Introduction

The USB-C port on your Retina MacBook 2016 is the only port besides the headphone jack, and may suffer wear or damage over time. Use this guide to replace it.

  • Before proceeding, unplug and power down your MacBook. Close the display and lay it on a soft surface, top-side down.

  • Remove the following eight screws securing the lower case:

    • Two 1.8 mm P5 Pentalobe screws

    • Four 2.9 mm P5 Pentalobe screws

    • Two 6.1 mm P5 Pentalobe screws

  • Note the orientation of the screws as you remove them—they need to be reinstalled at a slight angle.

  • Throughout this repair, keep track of each screw and make sure it goes back exactly where it came from to avoid damaging your device.

IMPORTANT. You’re not removing the bottom, yet. This step is solely to separate the panel from its clips, permitting inside access.

Chris Leeds - Reply

Wedge your fingers between the upper case and the lower case, starting from the rear of the MacBook between the hinges.
  • Wedge your fingers between the upper case and the lower case, starting from the rear of the MacBook between the hinges.

  • Lift the lower case only slightly to avoid damaging the cables that connect the lower case to the upper case.

    • Keeping a firm grip, lift steadily until the lower case separates slightly from the upper case.

    • You may experience a lot of resistance when lifting the lower case. If necessary, slide an opening pick or other ESD-safe pry tool down the side edges of the lower case to pop the two hidden retaining clips free.

    • During reassembly, to re-engage the clips, press firmly near both side edges of the lower case (near where the pick is inserted in the third image) until you hear the clips snap into place.

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  • While holding the lower case in place, carefully flip the MacBook over so the Apple logo faces up.

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  • Lift the upper case and display together from the front edge and raise it to about a 45˚ angle.

  • It may be helpful to prop the MacBook open in this position for the next step.

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  • Use the flat end of a spudger to press and hold the small gold 'battery disconnect' button.

    • If the power LED is lit up, continue holding the button until the LED goes dark, and then release. This may take up to 10 seconds.

    • If the LED does not light, release the button after 5-10 seconds. Press and hold it again for 5-10 seconds, and release. Finally, press and hold it a third time for 5-10 seconds, and release.

  • This step ensures the MacBook is fully powered down and safe to work on.

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  • Close the MacBook and carefully flip it upside-down.

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  • Lifting from the front edge, open the lower case to an angle of about 45°.

  • Take care not to damage the ribbon cables that still attach the lower case to the MacBook.

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  • Use tweezers to peel back the tape covering the trackpad cable ZIF connector.

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  • Use a spudger to carefully flip up the retaining flap on the trackpad cable ZIF connector.

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  • Disconnect the trackpad ribbon cable from the trackpad by pulling it gently through its slot in the frame.

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  • Carefully turn the MacBook over, so that the lower case lays flat.

  • Raise the upper case/display assembly to about a 90° angle, and prop it up against something sturdy so you don't have to hold it.

    • Add a piece of tape near the track pad to secure the upper case and prevent accidental movement.

  • It's possible to open the MacBook all the way and lay both sides down flat, but this may damage the flex cables and is not recommended.

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  • Remove the single 2.9 mm T5 Torx screw securing the battery connector to the logic board.

From my experience it’s important to carefully press and hold the small button above left of the Battery Discharge label. Use a plastic spudger or finger tip. The illuminated yellow LED to the right will go off. I believe this discharges remaining electricity from logic board protecting it during repair.

* I cannot find any documentation to support this, but I have damaged boards by not including this step.

Chris Leeds - Reply

  • As an added precaution, you may physically disconnect the battery by inserting a battery isolation pick between the logic board and the battery connector.

You may keep pressing the button for Battery Disconnect while opening or loosening the battery screw, so it’s easier when inserting the battery isolation pick.

Abraham Armada - Reply

  • Remove the two screws securing the USB-C port cable bracket:

    • 1.1 mm Phillips #00 screw

    • 3.5 mm T5 Torx screw

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  • Use the flat end of a spudger to disconnect the USB-C port cable bracket by prying it straight up from the logic board.

  • To reconnect this cable, first line up the metal bracket over the screw holes, then press down on the middle of the bracket. Make sure it's aligned correctly, or you may damage the connector.

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  • Use a spudger to flip open the retaining flap on the audio jack board cable ZIF connector.

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  • Disconnect the audio jack board ribbon cable by pulling it straight back out of the ZIF connector.

  • During reassembly, orient the ribbon cable so that the side with the white stripe faces you, as shown.

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  • Use tweezers to peel back the tape covering the display cable connector.

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  • It's possible the metal retaining flap on the display cable connector may flip open, remaining stuck to the tape.

    • If so, use the flat end of a spudger to hold down the retaining flap while peeling the tape away with the tweezers.

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  • Use the flat end of a spudger to flip open the retaining flap on the display cable connector.

  • Try to keep it clear of the tape, or it may re-adhere and make cable removal difficult.

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  • Carefully slide the flat end of a spudger underneath the display cable to separate the adhesive holding it to the lower case.

    • Take care not to damage the cable. If the adhesive is very strong, heat the case directly beneath the cable with an iOpener to soften the adhesive, and then try again.

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  • Disconnect the display cable by gently pulling it straight out of its connector.

  • Immediately close the retaining flap.

    • The flap must remain closed when the cable is reinserted during reassembly. Line up the cable with the gold contacts facing down, and gently slide it into the closed connector. Take care not to crimp or damage the cable. When fully inserted, the indentations on the sides should not be visible.

I’m pretty sure I understand the instructions here, but I had to think about it a little longer because “… must remain closed when the cable is reinserted during reassembly …” was not clear to me right away. The retaining flap I discovered, is super delicate, and hence my paranoia, so I wanted to point this out in case anyone else felt like me: ''''Is it correct to assume that your instructions could be interpreted as:

“After disconnecting the cable, close the retaining flap for now to avoid damaging it. When reinstalling the cable, flip up the retaining flap once again, realign and slide the cable with gold contacts facing down.”

I bent the USB-C corner of the lower case from a short drop onto laminate flooring, so in I went to shape it so the edge wouldn’t snag or scratch things. I am typing on my MacBook that received the body work.

Thank you for your guidance!

John Torquido - Reply

For @seriouslyjohn and anyone else who might be wondering: “the flap must remain closed when the cable is reinserted” means keep it closed. Do not reopen the flap to insert the cable; just insert it carefully while leaving the flap closed. I know it probably runs counter to the procedure you’re used to, but Apple’s documentation is very clear on this, and I have to think it’s for a reason. My advice is to follow the instructions as written and don’t try to reinterpret them ;) Congrats on a successful repair!

Jeff Suovanen -

Oops! I most definitely did NOT reinsert the cable into a closed connector. We can only wonder why Apple instructed this step to be counter-intuitive. I’ll pay closer attention to any weirdness that may arise, but the MacBook has been traveling and performing as it should; I’m going to avoid reopening the case, as easy as it is, until I have a good reason to do so. Thank you for replying and updating the guide!

John Torquido - Reply

  • Separate the upper case assembly from the lower case assembly.

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  • Remove two 2.5 mm Phillips #00 screws securing the USB-C port.

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  • Use tweezers to lift the USB-C port just over the hinge screws.

  • Slide the port out and up over the display hinge to remove it.

  • There's very little clearance when removing and installing the USB-C port. If there's not enough room, don't force it. Try removing the display hinge screws and moving the hinges for additional clearance, if necessary.

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Conclusion

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

Adam O'Camb

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