MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Hard Drive Replacement

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

  • Author: Andrew Bookholt
  • Time required: Example: 15 to 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy

When replacing your hard drive, you must transfer the Torx screws from the old drive to the new one.

Edit Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

Image #1

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  ¶ 

Image #1

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 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the hard drive bracket to the upper case.

  • This screw is captive to the hard drive bracket.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive by its pull tab enough to grab and remove the retaining bracket.

  • Lift the hard drive out of the chassis, minding the cable attaching it to the computer.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the hard drive from its cable by pulling the cable connector straight away from the drive.

  • Hard drive remains.

Edit Step 7 Hard Drive  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the two T6 Torx screws from each side of the hard drive (four screws total).

  • You'll need to transfer these screws to your new hard drive if you're changing drives.

  • If you are installing a new hard drive, we have an OS X install guide to get you up and running.

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

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

Required Tools


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Radio shack has a small kit with assorted bits that includes all of the t bits

Ryan, · Reply

just to be save a quick .. use super duper first on your new hdd to clone the old one... (if possible) and after installing... its like you have the same drive... no loss of files.... easy does it!

Britt, · Reply

Very easy and worth the upgrade

Ivan Juarez, · Reply

The model A1278 in front of me doesn't look like the above. It has 10 screws holding a single piece base onto the body, and not a single quick-release catch in sight. The battery bay looks different as well, but removing the HDD is just as easy.

StripyDonkey, · Reply

That is because you are looking at a MacBook Pro A1278, not the MacBook Unibody. Apple made the regular MacBook in an aluminum enclosure in 2008 and the following aluminum model was changed to be called the MacBook Pro.

Frank Malinowski,

Great tutorial ! great step !

Leo Etcheverry, · Reply

Is this SATA 1, 2 or 3? I'm buying a SSD and am wondering if it would take advantage of Sata 3.

Eugene, · Reply

I'm also considering an SSD, any help with this question?

bryanlatchford, · Reply

I did some some looking around for specs at and I came up with this.

From the link there it says the SATA interface is 3Gb/s, which would be SATA II.

As for whether or not an SSD is worth it on SATA II, I found a Tom's Hardware article which explains the problem a little bit more.

Hope this helps!

Chris Opperwall,

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