Introduction

The ins and outs of replacing your upper case.

  1. 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.

    This is not a a1278 unibody MacBook Pro. A1278 MacBooks backs are one solid metal piece not two separate pieces. This guide is for a different MacBook Pro.

    Brad Burgeson - Reply

  2. 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.

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    • 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:

      • 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.

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    • 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.

    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

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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).

    Hey guys, with these older models Do Not interchange different colored LVDS cables. Note the connector here is gold, do not use a silver connector on a gold one or vice versa. I fried a logic board this way on an A1278. Note that the core i7 lvds connector is different than the core i5.

    rjpoirier_nb - Reply

    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

    • This screw is captive to the hard drive bracket.

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    • 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.

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

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    • Remove the four 10.3 mm Phillips screws securing the mid wall to the upper case.

    Need to add a step above this to remove the bottom cover.

    Daniel Zimble - Reply

    • Lift the mid wall out of the upper case.

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

      • Two 5 mm Phillips screws.

      • One 7 mm Phillips screw.

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    • 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.

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    • Lift the fan out of the upper case.

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

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

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    • 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.

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

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

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

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

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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

    Could be useful with a comma

    Vamos Goo - Reply

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

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    • Using the tip of a spudger, flip up the keyboard ribbon cable retaining flap.

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

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    • 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.

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

    • Remove the battery cable cover from the upper case.

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

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

    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.

      • 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:

      • One 2.5 mm Phillips screw.

      • Two 1.5 mm Phillips screws.

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

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    • 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

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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