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Introduction

Use this guide to replace a worn-out or broken display data cable—the main communication cable between the MacBook's logic board and LCD.

  1. Use a coin or spudger to rotate the battery-locking screw 90 degrees clockwise.
    • Use a coin or spudger to rotate the battery-locking screw 90 degrees clockwise.

  2. Lift the battery out of the computer.
    • Lift the battery out of the computer.

  3. Remove the three evenly-spaced Phillips screws from along the rear wall of the battery compartment.
    • Remove the three evenly-spaced Phillips screws from along the rear wall of the battery compartment.

    • The screws are captive to the metal memory cover.

    • When replacing the battery casing, use a spudger to re-insert the foam cushioning behind the rear wall for propper battery spacing.

  4. Lift up on L-shaped memory cover, slide it to the right, and lift it out of the computer.
    • Lift up on L-shaped memory cover, slide it to the right, and lift it out of the computer.

  5. Remove the following 3 screws:
    • Remove the following 3 screws:

    • One 11 mm Phillips #00 in the middle of the case.

    • Two 14.5 mm Phillips #00.

    • If the screws stick in the case, you can use a magnetized screwdriver to draw them out.

    • The shorter of the three screws goes in the middle.

  6. Remove the following 3 screws from the rear wall of the battery compartment:
    • Remove the following 3 screws from the rear wall of the battery compartment:

    • Two 3 mm Phillips #00. (A1181 has three 3 mm screws and one 4 mm.)

    • One 4 mm Phillips #00 on the right side.

    • When reinstalling these screws, press gently on the lower case to line up the screw holes.

    • These screws easily strip, so be careful while taking these particular screws out.

  7. Remove the two 6 mm Phillips #00 screws from either side of the right wall of the battery compartment (not the ones closest to the battery connector).
    • Remove the two 6 mm Phillips #00 screws from either side of the right wall of the battery compartment (not the ones closest to the battery connector).

  8. Remove the four 3 mm indicated Phillips #00 screws from the front wall of the battery compartment. When working from the left, remove the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 9th screw.
    • Remove the four 3 mm indicated Phillips #00 screws from the front wall of the battery compartment. When working from the left, remove the 2nd, 4th, 7th and 9th screw.

  9. Remove the following 4 screws from the back of the computer:
    • Remove the following 4 screws from the back of the computer:

    • Two 7 mm shouldered Phillips on the far sides.

    • Two 10.5 mm Phillips toward the center.

    • Do not over-tighten these; you can cause the case to distort.

  10. Remove the two 5.2 mm shouldered Phillips #00 screws from the optical side of the computer.
    • Remove the two 5.2 mm shouldered Phillips #00 screws from the optical side of the computer.

    • It is not necessary to remove the similar screws on the other side of the computer.

  11. Starting near the display and working around to the front of the computer, pry up on the upper case. It is held with clips on the right above the optical drive. These will release with some firm lifting pressure.
    • Starting near the display and working around to the front of the computer, pry up on the upper case. It is held with clips on the right above the optical drive. These will release with some firm lifting pressure.

    • Be careful when prying up the upper case. It's very easy to slice open a fingertip and thus provide the blood sacrifice the Mac gods sometimes require of those who insist on doing their own repairs.

    • There's a trackpad and keyboard ribbon connecting the upper case to the logic board, so don't pull the upper case off entirely just yet.

    • If you have trouble getting the clips to release, be careful that you are not prying the plastic top of the upper case away from its metal frame.

  12. While holding up the upper case (from the bottom or the top), use a spudger to pry up the orange trackpad and keyboard cable from its connector.
    • While holding up the upper case (from the bottom or the top), use a spudger to pry up the orange trackpad and keyboard cable from its connector.

    • Take care to pry between the black socket and the white connector. You might have to pry on both sides for it to release properly.

    • Do not pry from the bottom or the top, but from the sides.

    • If you happen to break your upper case cable when removing the upper case, we stock the cable individually and we have a guide that makes replacing it easy.

  13. Grasp the white plastic tab attached to the hard drive and pull it to the left, removing the hard drive from the computer.
    • Grasp the white plastic tab attached to the hard drive and pull it to the left, removing the hard drive from the computer.

  14. Remove the two Phillips screws from the front edge of the optical drive.
    • Remove the two Phillips screws from the front edge of the optical drive.

    • The shorter screw (3 mm) is recessed nearest the RAM modules. The other is 3.5 mm.

  15. Disconnect the orange optical drive ribbon cable from the logic board.
    • Disconnect the orange optical drive ribbon cable from the logic board.

  16. Disconnect the newly-revealed display data cable. If there is no pull-tab on the top of the connector, it may be helpful to use a spudger to disconnect this connector.
    • Disconnect the newly-revealed display data cable. If there is no pull-tab on the top of the connector, it may be helpful to use a spudger to disconnect this connector.

  17. Disconnect the (once again) newly-revealed hard drive cable.
    • Disconnect the (once again) newly-revealed hard drive cable.

  18. Peel up the foil tape between the fan and the optical drive.
    • Peel up the foil tape between the fan and the optical drive.

    • Remove the 8.5 mm Phillips screw securing the display data cable to the metal framework.

  19. Pull up the display data cable from along the edge of the optical drive to reveal a silver Phillips screw.
    • Pull up the display data cable from along the edge of the optical drive to reveal a silver Phillips screw.

  20. Remove the 2.8 mm Phillips screw securing the optical drive.
    • Remove the 2.8 mm Phillips screw securing the optical drive.

    • The Bluetooth cable may be covering the screw; carefully push it aside before removing the screw.

    • Do not over-tighten this screw when re-mounting. You could break the plastic enclosure.

    • After removing the screw, push the metal tab backwards, towards the fan, to release the front of the optical drive.

  21. Lift the Bluetooth antenna board from the right side of the optical drive.
    • Lift the Bluetooth antenna board from the right side of the optical drive.

    • Deroute the hard drive cable from along the front of the optical drive.

  22. Lift the front edge of the optical drive and slide it up and out of the computer.
    • Lift the front edge of the optical drive and slide it up and out of the computer.

  23. Remove the following 3 screws:
    • Remove the following 3 screws:

    • Two 3 mm Phillips near the right speaker.

    • One 6 mm Phillips threaded through a hole in a plastic finger above the subwoofer.

    • Be careful not to over-tighten the screw above the subwoofer too tight or the plastic could crack.

  24. Lift the right speaker out of its housing and set it to the side.
    • Lift the right speaker out of its housing and set it to the side.

  25. Using a spudger, gently pry up the white plastic slot and slide the metal c-channel to the right and away from the display.
    • Using a spudger, gently pry up the white plastic slot and slide the metal c-channel to the right and away from the display.

  26. Use a spudger to carefully disconnect the microphone cable from the logic board. You'll want to work from side to side, and slowly wiggle the connector out of its socket.
    • Use a spudger to carefully disconnect the microphone cable from the logic board. You'll want to work from side to side, and slowly wiggle the connector out of its socket.

    • Pulling on this connector vertically will break the socket off the logic board. This connector should be removed horizontally by gently pulling the microphone cable toward the screen while working a spudger between the connector and the socket.

  27. Lift up on the black right speaker cable with one hand, and deroute the silver microphone cable from the silver metal clip just above the right RAM slot.
    • Lift up on the black right speaker cable with one hand, and deroute the silver microphone cable from the silver metal clip just above the right RAM slot.

  28. Deroute the silver microphone cable and gray display data cable from the tabs at the bottom of the subwoofer.
    • Deroute the silver microphone cable and gray display data cable from the tabs at the bottom of the subwoofer.

  29. Remove the single 3.2 mm Phillips screw securing the ground loop in the display data cable located just above the Bluetooth board.
    • Remove the single 3.2 mm Phillips screw securing the ground loop in the display data cable located just above the Bluetooth board.

  30. Disconnect the two antenna cables from the Airport card, and the black inverter cable from the logic board. (Pull vertically on all three.)
    • Disconnect the two antenna cables from the Airport card, and the black inverter cable from the logic board. (Pull vertically on all three.)

  31. Remove the following 2 screws from the right hinge mount:
    • Remove the following 2 screws from the right hinge mount:

    • One 6 mm Phillips on the left side of the hinge mount.

    • One 10 mm Phillips on the right side of the hinge mount.

    • Lift the right hinge mount out of the computer.

  32. Hold the display with one hand while removing the screws from the left hinge mount.
    • Hold the display with one hand while removing the screws from the left hinge mount.

    • Remove the following 3 screws from the left hinge mount:

    • One 6 mm smaller diameter Phillips from the right side.

    • One 6 mm larger diameter Phillips from the middle.

    • One 10 mm Phillips from the left side.

    • Lift the left hinge mount out of the computer.

  33. Grasp the display assembly on either side, and lift it up and out of the computer.
    • Grasp the display assembly on either side, and lift it up and out of the computer.

  34. The following steps should be identical for both white and black MacBooks.
    • The following steps should be identical for both white and black MacBooks.

    • Use a thin plastic card to release the tabs holding the front display bezel to the display assembly. There are five tabs along the left side of the display bezel.

    • Don't use a card that cannot be replaced if damaged. The clips can be difficult to remove and the card can bend and break, rendering it useless.

  35. Continue to free the tabs along the the top edge of the display assembly.
    • Continue to free the tabs along the the top edge of the display assembly.

    • Be careful when working near the iSight camera.

  36. Next, free the five tabs securing the display bezel on the right side.
    • Next, free the five tabs securing the display bezel on the right side.

  37. Lift up the front display bezel from the top and use your plastic card to free the tabs along the bottom edge of the display bezel. Make sure that your card is between the metal frame around the LCD panel and the display bezel and not touching the LCD panel itself.
    • Lift up the front display bezel from the top and use your plastic card to free the tabs along the bottom edge of the display bezel.

    • Make sure that your card is between the metal frame around the LCD panel and the display bezel and not touching the LCD panel itself.

    • After freeing all holding tabs, lift the front display bezel away from the display assembly.

  38. Sometimes when removing the front display bezel, the retaining clips that should remain captive in the LCD brackets come out with the front display bezel. Follow this and the next step to transfer the clips back to the LCD bracket. Use a metal spudger or another thin tool to carefully pry the gray plastic clips off the tabs molded into the front display bezel. A 0.8mm flat screwdriver may be useful for this step.
    • Sometimes when removing the front display bezel, the retaining clips that should remain captive in the LCD brackets come out with the front display bezel. Follow this and the next step to transfer the clips back to the LCD bracket.

    • Use a metal spudger or another thin tool to carefully pry the gray plastic clips off the tabs molded into the front display bezel. A 0.8mm flat screwdriver may be useful for this step.

    • Be careful, as the clips are made of thin plastic and are inherently delicate.

  39. Insert the longer end of the retaining clip beneath the edge of its recess cut into the LCD bracket. Use the edge of a metal spudger to push the shorter tab on the other side of the retaining clip into the recess cut into the LCD bracket.
    • Insert the longer end of the retaining clip beneath the edge of its recess cut into the LCD bracket.

    • Use the edge of a metal spudger to push the shorter tab on the other side of the retaining clip into the recess cut into the LCD bracket.

    • The second picture shows the LCD bracket properly installed.

  40. Remove the three 4.2 mm Phillips screws securing the clutch cover.
    • Remove the three 4.2 mm Phillips screws securing the clutch cover.

  41. While holding the display down with one hand, use your other hand to lift the clutch cover off the clutch hinges.
    • While holding the display down with one hand, use your other hand to lift the clutch cover off the clutch hinges.

    • It may help to wiggle the clutch cover as you pull it up from the display.

  42. Lift up the right side of the clutch cover and guide the display data and iSight cables through the gap in the clutch cover.
    • Lift up the right side of the clutch cover and guide the display data and iSight cables through the gap in the clutch cover.

    • Lift the clutch cover out of the display assembly.

    • During reassembly, make sure not to pinch the backlight cable (with the white connector on the right side) when snapping the clutch cover back into place. This cable has two visible wires leading into the lower right section of the LCD display to the backlight. (The models with pink and white wires are usually longer and easier to pinch.)

  43. Remove the small piece of foam tape stuck down above each of the bezel covers. Remove the small piece of foam tape stuck down above each of the bezel covers.
    • Remove the small piece of foam tape stuck down above each of the bezel covers.

  44. Use a spudger to slide the left bezel cover towards the LCD panel. Do not lift up vertically on the cover! Unlike the large display bezel, this one has horizontal hooks to keep it in place. These will break easily.
    • Use a spudger to slide the left bezel cover towards the LCD panel.

    • Do not lift up vertically on the cover! Unlike the large display bezel, this one has horizontal hooks to keep it in place. These will break easily.

    • Lift the left bezel cover off the display assembly.

  45. Use a spudger to slide the right bezel cover toward the LCD panel. Lift the right bezel cover off the display assembly.
    • Use a spudger to slide the right bezel cover toward the LCD panel.

    • Lift the right bezel cover off the display assembly.

  46. Lift the inverter out of the display slightly and disconnect the backlight cable from its right side. Place the inverter back down in its recess.
    • Lift the inverter out of the display slightly and disconnect the backlight cable from its right side.

    • Place the inverter back down in its recess.

  47. Remove the single 3.2 mm Phillips screw securing the display data cable to the right clutch hinge.
    • Remove the single 3.2 mm Phillips screw securing the display data cable to the right clutch hinge.

  48. Move the display data cable out from under the mounting arm of the right clutch hinge.
    • Move the display data cable out from under the mounting arm of the right clutch hinge.

  49. Remove the twelve 4.2 mm Phillips screws securing the LCD assembly to the rear display bezel.
    • Remove the twelve 4.2 mm Phillips screws securing the LCD assembly to the rear display bezel.

    • Make sure you pay attention to how the microphone cable (and antenna cable on some models) are routed around the outside of the two screws nearest to the bottom of the screen (on both left and right). It's easy to damage the cables if not routed properly when putting these screws back on.

  50. Lift the LCD assembly out of the rear display bezel, minding any cables that may get caught.
    • Lift the LCD assembly out of the rear display bezel, minding any cables that may get caught.

  51. Be sure to keep track of the small magnet along the left side of the display. It may be stuck to the LCD frames or to the rear display bezel. When installing it, be sure short side is facing upward.
    • Be sure to keep track of the small magnet along the left side of the display. It may be stuck to the LCD frames or to the rear display bezel. When installing it, be sure short side is facing upward.

  52. Remove all of the pieces of tape securing your display data cable to the back of the LCD.
    • Remove all of the pieces of tape securing your display data cable to the back of the LCD.

  53. Disconnect the display data cable from the LCD.
    • Disconnect the display data cable from the LCD.

  54. Disconnect the camera cable from the iSight board.
    • Disconnect the camera cable from the iSight board.

  55. De-route the microphone cable from the clips along the side and top of the LCD assembly.
    • De-route the microphone cable from the clips along the side and top of the LCD assembly.

  56. Remove the two 2.2 mm Phillips screws securing the iSight board to its bracket.
    • Remove the two 2.2 mm Phillips screws securing the iSight board to its bracket.

  57. Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the camera out of its recess.
    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the camera out of its recess.

    • Remove the iSight from the display.

  58. Use the tip of a spudger to push the microphone out of the iSight bezel.
    • Use the tip of a spudger to push the microphone out of the iSight bezel.

    • Be sure to only push around the edge of the microphone.

    • Display data cable remains.

Conclusion

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

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One Comment

Truly superb set of photos and instructions. I’d love to be able to buy a replacement data display cable, but no one seems to stock them.

Joey Godalla - Reply

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