MacBook Unibody Model A1278 AirPort Card Replacement

Replace the AirPort card in your MacBook Unibody Model A1278.

This guide will help you replace the AirPort card.

Edit Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

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Edit Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

  • 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.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • The access door should now be raised enough to lift it up and out of the Unibody.

Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

  • Be sure the access door release latch is vertical before proceeding.

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

Edit Step 4 Lower Case  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the following eight screws securing the lower case to the chassis:

    • One 3 mm Phillips screw.

    • Three 13.5 mm Phillips screws.

    • Four 3.5 mm Phillips screws.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Using both hands, lift and remove the lower case off the upper case.

Edit Step 6 Display Assembly  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6 Display Assembly  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the camera cable by pulling the male end straight away from its socket.

    • Be careful not to pull up on the cable as you remove it from the socket.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • De-route the camera data cable from the channel in the optical drive.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Remove the following screws securing the camera data cable and right speaker to the upper case:

    • One 9.9 mm partially threaded Phillips screw

    • One 9.6 mm threaded Phillips screw

    • One 4 mm Phillips screw

  • Slide the camera cable bracket out from under the subwoofer and remove it from the computer.

  • The iSight cable has an eyelet through which passes the left-most screw in these pictures.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • 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.

  • Make sure to pull the connector straight away and not straight up from its socket.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Remove the following two screws from the display data cable bracket:

    • One 7 mm Phillips screw.

    • One 5 mm Phillips screw.

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

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Remove the two outer 6 mm Torx screws securing each side of the display to the upper case (4 screws total).

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • 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 6 mm Torx screw from the lower display bracket.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • 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.

Edit Step 15 Clutch Cover  ¶ 

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Edit Step 15 Clutch Cover  ¶ 

  • Grab the clutch cover as shown and slide it toward the right side of the display.

  • It should move about 1/4" and stop. Don't force it beyond this point.

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Gently rock the clutch cover back and forth on its long axis while pulling it away from the display.

  • Do this action along the length of the clutch cover until you can lift it off the framework attaching it to the display.

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Remove the clutch cover from the display.

Edit Step 18 AirPort Connectors  ¶ 

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Edit Step 18 AirPort Connectors  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry both AirPort antenna connectors out of their sockets on the AirPort board.

  • Be careful not to break the sockets off the AirPort board.

Edit Step 19 AirPort Card  ¶ 

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Edit Step 19 AirPort Card  ¶ 

  • Remove the single 3 mm Phillips screw securing the AirPort card to the display nearest the AirPort antenna.

Edit Step 20  ¶ 

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Remove the single 3.3 mm Phillips screw securing the camera cable retainer to the display.

Edit Step 21  ¶ 

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Orient your display as shown and pull the black plastic camera cable retainer toward the right side of the display.

  • Remove the camera cable retainer.

Edit Step 22  ¶ 

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Carefully pull the camera cable connector toward the right side of the display and out of its socket on the AirPort card.

  • When reattaching the AirPort Cable, make sure that the U-shaped notches on one side of the cable end are not visible (facing the card). If the cable is installed incorrectly, it will cause logic board damage.

Edit Step 23  ¶ 

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Remove the remaining 3 mm Phillips screw securing the side of the AirPort card closest to the right clutch hinge.

Edit Step 24  ¶ 

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Pull the AirPort card away from its heat sink and remove it from the display.

  • Before installing a new AirPort card, be sure the thermal material on its surface is intact and aligned with the small heat sink on the display frame.

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

For more information, check out the MacBook Unibody Model A1278 device page.

Required Tools

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

I went through this because after replacing the top case, upon restart the Airport card was not recognized. I was hoping the cable had come loose, as resetting PRAM and SMC didn't fix the issue (and searching the web, a LOT of people have this issue, most without having touched the internals of their Mac). That was not the case, everything appeared correct. So I got a USB wireless dongle and called it good.

maccentric, · Reply

On my model, it seemed the top-left was 3.5mm and the bottom 4 were 3 mm.

Jim, · Reply

Be EXTREMELY careful when removing and re-inserting the 'camera' cable. The contacts can be easily bent beyond repair if you try to force it back in. Damaging this cable at this connection or near the display may disable your ability to use your iSight camera, AND both your Bluetooth and WiFi. I had to pay apple $300 to replace the entire display assembly because one prong was faulty, causing my WiFi card to not be recognized.

seanheff17, · Reply

Although I ordered the screen for an A1278 MacBook Unibody Aluminum, the screen glass was marked as a MacBook Pro. The iSight/WiFi /BT cable was about an inch longer than the Macbook one and took a bit of creative re-routing, but everything works fine.

tjod, · Reply

has it got the airport and bluetooth modules built in separately in the display assembly as in the macbook late 2008 and mbp mid 2009?

fericcio,

"orange" is the short one, that goes in the middle ;)

MrGreen, · Reply

My model has different bracket, you need to remove the subwoofer first

Andrea Ghensi, · Reply

i can't understand what I need to do in this step, I'm afraid with this step, i think i can "hurt" my mac and i don't want to do that, anyone knows what i need to do?

Thanks

Lucas Brges, · Reply

There is a steel 'latch' that flips over from the left side of the connector, to the right side. After you flip this latch over, the cable will easily slide out.

madmaxmedia, · Reply

as I pulled the monitor cable out of the bracket after flipping the lock over one side of the bracket broke loose. Now the monitor will not turn on. Can anyone help?

boldtu, · Reply

Note for Step 10 during reassembly: Be careful when replacing the screw for the display cable bracket closest to the magnetic power cord receptacle. The interior magnet might attract the screw causing the screw to get pulled under the DC power circuit board which might then require that you disassemble things again to retrieve the screw.

wintermute, · Reply

i've found this impossible to get back on correctly.

i cant get the plastic to slide back that 1/4" it needs to fit properly

Does anyone know any tricks? :(

Ashley Berthon, · Reply

imagine the monitor upside down and the screen facing away from you. You have to put the cover over to the right of where it goes about an inch or 2 and it will go in, then, slide it left to lock it into place

stdonato, · Reply

This photo can be slightly misleading if you're not careful. It appears that unlike my cable, the pictured cable has the gray dot on both sides. In this photo you can see the 2 little sideways U notches that should be on the OTHER side. In photo 22 you can see that there are NO such notches as he is sliding the cable out of the connector.

My gray dot is only on the underside (not visible when the cable is plugged in correctly. When I first took the cable out to replace my Airport board, I thought maybe it had been inserted the wrong way which will damage the motherboard. So the gray dots are not a good indicator, just look for the sideways U notches as indicated in the iFixit directions.

madmaxmedia, · Reply

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