Introduction

Put a smile on your face and replace your upper case.

Remove the following 10 screws securing the lower case to the Air:
  • 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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Slightly lift the lower case near the vents and push it toward the rear of the computer to free the mounting tabs. Slightly lift the lower case near the vents and push it toward the rear of the computer to free the mounting tabs.
  • 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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Disconnect the battery connector by pulling it straight out of its socket.
  • Disconnect the battery connector by pulling it straight out of its socket.

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Remove the following nine screws securing the battery to the Air:
  • 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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Lift the battery out of the Air.
  • Lift the battery out of the Air.

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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.
  • 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

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

This is not necessary and looks pretty risky too.

eugene_o - Reply

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

Kyle Milnes -

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

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

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

Use the tip of a spudger to pull the fan cable connector straight away from its connector on the logic board.
  • 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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Use the tip of a spudger to move the cosmetic fan cover aside. Use the tip of a spudger to move the cosmetic fan cover aside.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to move the cosmetic fan cover aside.

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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.
  • 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

Deck the Halls
With tools and Fix Kits
Lift the processor clamp off the heat sink.
  • Lift the processor clamp off the heat sink.

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Deroute the microphone cable away from the channel in the fan.
  • Deroute the microphone cable away from the channel in the fan.

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Lift the heat sink up off the logic board.
  • 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

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

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

  • Disconnect the microphone cable by pulling its connector straight away from the socket on the logic board.

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Remove the two small Phillips screws securing the logic board bracket to the upper case. Lift the logic board bracket out of the upper case.
  • Remove the two small Phillips screws securing the logic board bracket to the upper case.

  • Lift the logic board bracket out of the upper case.

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Use a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth and trackpad control cable connectors up off the logic board. Use a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth and trackpad control cable connectors up off the logic board.
  • Use a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth and trackpad control cable connectors up off the logic board.

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Disconnect the DC-In cable by pulling its connector straight away from the socket on the logic board.
  • Disconnect the DC-In cable by pulling its connector straight away from the socket on the logic board.

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Remove the small Phillips screw securing the display data cable ground loop to the upper case. Disconnect the display data cable by pulling its connector straight away from the socket on the logic board.
  • Remove the small Phillips screw securing the display data cable ground loop to the upper case.

  • Disconnect the display data cable by pulling its connector straight away from the socket on the logic board.

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Remove the three Phillips screws securing the logic board to the upper case.
  • Remove the three Phillips screws securing the logic board to the upper case.

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Lift the logic board out of the upper case.
  • Lift the logic board out of the upper case.

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Remove the two following screws securing the AirPort/Bluetooth board bracket to the upper case:
  • Remove the two following screws securing the AirPort/Bluetooth board bracket to the upper case:

    • One 4.7 mm Phillips.

    • One 3.9 mm Phillips.

The plastic Airport/Bluetooth bracket provides additional resistance and the 3.9 mm screw is easily stripped. Remove carefully.

Robert Calhoun - Reply

Lift the AirPort/Bluetooth bracket out of the upper case.
  • Lift the AirPort/Bluetooth bracket out of the upper case.

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Use a spudger to pry the three antenna cables up off the AirPort/Bluetooth board.
  • Use a spudger to pry the three antenna cables up off the AirPort/Bluetooth board.

Note: If you are not replacing this card, you don't have to disconnect the bottom two cables. You will need to remove the top cable to access the screw. Use care.

rmohns - Reply

Peel the antenna cables up off the adhesive securing them to the upper case.
  • Peel the antenna cables up off the adhesive securing them to the upper case.

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Remove the single Phillips screw securing the microphone cable ground loop to the upper case.
  • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the microphone cable ground loop to the upper case.

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Remove the following 15 screws:
  • Remove the following 15 screws:

    • Thirteen 2.3 mm Phillips.

    • Two T6 Torx.

  • Leave one T6 Torx screw in each side of the display bracket.

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Open the Air so the display is perpendicular to the upper case and place it on a table as shown.
  • Open the Air so the display is perpendicular to the upper case and place it on a table as shown.

  • While holding the top of the Air with one hand, remove the T6 Torx screw from the lower display bracket.

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Be sure to hold the Air together while you remove the last Torx screw. Failure to do so may cause the display/upper case to fall, potentially damaging both components.
  • Be sure to hold the Air together while you remove the last Torx screw. Failure to do so may cause the display/upper case to fall, potentially damaging both components.

  • Remove the T6 Torx screw from the upper display bracket.

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Pull the upper case straight away from the display, minding any cables that may get caught.
  • Pull the upper case straight away from the display, minding any cables that may get caught.

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Remove the two Phillips screws securing the speaker assembly to the upper case.
  • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the speaker assembly to the upper case.

On reassembly, the corner of the speaker assembly takes the shorter screw.

Robert Calhoun - Reply

Rotate the speaker assembly toward the center of the Air.
  • Rotate the speaker assembly toward the center of the Air.

  • Use the pointed end of a spudger to pry the audio cable connector up off the audio board.

Note: If you are not replacing the speaker assembly, you can leave the cable connected. Use care.

rmohns - Reply

Remove the four partially threaded Phillips screws securing the port hatch assembly to the upper case. Lift the port hatch assembly out of the upper case.
  • Remove the four partially threaded Phillips screws securing the port hatch assembly to the upper case.

  • Lift the port hatch assembly out of the upper case.

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Peel the audio cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.
  • Peel the audio cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

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Use the pointed end of a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the trackpad control cable socket. Peel the trackpad control cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case. Pull the trackpad control cable out of its socket.
  • Use the pointed end of a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the trackpad control cable socket.

  • Peel the trackpad control cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

  • Pull the trackpad control cable out of its socket.

I noticed on the unit that I just replaced that the trackpad control cable socket location had been moved. The unit I was replacing had it more offset to the right from what is indicated in this picture and had an angled ribbon cable like the airport one. It would be a big help to include a part number for the straight one as illustrated, or make a note that some "wiggling" will be needed to make the other work. (The offset isn't huge and you can make it work with the angled cable.)

John Metcalfe - Reply

Use a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth cable connector up off the AirPort/Bluetooth board. Peel the AirPort/Bluetooth cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.
  • Use a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth cable connector up off the AirPort/Bluetooth board.

  • Peel the AirPort/Bluetooth cable off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

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Remove the single Phillips screw securing the AirPort/Bluetooth board to the upper case. Lift the AirPort/Bluetooth board out of the upper case.
  • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the AirPort/Bluetooth board to the upper case.

  • Lift the AirPort/Bluetooth board out of the upper case.

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Remove the two Phillips screws securing the DC-In board to the upper case. Lift the DC-In board out of the upper case.
  • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the DC-In board to the upper case.

  • Lift the DC-In board out of the upper case.

  • Upper case remains.

You forgot some things ... like maybe to remove the display from the topcase? Or the wifi/bluetooth antennas? Also, some advice on thermal paste would be nice, like if you think one needs to replace it completely, or if just putting it back together is fine. (fine for me after a quick test, no apparent overheating.) Though I also cleared out lots of dust, so airflow should be better anyway.

step21 - Reply

Quote from step21:

You forgot some things ... like maybe to remove the display from the topcase? Or the wifi/bluetooth antennas? Also, some advice on thermal paste would be nice, like if you think one needs to replace it completely, or if just putting it back together is fine. (fine for me after a quick test, no apparent overheating.) Though I also cleared out lots of dust, so airflow should be better anyway.

Thanks for being an extra set of watchful eyes. We have no idea why, but a server glitch prevented the Display pre-requisite guide (which includes the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi wires) from being displayed. We re-added the page and everything looks fine now.

We also added a link to the thermal paste guide on Step 17. This should enable other users to properly apply thermal paste once they're ready to put the heat sink back on.

Thanks again!

Miroslav Djuric - Reply

Conclusion

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

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4 Comments

Although my upper case installation went perfect and my macbook Air never operated better all of the sudden my mouse pad , the part that clicks somehow started to respond slow and now takes more tan one or two clicks to register but I do not think it's your fault. If you have any suggestions on how to make it work better it would be appreciated, maybe If I tried to clean it out with isopropyl alcohol to clean it, it might help.

Kind Regards, It was fun fixing my macbook air.

Also It would have helpful to have a few extra small screws as I stripped one in the display to top case connection.

organicgarden - Reply

it is possible to remove the motherboard without removing the fan and heat sink.

just remove the red screw on step 14.

then you can skip step 15 and 17

and take of the motherboard at step 25 with fan and heat sink attached.

after that there is no need for thermal paste.

oscar - Reply

I would say 2 things. First, you will need the exact match of the model (for example A1237) plus the rest of the product specific (exact year of make). For example my model is A1237 but the upper case I bought didn't quite match especially the locations of the inner screws. I could not fit 6No screws back in when reassembling together. Without these screws the macbook air was put together and working ok but if you have a choice you want to get the exact match product. Secondly, screws. Some screws just won't come off. First thing you need a good screwdriver to unscrew a very tight and some are forced into position when assembled in factory. If you cannot take them out, take it to a computer guru who has the right hand. Seriously. I had problem with 3No screws they just won't come off. I forced it and damaged the screws. Luckily a specialist helped me to unscrew them and he told me that it's a known problem on macbook air. Other than that the replacement of the upper case was pleasantly done.

Kazuyo - Reply

Worked Perfectly! Thank you!

curtwoz - Reply

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