MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Early 2011 Hard Drive Cable Replacement

Replace the hard drive cable in your Early 2011 MacBook Pro 13" Unibody.

Use this guide to replace a broken hard drive cable. The hard drive cable also contains the sleep LED and the IR sensor.

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

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Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following ten screws:

    • Three 14.4 mm Phillips #00 screws

    • Three 3.5 mm Phillips #00 screws

    • Four 3.5 mm shouldered Phillips #00 screws

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Use your fingers to pry the lower case away from the body of the MacBook near the vent.

  • Remove the lower case.

Edit Step 3 Battery Connection  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3 Battery Connection  ¶ 

  • Use the edge of a spudger to pry the battery connector upwards from its socket on the logic board.

  • It is useful to pry upward on both short sides of the connector to "walk" it out of its socket. Be careful with the corners of the connectors, they can be easily broken off.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Bend the battery cable slightly away from its socket on the logic board so it does not accidentally connect itself while you work.

Edit Step 5 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the hard drive bracket to the upper case.

  • These screws will remain attached to the hard drive bracket.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the hard drive bracket.

  • The hard drive bracket may be firmly seated against the upper case.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Use the attached pull tab to lift the hard drive out of the upper case.

  • Don't try to completely remove the hard drive just yet. It is still attached to the hard drive cable.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Pull the hard drive cable away from the body of the hard drive.

  • Remove the hard drive.

Edit Step 9 Hard Drive Cable  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9 Hard Drive Cable  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector up from its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Remove the following four screws:

    • Two 3 mm Phillips screws

    • Two 9.7 mm Phillips screws

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Carefully peel up the thin IR sensor/sleep LED ribbon cable from the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Pull the front hard drive bracket containing the IR sensor/sleep LED away from the front edge of the upper case.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Remove the hard drive cable.

  • Your replacement part may come with several adhesive foam bumpers. These are to ensure a snug fit of both bracket and hard drive. Apply only as needed.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Your replacement part may or may not come with the front (sensor) bracket. If it does not, you'll need to transfer it to your new cable.

  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip the ZIF connector on the hard drive cable.

  • Gently pull the sensor bracket cable out of the ZIF connector.

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable up off the sensor bracket.

  • Remove the adhesive backing from your new hard drive cable, stick it onto the sensor bracket, and connect the sensor bracket cable.

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

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Early 2011 device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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54 Bit Driver Kit

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Quick and easy fix a repair shop would have charged a small fortune for. The only thing I'd add is if your replacement has built in glue like mine did be careful installing it as it will stick anywhere and everywhere!

David Talbot, · Reply

We upgraded our hdd to an ssd and in the process must have damaged the sata cable. Macbook worked for a month before we got the flashing ? folder of death. Investigating we noticed the cable was partly ripped. This guide was perfect for replacing the cable, and now the macbook is working fine again! Brilliant! Just be careful to anyone replacing the hdd, the sata cable can tear easily.

lachlan, · Reply

I've replaced my hard drive cable twice now. The problem seems to be that the underside of the aluminum unibody has small ridges on it (you can see them, but they are small. The cable rubbed back and forth on these ridges, and you could see where the cable had shorted where it had worn away. It doesn't take much.

I found a youtube fix which involved only laying a piece of electrical tape along the underside of the cable (underneath the drive), and another piece along the body itself. A couple minutes and few cents worth of electrical tape later and all was working fine.

Jim Good, · Reply

Do you recommend backing up your hard drive before doing this? I have not backed mine up and need to get this part replaced

Lindsay Nunnery, · Reply

Does void the warranty?

jfondeur, · Reply

No, it does not void the warranty. More specifically: http://eshop.macsales.com/Search/display...

oakdragon12, · Reply

How much weight can I save by removing the optical drive?

gunes314, · Reply

Also wondering how much weight I'd save by just removing. My drive is broken for ages, but I have not needed it in ages. The HD was already replaced by a cheap SSD (second best thing after upgrading to 8GB), so I'd appreciate losing some weight. I mean, the computer. Although I could lose some too... erm... well, anyway, I guess the lack of the DVD would not interfere with anything, right? Opinions?

Carlos Duarte do Nascimento, · Reply

Apple has meticulously balanced the MacBook's weight from left to right, and removing the optical drive may off-balance the Mac.

Sejin Kim,

I'm thinking you'd probably be OK losing the DVD drive without a problem. Just make sure the optical drive cable is secured or you might hear it rattling in there from time-to-time.

John Adam Wickliffe, · Reply

Hey guys,

this website is amazing. I read it to guide me on fixing my mac book pro, but on the video, the girl gives a wrong information.. She says that is not possible replace just the keyboard... But I managed to replace only my keyboard. It is boring because I have to remove approximately 70 screws but it is possible. Thanks a lot! You guys helped me save about US$300 thats because in Brazil some technicians would charge me with that amount!

I posted some pictures on your facebook page..

renatumb, · Reply

Tip: Use one of those weekday pill holders to have a cheep way to store screws you remove and each day of the week can be for different sizes or parts. It has been handy to have (much less expensive than the magnetic mat.

Robert Wacker, · Reply

Great tutorial. I found that using a Phillips #0 in lieu of the #00 worked much better.

kschmesk, · Reply

I tried the PH #00 for the 10 screws that hold the bottom case and it's too big, instead PH #000 works perfectly. Are you sure this screws are #00?

Alex, · Reply

The likely problem with your wifi is not the card but the antenna leads that go into the plastic clutch

. Ifixit don't have a guide to change this as it it includes the isight camera so the screen has to be disassembled which is fairly hard

I got round it by using the camera cable from the old set and cutting off the new one

brian whittle, · Reply

Is this step of removing the battery connector required?

manodh, · Reply

yes - as with disassembly of any electronic component you have to remove any power source. You don't want to accidentally turn the Mac on

khull,

This step is not really required. Apple does not recommend it.

Steven Layton, · Reply

My Battery does not get recognized after i disconnected it, screw this site!

Diego Hernandes,

Rather than be careful of the corners of the connector i would say don't use the spudger anywhere near the corners. While the corner looks like the obvious place to begin to pry it up from, it will break. Levering from the sides as the instructions suggest works well.

ausmkv, · Reply

wonder why apple does not recommend it?!

Peter, · Reply

I would recommend it, one careless short and the whole board is dead......

John, · Reply

simply remove the battery rather than disconnecting the cable

toiu, · Reply

Don't know what the deal is with the battery, but this IS a necessary step to keep from frying the logic Board if you accidentally touch something and short it out. I did this step every time during my troubleshooting and The battery was ALWAYS recognized by the system the next time I turned the MBP on. So be safe and don't fry your logic board in the process...

fasthans, · Reply

Prying the battery connector off does not take much force. I did exactly what the guide suggested (walked it off back and forth) with the spudger without any problems. Just be very gentle, much like with anything inside laptops, they are very fragile and need to be worked with carefully. A+ instructions, battery replacement was a success.

aekinaka, · Reply

Installed/upgraded 4gb RAM to the system maximum 16gb and installed a 500 gb SSD today....DID NOT disconnect the battery cable....no issues at all when I powered back up. Then did a clean install of OSX Yosemite....next I used a time machine backup to put all my stuff back on the new HD. From start to finish it took about 4 hours. Macbook boots up right at 16 seconds now.

MacProUser, · Reply

Easiest to use two spudgers, one on each short end, I found.

Simon Mundy, · Reply

What are the changes of it broke when i bend it?, after i disconect it does not work anymore

Diego Hernandes, · Reply

The guide worked perfectly, as it has in the past (our family has three Mid-2012 Macbook Pros that have been separately upgraded with RAM and SSD).

The PH00 screwdriver fit perfectly.

One note on getting the screws to seat easily and thread perfectly...always turn them gently a couple turns to the left (CCW or Anti-Clockwise) until you hear a small click. That's where the threads will grab. Works with any screw, but when threads are fine, this will help ensure that the screw is at the correct angle and will grab and seat perfectly.

Great guides. Thanks!

timgunkel, · Reply

Got RAM in but only one slot is working and now I can't remove! The RAM won't pop up like before and tabs don't seem to do anything. Please advise.

Sal Ergrapes, · Reply

Don't miss this step: I almost did and of course couldn't get the disk out until I looked at the video !

francistasset, · Reply

I'm missing the two 3mm Phillips screws and need to buy some. Are they 3mm long or is it the diameter or both? If you can copy a link with the right screws to buy that would be really helpful! Thanks a lot.

Tartine, · Reply

The replacement cable comes without the sleep led attached. Thus you have to remove the flat cable of the sleep led from the socket of the old hd cable. Take your fingernail and lift the side of the socket opposite to the cable. It's really tiny! Afterwards insert the new cable and push gently on the part lifted up before.

Skyynet, · Reply

Hi, I feel like this article is missing an important step at the end. How do I replace the new IR sensor/sleep LED with the old one that is still attached to the front hard drive bracket? I see Skyynet answered this but it is still nor clear. Pictures would be nice. Thanks!

Reece, · Reply

You just gently pull out the old cable and insert the new cable into the small plug as skyynet suggested. It all seems to smoothly realign and guide itself.. you don't have to do much work to get things to affix.

ydlwhite,

Hi. What is the purpose of the 5 black rubber pads that are shipped with the cable kit?

coffeenow, · Reply

Step 13 has the note: "Your replacement part may come with several adhesive foam bumpers. These are to ensure a snug fit of both bracket and hard drive. Apply only as needed." - This would be if the drive width had a gap and allowed it to move "sideways" in and out of the torx post holes. I didn't need them.

prall,

it's not clear whether the new cable should come with a new bracket or the old one is also fine ? here in europe most hdd cables ship without bracket

natalie, · Reply

Yes, this was fiddly and it needs extra photos. I only got this done with the aid of a magnifying glass.

John Walker, · Reply

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