MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display Mid 2012 Right Fan Replacement

Replace the Right Fan in your MacBook Pro 15" Retina Display Mid 2012.

Fans can be such blowhards, except when they blow out. Use this guide to help you replace a damaged, broken, or faulty right fan.

14 Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Eight 3.0 mm

14 Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following pentalobe screws securing the lower case to the MacBook Pro:

    • Eight 3.0 mm

    • Two 2.3 mm

7 Edit Step 2  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Set the lower case aside.

7 Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Lifting from the edge nearest the clutch cover, lift the lower case off the MacBook Pro.

  • Set the lower case aside.

3 Edit Step 3 Battery Connector  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

3 Edit Step 3 Battery Connector  ¶ 

  • Peel back the warning label covering the battery connector.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Bend the battery cables back and out of the way, ensuring that the battery connector doesn't accidentally make contact with the logic board.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Using the flat end of a spudger, gently pry the battery connector straight up out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Bend the battery cables back and out of the way, ensuring that the battery connector doesn't accidentally make contact with the logic board.

14 Edit Step 5 AirPort/Camera Cable  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

14 Edit Step 5 AirPort/Camera Cable  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry the three AirPort antenna cables straight up off of their sockets on the AirPort board.

5 Edit Step 6  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Be sure to push parallel to the board, pushing first on one side, then the other to "walk" the connector out of its socket.

5 Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to push the camera cable connector out of its socket on the logic board.

    • Be sure to push parallel to the board, pushing first on one side, then the other to "walk" the connector out of its socket.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Slide the spudger underneath the length of the cover, releasing the adhesive.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Insert the flat end of a spudger underneath the rubber heat sink cover on the right fan.

  • Slide the spudger underneath the length of the cover, releasing the adhesive.

  • Lift the cover and flip it back so that you can access the cables underneath.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

Image 1/3: The cables are adhered to the fan, so peel them up carefully to avoid damaging them.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use your fingers to pull the AirPort/Camera cables up off the fan.

    • The cables are adhered to the fan, so peel them up carefully to avoid damaging them.

  • Carefully de-route the cables from the plastic cable guide.

Edit Step 9 I/O Board Cable  ¶ 

Image 1/3: In a similar fashion, remove the I/O Board connector from its socket on the I/O Board.

Edit Step 9 I/O Board Cable  ¶ 

  • Using the flat end of a spudger, pry the I/O Board connector straight up out of its socket on the logic board. On reassembly, connect this end first as it does not flex.

  • In a similar fashion, remove the I/O Board connector from its socket on the I/O Board.

  • Remove the I/O Board cable from the MacBook Pro.

Edit Step 10 Right Fan  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 10 Right Fan  ¶ 

  • Remove the single 2.9 mm T5 Torx screw securing the AirPort card to the logic board.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

Image 1/2:

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Grasp the thin sides of the AirPort card and pull parallel to the logic board, removing the AirPort card from the MacBook Pro.

2 Edit Step 12  ¶ 

Image 1/2: Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, '''not''' the socket itself.

2 Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the retaining flap on the right fan ribbon cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Starting at the top of the cable, slide a plastic opening tool under the right fan cable to free it from the logic board.

  • Use caution when freeing the cable, as it is strongly adhered to the logic board.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

Image 1/1: One 4.4 mm T5 Torx screw

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Remove the following three screws securing the right fan to the logic board:

    • One 4.4 mm T5 Torx screw

    • One 3.9 mm T5 Wide Head Torx screw

    • One 5.0 mm T5 Torx screw with 2 mm collar

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

Image 1/1:

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Lift and remove the right fan out from the MacBook Pro.

Conclusion

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

Now that you've finished, share your repair story with others.

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46 Comments

Successfully replaced the right hand fan on my macbook pro retina. It no longer sounds like a lawn mower. Who needs geek squad??? The whole process took less than 30 minutes.

racolon4 - Reply

To remove the back panel there are two different pentalobe screws 2.3mm and 3mm however on the tools list there is only one screwdriver. Will I be able to remove both screws with the same screwdriver?

lantzero - Reply

In my case it worked. Don't know if it was a 2,3 or 3 mm screwdriver

Christian Mohr -

The 2.0 and 2.3 mm measurements are screw lengths, the screw heads are the same sized P5 pentalobe heads. We include the screw lengths so you don't put the wrong screws in the wrong places and end up with screw heads poking out of your device. Hope that clears up some confusion =)

Sam Lionheart -

Yes the same screwdriver will remove both screws, the difference in screws I believe is the length and width but the head is the same.

michaelmohajer -

will this unit work with the Mid 2012 Macbook Pro Retina's as well?

drscottgreenwell - Reply

Same question...anyone know? Damaged my 2012 board and if possible would like to upgrade to this unit

cloughenough -

This works for rMBP 2012 late

iyeori -

Woohoo, much easier than I thought... Just got confused with the bottom case screw driver but after figure out it was P5 then everything went smooth.... One thing I wanted to upgrade was the wifi to ac and got one on ebay!

didierma - Reply

If you have 54 Bit Driver kit, please use Star 5 driver to remove screw for rMBP 2012 Late

iyeori - Reply

Where can I find the driver for the MacBook Pro Retina Display 15'4 i7 on your website iFixit please.

Epifanio - Reply

It took about 40 minutes due to an extreme measure of caution but I did it! The only real difficulty was reattaching the screen to the base (yes you have to pry the hinges open) and re-connecting the camera wires. After a few tries the camera wires finally came together. I'm hating Apple for all it's frailty and magical screws but I love ifixit!

floyd - Reply

Simple guide, but it solved my problem. Was wondering why the top two screws weren't going all the way down. Hadn't realized they were 0.7mm shorter.

Emilio Mejia - Reply

I have BootCamp running Win7 on my MBPwRetina15" 2013'Late. I run Visual Studio to build and run my Company's Application which is very CPU & NVidia (specific) intensive. So much so that during a build & run of app I was averaging about 85~95+Celcius!!! And every so often would reach 100Celcius!!! I could not take it anymore so I decided to delve into and re-apply Thermal Paste on the CPU/GPU. I ended up going with CooLaboratory Liquid Pro instead of the traditonal AS5. The original Thermal Paste was pure garbage,,, part of the CPU seemed like it was missing TP. I was scared to do this but it turned out easier than I had imagined. I am currently building the same application and can already observe that the temps average about 75~85 and once in a while will reach 90Celcius. So I am seeing about a 10~15 degree drop in Temps and that makes me very happy!

Alvaro Suarez - Reply

Nice to hear that, i was looking for that kind of information. I have a MBPwRetina 15 Mid 2012 and looking to obtain the best performance!

Jose David Valle -

Does anyone noticed that the bottom cover and the bottom case is actually linked with the black plastic near the battery?! After the first time you open the cover, it will be impossible to put it back to the original place. Does the critical?! Thanks a lot for informing

jamiegan835 - Reply

I was able to simply push and click those clips back into place before I did the screwing.

Tim Peat -

I truly believe this is placebo and the 10*C difference is because in the process the dust was removed from the fan/heat sink rather then the thermal "magic" paste.

This is a "PC" habit.

On the other hand, all the cases and protections out there have a bad effect on cooling (not sleeves or pouches) because the whole aluminum body helps dissipate heat.

I've never had any problems with any mac regarding heat (they do get hot, but it is OK).

Whenever you feel heat from electronic device means the heat radiates away from it.. which means the cooling is doing a good job :).

kriss13 - Reply

Hey,

Writing about dust and dirt, do you know any cleaning products for the interior of the mac. i mean how do you clean your laptop, pc, etc..

Regards

Jose David Valle -

This is untrue. Over time thermal paste will dry up and crack and not provide good coverage between the device and the cooler. The paste massively improves the thermal transfer between the chip and the heatsink. If you do not believe in the magic paste then you should wipe it all off and apply just a little bit or none at all and then compare temperatures. You will see the paste is responsible for a big reduction in temperature.

Andrew Fox -

I was able to remove all screws but lower case is not comming off easly. Is it glued to somthing?

Thanks for help.

c4rlosv8 - Reply

There are two clips in the centre which simply unclip with a little force.

Tim Peat -

For rMBP 2012 Late, you don't need to remove this sticker.

iyeori - Reply

Have laptop charging issues after this. When fully charged and i plug in magsafe it starts with green, then turns red and stays red (like if it was charging). Status bar says NOT charging. If i use battery a little bit (down to 69%) magsafe does the same (green then stay red). Status bar says battery 69% NOT charging. and it seems to be true. Any suggestions?

g000phy - Reply

Double check the connection from the battery to the logic board and the logic board socket itself... Might have damaged by disconnect/reconnect.

max damage -

are the 3 cables identify ?

darryll - Reply

will this procedure remove my warranty? I have applecare for another 2 years, Laptop was dropped on the side, there is a very small dent on the side of I/O.

Oleg Babko - Reply

Yes, this voids your warranty.

max damage -

If I am facing the MacBook like I'm surfing or typing, this I/O board is referring to which side of the MacBook? Left or right side? How about replacing the other side of I/O board? The other side I/O port are part of LogicBoard? If I want to replace it, need to replace the whole LogicBoard? TQ.

Delta - Reply

These are notoriously difficult to remove. I actually damaged 2/3 of the connector pins during the process. Thankfully i was still able to fit them in place. This step should not be underestimated.

Alvin Chua - Reply

I damaged 1/3 of these litte guys, how did you get them back together?!

is there a way to replace the antenna?

Fabian Schweinfurth - Reply

unless you have really tiny fingers, a tweezer helps, just be careful not to damage the wires or the board as your holding each cable in place. Oh and take your time - this is like the most frustrating step in the process, imo.

Arn Custodio - Reply

The order of the cables doesn't seem to matter when re-attaching. It also might be helpful to unscrew and eject the airport card. Having it free can give you a better angle.

joey - Reply

Definitely the hardest step (when putting it back together). The three pins were on progressively longer plugs, so I put the shortest one on the left and so on. This helps with getting the right angle. I used my fingers and the spudger to guide them back in. It took me easily 10-15 minutes to do this. The pattern that worked eventually was to first adjust the angle of the pin head so that it's x/y/z axes would line up perfectly with the connection if you are able to bring it together just so. If you're off on any of these while you try to bring it together, you won't be able to just click it down at the end. Good luck!

Thomas Kunjappu - Reply

After reading so many reviews on ifixit and other sites regarding the difficulty of replacing my MacBook Pro retina screen assembly, I was a bit nervous. Using this walk through made it super easy. Thank you so much for taking the time to create it!

cabcpa - Reply

Removing these 3 tiny cables is completely unnecessary. I removed my fan last week to clean and it slips by these cables. For some dumb reason i wanted to follow this "correct" procedure and now one of the gold connections detached from the wire like it was nothing. Seriously, dont do this. I used a spunger and was very delicate putting it back on... And look what happened. SKIP!

travismlive - Reply

travismlive is right, you do not need to remove these cables or the airport card. Just remove the I/O board cable, undo the screws, and detach the antenna cables from the fan where they are glued with a spudger. Unlock the ZIF-socket and the you can wriggle the fan out. Probably saved my airport card, thanks travismlive!

Jasper - Reply

I only successfully reattached 1 of the 3 AirPort cables, I just taped the other two. But the AirPort seems to work fine. Do these also have anything to do with Bluetooth though? I do seem to have trouble with Bluetooth after this operation. In any case, it was worth it... I replaced the screen with a new Apple screen for less than 1/2 the Apple Store wanted! Thanks!

Douglas Johnston - Reply

Would soldering them back in place be better than taping? I certainly don't want spare solder on my motherboard, so I figure that'd be a last resort only if I lose AirPort connectivity.

Douglas Johnston - Reply

I've broken camera connection socket, is it repairable?

Sergey - Reply

Same for me too just take the socket from your broken screen and cut it off and solder it onto the new screen. It was really hard because it's so small but I did it.

bhayes9614 -

This is much easier if you do step 7 first so you can pull lightly on the cable and take the tension off the connection caused by the stiff cable.

mayer - Reply

If you are removing the right fan it is not necessary to unplug the camera cable. You can slip the fan out underneath the cable.

noahtfu - Reply

Hi! Camera flex cable is from MBP Retina Mid 2012 & Early 2013. Not Late 2013 :) Edit it please.

kramerigor - Reply

I was able to flip the retaining flap while removing the damaged fan but accidentally dislodged after installing the replacement fan. Again, be very careful at this stage. Thankfully my new fan appears to function normally.

Alvin Chua - Reply

Easier to do while removing fan.

mayer - Reply