Introduction

You can install hard drives up to 12.5mm thick.

Use a coin to turn the battery locking screw 90 degrees clockwise.
  • Use a coin to turn the battery locking screw 90 degrees clockwise.

  • Lift the battery out of the computer.

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Remove the four Phillips screws from the memory door.
  • Remove the four Phillips screws from the memory door.

  • Slide the memory door away from the memory compartment.

Do you actually need to remove any of the screws on the underneath if you're just replacing a PRAM battery, or a hard drive? Aren't those only required if you're taking the whole logic board out?

Tom Anderson - Reply

Remove the following 8 screws:
  • Remove the following 8 screws:

    • Two 3 mm Phillips in the battery compartment, on either side of the battery contacts.

    • Two 9 mm Phillips on either side of the memory compartment.

    • Four 16 mm Phillips along the hinge.

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Rotate the computer 90 degrees clockwise, so that the power receptacle faces you.
  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees clockwise, so that the power receptacle faces you.

  • Remove the three 3 mm Phillips screws.

  • When replacing these screws, you must place each screw in the correct order. Begin by installing the screw closest to the display hinge, and go out from there.

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Turn the computer 90 degrees clockwise so that the hinge faces you.
  • Turn the computer 90 degrees clockwise so that the hinge faces you.

  • Remove the bottom 5 mm Phillips screw on either side of the hinge (two total).

The two "bottom" 5mm philips screws here are the ones closest to the display. (as shown in the image)

seos - Reply

"Bottom" assumes you have the computer upside down. If you can see the Apple on the front, then remove the two "top" screws...

Kevin - Reply

Rotate the computer 90 degrees clockwise, so that the ports face you.
  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees clockwise, so that the ports face you.

  • Remove the three 3 mm Phillips screws.

  • When replacing these screws, you must place each screw in the correct order. Begin by installing the screw closest to the display hinge, and go out from there.

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Turn the computer over and open the display.
  • Turn the computer over and open the display.

  • Remove the 4.2 mm 1/16" H 1.5 hex screws in either corner, next to the display (a T6 Torx driver will also do the job nicely).

I found that the T6 was too small but a T7 worked, with a little push downward to make it sit inside the hex head.

dougcabot - Reply

This step covers the hardest part to get inside this computer. Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts.
  • This step covers the hardest part to get inside this computer. Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts.

  • Grasp the back corners of the upper case and pull up, disengaging hidden tabs on the sides. Do not pull the upper case off yet; you still need to free tabs in the front of the case.

  • The seam is beneath the plastic molding on the upper case.

I've opened the G4 four times. The official Apple way outlined above is vastly superior to the paper clip method. When you lower the screen side of the deck, a little bit of pressure toward you will easily release the clips. Definitely begin with the back (screen side) of the deck where you just remove the two T-6 screws.

wcwirla - Reply

There is one latch that stops you from pulling the upper case right off, located on the left side of the optical drive slit. To free the upper case, you will be pulling a thin metal latch toward you, freeing it from the clasp holding it in place.
  • There is one latch that stops you from pulling the upper case right off, located on the left side of the optical drive slit. To free the upper case, you will be pulling a thin metal latch toward you, freeing it from the clasp holding it in place.

  • Pry up the left side of the upper case slightly with your hand and wedge a spudger into the seam between the upper case and lower case.

  • Leave the tool in place applying pressure to the upper case for the next step.

This could really use a diagram to show exactly how the clip is structured. I didn't realize the clip was between the front of the case and the back support it attaches to, and it needs to be pried off that back support. (Evil Apple design - would it really hurt to have a screw underneath?). Overall these guides are fantastic! I just replaced a hard drive, and it worked great. And I LOVE the screw guide at the back - brilliant idea!

isonno - Reply

Apple official disassembly guide suggests instead to lift the upper case from the back up to 45 degrees. Then while lowering it back gently wiggle the upper case and it does disengage the latches. No tools required, no risk of bending the case.

John - Reply

This method worked perfectly for me. Lift at 45 degree angle and wiggle as slowly lower and it popped right off.

th3mamma -

Place enough pressure on the upper case to allow you to slide a tool just within the seam between upper case and lower case as shown in the picture. A dentist's hook, push pin, or similar tool will work.
  • Place enough pressure on the upper case to allow you to slide a tool just within the seam between upper case and lower case as shown in the picture. A dentist's hook, push pin, or similar tool will work.

  • Do not yank the upper case off as soon as you free the clasp. The case is attached to the logic board via two ribbon cables.

  • Delicately slip the tip of your tool behind the silver metal latch and pull it forward while pulling up on the case. This may take some effort.

  • Alternatively, you can free the clasp with a small flathead screwdriver through the CD slot. The clasp is 1-3/16 in (3cm) from the left side of the slot. Use the screwdriver to lift out (or press back) the felt lining; then use the screwdriver to pull the clasp (shiny metal) forward to free it from the catch behind it (dull metal).

I was able to easily release the latch by putting the spudger in the optical drive slot, and gently prying up. You can see the three holes where the upper case clips in above the drive, and the clips are accessible through those holes from the optical drive slot.

ryan64 - Reply

"Forward" (step 10) means toward the front. I was not able to release the latch this way. However, I did eventually release all three latches at once by very slightly lifting the rear of the cover and pressing the cover back toward the screen.

It is not necessary to remove the trackpad and keyboard cables (steps 12, 13, and 14) to replace the hard drive.

Pomo - Reply

Quote from Pomo:

"Forward" (step 10) means toward the front. I was not able to release the latch this way. However, I did eveIt is not necessary to remove the trackpad and keyboard cables (steps 12, 13, and 14) to replace the hard drive.

I find it useful to use a big rubber band to hold the keyboard up--put it around the keyboard and display.

colleenthompson - Reply

I've done several of these before, but today it was a bear to accomplish. I finally did it by inserting a dental pick through the optical slot and pulling forward to release the clip. In case it will help someone else, pictures of the clip are at Devil Clip.

colleenthompson - Reply

I did not find any clip to disengage to remove the top piece. I would like to have seen a picture of the clip after the the top was separated.

Oh, well. This guide is probably not much use to anyone any more.

Chrissy - Reply

Lift the back of the case up and work your fingers along the sides, freeing the case as you go. Once you have freed the sides, you may need to rock the case up and down to free the front of the upper case.
  • Lift the back of the case up and work your fingers along the sides, freeing the case as you go. Once you have freed the sides, you may need to rock the case up and down to free the front of the upper case.

  • Rotate the upper case up and toward the screen, so that the upper case rests against it.

The top assembly for the A1138 model (1.67MHZ high res) does not have two ribbon cables to connect to the logic board as pictured.

Mike - Reply

Remove the orange tape securing the trackpad ribbon to the logic board.
  • Remove the orange tape securing the trackpad ribbon to the logic board.

  • Disconnect the trackpad ribbon from the logic board.

If you are just replacing a hard drive, you do not need to remove either the trackpad or the keyboard cables! They will not be in the way at all. Save yourself a headache.

dougcabot - Reply

I agree - removing the cables is not necessary. I didn't even have a keyboard cable on my machine.

macbaen - Reply

i agree, too:

steps 12 to 14 are NOT necessary for replacing the harddrive!

neither are 17 and 18!

instead:

after 10 continue with step 15.

instead of 17 and 18: free the hd carefully

from the case disconnect the hard drive cable from the hard drive.

valid - Reply

This is a diagram of the keyboard ribbon clamp connector you will disconnect in the next step.
  • This is a diagram of the keyboard ribbon clamp connector you will disconnect in the next step.

  • 1) With your fingernails, grasp the locking bar on either side and pull up a small amount (about 1/16" or 2 mm).

  • 2) After disengaging the locking bar, slide the cable out of the connector.

Be very careful! The clasps holding the black strip are extremely fragile and can snap very easily.

ChrisT4 - Reply

Quote from ChrisT4:

Be very careful! The clasps holding the black strip are extremely fragile and can snap very easily.

In fact it is possible to get to your hard drive and replace it without having to detach this ribbon at all and I would advise that if all you are doing is replacing your hard drive then skip this step.

ChrisT4 - Reply

My laptop did not have the big gray keyboard ribbon but a short white one with a blue stripe at the end. Anyone knows if this is just a different setup?

afido - Reply

my g, 15", 1.5Ghz pbk didn't have this cable at all. It's short white kbd cable attached to the trackpad, and it's orange ribbon cable (only) attached to the logic board as in step 12. lucky me.

gogreens - Reply

Yes, the note about skipping this step should be up there, front and center. I followed this step and broke the bit of plastic. Now it's re-fastened with a piece of electrical tape, but I am annoyed because it was totally unnecessary to do that. How do we edit the front page to at least say "OPTIONAL" for this step?

Focus Fusion Society - Reply

There should be a note on this to say this step is OPTIONAL. I followed instructions as written, broke the little plastic piece, and have taped it back together with electrical tape. But after replacing the hard drive, I see it was totally unnecessary to take this step. It's a high risk step, people should be warned.

Focus Fusion Society - Reply

the diagram is a bit confusing, and the text is a bit confusing for non english speakers. when it said pull up a small amount, i thought you have to try and lift it from the motherboard. all you have to do is move the black plastic bit towards the screen with your fingernails and the broad thing plastic keyboard cable comes off.

Kiureli - Reply

Loosen the keyboard ribbon clamp by pushing the thin black piece toward the screen, using the tips of your fingers.
  • Loosen the keyboard ribbon clamp by pushing the thin black piece toward the screen, using the tips of your fingers.

  • The black piece is very fragile and easily broken. Use care when separating it from the main socket.

  • Slide the grey keyboard ribbon out of the loosened connector.

  • Remove the upper case from the computer.

My machine didn't have a keyboard ribbon.

macbaen - Reply

Watch this step carefully! The release mechanism pushes back slightly, parallel with the surface of the logic board. You may want to gently use a sparger rather than your thumbs if you have big fingers. This is a very delicate connector. Work one side slightly then the other. The good news is that it does not offer any resistance.

wcwirla -

Remove the two 6 mm long silver Phillips screws from the metal bracket to the right of the hard drive, removing tape as necessary.
  • Remove the two 6 mm long silver Phillips screws from the metal bracket to the right of the hard drive, removing tape as necessary.

These are the 6 mm silver (not stainless) screws. Don't use the longer 9 mm silver screws (for battery compartment) by mistake and have to take everything apart again to retrieve them. Like I did of course.

Pomo - Reply

Quote from Pomo:

Don't use the longer 9 mm silver screws (for battery compartment) by mistake

I didn't bother removing the ribbon cables, it was easy enough to get the hard drive out of there. In total I had 8 different types of screws (and 7 if I grouped the ones in the ram and battery compartments together, to avoid this problem) and found that a 7 day pill case worked perfectly for arranging them in the correct order for reassembly.

qufighter - Reply

I had 3 long screws on my bracket.

macbaen - Reply

Use a spudger to lift the metal bracket out of the computer.
  • Use a spudger to lift the metal bracket out of the computer.

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Disconnect the large orange hard drive cable from the logic board, removing tape as necessary.
  • Disconnect the large orange hard drive cable from the logic board, removing tape as necessary.

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Deroute the red and black speaker cable from under the fold in the hard drive ribbon.
  • Deroute the red and black speaker cable from under the fold in the hard drive ribbon.

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Lift the hard drive up from the right side and remove it from the computer.
  • Lift the hard drive up from the right side and remove it from the computer.

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Your hard drive should look approximately like this.
  • Your hard drive should look approximately like this.

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Remove the two silver Phillips screws and black rubber bumpers from either side of the hard drive (four sets of screws and bumpers total).
  • Remove the two silver Phillips screws and black rubber bumpers from either side of the hard drive (four sets of screws and bumpers total).

  • Lift the plastic shield off of the hard drive.

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Disconnect the hard drive cable from the hard drive by applying even pressure on both sides while maintaining a firm grip on the drive itself.
  • Disconnect the hard drive cable from the hard drive by applying even pressure on both sides while maintaining a firm grip on the drive itself.

  • This is a bit tricky. Try holding the drive against your body while pushing the cable away from you, or rocking the cable gently from side to side while applying even pressure, or both. If you bend the pins, do your best to straighten them, using the hard drive cable as a guide.

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

Everything is installed as instructed. Thanks for the perfect guide. However, I am not allowed to install OSX on my HD. The install program shows the drive with a red exclamation point over it and tells me the drive can't be used as a startup. This should be easy.

mferreri - Reply

Quote from mferreri:

Everything is installed as instructed. Thanks for the perfect guide. However, I am not allowed to install OSX on my HD. The install program shows the drive with a red exclamation point over it and tells me the drive can't be used as a startup. This should be easy.

I too ran into this EXTRA annoying problem... when installing from the restore disks, however after formatting the drive using disk utility, I discovered that I needed to reboot (holding C) again to get the 10.3 (or is it 10.4?) installer to recognize the disk! What a picky error! Apparently it won't recognize any partition for install that isn't there at boot time... SO after partitioning you need to reboot AGAIN and then it should finally recognize/work!

qufighter - Reply

Conclusion

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

156 other people completed this guide.

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iRobot

Member since: 09/24/2009

1 Reputation

726 Guides authored

4 Comments

Step 9-10 : I found the instructions on releasing the front latch not very helpful (at least I did not succeed) following these steps). However I found on line the official Apple disassembly manual whci directs you to do the following : lift the keyboard assembly from the back up to 45 degrees and this will (and DOES) release the front latches when you gently wiggle the keyboard assembly left and right. When you do that you can indeed SEE where the latches are and it really helps. No prying tools necessary. Good luck.

John - Reply

An excellent tutorial. I needed to remove the HDD for destruction prior to transferring the system to our surplus warehouse. I agree with the comment above that the front is difficult to remove, but was able to disconnect easily enough using a small dental pick. Thank you for the breakdown.

Biochem - Reply

Great instructions! Very clear! I had the drive out in minutes. Thanks for taking the time to make this posting.

sgt - Reply

I really appreciated this photo and text info page. My powerbook was making a grinding sound. When I opened it up it turned out to be the hard drive. I installed a solid state drive, but I am having issues installing the OS.

Some things I found that might be helpful to others....

1) I could never boot my powerbook to a CD by holding down the "C". Key. However I was able to boot many time by holding down the Option key.

2) I never did pull out the two cables in step 12 and 13. All I did was lift up the keyboard and lay it up next to the screen with out ever taking the two cable off the power book. I had more then enough room to pull the old hard drive and install the new one.

3) Try holding down the Option key on boot if you can not boot to a CD. It works for me.

Thank you who ever you are for posting this web page. It was extremely helpful.

jack honeycutt - Reply

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