You can install hard drives up to 12.5mm thick.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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).

    • 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.

    • 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).

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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).

    • 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.

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

    • Disconnect the trackpad ribbon from the logic board.

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

    • Your hard drive should look approximately like this.

    • 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.

    • 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.


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

160 other people completed this guide.

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Member since: 09/24/2009

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623 Guides authored


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

Great instructions. The comment that the keyboard and trackpad cables don’t need to be disconnected is spot on. Just lift up the top case and tape it to the screen, and there is plenty of room to work on the hard drive.

My only disagreement is with the difficulty rating. I’d rate it as medium, rather than difficult. I’ve taken apart a 2010 Mac mini recently to swap in an SSD - THAT is DIFFICULT. This is easy in comparison - mostly just removing and keeping track of lots of tiny screws. On the other hand, the previous owner had dropped it a few times, denting the case, so the only hard part involving the release of a not-visible latch wasn’t an issue for me as the dented case had caused the latch to become ineffective.

feinberj - Reply

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