Introduction

Replacing the upper case requires the removal of nearly every component in your MacBook Pro. You will also need to transfer your old trackpad over to your new upper case.

Image 1/1: Seven 3 mm Phillips screws.
  • Remove the following 10 screws securing the lower case to the MacBook Pro 13" Unibody:

    • Seven 3 mm Phillips screws.

    • Three 13.5 mm Phillips screws.

It looks like you need a Phillips #000 screwdriver for the 10 bottom screws. I tried the #00 and it's too big. Good thing I bought a 23 piece precision screwdriver set or else I would have been screwed.

scott523 - Reply

The 10 screws that hold tha bottom case take a #00 Phillips driver, if yours doesnt fit it's probably because it's cheaply made & not precise enough. The only thing that I needed a #000 driver for was the keyboard screws. They're so small they look like specks of dirt or sand. I stripped out 4 of them & now will need to grind the heads off with a Dremel/rotary tool. The other thing that sucks is iFixit doesn't have a tutorial for keyboard replacement!

iphonetechtips -

A true Phillips head screw's slots are rounded at their inner corners, to allow the screwdriver to "cam out" (pop out) of the screw head before you apply too much torque and strip the threads in the part that you're torqueing the screw into. However, the screws used in the Macbook don't have those rounded inner corners, so they're not Phillips. Instead, they may be a Japanese standard known as JIS B 1012, or a Frearson (also known as a Reed & Prince), but that's a less common design. Maybe technically these non-Phillips screws should be used with a screwdriver that was specifically designed for them, but they can be properly removed and reinstalled using a truly precision-made Phillips #00 (some people find a #000 sometimes works even better) whose tip comes to a sharp point--not the lousy fake "precision" screwdrivers that are sold in too many places. See my next comment for more.

johnsawyercjs -

Many screwdriver manufacturers get away with marketing fake "precision" screwdrivers because, in the words of the Wikipedia article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sc...: "Most heads come in a range of sizes, typically distinguished by a number, such as "Phillips #00" or "Torx T5." These sizes do not necessarily describe a particular dimension of the drive shape, but are often arbitrary designations in the same sense as a "Size 8" dress."

In other words, the quality of many "precision" screwdrivers is poor. In my experience, one of the biggest problems with many fake "precision" Phillips screwdrivers is that the four blades at the tip are often too wide, and their width may even vary on the same screwdriver (they're not supposed to). So just because a screwdriver is marketed as a "precision screwdriver", it may not be, and many that are labeled as #00, or even #000, will not work for a Macbook's screws. See my next comment for still more.

johnsawyercjs -

One of the best manufacturers of precision screwdrivers is Wiha (http://www.wihatools.com/tech-tools/prec... cost more, but they're worth it. Or buy screwdrivers from iFixit, who seem to be selling JIS screwdrivers.

Another article with some good info on screw and screwdriver types:

http://www.instructables.com/id/When-a-P...

Also keep in mind that some screws are tougher to remove and reinstall because they have a thread-locking compound on them, which is usually blue.

johnsawyercjs -

Phillips #00 is the correct screwdriver for the lower case. Maybe the one you have is worn or badly made.

David Fear -

Perfect man!Many thanks!:)

wertaerte - Reply

Compare the short screws carefully before reinstalling them. The shouldered screws go in the holes on the front edge.

twisk - Reply

thanks twisk, I wish i would have read your tip before I finished putting the bottom of my laptop back together. I managed to get all screws in somehow, but one was in fact too-tight.

BTW, big big thanks to the Author: Andrew Bookholt. Just used this guide and my trackpad now works again.

xitxit2 -

i too need a #000 for the bottom of the case -- i got the recommended screwdriver (#00) and unfortunately it's too big

plins718 - Reply

Before I started removing any screws I took a piece of paper and drew the bottom of the laptop and put a piece of double-sided tape in the spot where each screw goes. That way when I took out the screws, I could put them on the tape so I knew exactly which screw went in which spot. I did the same thing for dismantling the inside on another sheet of paper, then a third sheet for the screen after getting the front glass off.

mastover - Reply

I use a similar technique: I print out the iFixit manual for the job, and Scotch-tape down the screws/brackets/cables I remove at each step next to the component descriptions. That way, when I'm reassembling, the bits are taped right next to the photo of where they came from.

adlerpe -

That's exactly what I do for all my repairs! It's the best way to keep track of all of the parts ' original location and to make sure that you don't miss any parts during reassembly.

joyitsjennie -

Great idea and one I use often

Thomas Overstreet -

Excellent idea! Thanks for sharing it here.

Laura Sharkey -

The colours you used for these circles are indistinguishable for colour-blind people. Please consider using something like the palette suggested by visibone: http://www.visibone.com/colorblind/

Eric Sorenson - Reply

Squares, Circles, Triangles (you get the idea) would work as well to distinguish the different screws.

danzeitlin -

I'd use a Phillips #000 screwdriver also. The #00 can work, but if the screws are in really tight, it doesn't get far enough down into the screws to get purchase, so it will start to strip (and I agree that the screws are pretty soft). On mine, the screws for the fan were really tight, started to strip with #00, needed a #000 and quite a bit of pressure to get them to move.

jonathanmorgan - Reply

I thought it took a 000 as well. However, I tried both and realized the 00 works best.

john - Reply

Hi i was wondering if you can add 16gb to this model? or is 8 the maximum?

Igor - Reply

The Mid 2010 MacBook Pro 13" does support 16 GB RAM, but it is very picky about the type of RAM. OWC sells a 16 GB kit (2x 8 GB). I think it's got to be 1066 (aka 1067) MHz RAM. A lot of 8 GB modules on the market now are faster than 1066 MHz, and reports I've read say people start getting kernel panics if they use the wrong RAM.

Some info here:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/ma...

"1066 MHz PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM"

"*Originally, both the official and actual maximum RAM was 8 GB. However, as confirmed by site sponsor OWC, if running OS X 10.7.5 or higher, updated with the latest EFI, and equipped with proper specification memory modules, this model can support up to 16 GB of RAM."

Our Mid 2010 already had "the latest EFI" (i.e. Boot ROM version in System Profiler), so the reference to updating it may not be relevant.

Winston -

I used a 00 that fit but the screws were very tight so I used a tiny paintbrush with some wd40 on it and put it around the edges of the screws. Worked like a charm

valentinedhdh - Reply

I had the same problem. The #00 screwdriver worked for some of the screws but some others were too tight and I had to use a #000. Maybe it was because the cover had slightly bent because the battery inside had basically doubled its width, but I still found that the #000 was a much better fit for these screws. Even the ones that came out with the #00 came out much easier with the #000. I would suggest updating this guide to suggest using a #000.

tarriojuan - Reply

Had no idea they were so expensive.

Franklin - Reply

Phillips #00 is the right tool for all the steps (Except the 4 HD T6 screws). Maybe there is dirt in the notch.

Luis Soto - Reply

There is any chance to use the Toshiba MQ01ABD 1 TB 2.5" Internal Hard Drive MQ01ABD100 , it has7200 rpm , shuold it work?

Luis - Reply

If you are running OS X 10.11.2 or newer, battery provided by iFixIt will not work. I've already tried 2 batteries from iFixIt and neither worked. iFixIt needs to come clean on this unfortunate situation. I've already put 8 hours into this futile effort when it should have taken me 45 minutes.

gkofga - Reply

What was your solution? I'm using 10.11.3 OS X. I may need a battery replacement very soon too.

John Doe -

<i>The 10 screws that hold that bottom case take a #00 Phillips driver, if yours doesn't fit it's probably because it's cheaply made & not precise enough.</I>

I purchased the IFixIt 54 bit Driver Kit and their Phillips #00 are <b>NOT</b> the appropriate size for the bottom screws on this MacBook Pro. This manual needs to have the tools changed to Phillips #000 Screwdriver. Until then I shall not click the "Give the author +30 points" button. Apart from that, the rest of the manual is very good. It would also be an idea to make a comment about making sure the battery connector is in the correct position when plugging the battery back in. One poster commented that their battery will not charge anymore. My guess is a pin(s) was/were bent due to the connection not being in the vertical orientation when being pressed back together. :-)

THANK YOU for writing and generously supplying this guide for our use. It is much appreciated. +30 point coming when the Phillips #000 size is changed or added.

Joseph King - Reply

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

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Image 1/1: Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the battery connector up out of its socket on the logic board.
  • For precautionary purposes, we advise that you disconnect the battery connector from the logic board to avoid any electrical discharge.

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the battery connector up out of its socket on the logic board.

why is step 3 necessary?

gansodesoya - Reply

Quote from gansodesoya:

why is step 3 necessary?

Just to disconnect any power source to avoid damages by short-circuits.

MrKane - Reply

Quote from gansodesoya:

why is step 3 necessary?

Removes the possibility of any current flow. This is especially important if you are trying to mitigate the damage to the circuitry due to a spill on a keyboard.

amiller770 - Reply

I'm thinking of ordering the spudger. I was thinking of order the heavy duty spudger... or should I just order the normal. Will either of the spudgers work for this DIY?

shockaaa - Reply

Once you have a set of spudgers, you will wonder how you ever went without them. :-)

Brian -

$@$@. Don't use an non-isolated screwdriver for this. I just shorted-out my battery :(

Lukas Besch - Reply

You are absolutely right, never use a screwdriver on the logic board or any connector! Delicate use of fingernails or a credit card will get you through most situations if you lack a spudger.

Logan Bean -

How do you get that battery connector back on? Do you just press it in back in place after you're done?

Horace Chung - Reply

yes. I usually plug it in before I screw it down so I can lift the battery a bit and have enough slack to be able to go straight down on the connector, otherwise it comes in on a bit of an angle, which can't be good (though not necessarily bad).

maccentric -

Would it not be advisable to drain the battery completely before attempting to repair, if you want to be sure you don't get a spark when removing the battery connector?

Berlugana

bduault - Reply

Disconnecting the battery connector is not that different from simply unplugging a battery from an older model MacBook with a removable battery. You're not trying to protect yourself from a "spark", but the internal circuitry when taking the MacBook apart.

amiller770 -

I neglected step 3 and now my computer won't turn on. Could I have shorted out my logic board?

Plamen - Reply

I had the same problem , my macbook doesn't switch on working

marioluiggi -

A very easy and fast update indeed! Using this guide and the tools indicated on top I replaced the two RAM cards (2GB each) with two 8GB RAM cards from OWC for a total of 16GB RAM in my MBP Middle 2010 Core 2 Duo (Officially not supported according to Apple).

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Make sure you select RAM with these specs: 16GB DDR3 PC8500 1066MHz Kit (8GBx2)

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Apps open much faster and I can run a virtual machine at a decent speed.

Luis Soto - Reply

Removing the battery is not required, but in some instances can make installing ram much easier. If you plan on upgrading from 4GB (2X 2GB) to 8GB (2X 4GB) Removing the battery would be better. There are two levels of ram. If you are replacing both levels, then remove the battery. If you are just replacing the top, dont bother. Removing the battery for very long or even at all (depending on the CMOS battery age and health) could possibly reset settings, the clock, saved wifi passwords, and more.

Everett Whiteman - Reply

It is beneficial to remove the battery at this stage.

Knox Karima - Reply

This step almost finished me, and I did extensive damage to the battery plug. Fortunately, I later replaced the battery, and the replacement came with a new plug! :) Newbies need to know - 1. The battery plug is like a thin lip on a thicker lip, so you need to pry BETWEEN 2 thin lips to get it off, else you are trying to yank out the socket. 2. Mine was initially VERY tight, and trying to get it out broke the plastic on all sides of plug, even though I was as careful as possible. Luckily, this didn't hurt functionality and I later replaced the battery. AFTER disconnecting once, it was never so tight again,

Jeff Diamond - Reply

Image 1/3: It is useful to twist the spudger axially from beneath the fan cable wires to release the connector. Image 2/3: The fan socket and the fan connector can be seen in the second and third pictures. Be careful not to break the plastic fan socket off the logic board as you use your spudger to lift the fan connector straight up and out of its socket. The layout of the logic board shown in the second picture may look slightly different than your machine but the fan socket is the same. Image 3/3: The fan socket and the fan connector can be seen in the second and third pictures. Be careful not to break the plastic fan socket off the logic board as you use your spudger to lift the fan connector straight up and out of its socket. The layout of the logic board shown in the second picture may look slightly different than your machine but the fan socket is the same.
  • Use a spudger to pry up the fan connector out of its socket on the logic board.

  • It is useful to twist the spudger axially from beneath the fan cable wires to release the connector.

  • The fan socket and the fan connector can be seen in the second and third pictures. Be careful not to break the plastic fan socket off the logic board as you use your spudger to lift the fan connector straight up and out of its socket. The layout of the logic board shown in the second picture may look slightly different than your machine but the fan socket is the same.

Bummer, I broke the connector at the solder points. Be careful!

Hector - Reply

Any tips on how to solder it back on? I made the same mistake.

Juan Sebastian -

Hi Hector, how did you put it back?

I broke mine too and carefully glued it back in but now the fan isn't working... But I don't know if it's because of this or because it does not need to switch on as I also changed my hard drive from HD to SSHD Hybrid.

Thanks

Antoine B -

I did a terrible mistake when I try to remove the fan connector socket form the logic board I accidentally pop out the connector from the board.. I am not expert in soldering so big problem for me. What should I do?

Nielven Araullo - Reply

Bring it to someone who know to solde...

Chel - Reply

that you dont have to break off the fan connector).It is possible to leave the fan attached to the logic board by the single torx screw (on the right hand side in the image below). So h

Graham Tunnadine - Reply

The image is very misleading. This is why many people are breaking their connectors. Please correct this and make it VERY clear that one has to put the spudger straight behind the cables, NOT behind the connector, as shown in the pic.

Giunia - Reply

Image 1/1: One 7 mm T6 Torx screw
  • Remove the following three screws:

    • One 7 mm T6 Torx screw

    • Two 5.4 mm T6 Torx screws

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Image 1/1:
  • Lift the fan out of the upper case.

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Image 1/3: Pull the display data cable connector straight away from its socket. Image 2/3: Pull the display data cable connector straight away from its socket. Image 3/3: Pull the display data cable connector straight away from its socket.
  • Grab the plastic pull tab secured to the display data cable lock and rotate it toward the DC-In side of the computer.

  • Pull the display data cable connector straight away from its socket.

On my system the pad on top of the connector was shifted making the bracket difficult to rotate into the up position. The bracket looks like a handle so my first instinct was to pull it straight up. Big mistake. I ended up popping the brass guard off the connector on the logic board. The instructions could benefit from an arrow indicating the direction to pull and rotation of the bracket.

highnoontoday - Reply

The same thing happened to me. What did you do when you reassembled? thx Alan

Alan Schwartz -

Everything went fine, but now I cannot get the connector back - it seems that I'm doing everything in reverse order, but i doesn't fit

Alexei Zoubov - Reply

Image 1/2: One 8.6 mm Phillips Image 2/2: One 5.6 mm Phillips
  • Remove the following two screws securing the display data cable bracket to the upper case:

    • One 8.6 mm Phillips

    • One 5.6 mm Phillips

  • Lift the display data cable bracket out of the upper case.

The 8.6mm screw is stripped, what to do now?

mwmouawad - Reply

Same problem here but with the 5.6 mm one. In fact, that screw was slightly different from a phillips, it seems a tiny torq-set screw. Is that possible? Anyone else had a similar problem? I stripped it out using a phillips 00 that worked perfectly removing all the other phillips screws...

Blackwood - Reply

Did you solve the stripping problem? I stripped the 5.6.

Buzzy - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the subwoofer and right speaker connector up off the logic board.

How does this thing reconnect? there are no visible clips, hooks, pins, nothing. Adhesive?

Ben Flemming - Reply

Push it straight down. It should snap in.

BobG - Reply

Image 1/1: This socket is metal and easily bent. Be sure to align the connector with its socket on the logic board before mating the two pieces.
  • Pull the camera cable connector toward the optical drive to disconnect it from the logic board.

  • This socket is metal and easily bent. Be sure to align the connector with its socket on the logic board before mating the two pieces.

As mentioned, the socket can be easily damaged when re-inserting it. I didn't care enough and one pin was damaged. Wifi was not detected.

Hopefully the pin was not broken (only bent). Putting it back in its correct position, the wifi re-appeared.

Arnaud ROSAY - Reply

Image 1/3: Image 2/3: Image 3/3:
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the optical drive, hard drive, and trackpad cable connectors up off the logic board.

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Image 1/3: Use your spudger to slide the keyboard ribbon cable out of its socket. Image 2/3: Use your spudger to slide the keyboard ribbon cable out of its socket. Image 3/3: Use your spudger to slide the keyboard ribbon cable out of its socket.
  • Use your fingernail or the tip of a spudger to flip up the cable retaining flap on the ZIF socket for the keyboard ribbon cable.

  • Use your spudger to slide the keyboard ribbon cable out of its socket.

Sometimes spulger is not the best tool to slide the cable out. If it is difficult to slide, try two toothpicks to pull the cable from two sides simultaneosly.

Leo Nikitin - Reply

the zif cable is especially difficult to get back in fully. Seems I might need to make my own tool with fine tweezers that are rubber dipped (or something similar). Have had no luck otherwise and worry I am doing damage.

Mateo - Reply

As Mateo said, replacing the zif cable is NOT easy, and in this case, will leave you with a computer that won't power on- this cable connects the power button. I learned a trick somewhere for dealing with these cables- put a piece of good sticky tape on the cable, and use it to pull it back into the connector. Works every time.

stevesontheroad - Reply

Steve's trick of using a piece of tape is definitely a good one. It makes the re-insertion much easier.

BobG - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Peel the small strip of black tape off the keyboard backlight ribbon cable socket.

Be very careful while taking this black tape off. I accidentally broke the chip off the motherboard and so my keyboard is not backlit any more.

Asim Akath - Reply

Image 1/3: Use your spudger to slide the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket. Image 2/3: Use your spudger to slide the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket. Image 3/3: Use your spudger to slide the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the cable retaining flap on the ZIF socket for the keyboard backlight ribbon cable.

  • Use your spudger to slide the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket.

Easy to take out Zif cable but can't seem to get it back in again.

linuxuser101 - Reply

Be especially careful as my hole socket detached from the board. It would have helped to vertically press the socket to the board with the tip of a spudger. Thus partially blocking the strap, you can first peel the free end, then change position and peel the rest. Slide the ribbon cable perfectly horizontally.

Rainer - Reply

I had the same issue of trying to get the ZIF cable back in but found that if I used a piece of scotch tape, it worked. I followed this guide. MacBook unibody keyboard ribbon cable won't go in

spearson - Reply

A reassembly trick that works for me is to use some 3/4" blue painters tape to stick to the very back (lower end) of the ribbon cable so I can pull it up and back before locking the cam. Trying to get a good grip without cutting, or crimping the ribbon means no tweezers or pliers can be used.

originalmachead - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the battery indicator cable connector up off the logic board.

seems like a large leap from step 15 to 16. The microphone is under another mechanism of screws near the data cable bracket. Also there is a step missing above in which the screw is removed.

Jean Kang - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry the microphone off the adhesive attaching it to the upper case.

on the Australian/Asia version speaker cable is located underneath the logic board.

linuxuser101 - Reply

Image 1/1: Two 7 mm T6 Torx screws from the DC-In board
  • Remove the following screws:

    • Two 7 mm T6 Torx screws from the DC-In board

    • Five 3.3 mm T6 Torx screws

    • Two 4 mm T6 Torx screws

Can someone tell me what is glued on the ethernet port and what kind of glue it is?

Harry - Reply

Image 1/2: Remove the following Tri-Wing screws securing the battery to the upper case: Image 2/2: One 5.5 mm Tri-Wing screw
  • Removing the battery before lifting out the logic board is not strictly required, but makes removing the logic board easier and safer. If you leave your battery in, be especially careful not to bend the logic board against the battery's case near its bar code.

  • Remove the following Tri-Wing screws securing the battery to the upper case:

    • One 5.5 mm Tri-Wing screw

    • One 13.5 mm Tri-Wing screw

  • Lift the battery out of the upper case.

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Image 1/2: Pull the logic board away from the side of the upper case and remove it, minding the DC-In board that may get caught. Image 2/2: Pull the logic board away from the side of the upper case and remove it, minding the DC-In board that may get caught.
  • Lift the logic board from its left edge and raise it until the ports clear the side of the upper case.

  • Pull the logic board away from the side of the upper case and remove it, minding the DC-In board that may get caught.

Be careful while taking the board out, as the heatsink usually is caught by the optic drive.

Leo Nikitin - Reply

Image 1/2: The screws remain captive to the bracket. Image 2/2: Lift the the retaining bracket out from the upper case.
  • Remove two Phillips screws securing the hard drive bracket to the upper case.

  • The screws remain captive to the bracket.

  • Lift the the retaining bracket out from the upper case.

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Image 1/1:
  • Lift the hard drive from its free edge and pull it out of the chassis, minding the cable attaching it to the computer.

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Image 1/1:
  • Disconnect the hard drive by pulling the hard drive cable connector away from the drive.

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Image 1/2: Two 1.5 mm Phillips screws. Image 2/2: Two 4 mm Phillips screws.
  • Remove the following four screws securing the hard drive and IR sensor cable to the upper case:

    • Two 1.5 mm Phillips screws.

    • Two 4 mm Phillips screws.

  • Slide the hard drive and IR sensor bracket away from the edge of the upper case.

  • Carefully peel the hard drive and IR sensor cable from the upper case.

The orange-highlighted screws here are far longer than 4mm, aren't they?

Shelley - Reply

Image 1/2: One 3.8 mm Phillips screw. Image 2/2: One 5 mm Phillips screw
  • Remove the following screws securing the subwoofer to the upper case:

    • One 3.8 mm Phillips screw.

    • One 5 mm Phillips screw

  • The subwoofer is still connected to the right speaker, so don't completely remove it just yet.

  • Lift the subwoofer off the optical drive, and set it above the computer.

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Image 1/2: The leftmost screw may remain captive in the camera cable. Image 2/2: Lift the camera cable bracket out of the upper case.
  • Remove the two 10 mm Phillips screws securing the camera cable bracket to the upper case.

  • The leftmost screw may remain captive in the camera cable.

  • Lift the camera cable bracket out of the upper case.

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Image 1/2: Lift the optical drive from its right edge and pull it out of the computer. Image 2/2: Lift the optical drive from its right edge and pull it out of the computer.
  • Remove the three 2.5 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.

  • Lift the optical drive from its right edge and pull it out of the computer.

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Image 1/1: Be careful, as the power button ribbon cable is directly under this piece of tape.
  • Peel back the small piece of black tape covering the right speaker cable.

  • Be careful, as the power button ribbon cable is directly under this piece of tape.

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Image 1/1:
  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry the right speaker up off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

I found it easiest to start at the bottom (hard drive side) of the speaker.

Michael Vovaris - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Lift the subwoofer and right speaker assembly out of the upper case.

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Remove the two outer T8 Torx screws securing each side of the display bracket to the upper case (4 screws total).

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Image 1/1: Place your opened MacBook on a table as pictured.
  • Open your MacBook so the display is perpendicular to the upper case.

  • Place your opened MacBook on a table as pictured.

  • While holding the display and upper case together with your left hand, remove the T8 Torx screw from the lower display bracket.

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Image 1/1: Remove the last remaining T8 Torx screw securing the display to the upper case.
  • Be sure to hold the display and upper case together with your left hand. Failure to do so may cause the freed display/upper case to fall, potentially damaging each component.

  • Remove the last remaining T8 Torx screw securing the display to the upper case.

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Image 1/3: Rotate the display slightly away from the upper case. Image 2/3: Lift the display up and away from the upper case, minding any brackets or cables that may get caught. Image 3/3: Lift the display up and away from the upper case, minding any brackets or cables that may get caught.
  • Grab the upper case with your right hand and rotate it slightly toward the top of the display so the upper display bracket clears the edge of the upper case.

  • Rotate the display slightly away from the upper case.

  • Lift the display up and away from the upper case, minding any brackets or cables that may get caught.

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Image 1/1:
  • Remove the four 1.2 mm Phillips screws highlighted in red.

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Image 1/1: De-route the trackpad cable through its slot cut into the upper case.
  • Carefully dislodge the edge of the trackpad closest to the keyboard from its recess in the upper case by pushing it away from the brackets attached to the upper case.

  • De-route the trackpad cable through its slot cut into the upper case.

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Image 1/1: Remove the trackpad and set it aside.
  • Pull the trackpad away from the outer edge of the upper case.

  • Remove the trackpad and set it aside.

There's a missing step here. In addition to the trackpad, there's an aluminum structural piece that sits under the center of the keyboard, that has to be migrated from old to new case. It's clearly shown to the left of the repair-person's right hand in step 44.

anonymous 596 - Reply

Image 1/1: Use a T6 Torx screwdriver to loosely install the 1.1 mm set screw included with your new upper case into its tapped hole near the middle of the trackpad opening on your new upper case.
  • In the following steps, you will be working on your new upper case.

  • Use a T6 Torx screwdriver to loosely install the 1.1 mm set screw included with your new upper case into its tapped hole near the middle of the trackpad opening on your new upper case.

  • Only tighten it about one turn for now.

I bought a used replacement case and had to move a few parts from the old case to the replacement. This included the battery indicator cable, the clips for the trackpad and the bracket in the center of the top case. So worth it at this point to compare your old and replacement case to be sure everything you need is there.

Ron - Reply

Image 1/2: Use one hand to hold the trackpad cable in place as you insert the two retaining tabs on the outer edge of the trackpad under the lip on the upper case. Image 2/2: Pull the trackpad cable as you seat the trackpad into its void in your new upper case.
  • Carefully insert the cable from your old trackpad through its slot cut into your new upper case.

  • Use one hand to hold the trackpad cable in place as you insert the two retaining tabs on the outer edge of the trackpad under the lip on the upper case.

  • Pull the trackpad cable as you seat the trackpad into its void in your new upper case.

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Image 1/1: You'll install the rest in a bit.
  • Insert a 1.2 mm Phillips screw into each of the outer holes drilled into the trackpad (two screws total).

  • You'll install the rest in a bit.

  • Tighten the screws, then back them out about a quarter turn to aid in aligning your trackpad during the next few steps.

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Image 1/1: You can tell when the screw is tightened just right by the noise it makes when the trackpad clicks. If the set screw is too loose, the trackpad will have excessive play before it clicks. If it is too tight, the trackpad will click too easily and won't make the characteristic loud mouse clicking noise.
  • While continually trying to click your trackpad, gently tighten the T6 Torx set screw until the clicks return to their factory "feel."

  • You can tell when the screw is tightened just right by the noise it makes when the trackpad clicks. If the set screw is too loose, the trackpad will have excessive play before it clicks. If it is too tight, the trackpad will click too easily and won't make the characteristic loud mouse clicking noise.

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Image 1/1: Align the trackpad so it is centered in its hole cut into the upper case.
  • Next, flip your upper case over so the keyboard side is facing up.

  • Align the trackpad so it is centered in its hole cut into the upper case.

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Image 1/1: If its alignment looks good, install the rest of the Phillips screws along the inner edge of the trackpad.
  • Tighten the outer two screws along the inner edge of the trackpad and check the alignment of it on the outer side of the upper case.

  • If its alignment looks good, install the rest of the Phillips screws along the inner edge of the trackpad.

  • Before reassembling your machine, verify that the set screw is still installed in a position so the mouse will click correctly.

You can actually replace the keyboard alone fairly easily! I don't know why everyone says you have to replace the whole top case, because if you've got the guts to go this far, you might as well just peel back the illuminator cover and get to work pulling all those tiny screws in the keyboard... Just be careful when peeling up the black adhesive keyboard cover, because you will need to replace it. I used the edge of the ifixit Sesame tool (very thin flat metal opening tool) to carefully slip under any bits of adhesive, and had the keyboard exposed in no time. Also be careful because the clear plastic sheet is actually the keyboard illuminator. Once under all that, it's a mere 50 or so tiny screws, 2 screws in the power button backing, and you've got the keyboard out. Use a magnetized #000 phillips, it will make life much easier than anything else.

Logan Bean - Reply

Absolutely right. I just replaced a keyboard the same way without much problem but i just want to add that those tiny screws need extra care as the heads can get damaged very easily. If damaged, they become very difficult to remove.

Masood -

I did just that on my mid-2010 MacBook Pro about a month ago and sadly will have to do it to my wife's Early-2011 one next week. I was cleaning all the crap off her keyboard and apparently nuked the K and 0 keys on her keyboard. Probably my ply challenge was aligning the keyboard illuminator. It's still not aligned properly on mine so some keys are better lit than others, but otherwise it was a relatively easy fix and far cheaper than replacing the entire upper case.

John Adam Wickliffe -

My keyboard tasted good coffee and as a consequence keys "/", Enter, RShift, up/down arrows do not work. I was looking to replace upper casing but then saw your comment. My question is: can I get the keyboard alone, without top housing? IIUC that's exactly what you did, right? If so, where can I get the part? Cheers!

ebelin -

If I replace just the keyboard, are there any steps that I can skip?

Duane Wood -

I replaced my keyboard less than an hour ago. The biggest pain/most time consuming was reattaching the ZIF connector for the keyboard and backlight. No matter what I did I could not get the %#*@ thing to reattach. What sadist designs these things? I had to walk away from the project for an hour and finally success.

All those screws will make you go crosseyed!

Gordon - Reply

It helps to put some tape along the cable going lengthwise to the cable, and then fold the end of the tape onto itself to give yourself something to hold onto. This will give you some leverage to get that puppy into the socket.

maccentric -

I'm wondering about putting it back together. Different wires and small parts etc were glued or adhered in some way to the case or sides or whatever, as it is put together in the beginning. Is that just to make it easier to put it back together? Should I try to stick them back the way they were with something? Can you use tape or glue if it's just a wire? I wouldn't want to use something that would melt...or is this not something to worry apout?

ingwis - Reply

I just used 1/4 polymide tape, and iFixit double sided tape. Works like a champ.

Brent Hillyer -

Hmmm.... I wrote a comment but cant find it now. I asked where I might find a diagnostic page to find out what components may have been damaged by minor water spill. I opened this model A1278 Mac Air (2010?) and there was some corrosion on logic board near power connection which I cleaned off with alcohol/toothbrush. Nothing from online tips will make it power on. This is a great guide to dis-assembly but I don't know what is wrong, e.g., logic board, key board, etc. Tips on how to proceed.? Thanks.

donaldls - Reply

Conclusion

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

59 other people completed this guide.

2 Comments

I have a MacBook Pro 13" early 2011 model with a dented chassis, and a mid 2010 model with a good chassis that I don't use.

Can use the mid 2010 chassis with early 2011 internal parts?

flux1968 - Reply

That $@$* wasn't really all that difficult... unless you have hands like potatoes.

John McConnell - Reply

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