm Phillips screws.

Alvaro Hermida, · Reply

There is a cable glued to the diskframe that must be loosened with a spudger before you can remove the frame.

oysteinalsaker, · Reply

The ribbon cable retaining flap is the black piece of plastic under the white piece of plastic.

Adam Nelson, · Reply

Hello

I buy a 60GB m Nano ssd but whp can help me please :(

My Email; bmw357@hotmail.de

jahad nuri,

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