Introduction

Use this guide to swap out your old heat sink for a new one.

Image 1/1: Six 2.8 mm Phillips screws.
  • 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.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Slightly lift the lower case near the vents and push it toward the rear of the computer to free the mounting tabs.

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Image 1/1:
  • Disconnect the battery connector by pulling it straight out of its socket.

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Image 1/1: Four 2.9 mm Phillips.
  • 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.

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Image 1/1:
  • Lift the battery out of the Air.

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Image 1/3: Pull the audio out ribbon cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case. Image 2/3: Use a spudger to pry the audio out ribbon cable connector board off the hard drive bracket. Image 3/3: Use a spudger to pry the audio out ribbon cable connector board off the hard drive bracket.
  • 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.

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

Image 1/1:
  • Disconnect the audio out cable from its socket on the port hatch ribbon cable.

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 -

Image 1/1:
  • Use a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector up off the logic board.

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

Image 1/2: Remove the cosmetic screw cover from the adhesive securing it to the hard drive bracket. Image 2/2: Remove the cosmetic screw cover from the adhesive securing it to the hard drive bracket.
  • 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.

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Image 1/1: Two 4.7 mm screws.
  • Remove the four Phillips screws securing the hard drive assembly to the upper case:

    • Two 4.7 mm screws.

    • Two 3.9 mm screws.

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

Image 1/1:
  • Lift the hard drive assembly out of the upper case.

Ever since Steve Jobs died, Apple hasn't been what it used to be.

George A. - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Use the tip of a spudger to pull the fan cable connector straight away from its connector on the logic board.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Use the tip of a spudger to move the cosmetic fan cover aside.

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Image 1/2: One 5.9 mm Phillips screw. Image 2/2: Two 1.9 mm Phillips screws.
  • If you have the original version of the MacBook Air (A1237), refer to picture 1. Remove the following screws securing the heat sink to the logic board:

    • One 5.9 mm Phillips screw.

    • Two 1.9 mm Phillips screws.

    • One 1.9 mm Phillips screw.

  • If you have the A1304 version of MacBook Air, refer to picture 2. Remove the following screws securing the heat sink to the logic board:

    • One 5.0 mm Phillips screw

    • Five 1.9 mm Philips screws.

    • One 2.5 mm Phillips screw.

On A1237, the yellow screw is a bit longer then the two orange ones.

Peterdk - Reply

I have replaced several Logic boards at this point on the A1304 model, and realized that I did not need to remove the heatsink (Steps 14 through 17). You need to remove the screws around the fan, and disconnect the microphone cable (step 19). Of course if your replacement logic board doesn't include a heatsink, you need to take it off.

Steerpike - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Lift the processor clamp off the heat sink.

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Image 1/1:
  • Deroute the microphone cable away from the channel in the fan.

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Image 1/1: Be mindful of the microphone cable when lifting the heat sink, as it can get tangled on the top edge of the fan.
  • Lift the heat sink up off the logic board.

  • Be mindful of the microphone cable when lifting the heat sink, as it can get tangled on the top edge of the fan.

  • When you mount the heat sink back onto the logic board, be sure to apply a new layer of thermal paste. We have a guide that makes replacing the thermal paste easy.

I removed the fan at this point as well. Disconnect the small connector from the fan to the logic board and lift out the fan. Good time to blow off the dust!

Andrea Wang - Reply

Image 1/1: Remove the four 2.5 mm Phillips screws holding the fan on the heat sink.
  • If you have the A1304 version of MacBook Air, the fan is a separate component. The following steps therefore do not apply to your model.

  • Remove the four 2.5 mm Phillips screws holding the fan on the heat sink.

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Image 1/1: Heatsink remains.
  • Lift the heat sink off the fan.

  • Heatsink remains.

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Conclusion

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

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