Introduction

Use this guide to replace your upper case. The end of this guide details how to transfer the trackpad to your new upper case.

With the case closed, place the Unibody top-side down on a flat surface.
  • 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.

Add Comment

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

Add Comment

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

Great tutorial ! great step !

Leo Etcheverry - Reply

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

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

Jim - Reply

Make sure you have a good quality Phillips screwdriver. Mine had removable tips and had a small play at the connection. As a result I didn't have a good feel and damaged my screws (those securing the fan and the top left in step 23). Game over for me installing new thermal paste...

Be very carefull with your screws! Especially those on the inside.

Nickolas Michelinakis - Reply

You can get away with a Phillips #00 for many of the screws involved but the 4 at the bottom case split are likely to strip if you don’t use a JIS #00 or, in a pinch, a Phillips #000.

Bill Cole - Reply

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

Add Comment

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

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

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

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 -

Remove the following screws securing the camera data cable and right speaker to the upper case: One 9.9 mm partially threaded Phillips screw
  • 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.

"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

1. With my Laptop, the left screw was partially threaded, not the right one. 2. Before removing the camera cable bracket, I needed to unscrew the subwoofer.

Edgar Fuß - Reply

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.
  • 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.

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 Borges - 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

Remove the following two screws from the display data cable bracket: One 7 mm Phillips screw.
  • 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.

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

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

Add Comment

Open your MacBook so the display is perpendicular to the upper case.
  • 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.

Add Comment

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.
  • 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.

Add Comment

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.
  • 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.

Add Comment

Some 2.0 GHz A1278 MacBook Unibody logic boards do not have the necessary socket installed to accept the keyboard backlight ribbon cable attached to the upper case. The first and second pictures show logic boards with and without the socket installed, respectively. If your logic board does not have the backlight ribbon cable socket installed, the keyboard will work but the keys will not light up. If your logic board does not have the socket installed to accept the keyboard backlight ribbon cable and you are installing a backlit upper case, simply tuck the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of the way when you reinstall the logic board into the upper case.
  • Some 2.0 GHz A1278 MacBook Unibody logic boards do not have the necessary socket installed to accept the keyboard backlight ribbon cable attached to the upper case. The first and second pictures show logic boards with and without the socket installed, respectively. If your logic board does not have the backlight ribbon cable socket installed, the keyboard will work but the keys will not light up.

  • If your logic board does not have the socket installed to accept the keyboard backlight ribbon cable and you are installing a backlit upper case, simply tuck the keyboard backlight ribbon cable out of the way when you reinstall the logic board into the upper case.

is it still possible to have a backlight keyboard, even if theres no socket installed?

nightwalkerosfp - Reply

I would like to know as well. Can a socket be soldered to the board in this spot?

metalman141 - Reply

Yes I believe it can as that is just power for the backlight I believe.... but I have never done this mod to a macbook without the socket.

Nathanael - Reply

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

  • This screw is captive to the hard drive bracket.

Add Comment

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

Add Comment

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

Add Comment

Deck the Halls
With tools and Fix Kits
Remove the four 10.3 mm Phillips screws securing the mid wall to the upper case.
  • Remove the four 10.3 mm Phillips screws securing the mid wall to the upper case.

Add Comment

Lift the mid wall out of the upper case.
  • Lift the mid wall out of the upper case.

Add Comment

Remove the following three screws securing the fan to the upper case:
  • Remove the following three screws securing the fan to the upper case:

    • Two 5 mm Phillips screws.

    • One 7 mm Phillips screw.

Add Comment

Use a spudger to pry the fan connector straight up and 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. 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.
  • Use a spudger to pry the fan connector straight up and 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.

  • 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.

Add Comment

Lift the fan out of the upper case.
  • Lift the fan out of the upper case.

Add Comment

Using the flat end of a spudger, pry the subwoofer connector straight up off the logic board.
  • Using the flat end of a spudger, pry the subwoofer connector straight up off the logic board.

Add Comment

Remove the single Phillips screw securing the subwoofer to the upper case.
  • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the subwoofer to the upper case.

Add Comment

The subwoofer is still connected to the right speaker, so don't completely remove it just yet.
  • The subwoofer is still connected to the right speaker, so don't completely remove it just yet.

  • Lift the subwoofer off the optical drive, and set it above the computer.

Add Comment

Use a spudger to pry the optical drive connector straight up off the logic board.
  • Use a spudger to pry the optical drive connector straight up off the logic board.

Add Comment

Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector straight up off the logic board.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector straight up off the logic board.

Add Comment

Remove the three 2.5 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case. Remove the three 2.5 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.
  • Remove the three 2.5 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.

Add Comment

Lift the optical drive from its right edge and pull it out of the computer.
  • Lift the optical drive from its right edge and pull it out of the computer.

Add Comment

Peel the hard drive cable from the adhesive securing it to the upper case, and maneuver the plastic retaining block out of the upper case. The hard drive cable and the plastic retaining block are attached together.
  • Peel the hard drive cable from the adhesive securing it to the upper case, and maneuver the plastic retaining block out of the upper case.

  • The hard drive cable and the plastic retaining block are attached together.

Add Comment

Peel back the small piece of black tape covering the right speaker cable. Use the tip of a spudger to pry the right speaker up off the adhesive securing it to the upper case. Lift the subwoofer and right speaker assembly out of the upper case.
  • Peel back the small piece of black tape covering the right speaker cable.

  • Use the tip of a spudger to pry the right speaker up off the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

  • Lift the subwoofer and right speaker assembly out of the upper case.

Add Comment

Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the locking lever to release the IR sensor ribbon cable from its socket. Pull the IR sensor ribbon cable straight away from the logic board.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to flip up the locking lever to release the IR sensor ribbon cable from its socket.

  • Pull the IR sensor ribbon cable straight away from the logic board.

Add Comment

Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the trackpad connector straight up off the logic board.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the trackpad connector straight up off the logic board.

Add Comment

Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the keyboard ribbon cable retaining flap. Pull the keyboard ribbon cable straight out of its socket.
  • Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the keyboard ribbon cable retaining flap.

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

Add Comment

Remove the two 5 mm Phillips screws securing the keyboard flex bracket to the upper case. Lift the keyboard flex bracket out of the upper case.
  • Remove the two 5 mm Phillips screws securing the keyboard flex bracket to the upper case.

  • Lift the keyboard flex bracket out of the upper case.

Add Comment

Remove the single Phillips screw securing the battery cable cover to the upper case. Remove the battery cable cover from the upper case.
  • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the battery cable cover to the upper case.

  • Remove the battery cable cover from the upper case.

Add Comment

Use a spudger to pry the battery level indicator cable connector straight up off the logic board.
  • Use a spudger to pry the battery level indicator cable connector straight up off the logic board.

Add Comment

Disconnect the battery cable connector by pulling it straight away from the logic board.
  • Disconnect the battery cable connector by pulling it straight away from the logic board.

  • If you cannot grasp the cable with your fingers, a spudger and tweezers may be helpful for removal.

Add Comment

Remove the two 4mm Phillips screws securing the bottom case clip to the upper case. Lift the bottom case clip out of the upper case.
  • Remove the two 4mm Phillips screws securing the bottom case clip to the upper case.

  • Lift the bottom case clip out of the upper case.

I didn't have that part in my MB at all

grze - Reply

Yup me either

Nick MG - Reply

AOL. E..g. mine was lacking this part (and its mounting holes) too.

Edgar Fuß - Reply

I think this is the wrong photo. The part you have to remove is a bridge above the microphone.

Roel Hoek - Reply

Use the tip of a spudger to release the microphone from the upper case.
  • Use the tip of a spudger to release the microphone from the upper case.

It might be worth noting the microphone is glued to the Upper Case.

Edgar Fuß - Reply

Remove the following five screws securing the logic board to the upper case: Four 3 mm Phillips screws.
  • Remove the following five screws securing the logic board to the upper case:

    • Four 3 mm Phillips screws.

    • One 3.5 mm Phillips screw.

  • Remove the two 7 mm Phillips screws securing the DC-in board to the upper case.

  • Lift the logic board from its left edge and pull it out of the upper case.

Note to Step 41: the 3.5 mm Phillips screw and the 3 mm Phillips screw directly opposite were swapped in my MacBook. I believe the screws as indicated in the iFixIt guide are currently incorrect as it seems that the location in my MacBook would be correct as all 3 mm screws engage directly into the top case while the one 3.5 mm screw engages into the black bracket.

wintermute - Reply

With my MacBook, the left screw (near the fan) was 5mm (not 3), the other “red” screws were 3mm (as indicated) and the “orange” one was 3.8mm (not 3.5).

Edgar Fuß - Reply

If you are buying a new upper case from us, the next two steps are not necessary. Your upper case will come with these parts preinstalled. Remove the following screws securing the battery connector cover to the upper case:
  • If you are buying a new upper case from us, the next two steps are not necessary. Your upper case will come with these parts preinstalled.

  • Remove the following screws securing the battery connector cover to the upper case:

    • One 2.5 mm Phillips screw.

    • Two 1.5 mm Phillips screws.

  • Lift the battery connector cover out of the upper case.

Add Comment

De-route the battery connector cable through the gap in the upper case and remove it from the computer.
  • De-route the battery connector cable through the gap in the upper case and remove it from the computer.

  • If you are installing an Upper Case that is missing the black bracket in the middle then transfer it from the old case to the replacement.

During your checkout of your hard work, make sure in System Preferences that the (use all F1, F2 etc. keys as standard function keys) box is unchecked.

ChasCam580 - Reply

Remove the six 1.4 mm Y0 Tri-wing screws securing the trackpad to the upper case.
  • Remove the six 1.4 mm Y0 Tri-wing screws securing the trackpad to the upper case.

Add Comment

Carefully dislodge the edge of the trackpad closest to the keyboard from its recess in the upper case by pushing it away from the brackets attached to the upper case. De-route the trackpad cable through its slot cut into the upper case.
  • Carefully dislodge the edge of the trackpad closest to the keyboard from its recess in the upper case by pushing it away from the brackets attached to the upper case.

  • De-route the trackpad cable through its slot cut into the upper case.

Add Comment

Pull the trackpad away from the outer edge of the upper case.
  • Pull the trackpad away from the outer edge of the upper case.

  • Remove the trackpad and set it aside.

Add Comment

In the following steps, you will be working on your new upper case.
  • In the following steps, you will be working on your new upper case.

  • Use a Y1 Tri-wing screwdriver to loosely install the 1.2 mm set screw included with your new upper case into its tapped hole near the middle of the trackpad opening on your new upper case.

  • Only tighten it about one turn for now.

Add Comment

Carefully insert the cable from your old trackpad through its slot cut into your new upper case. Use one hand to hold the trackpad cable in place as you insert the two retaining tabs on the outer edge of the trackpad under the lip on the upper case.
  • Carefully insert the cable from your old trackpad through its slot cut into your new upper case.

  • Use one hand to hold the trackpad cable in place as you insert the two retaining tabs on the outer edge of the trackpad under the lip on the upper case.

  • Pull the trackpad cable as you seat the trackpad into its void in your new upper case.

Add Comment

Insert a 1.4 mm Y0 Tri-wing screw into each of the outer holes drilled into the trackpad (two screws total).
  • Insert a 1.4 mm Y0 Tri-wing screw into each of the outer holes drilled into the trackpad (two screws total).

  • You'll install the rest in a bit.

  • Tighten the screws all the way, then back them out about a quarter turn to aid in aligning your trackpad during the next few steps.

Add Comment

While continually trying to click your trackpad, gently tighten the Y1 Tri-wing set screw until the clicks return to their factory "feel".
  • While continually trying to click your trackpad, gently tighten the Y1 Tri-wing set screw until the clicks return to their factory "feel".

  • You can tell when the screw is tightened just right by the noise it makes when the trackpad clicks. If the set screw is too loose, the trackpad will have excessive play before it clicks. If it is too tight, the trackpad will click too easily and won't make the characteristic loud mouse clicking noise.

Add Comment

Next, flip your upper case over so the keyboard side is facing up.
  • Next, flip your upper case over so the keyboard side is facing up.

  • Align the trackpad so it is centered in its hole cut into the upper case.

Add Comment

Tighten the outer two screws along the inner edge of the trackpad and check the alignment of it on the outer side of the upper case.
  • Tighten the outer two screws along the inner edge of the trackpad and check the alignment of it on the outer side of the upper case.

  • If its alignment looks good, install the rest of the Y0 Tri-wing screws along the inner edge of the trackpad.

  • Before reassembling your machine, verify that the set screw is still installed in a position so the mouse will click correctly.

Add Comment

Conclusion

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

33 other people completed this guide.

10 Comments

On steps 50 and 53, be VERY careful to stop tightening the small, weak Y0 screws when you meet even just a little resistance. I made the mistake of tightening them too hard, and broke the tops off of two of them! Luckily I was able to remove one of the screws, but now one of them is stuck in one of the trackpad holes, unable to be removed.

seanheff17 - Reply

i did upgrade to backlit keyboard by adding the backlight to my keyboard. All works well thanks to this guide. Just try to keep all the screws in theyr place coz you can mistake them very easy and screwing the wrong screw in the wrong holle you may endup damaging the body(i hope it make sense). Good Luck

Nick - Reply

Actually I was looking for a way to remove only the keyboard to clean it, but since there is no guide I followed this one for most of the steps. No need to remove the display assembly and trackpad. But beware that after you remove the logic board and optical drive, you have to remove 3 layers (black, transparent and white) of foil covering the back of the keyboard and then there are like 50 absurdly tiny screws holding the keyboard to the frame. Also there are 2 screws in the upper left corner holding the power button which is connected to the keyboard through a small ribbon cable. After that you can lift the keyboard out easily.

Chris Popov - Reply

cheers mate thats the info i needed.

communit -

Tips: Label Screws by guide step number and size as you go. That way you can easily backtrack and any divergences between your machine's screws and the guide's will be a non-issue.

Also, be careful when removing and tightening screws. I stripped one of my screws and almost needed to call in the pros.

Use common sense throughout your fix. Nothing should be forced. Take breaks and return with a clear head.

Good luck!

pkchitan - Reply

On my new top case, the separator between the dvd drive and the motherboard was missing (the one you can see on the left of step 50 picture). Took the one from the old top case and it worked but I dont know if my new case was missing it or if something is missing in the guide.

Also the screw to adjust the "click" of the trackpad is a nightmare.. I dont know how I managed to make it work but I hope I ll never have to touch it again as I think it is a bit "screwed" now.

Except this ... everything went fine and I can now use my macbook like before which is the most important !. Now I feel more confortable, I may open it again to put a HDD instead of dvd player.

baptistedeclercq - Reply

The keyboard backlite cannot function after replace a 2nd hand keyboard from eBay. Believe the problem was from keyboard itself however the keyboard does have LED layers. And prohibited icon will be shown on screen when F5/F6 Keys (backlite control key) was pressed.

* the guide is good , thank you!

* if you looking for keyboard replacement only, steps 11-14 and 44-53 can be skipped.

* there is more than 40 tiny screws to secure the keyboard. Beware all of them are just too soft. don't play it so hard or you may have trouble to remove all of them.

Kamiiyu - Reply

cheers for the advise

communit -

I followed this guide to replace my keyboard. I removed the backlight from the old keyboard, installed the new keyboard, then replaced the old backlight - it was my keyboard that had failed after liquid ingress, not the backlight.

I confirm that Kamiiyu is correct and I skipped 11-14 & 44-53.

Should also add that on my machine, Step 42, the orange screw was the same as the reds, 3mm. The far left red one was much longer. The bottom red screw had a wider head than the other three.

So just follow it carefully, take notes and take your time.

Thank you iFixit. I now have a fully functional Late 2008 MacBook that Apple deemed "vintage" and beyond repair - all for the price of a replacement keyboard (£15 from ServiceX Ltd in UK who also supported me) and about four hours work! Happy Bunny.

Rex - Reply

For the display data and IR sensor cables, a close-up photo showing the locking lever in the disengaged position would be most useful. I was not feeling comfortable which part of the socket I needed to lift, exactly.

Edgar Fuß - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 26

Past 7 Days: 139

Past 30 Days: 570

All Time: 75,702