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Introduction

How to replace the airport card in a MacBook Pro 15" Unibody late 2008/early 2009.

  1. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement, Access Door: step 1, image 1 of 2 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement, Access Door: step 1, image 2 of 2
    • With the case closed, place the Unibody top-side down on a flat surface.

    • Depress the grooved side of the access door release latch enough to grab the free end. Lift the release latch until it is vertical.

    The A1286 has no Access Door.!!

    I actually can see no sign of the battery!...

    aguib - Reply

    Quote from aguib:

    The A1286 has no Access Door.!!

    I actually can see no sign of the battery!...

    I assume you have the newer model, with the built-in battery. It's still removable with tools, but these are the wrong instructions for that model.

    lgc90 - Reply

    when will there be a guide for the other unibody macbook pro. that does not have an access door?

    irishking - Reply

    Is there a manual to show, how disasembly the display, i mean, after step 5, to check the display between lcd and aluminiun back case?

    Max

    Max - Reply

    On other guides you state the height of the HD that can be supported, e.g. MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo Model A1211 Hard Drive Replacement , I have read ( but have not confirmed ) that the uni-body MacBook Pro can be fitted with the 750GB and 1TB 12mm drive from Western Digital.

    Can you confirm this?

    Many thanks in advance.

    ahothabeth - Reply

    Quote from SHerwood Ball:

    My display and aluminum casing has separated.

    I don't know if it just snaps back together or does it need to be glued.

    I dropped mine on the carpeted stairs and the display still works.

    I'm hoping I can just snap it back together and that no plastic pieces or teeth of the snapping

    portion have been broken........

    SHerwood Ball - Reply

    When you say "left fan" is this "left when looking at the logic board after turning the computer over and looking it up opening it up" or "left when sitting at the computer keyboard and typing on it"?

    thvv - Reply

    We always use left and right in reference to the computer when you're using it.

    Andrew Optimus Goldheart -

    Directions were great and the worn dc in board was replaced. The hardest part of the procedure is disconnecting the data display cable. A better description of step 21 is to slide the connector parallel to the circuit board towards the outside corner. Reconnecting correctly took several tries.

    I used the tip of the spudger to nudge the corners a little at a time to seat the connector.

    The ribbon connector for the keyboard has to be inserted all the way before seating the retaining cap. It took me three tries . First try power button did not work second try numbers keys did not work.

    Thanks for the directions ...could not have done it with out them!!!

    landryd - Reply

    Hola. Poseo un MacBook Pro Late 2008 y debo cambiarle las cornetas. Me sirve unas cornetas de un MBP Late 2011?

    jegonzalez80 - Reply

    Please read the instructions about removing the bluetooth cable - you CAN work around it, and NOT take off the plug.

    kenneth krabat - Reply

  2. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 2, image 1 of 1
    • The access door should now be raised enough to lift it up and out of the Unibody.

  3. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement, Battery: step 3, image 1 of 1
    • Be sure the access door release latch is vertical before proceeding.

    • Grab the translucent plastic tab and pull the battery up and out of the Unibody.

    • If the latch is depressed it will lock the battery in place.

    Do I need to wait for the battery to charge completely before using the computer (while plugged in)?

    Kaila Potts - Reply

    No. You do not need to charge it completely before removing it.

    Titus (#1579) - Reply

  4. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement, Lower Case: step 4, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the following eight screws securing the lower case to the chassis:

    • One 5.4 mm Phillips screw.

    • Three 14 mm Phillips screws.

    • Four 3.5 mm Phillips screws.

    Hi, My name is Jess I need help asap I accidentally dropped my macbook Pro and i cant find the silver screw for the top left back side, Does any one know if I can replace it with an eye glass screw?? If you can help at all Please e-mail me at Chambliss_jess@yahoo.com thx please help me my bf is going off... ;(

    Jess - Reply

    The fixit PH00 is the wrong screw driver for this entire job. It did not fit in the screws, it was too pointy and caused screws to be rounded off.

    mattrittgers - Reply

  5. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 5, image 1 of 1
    • Using both hands, lift and remove the lower case off the upper case.

    About midway along each edge is a snap. To release each snap, gently slide the flat edge of a Spudger under the lower case, then lift the lower case away.

    jonathansturges - Reply

  6. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement, Display Assembly: step 6, image 1 of 2 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement, Display Assembly: step 6, image 2 of 2
    • If necessary, peel the EMI gasket off the camera cable connector.

    • Disconnect the camera cable by pulling the male end straight away from its socket toward the optical drive opening.

    • Do not try to lift this connector straight up off the board. Pull the connector parallel to the face of the logic board.

    • Deroute the camera data cable from the channel in the optical drive.

    I have a problem with previous made unprofessional teardown of this mac, and the port that the camera cable is connected to, on the m-board, is cracked, because somebody pulled it straight up .. can someone please, share an idea about the way of fixing it, or maybe a name of the part i need ?

    sanchoser - Reply

  7. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 7, image 1 of 2 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 7, image 2 of 2
    • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the camera cable bracket to the upper case.

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

    • Seperate the camera cable bracket from the camera cable and remove it from the computer.

    For reassembly, it would improve the instructions to note the exact orientation of the camera cable, as well as the LVDS cable, in these steps (7-10). This avoids confusion as to where those cables go when the display is reattached (working steps 11-13 in reverse).

    As viewed from the orientation of the laptop at this point (looking into the motherboard from the underside), these cables are routed ABOVE the mounting plates for the hinges.

    Viewed from the front of the machine (as it would be sitting on the desk in front of you during normal use), they are routed BELOW those plates.

    Haitham - Reply

    On the 13” there’s an additional screw securing the camera cable bracket to the speaker chamber thing. You have to then gently lift up on the speaker chamber corner.

    dgdeckert - Reply

  8. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 8, image 1 of 2 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 8, image 2 of 2
    • Grab the plastic pull tab secured to the LVDS cable lock and rotate it toward the DC-in side of the computer.

    • Pull the LVDS connector straight away from its socket.

    • When disconnecting the LVDS cable, do not pull on the black tab secured to the LVDS cable lock. We recommend wiggling the cable while applying tension to slowly "walk" the connector out of its socket.

  9. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 9, image 1 of 2 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 9, image 2 of 2
    • Remove the 7 mm Phillips screw from the LVDS cable bracket.

    • This screw may remain captive in the LVDS cable.

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

    On the 13” there are TWO screws securing the LVDS cable bracket, of different lengths.

    dgdeckert - Reply

  10. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 10, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the two outer 6 mm Torx screws securing each side of the display to the upper case (four screws total).

    Ccouldn't make it past step 10 as the two T6 screws on the right stripped. I was using the correct tool, correctly seated, but the screws were simply unwilling to turn and the screw head gave out before they turned at all. The ones on the left came out alright, but there seems to be some type of thread glue on them. Recommendations on how to break that seal without stripping the screw heads might be a good idea. Otherwise - be forewarned.

    Jonathan Field - Reply

    I have the same problem with step 10. Can't remove the screw on the left, it is all damaged.

    Benny Chew - Reply

  11. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 11, image 1 of 1
    • Open your MacBook Pro so the display is perpendicular to the upper case.

    • Place your opened MacBook Pro on a table as pictured.

    • While holding the display and upper case together with your other hand, remove the 6 mm Torx screw from the lower display bracket.

    Unlock without removing them , the two remaining center 6mm Torx screws securing the display to the upper case.

    thierry28722 - Reply

  12. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 12, image 1 of 1
    • Be sure to hold the display and upper case together with your other hand. Failure to do so may cause the freed display/upper case to fall, potentially damaging each component.

    • Remove the last remaining 6 mm Torx screw securing the display to the upper case.

    One of the Torx screws holding the Display in place failed to come out. I tried too hard and it shredded the head of the screw so there was no physical leverage to the screw driver, so I left it to avoid any further damage.

    So instead I removed ‘not’the torx screw on the computer but the one on the display itself. There are three on the inner part of the screen, two facing the display and the third on the other side. It sled out easily.

    It only added a couple of minutes to my time removing it.

    But a word of caution, you must remove the long plastic housing that holds the cables for the iSight and display, just be gentle and slide it off trying not to snag the cables, it should come off easy.

    cngdoon - Reply

  13. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 13, image 1 of 3 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 13, image 2 of 3 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 13, image 3 of 3
    • 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 away from the upper case, minding any brackets or cables that may get caught.

    If I purchase a MBP 15' for parts that has a good top case, LCD and Glass, could I stop at Step 14, replace the entire top case and reverse from Step 13 to put it back together? Or do I need to proceed with steps 14 to 21, loosening the glue, lifting the glass, replacing the LCD?

    jbarrick1 - Reply

    I think you should be good up to just Step 14 if that's the case.

    craig - Reply

    On the 13” just slightly open the display/lid a little more and it’ll fall away without needing to do any of the push forward/away stuff as depicted on the 15” here.

    dgdeckert - Reply

  14. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement, Airport Card: step 14, image 1 of 1
    • Slide the clutch cover toward the right edge of the display.

    • The clutch cover will move approximately .25" and stop. Do not force it too far to the right.

    • When reinstalling the clutch cover, be sure to slip it over the components protruding from the lower edge of the display about .25" to the right of its final installed position on the display.

    Instructions should mention that the clutch cover is NOT symmetric: it has one side that faces the back (outside) of the case when closed, and another that faces inside (toward the keyboard). This will be obvious if you look at the cover from the side (as if looking down a tunnel) after removing it. The side facing away from the keyboard has a straight vertical shape; the side facing inward is more rounded.

    It is possible to reassemble the cover in the wrong direction, and the case will still close, but there will be a small (~1.5 mm) gap at the base of the display if you do this. Noting which end of the clutch cover faces the DVD slot and which faces the Magsafe connector at this step will avoid this problem.

    Haitham - Reply

  15. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 15, image 1 of 2 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 15, image 2 of 2
    • Starting at its far left end, rock the clutch cover along its long axis while pulling it away from the clutch hinge.

    • Working from right to left, carefully continue to release and lift the clutch along the lower edge of the display assembly.

    • Lift the clutch cover up off the front bezel and set it aside.

    • When reinstalling the clutch cover, be sure to widen the opening when slipping it over the small black plastic cosmetic cover that fills the open end of the clutch cover when it is in place. The cosmetic cover has very thin and delicate plastic arms that hold it to the right clutch hinge.

  16. MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 16, image 1 of 2 MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2008 and Early 2009 Airport Card Replacement: step 16, image 2 of 2
    • Remove the two Phillips screws holding down the airport board.

    • Carefully unplug the two antenna cables and the airport cable.

    About the thermal paste - when I removed the old airport card there was no thermal paste there. Also there is none on the one I bought of amazon. Is it really necessary?

    Dmitry Litosh - Reply

Conclusion

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

40 other people completed this guide.

Will Budney

Member since: 04/28/2010

2,326 Reputation

2 Guides authored

One Comment

It was easier than expected, except for putting the plastic hinge cover back on properly, the plastic feels weak, but it’s stronger than it feels!

First time I took apart the screen from the body it took me 20mins being careful, now I can do it in less than 6mins! I’ve it a few times now!

cngdoon - Reply

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