MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2011 Logic Board Replacement

Replace the logic board in your MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2011.

Use this guide to replace your bare logic board. This requires removal of every component attached to the logic board.

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

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Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following ten screws securing the lower case to the upper case:

    • Three 13.5 mm (14.1 mm) Phillips screws.

    • Seven 3 mm Phillips screws.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Using both hands, lift the lower case near the vent to pop it off two clips securing it to the upper case.

  • Remove the lower case and set it aside.

Edit Step 3 Battery Connector  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3 Battery Connector  ¶ 

  • For certain repairs (e.g. hard drive), disconnecting the battery connector is not necessary but it prevents any accidental shorting of electronics on the motherboard. If you do not disconnect the battery connector, please be careful as parts of the motherboard might be electrified.

  • 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.

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 Battery  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5 Battery  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 7.4 mm Tri-wing screws securing the battery to the upper case.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Carefully peel the battery warning label off the upper case between the battery and the optical drive to reveal an additional Tri-wing screw.

  • Remove the last 7.4 mm Y1 Tri-wing screw securing the battery to the upper case.

  • Do not remove the label from the battery.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Use the attached plastic pull tab to remove the battery from the upper case.

Edit Step 8 Left Fan  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8 Left Fan  ¶ 

  • Remove the three 3.4 mm (3.1 mm) T6 Torx screws securing the left fan to the logic board.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to disconnect the left fan connector from 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.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Lift the left fan out of the upper case.

Edit Step 11 Logic Board  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the right 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.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Remove the three 3.4 mm (3.1 mm) T6 Torx screws securing the right fan to the logic board.

  • Lift the right fan out of its opening in the logic board.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Pull the camera cable out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Don't lift upward on the camera cable as you disconnect it. Pulling upward on the cable may damage both the cable and the logic board. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the AirPort/Bluetooth connector up from its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

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

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the hard drive/IR sensor cable from its socket on the logic board by lifting up from beneath its connector.

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to lift the subwoofer/right speaker connector out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Pry up from beneath the wires.

Edit Step 18  ¶ 

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 1.5 mm ( 1.2 mm ) Phillips screws securing the keyboard/trackpad cable cover to the logic board.

  • Lift the cover off the logic board and set it aside.

Edit Step 19  ¶ 

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the trackpad connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 20  ¶ 

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Use your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable ZIF socket.

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

  • Use the tip of a spudger to pull the keyboard ribbon cable out of its socket.

Edit Step 21  ¶ 

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

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

Edit Step 22  ¶ 

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • 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 straight out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Do not lift up on the display data cable, as its socket is very fragile. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

Edit Step 23  ¶ 

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

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

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

  • Pull the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of its socket.

Edit Step 24  ¶ 

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Remove the following nine screws:

    • Seven 3.4 mm ( 3.1 mm) T6 Torx screws on the logic board

    • Two 8 mm T6 Torx screws on the DC-In board

Edit Step 25  ¶ 

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Carefully lift the logic board assembly from its left side and work it out of the upper case, minding the optical drive cable and the I/O ports that may get caught during removal.

  • If necessary, use the flat end of a spudger to separate the microphone from the upper case.

  • Pull the I/O port side of the logic board away from the side of the upper case and remove the logic board assembly.

Edit Step 26 Heat Sink  ¶ 

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Edit Step 26 Heat Sink  ¶ 

  • Lay the logic board down on a soft flat surface with the heat sink facing up.

  • Remove the six #1 Phillips screws securing the heat sink to the logic board.

  • Keep track of the small springs housed under each screw.

Edit Step 27  ¶ 

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Edit Step 27  ¶ 

  • Remove the heat sink from the logic board.

  • If the heat sink appears to be stuck to the logic board after removing all six screws, it may be helpful to use a spudger to separate the two components.

  • If you need to mount the heat sink back onto the logic board, we have a thermal paste guide that makes replacing the thermal compound easy.

Edit Step 28 Logic Board  ¶ 

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Edit Step 28 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • If necessary, lift the microphone out of its recess in the left speaker housing.

Edit Step 29  ¶ 

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Edit Step 29  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 5 mm Phillips screws securing the left speaker to the logic board.

Edit Step 30  ¶ 

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Edit Step 30  ¶ 

  • If present, remove the small strip of black tape covering the left speaker connector.

  • Carefully pull the left speaker wires upward to lift the left speaker connector out of its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 31  ¶ 

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Edit Step 31  ¶ 

  • Carefully pull the microphone cables upward to lift the microphone connector out of its socket on the logic board.

Edit Step 32  ¶ 

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Edit Step 32  ¶ 

  • Pull the DC-In board cables toward the heat sink to disconnect the DC-In board from its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the cables parallel to the face of the logic board.

Edit Step 33  ¶ 

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Edit Step 33  ¶ 

  • Release the tabs on each side of the RAM chip by simultaneously pushing each tab away from the RAM.

  • These tabs lock the chip in place and releasing them will cause the chip to "pop" up.

  • After the RAM chip has popped up, pull it straight out of its socket.

  • Repeat this process if a second RAM chip is installed.

  • Logic board remains.

  • If you need to mount the heat sink back onto the logic board, we have a thermal paste guide that makes replacing the thermal compound easy.

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

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 15" Unibody Late 2011 device page.

Required Tools

Arctic Silver ArctiClean

$7.95 · 50+ In stock

Arctic Silver Thermal Paste

$8.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #1 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Recommended Tools

54 Bit Driver Kit

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Magnetic Project Mat

$19.95 · 50+ In stock

Pro Tech Screwdriver Set

$59.95 · 50+ In stock

Anti-Static Project Tray

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Comments Comments are onturn off

Step 1 (technically step 9 - replacing the base plate) Apparently one of my screws was a micron or two smaller than the others. This screw belongs to the hole above the optical drive, which is also apparently a couple of microns smaller than the others. It took seven attempts to figure which screw had originally been in that hole; all the other screws were too large, but fitted perfectly everywhere else.

Bizarre much?

Will, · Reply

It might be a matter of how the screws are driven in, and not that they're slightly different sizes. When I reassembled my MacBook, a couple of the screws, including the one over the optical drive you mention, were hard to drive in and jutted up a little bit instead of sitting entirely flush. Swapping screws didn't help. The solution was to unscrew them and drive them in at a bit of an angle - perpendicular to the slightly curved surface of the back plate where the screw holes were, instead of fully vertical with respect to the ground the Macbook is sitting on. Doing it that way, the screws were easier to drive in and they all ended up flush in their holes. Didn't matter which screws they were. (I swapped a few around just to check after reading this.)

Andrew Janke,

I discovered a great way of organizing the screws. I used an ice cube tray and added the screws in order, keeping the different kinds together. So when it came to reversing the steps, the screw order was an added control step to returning everything in its place.

leonie, · Reply

Great advise! Love it! :)

Ririds,

I used to do that and that worked really great until I bumped it by accident and the entire tray went on the rug! I spent the next day sorting things out.

Now I use these:

http://www.sciplus.com/p/50-114-CLEAR-PL...

The lower ones 50 to a package. I mark them w/ blue tape. Often if it's part like the fans, or the optical drive I'll tape the screws into/near the holes where they belong. I did this a lot especially w/ the bottom screws from MBPs until I'd done so many I knew exactly where the longer ones went.

Richard Sato,

@Will, in my case I had the same result as you did. As a reminder to myself the next time I need to open the computer, I put a dot of white paint on those two screw's head and a very, very thin ring of white on the very edge of each hole, that way I'll know they go into those two holes.

Roger, · Reply

Actually the four screws on the bottom were not threaded all the way up. I didn't check to see if the thread gauge was the same on them, but it wasn't until I had about four screws out (I didn't take them out in the order that the bottom all came out first) that I noticed a difference. I then took out the rest of the bottom ones to see if they matched the two that were already out that weren't threaded to the top. They did. So I went under the assumption that those were all bottom screws and when I put it back together everything went fine with no resistance.

So there are three types of screws: Four for the bottom, three long ones as indicated and three others that might be slightly smaller than the bottom ones.

wresnick, · Reply

Hi,

Although its more than a year since your contribution, I thought you might be amused to know that it is not just that the screws go in more easily when at an angle, Apple actually drilled and tapped the holes at a 15% angle. I too had tried to drive them in straight. An Apple "genius" - I was in for something else - clarified the design for me. It was done so that the screws lay flush on the angled part of the lower case. Nice design, but since Apple encourages DIY memory and drive changes, they could have mentioned this little ... trap.

H Stahl,

MacBookPro8,2

Intel Core i7, 2,2 GHz, RAM 16 GB

Mountain Lion

May someone help me?

I have installed the second drive with ssd 840 evo, but when I try to copy the file from the new drive to the main hd this in not allowed (errore -36)

Piero, · Reply

Hey everyone, here's the very best way to PERFECTLY organize your screws AND keep track of the order of the procedure: Get a piece of plain corrugated cardboard and a pen (I like using a Sharpie). For EACH step of the disassembly, draw a simple diagram of the layout of the computer on the piece of cardboard, with dots or Xs where the screws are located. Right after you remove each screw from the computer, poke a hole in the cardboard in its corresponding diagram position with your screwdriver and place the screw in that hole. If there are other non-screw related parts to be removed, you can add notes below each step diagram to remind you of where they go or how they should be placed. This cardboard method is great not only because your screws will not go flying or get mixed up by accident if bumped, but each screw goes EXACTLY back where it came from and you can keep the cardboard as a template for future use if necessary!

- zerø K

zeroK, · Reply

for all the mac 2011 owner. we should pressure apple to accept their fault. they gave as a piece of junk while they took our $2000. -betrayed apple fanboy

mindful, · Reply

These instructions worked great for me. I ordered a replacement battery from Key Power (on Amazon) for my 15" Macbook Pro (mid-2010). Cost was $74 shipped.

Battery came with 3 different screwdrivers to help with installation. I just needed the one size though, since my 2010 seemed to use all the same size screws.

Thanks!

Marcos, · Reply

nails work pretty well as well...

Sibe Jan Kramer, · Reply

At first sight I was confused when I read the description at this step, 'cause it seemed that disconnecting the battery connector was optional, in order to eliminate static discharge. While it's a helpful advice in other circumstances (as mentioned as an example changing hard drives), when changing the battery it is not an option - you have to disconnect the battery connector.

It would have been better to mention the optional disconnecting recommendation in a side-note.

Other than that, an excellent guide!

Damienn, · Reply

the fact that this step is optional can not be stressed enough. i tried disconnecting the battery and in the process it short circuited which now leaves me with an even more expensive problem than i had before when i just wanted to change hard drives (at least the new hard drive works fine..)

the hard drive changing worked though.

nina, · Reply

Excellent guide, it was as easy as a breeze to replace my battery. I can't believe I nearly followed Apple in their saying that this part was not user replaceable. Great job for this description, and many thanks. iFixIt is THE reference for Mac owners.

Patrick.

Patrick Demaret, · Reply

So - I have a weird comment about this. I wanted to make sure that I was getting the right model - so I opened up my laptop and then thought "well, why not just remove the battery while i'm in here, it's shot anyway". Though, I forgot about the stupid screws (Apple really did us over on that one!). Though I disconnected the battery connector and didn't bother to re-connect it when I was finished and just put the cover back on.

Here's the weird part - when I went to turn my laptop back on...MY BATTERY WAS RECOGNIZED...AND WORKING! I was under the impression that the connector "connects" the battery's charge to the laptop, but this just doesn't make sense! Plus, now my very dead battery is in "normal" condition according to the system report. I haven't worked for apple, but have about 5 years of IT experience and am baffled by this! I'm starting to think i've experience a miracle! Has this happened to anyone else?

Shelly, · Reply

Possibly disconnecting the battery caused the System Management Controller to reset. That might have been your problem rather than the battery itself. See http://osxdaily.com/2010/03/24/when-and-...

Duke Briscoe,

I'd just like an advise of where to dispose the old battery. Thanks

Jaime Serafim, · Reply

I successfully removed my right fan, cleaned it and installed it back. But when it came to the left one I accidentally broke the connector from the logic board. Now I'm left with only one functioning fan. I'm using an external laptop fan. Do I have to replace the whole logic board or can it be fixed somehow? My temp is between 90-95 C when I run a heavy game.

khalid alodan, · Reply

Of course, this is not the right fan but the left in the picture.

maccentric, · Reply

Be sure to use the right size screwdriwer, as these screws might be hard to remove. I ended up having to cut the metal cover and bend it away as the screws wouldn't come loose.

That works too however..

dmitri, · Reply

Need a better picture of the zif connector. You lift the lock from the side farthest from the flat cable, and it lifts toward the cable. When reinserting be sure to get the cable all the way or you may have only half the keyboard working.

Jim, · Reply

I could use some advice on reinserting the ZIF cable firmly in its socket. I can get it started, but getting it far enough in to make contact is difficult, given its flexibility. Any tips on manipulating it?

CJ Attias, · Reply

I used a piece of sticky tape that I attached to the ZIF cable, then pulled firmly on the tape (attached to the cable) to get the ZIF cable to seat properly. The tape held to the cable, the ZIF cable seated properly, and the keyboard worked.

robertemcgee,

getting the cable back in was leaps and bounds more difficult than this entire replacement job! be very very careful and note that it goes alllll the way in. i bent the ribbon like crazy, but the keyboard still seems to work fine!

shmianco, · Reply

REINSERTING THIS CABLE WAS ABSOLUTELY THE MOST DIFFICULT STEP IN THIS WHOLE PROCESS!

Key points:

•Make sure that it's inserted evenly. It's tempting to get one edge in, and then the other, but that approach will prevent it from seating properly.

•The cable goes all the way in. There is maybe 1/16" of the little grooves showing, but not much more.

•Once the cable is properly seated, use a piece of tape to pull it all the way in, and keep the tension on the tape as you use a sprudger to flip down the retaining flap.

•It's a fragile connection, and if you break the cable it's a top-case or keyboard replacement, which is either expensive or a PITA, so patience is key.

Kyle, · Reply

It's very easy to do this step incorrectly. Make sure to use your fingernail and pry gently. This was the only step I felt didn't have a great explanation and damaging the part could easily happen.

tgphotosales, · Reply

The metallic flap controlled by the plastic handle looks like it could easily break... a safer route is to grab the shielded cable after rotating the metal flap out of socket and gently pry it out of the socket by applying force parallel to the logic board. It will probably take a few minutes but you could save yourself some gray hairs.

This is the hardest step IMO

brbulic, · Reply

Indeed this s the hardest step.its not clear from the instruction that there are two elements to this component. The connector and also a metal retaining clip that needs to be rotated off the connector first.

mail, · Reply

this was the hardest part of the dismantling for me. it's not super obvious in the pictures that there is a hinge and the metal piece, attached with tape, swings over and towards the DC-in.

shmianco, · Reply

I found it easiest to grab the connector where the hinged metal piece connected to the body.

Replacing this connector was a bit fiddly, as you have to make sure it's lined up exactly before pushing it in, and because pushing it in requires a bit of force.

Kyle, · Reply

I had a little difficulty pulling the motherboard before the battery. I'm not sure why you would want to do it in the order listed here, but doing steps 23 and 24 first helped the board come out easier.

maccentric, · Reply

The thing that caught me on this step was that, at least on mine, the speaker box was glued/taped to the case, and so I got rather nervous trying to remove the logic board as it wouldn't move until said adhesive was pried apart. Thank goodness I knew the difference between the sounds of "board breaking" and "adhesive separating", but this step was still rather harrowing for me.

Joseph Sikorski, · Reply

The microphone cable was easy to pry off the logic board for disassembly. For re-assembly, I was having a heck of a time getting the connector to connect to the logic board. There just isn't enough room to get your hands and tools in there and still see what you're doing (unless you're a dentist and you're used to that kind of thing). Anyway, I finally got brave and pulled the round, rubberized microphone from the case. I connected the short cable to the logic board, set the microphone in the made-for-the-microphone housing on the logic board, hoping it would stick itself back to the case once the logic board was in position, and I was back in business. In this case, simply stating "reverse these steps for reassembly" wasn't very forthcoming.

robk64, · Reply

When I did this step the microphone was REALLY STUCK to the upper case, it actually stayed stuck to it and disconnect "itself" from the mother board while I was lifting up everything.

Finally, there was no damage : I separated the microphone from the upper case while reassembling, then connected it back to the mother board and put it on its housing.

Greg, · Reply

I broke one of the clips that secures the memory in the "down" position when replacing the RAM. Is there any way to replace just this part? I tried removing the 4 screws that appear to connect the fastener to the logic board but had not luck removing the piece. Any ideas?

Doug, · Reply

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