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Introduction

The ins and outs of replacing your upper case.

  1. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement, Access Door: step 1, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  2. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case 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 Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement, Battery: step 3, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  4. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement, Lower Case: step 4, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  5. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 5, image 1 of 1
    • Using both hands, lift and remove the lower case off the upper case.

  6. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement, Display Assembly: step 6, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  7. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 7, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 7, image 2 of 2
    • De-route the camera data cable from the channel in the optical drive.

  8. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 8, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 8, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  9. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 9, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 9, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  10. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 10, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 10, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  11. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 11, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the two outer 6 mm Torx screws securing each side of the display to the upper case (4 screws total).

  12. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 12, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  13. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 13, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  14. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 14, image 1 of 3 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 14, image 2 of 3 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 14, 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.

  15. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement, Upper Case: step 15, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement, Upper Case: step 15, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  16. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 16, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the hard drive bracket to the chassis.

    • This screw is captive to the hard drive bracket.

  17. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 17, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  18. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 18, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the hard drive from its cable by pulling the cable connector straight away from the drive.

  19. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 19, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the four 10.3 mm Phillips screws securing the mid wall to the upper case.

  20. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 20, image 1 of 1
    • Lift the mid wall out of the upper case.

  21. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 21, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the following three screws securing the fan to the upper case:

    • Two 5 mm Phillips screws.

    • One 7 mm Phillips screw.

  22. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 22, image 1 of 3 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 22, image 2 of 3 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 22, image 3 of 3
    • 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.

  23. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 23, image 1 of 1
    • Lift the fan out of the upper case.

  24. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 24, image 1 of 1
    • Using the flat end of a spudger, pry the subwoofer connector straight up off the logic board.

  25. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 25, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the subwoofer to the upper case.

  26. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 26, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  27. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 27, image 1 of 1
    • Use a spudger to pry the optical drive connector straight up off the logic board.

  28. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 28, image 1 of 1
    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector straight up off the logic board.

  29. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 29, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 29, image 2 of 2
    • Remove the three 2.5 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.

  30. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 30, image 1 of 1
    • Lift the optical drive from its right edge and pull it out of the computer.

  31. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 31, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 31, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  32. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 32, image 1 of 3 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 32, image 2 of 3 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 32, image 3 of 3
    • 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.

  33. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 33, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 33, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  34. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 34, image 1 of 1
    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the trackpad connector straight up off the logic board.

  35. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 35, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 35, image 2 of 2
    • Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the keyboard ribbon cable retaining flap.

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

  36. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 36, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 36, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  37. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 37, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 37, image 2 of 2
    • Remove the single Phillips screw securing the battery cable cover to the upper case.

    • Remove the battery cable cover from the upper case.

  38. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 38, image 1 of 1
    • Use a spudger to pry the battery level indicator cable connector straight up off the logic board.

  39. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 39, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

  40. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 40, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 40, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  41. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 41, image 1 of 1
    • Use the tip of a spudger to release the microphone from the upper case.

  42. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 42, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 42, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  43. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 43, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 43, image 2 of 2
    • 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.

  44. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Upper Case Replacement: step 44, image 1 of 1
    • 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.

Conclusion

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

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One Comment

Having difficulty putting that keyboard ribbon cable back in?

MacBook unibody keyboard ribbon cable won't go in

Put some scotch tape on it and pull up and in.

Peter LaComb - Reply

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