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Introduction

Use this guide to replace the trackpad assembly in your Retina MacBook 2017. This assembly includes the trackpad and the Haptic Engine.

  1. Before starting this procedure, you must disable your Mac's Auto Boot feature. Auto Boot powers on your Mac when you open the lid, and may be accidentally triggered during disassembly. Use this guide or follow the abbreviated instructions below to disable Auto Boot. This command may not work on all Macs. Power on your Mac and launch Terminal. Copy and paste the following command (or type it exactly) into Terminal:
    • Before starting this procedure, you must disable your Mac's Auto Boot feature. Auto Boot powers on your Mac when you open the lid, and may be accidentally triggered during disassembly. Use this guide or follow the abbreviated instructions below to disable Auto Boot. This command may not work on all Macs.

    • Power on your Mac and launch Terminal.

    • Copy and paste the following command (or type it exactly) into Terminal:

    • sudo nvram AutoBoot=%00

    • Press [return]. If prompted, enter your administrator password and press [return] again. Note: Your return key may also be labeled ⏎ or "enter."

    • You can now safely power down your Mac and open the bottom case, without it accidentally powering on.

    • When your repair is complete and your Mac is successfully reassembled, re-enable Auto Boot with the following command:

    • sudo nvram AutoBoot=%03

    Is this step necessary? I can’t perform this step as I am attempting to repair water damage and need to remove logic board & most likely replace the battery.

    lamajr - Reply

    @mac_medic You definitely don’t want the power coming on while the board is wet. In your case, I think powering on the machine to disable Auto Boot would do more damage than it prevents. I agree, skip this step and be prepared to disconnect the battery quickly if the laptop automatically powers on. Good luck!

    Jeff Suovanen -

    Thats right! You don't want power running while working on your logic board.

    Dan -

    This did not work when running High Sierra.

    Kyle B - Reply

    Tried this on a 2018 MBP 13” Touchbar (there’s no iFixit guide for this model yet). Need to replace a broken screen.

    Luckily I managed to connect to an external screen (Cmd-Down Brightness to switch displays) and enter above command. Seems to work, but there’s another problem with this model - it powers up as soon as any key is pressed……. ffs <gnashes teeth>

    Cool_Breeze - Reply

    I unscrew the battery first and wrap electrical tape over the logic board battery connector before attempting any repairs to the board. Haven’t had any problems yet and I’ve worked on about 10 of these models already. Also when you open the bottom case use a suction cup at the bottom and pull up then run a plastic spudger along the edges to disconnect the clips. Also only use a plastic spudger on the board. Saw a youtube video from a repair shop and he did not disconnect the power and used all metal tools during the entire process of removing the board. His last step was to disconnect the battery terminal.

    Brian - Reply

    Is this step necessary if my mac can turn on? Battery fully dead(

    Nursat b - Reply

    BEFORE YOU START: The included torx head stripped off before I was done (and you might need an additional T4) so stop now and go buy a good one. Also they fail to warn you above to get some blue threadlocker ahead of time.

    Jason Sherron - Reply

    This command did not work for me and I read that sometime in later 2020 Apple stopped this command from working…any ideas on a work around?

    Patrick Machacek - Reply

    Not able to do that with damaged screen

    richardjgreen - Reply

    Hi. This does not work on 2018 13” MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. I did exactly this to disable auto boot. But when I check by using nvram -p it says: auto-boot true. Am I doing something incorrectly? I did everything step by step. Copied and pasted the sudo command, pressed enter and then entered my password. I have Big Sur 11.1 installed. Is there any other way since I need to replace the screen. Thank you. Adrian

    Adrian Vizik - Reply

    Hi everyone. This is also a little pointless if you can’t see anything on the screen, and you don’t have a display adapter to USB C to display it. I agree with Brian about removing the back and disconnecting the battery cable before you even think about opening the lid of the MacBook. Applying the insulation tape is also a handy little tip that just makes sure there is no way to discharge from either the board or battery.

    Roberto Enrieu - Reply

    running `nvram -p | grep 'AutoBoot'` in terminal verifies that it was accepted

    result: `AutoBoot %00`

    Marek Polák - Reply

    Running Big Sur 11.6.7 on a 2019 16" MBP, it's "auto-boot". So it's: nvram -p | grep 'auto-boot' to display the current state, the default is true - and then to change it, sudo nvram auto-boot=false which turns it off.

    Ed Mechem -

    This step is completely unnecessary if you follow the guide to disconnect the battery properly. Just put some tape between the battery and logic board connection to prevent it from accidentally touching and therefore powering on the laptop.

    Grant Ormsby - Reply

    It took me a few tries to make this command work, as I was able to copy and paste the command into Terminal, but could not type in my laptop’s password. I finally typed my password into a text document, copied it (command C), and then pasted it into Terminal and it worked.

    tommy404 - Reply

    I didn’t do this. Mine never auto-booted before I replaced the battery. Now it does.

    hatuxka - Reply

    BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING - CHECK THE BATTERY!

    I-fixit sent me a bad battery, which I didn’t realize until it was already install. They sent me a new one, but I wasted hours uninstalling and reinstalled.

    Get a volt meter and measure the voltage on the output of the battery pack. If it reads 0 V, SEND IT BACK. It should read over 2 V.

    bcardanha - Reply

    When I did this from Terminal.app within Recovery Mode, the “sudo” was not recognized but I could invoke it without the sudo part. It seems to have been accepted when looking at “nvram -p”

    johann beda - Reply

    When in Recovery Mode, you already have superuser powers. So you don't need to prefix commands with the sudo command to invoke them with root privileges; you already have them. Do a pwd (print working directory) after opening Terminal in Recovery Mode, and you'll see that you're in the root user's directory.

    Ed Mechem -

    I received the battery kit for my 2018 MacBook Pro and as per the above comment from bcardanha - Oct 12, 2021, I checked the voltage on the pads marked + and - . It was zero volts so I panicked a bit.

    I sent a message on the iFixiT Facebook page and I got no reply. I finally found the customer service email for Ifixit Europe and sent them an email voicing my concern as I was not keen to work for couple of hours just to discover that the battery is faulty. I had an almost instant reply on the email (kudos to them) and they adviced me to go ahead and install the new battery as the voltage measured when battery is not connected is not relevant.

    I took a leap of faith and after two hours… the new battery showed 50% charge and everything seems to be working just fine. I am happy it worked.

    Mircea Comanici - Reply

    After removing the old battery and installing the new battery I powered up the MBP before screwing the bottom on. I discovered the my keyboard would not function. It took a few hours of investigation and frustration that I discovered the track pad power ribbon had become partially dislodged from the trackpad. I was able to see that this through the little machined slot where the battery sat. I had to remove the trackpad to reinsert the power ribbon back into the connector in the trackpad. after reassembling and reinstalling the battery etc the keyboard worked. Just food for thought if your run into the keyboard issue.

    Ed Mease - Reply

    This should be the default. IMO I tell you to power on - not the lid.

    G Sena - Reply

    • 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

    The screws go in tangent to the curve of the case. If you aren’t used to handling small hardware try turning the screw counterclockwise while you feel for the hole until you feel it drop, that means the threads have aligned. It takes only light finger torque when they are threaded correctly

    abscate - Reply

  2. 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.
    • 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.

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

  4. 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.
    • 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.

  5. 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.
    • 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.

    cannot turn on the led after replacing the new screen, even after following the turn on instructions upper…

    Laurent Pierre - Reply

    on reassembly, I had to plug my laptop in to reactivate the LED light

    aaron_vandyke2003 - Reply

    Does anyone know how to turn it back on..? I plugged the laptop in and saw the LED Light, but it won’t turn on

    mmcsorley - Reply

    After reassembly I could not restart my MacBook using the power button or after SMC reset (shift-ctrl-option-pwr). I had to connect my MacBook to its charging cable to get the battery LED to re-illuminate. After that it was all normal.

    Richard Lovatt - Reply

    It took a few minutes on the power adapter for my computer to turn on after it was reassembled.

    Luk Chl - Reply

    mine doesnt turn on w anything, i forgot to click the buton to disconnect :_/

    cristian.campuzano - Reply

    Same issue as above peeps. Followed ifixit directions verbatim and wasn't getting anything after screwing everything back in. Plugged in original 45W power block and waited, after few minutes battery LED came on and a min. or two after that, was able to get screen to turn on. Hope this helps somebody else.

    Brandon Elliott - Reply

    May I ask how to get screen to turn on. I cannot get it work..

    Xiubo Zhang - Reply

    There needs to be mention of procedure for getting the repaired MacBook to power up again after the repair is completed.

    I also am running into the issue described by others. MB will not come on again, even after being plugged into power and performing an SMC reset.

    Kinda stuck….

    Carlos Perez - Reply

    Hi, I tried everything and my MacBook will not start up after replacing the bottom case with a battery installed. I decided to put back on the old case with the battery that needs servicing and it still will not power on. I am fairly experienced taking apart laptops I was an Apple service tech for 15 years. this has me baffalled. Any hints BTY the logic board does not show any power coming from the AC charger the power LED is not lit up

    eestern - Reply

    I had trouble with this as well. What worked for me is to plug in power using the stock 29W USB C power brick that originally came with this Macbook. Trying other, lower powered, power adapters did not work. Use this advice with caution as there are multiple (i.e substantiated) comments that indicate that first power up should only be with a 5W adapter! So perhaps try this strict sequence: try with a 5W adapter, then and only then try with the 29W adapter. Or even slightly better, if everything else has completely failed, only then try full power 29W adapter.

    LexxOne - Reply

    How long did you wait to get it power back on? I replaced my logic board and tried to connect the power charger but it doesnt still turn on.

    Herb -

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

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

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

    Where can I find a replacement cable?

    John Comix - Reply

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

    The small retainer flips up about 90 degrees from locked position

    abscate - Reply

    The keyboard and trackpad don't work after the repair, what can I do? They don't even show up in System Report.

    bredelet - Reply

    I found that the connector was not pushed enough in. Works now.

    bredelet -

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

  11. Carefully close the MacBook and flip it over once again, so that the Apple logo faces up. Lifting from the front edge, 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.
    • Carefully close the MacBook and flip it over once again, so that the Apple logo faces up.

    • Lifting from the front edge, 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.

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

    What is with the all plastic end of this cable that appears to just be glued right on top of its connector?

    Does the new one just stick back right on top?

    (In this photo it is the bottom side of the cable below the white water indicator sticker)

    Elizabeth Erkelens - 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.

    What happen if you don’t disconnect the battery? I didn’t and I saw smoke coming out when I connected the pad flex cable and the computer still started up

    DSANTIAGOSOY - Reply

    If you don’t disconnect the battery you might accidentally short something on the logic board since power is still running through everything while you’re working on it. You can complete the repair without disconnecting the battery, but you risk accidentally breaking your logic board. It’s much safer to keep the battery disconnected while you’re working.

    Adam O'Camb -

  13. Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tape covering the keyboard ribbon cable connector on the trackpad. Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tape covering the keyboard ribbon cable connector on the trackpad.
    • Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tape covering the keyboard ribbon cable connector on the trackpad.

  14. Using a spudger, flip open the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable ZIF connector. Using a spudger, flip open the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable ZIF connector.
    • Using a spudger, flip open the retaining flap on the keyboard ribbon cable ZIF connector.

  15. Gently pull the keyboard ribbon cable out of its slot in the frame. Gently pull the keyboard ribbon cable out of its slot in the frame.
    • Gently pull the keyboard ribbon cable out of its slot in the frame.

  16. Remove the five 2.5 mm T3 Torx screws securing the trackpad to the case.
    • Remove the five 2.5 mm T3 Torx screws securing the trackpad to the case.

    This may require a T4 for the MacBook Retina early 2015. A T3 was too small, but this machine already had a replacement keyboard and body due to Apple recall. Just be aware.

    Neal Abrams - Reply

    I should read this comment. I think my Mac Book have T4 screws. Thanks a lot.

    GOCHI MOTOHIRO - Reply

    2015 here also had t4

    Greg Lavardera - Reply

  17. Hinge open the display just slightly to free the trackpad assembly from the upper case, and remove the trackpad assembly.
    • Hinge open the display just slightly to free the trackpad assembly from the upper case, and remove the trackpad assembly.

    • Metal brackets on each side of the trackpad may fall away during removal. Be sure to position them as shown in the photo during reassembly.

Conclusion

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

3 other people completed this guide.

Tobias Isakeit

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2 Comments

Why do you need to disconnect the audio jack and USB-C port?

Kyle Hampton - Reply

To make the guide longer :))

Chris Brown -

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