MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo Model A1211 Keyboard Replacement

  • Author: iRobot
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This guide shows the hidden screws you must remove when replacing the keyboard.

Edit Step 1 Battery  ¶ 

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Edit Step 1 Battery  ¶ 

  • Use your fingers to push both battery release tabs away from the battery, and lift the battery out of the computer.

Edit Step 2 RAM Shield  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2 RAM Shield  ¶ 

  • Remove the three identical Phillips screws from the memory door.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Lift the memory door up enough to get a grip on it, and slide it toward you, pulling it away from the casing.

Edit Step 4 Upper Case  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4 Upper Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 2.8 mm Phillips screws in the battery compartment near the latch.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Remove the following 6 screws:

    • Two 10 mm T6 Torx screws on either side of the RAM slot.

    • Four 14.5 mm Phillips screws along the hinge.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the four 3.2 mm Phillips screws on the port side of the computer.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees and remove the two 3.2 mm Phillips screws from the rear of the computer.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees again and remove the four 3.2 mm Phillips screws from the side of the computer.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Do not yank the upper case off quickly. The case is attached to the logic board via a ribbon cable.

  • Lift up at the rear of the case and work your fingers along the sides, freeing the case as you go. Once you have freed the sides, you may need to rock the case up and down to free the front of the upper case (there are some hidden plastic clips that need to be clicked off).

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the trackpad and keyboard ribbon cable from the logic board, removing tape as necessary.

  • Remove the upper case.

Edit Step 11 Keyboard  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11 Keyboard  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger to pry up the translucent plastic sheath covering the keyboard connector.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the black plastic flaps locking down the keyboard and keyboard backlight ribbon cables.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Slide the orange keyboard backlight ribbon out of its connector.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Peel up the orange tape covering the keyboard backlight connector.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the brown plastic flap locking down the keyboard backlight ribbon cable.

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Use a spudger or your finger to slide the keyboard backlight ribbon out of its connector.

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Carefully peel up the orange ribbon cable which carries the power and sleep signals, removing tape as necessary.

Edit Step 18  ¶ 

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Peel back the black protective sheath on the right side of the upper case. It is not necessary to fully remove this shield. Simply peel it back enough to access the screws beneath.

Edit Step 19  ¶ 

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Peel back the black protective sheath on the left side of the upper case. It is not necessary to fully remove this shield. Simply peel it back enough to access the screws beneath.

Edit Step 20  ¶ 

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Remove the ten identical Phillips screws attaching the keyboard to the casing.

Edit Step 21  ¶ 

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • There are four locking tabs along the back edge of the keyboard holding it in place. These tabs must be straightened before you can remove the keyboard.

Edit Step 22  ¶ 

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • The first frame shows a tab in the "locked" position and the second frame shows the same tab in the "unlocked" position.

  • Use needlenose pliers or a spudger to bend each of the four tabs so that they are all in the "unlocked" position.

Edit Step 23  ¶ 

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Slide the keyboard ribbon out of its connector.

  • If the keyboard ribbon won't slide out, make sure that the black plastic flap holding the ribbon in place is vertical.

Edit Step 24  ¶ 

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Place the upper casing on its edge and use a spudger to push the keyboard away from the casing, poking the spudger through the central keyboard screw hole. Grasp the keyboard as it separates from the casing.

Edit Step 25  ¶ 

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Maintaining your hold on the keyboard, lay the casing flat and gently bow the keyboard until the two tabs on either side of the keyboard come free.

  • Slide the keyboard away from the trackpad and out of the upper case.

  • When reversing the steps and installing the new keyboard, be sure to carefully insert the keyboard ribbon and the keyboard backlight ribbon into their respective slots in the upper case before reinserting the tabs on either side of the keyboard.

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

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo Model A1211 device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 19 In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

The replacement keyboard I bought, although advertised for A1211 had no tabs on the sides and 6 locking across the top. The extra locking tabs in the corners made the corners of the keyboard bubble up. If someone wanted to saw bits of the top cover it might work. I ended up breaking of the 2 extra locking tabs, and holding the corners down with double-sided tape. I had to triple up the double sided tape in 1 on the two corners to hold down all the layers. Not a great solution, but it actually worked and looked clean, and the keyboard lights still worked fine afterwards.

Shane, · Reply

As to this ENTIRE guide I have to say - BRAVO - thorough, detailed, complete. Made this keyboard replacement fast, and totaly NON-confusing! Yay!

re: tiny backlight cable - it IS possible to (gently) thread it through it's designated opening after the keyboard has been seated, but you must do that BEFORE you screw it down. I found it easy by using a spudger to lift the tiny connector end through its opening while gently pushing on the keyboard from below (the side where you will screw it in.

gnome, · Reply

Tip for new players - print this guide, then use Sello tape to tape the screws from each step on the picture. Keeps them all organised and easy to know which screws belong to which step when putting it all back together

MPB Monkey, · Reply

Thanks a lot for this great advice. I followed it, and it turned out to be very useful and practical.

Ralf Bergs,

Quote from MPB Monkey:

"...Tip for new players - print this guide, then use Sello tape..."

It's one word: Sellotape, the biggest brand in Europe. :-)

matthk, · Reply

In regard to the incredible amount of TINY screws, get an Ice Cube Tray or something with AT LEAST 8 compartments, then, when taking out the screws, mark EACH compartment with the step # and how many screws that were taken out, and used for THAT STEP (such as Step # 3 = 4 of 4 screws. Label EACH compartment, and keep them in line of each step. When it comes time to put everything back together, just reverse your Ice Cube Tray, and follow the Steps in Reverse!

As far as marking each compartment, try these POST IT PENS!!!

http://www.staples.com/Post-it-Flag-Ball...

GOOD LUCK! Take your time, it's not as difficult as it seems!

JerseyJeepGurl

JerseyJeepGurl, · Reply

This guide helped me to remove the keyboard on my MBP, but it doesn't take you further to take the keyboard apart. If you REALLY want to look inside the keyboard, you'll need to remove additional phillips screws (10), and carefully remove the inner plastic/clear layers inside the keyboard.

I did this to look for physical damage inside the keyboard and noticed that the black plastic? sheet was torn on my letter 'v', which was one of the keys not working. I did not see any physical sign anywhere else on the keyboard, though.

So, after pulling the defective keyboard away and installing the new one purchased from iFixit, putting everything back together is not too difficult, just reverse.

One thing, though: Check and double-check before you tighten the case screws to make sure your keyboard backlight is working. I noticed I had forgotten to plug it in, luckily for me before I put all the screws on the case.

To avoid losing any screws, print this guide and use clear tape to tape the screws next to the step. Use double-tape to avoid tearing or one of the tiny screws from falling out.

Good luck!

Thanks iFixit for helping me replace my MBP's keyboard!

juanortuno, · Reply

Thank you for some excellent advice form JerseyJeep Gurl

Quote from SubodhJ:

SubodhJ, · Reply

Worked perfect on my 4,1 mbp. Took ~15 min.

I don't see a boost in speed... or is just me?

I used 500 GB 7200 RPM Seagate SATA Hard Drive model ST9500420AS.

(if has a G letter at the end (ASG) is the one with built in shock protection who conflict sometimes with the mac own G protection).

kriss13, · Reply

This guide was awesome. I used JerseyJeepGurl's suggestion and used an egg carton, numbering each cavity as a step in the guide. So for a step that had me remove 3 different kinds of screws, I had a cavity for each, numbered: 1a, 1b, 1c and wrote a,b,c on the guide itself next to each bullet point in the step. It was awesome.

I guess that before starting I overlooked what a T6 torx actually was. I started this process at 8pm and realized right away that I did not have a set that small and of course all stores were closing. Lowes actually had an awesome fine torx driver set for only 7 bucks!

So that you fixit.

tech4eleven, · Reply

Quote from tech4eleven:

This guide was awesome. I used JerseyJeepGurl's suggestion and used an egg carton, numbering each cavity as a step in the guide. So for a step that had me remove 3 different kinds of screws, I had a cavity for each, numbered: 1a, 1b, 1c and wrote a,b,c on the guide itself next to each bullet point in the step. It was awesome.

I guess that before starting I overlooked what a T6 torx actually was. I started this process at 8pm and realized right away that I did not have a set that small and of course all stores were closing. Lowes actually had an awesome fine torx driver set for only 7 bucks!

So that you fixit.

Thank you everybody for "thanking me" on the compartment advice! Also, just about ANY Auto parts store will have a set of Torx Screw drivers, in a handy little set, that is all together. Good luck everybody,,remember,TAKE YOUR TIME, BREATH, AND DON'T GET FRUSTRATED!!! (STEALING ADVICE FROM PEARL JAM,,BREATH,JUST BREATH),,,,AND YOU'LL BE ABLE TO DO IT YOURSELF!

JJG

JerseyJeepGurl, · Reply

Quote from JerseyJeepGurl:

In regard to the incredible amount of TINY screws, get an Ice Cube Tray or something with AT LEAST 8 compartments, then, when taking out the screws, mark EACH compartment with the step # and how many screws that were taken out, and used for THAT STEP (such as Step # 3 = 4 of 4 screws. Label EACH compartment, and keep them in line of each step. When it comes time to put everything back together, just reverse your Ice Cube Tray, and follow the Steps in Reverse!

As far as marking each compartment, try these POST IT PENS!!!

http://www.staples.com/Post-it-Flag-Ball...

GOOD LUCK! Take your time, it's not as difficult as it seems!

JerseyJeepGurl

Michael Fredrickson, · Reply

Quote from Michael Fredrickson:

I get a piece of "corrugated" cardboard and draw an outline of the laptop and all the "compartments" that are accessed. When you take a screw out simply punch it threw top layer of the cardboard exactly where it goes. Multiple compartments - just draw another diagram on the cardboard. Voila!

Michael Fredrickson, · Reply

I just finished replacing my hard drive following these instructions and they were perfect. The only minor complication involved the ribbon cable connecting to the sleep light and IR sensor connectors. The entire cable was tightly glued to the hard drive. But I got it loose with 10 minutes of gentle prying with a spudger.

To keep track of the screws I just sketched an outline of the bottom panel, taped the screws in the right places and numbered them with the step numbers.

Tom McAuliffe, · Reply

I just used that Glad Press' N Seal. I just cut a 4 in piece, cut slits in it to about half way, Put the screws on there, and fold the pieces over the screws. You can number them, i just kept track of them. Also, you might not need that much, i just cut that much just to be safe.

benchallinor27, · Reply

I use magnet

I use the magnet that close the refigerator door.

The screws are put on the magnet, so it didnot fall from the table.

i am french so sorry for my english

Madoc,

Just another idea for a container for all the little screws: pillbox. I got one for about $1.00 at the store with 14 compartments.

Brian Littmann, · Reply

"port side of the computer" should read "starboard side". It's on the right-hand side when the computer is positioned normally in front of you.

joeycoole, · Reply

Port side as in I/O port side, as in the side that has the FireWire and ethernet ports. This is a MacBook, not a sailboat ;)

Andrew Bookholt,

Maybe I'm too used to running flight simulators on my Macs. But to us sailors or pilots, it would perhaps be clearer if the instructions mentioned "I/O port side" as Andrew did above.

Honestly, it never crossed my mind that 'port' refered to in/out…

joeycoole,

In my machine the screw closest to the power connector had a slightly thicker head, and would not sit flush, upon reassembly, unless it was returned to the same hole.

Martin Kenny, · Reply

Be super careful not to bend the metal tabs that hook the upper case into the lower case. If bent these make it challenging to close and reattach the upper case.

lama, · Reply

I had already done this once and now have a larger SSD to put in and cannot get past this step as the back just will not pop off. In fact- the front comes off fine but the back, where you cannot get the spudger, is "glued" or wedged solid. I suspect that the rear screw tabs have jammed. :(

Stefanie, · Reply

Kudos for this fantastic walk-through of replacing the hard drive. I just swapped in a new SSD and it was a piece of cake!

On Step 10, I tried just propping up the keyboard and leaving it connected to the logic board. It worked for a while but eventually the ribbon popped off. Luckily it wasn't damaged and it's super easy to replace.

DJR, · Reply

Same happened to me. No damage here either. :-)

Ralf Bergs,

fyi: The plastic cover is attached to the frame with some sort of adhesive.

Erik Hansen, · Reply

Be careful not to rip the black sheath, there are a couple small areas that are easy to rip, although it is not a big deal if you do.

jeffo, · Reply

My case had ten screws instead of eight. Also, three were covered by black plastic dots.

bjbuchanan, · Reply

My case had six tabs instead of four.

bjbuchanan, · Reply

When installing the new keyboard, insert the bottom tabs first, then bow the keyboard to insert the tabs, two on the top of each side. It can be a little tricky. The keyboard should be totally flat with no waves or bubbles.

jeffo, · Reply

When installing the new keyboard, make sure and route both ribbon cables back through the housing prior to installing. The small one is easy to miss (trust me).

bjbuchanan, · Reply

Before putting the new keyboard in its final position make certain that the backlight/sleep ribbon cable in the middle penetrates through the inside to the logic board.

doug789, · Reply

Ditto the other comments re: bottom tabs first the bowing the keyboard slightly to get the ends in. And despite the warnings I almost missed the tiny middle backlight ribbon connector - had to undo 4 screws and pry it through at the last minute!

lama, · Reply

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