How To: Replace the Upper Case in a 13" MacBook Pro Unibody

Uploaded by iFixitYourself on 26.07.2011

How long do you think you could get by without the use of your command key? I know that personally,
a broken command key would make me crazy, because I’m addicted to keyboard shortcuts.
Well, if your command key, or any other function of your keyboard is busted, the fix might
just be replacing your upper case. Unlike earlier versions of the Macbook Pro, the Unibody
versions have the keyboard integrated into the uppercase, so replacing the keyboard means
replacing the upper case. Hi, I’m mj with iFixit, and today I’m going to show you
how to replace the upper case in 13” unibody MacBook Pro. This video is a great overview
of the process, but of course, when you’re performing your repair, you’ll want to follow
the step-by-step instructions in the repair guide on our site.
The one I’m working on is a mid 2011 version, and while the process is very similar for
the earlier iterations, there are enough differences that you definitely need to be following the
repair guide. This is probably the most involved repair one can perform on this computer, but
it’s totally feasible if you can carve out an hour or so to do it. That being said, I’m
going to get my parts and tools together so I can get started.
For this repair I am going to need: Spudger
Plastic Opening Tools Phillips #00 Screwdriver
T6 Torx Screwdriver T8 Torx Screwdriver
Tri-wing Y1 Screwdriver Rather than getting all the separate screwdrivers
I'm going to go ahead and use my 54 piece bit driver kit. Because it has all the bits
that I need to get the job done. Of course your also going to need your replacement upper
case, and although it is not necessary, I am going to use a screw tray. There are a
lot of tiny screws involved, and I want to make sure to keep them all organized.
So to get started I'm going to go ahead and remove the lower case that is held in place
by all of these phillips screws along
the bottom. Okay so with the bottom off, we can see all
of the guts in the Macbook pro. Before I go any further I am going to disconnect the battery
from the logic board, Because we want to make sure that there is no residual electricity
running through the machine. So to do that, you are going to use your plastic spudger,
and kind of lift up the left side of the connector and then the right side of the connector like
your walking it out of the socket.
Now that it is disconnected, the first piece that we are actually going to remove is the
fan. That is held in place by just a few torx screws and one cable so, I will go ahead and
take those screws out.
Okay, Now the cable you want to be really gentle with, because i have heard a lot of
people that have actually ripped the entire connector off of the board, so when your lifting
up on the cable you want to make sure to be lifting up on the connector and not the socket.
That is actually stuck to the logic board, so be extra gentle during this step. Now that
that cable is disconnected, the fan should lift out pretty easily. The next thing we
are going to do, is get started on removing the logic board, and that is held in place
by several screws and several cables. So I'm going to get started by disconnecting these
cables right here.
The next cable that I a going to work on is the data display cable, and it is a little
tricky it has a little latch that flips up. After it is flipped up, you can just pull
the cable right out. There is also a bracket that i am going to remove while I'm here.
Which is held in place by a couple of screws.
With this bracket out. I can get to work on all the screws that are holding the logic
board in place. Okay so that was the last screw, but before we can lift the logic board
out there is actually a microphone that is glued down the the case, so I am going to
use my spudger to loosen that, and then i can pull the logic board out.
Okay with the logic board out, the next thing we are going to remove is the battery. Which
is held in place by a couple of tri-wing screws and a little bitty sticker. So tri-wing is
a pretty uncommon variety of screw. You might think, "well I will just use a phillips screwdriver
to take the tri-wing screws out, but doing that will only strip the screws, so make sure
you use the proper tri-wing screwdriver.
Okay now that the battery is free, the next thing we are going to do, is remove the hard
drive. So we will start by removing the hard drive bracket. The screws that are holding
the bracket in place are retaining screws, meaning they will not come out all the way.
So just unscrew them until they are loose enough. Then the bracket should just lift
right out. Once the bracket is off, the hard drive should lift out pretty easily, but is
still connected via this cable right here. So, we will go ahead and disconnect the cable,
and out the hard drive aside.
While we are here, we are going to go ahead, and remove the hard drive cable entirely.
So most of the cable is free, but part of it is actually adhered to the upper case,
so I am going to use my spudger to gently loosen the adhesive, And I want to enphasize
gently. You do not want to go tearing the cable. So just kind of work slowly, be patient,
and it will eventually come up. So I will just go ahead, and out the hard drive cable
aside, and, obviously the next big thing for us to do is remove the optical drive. Before
we can do that, we are going to have to disconnect and de-route some cables that are attached
to the bluetooth and airport board. So I will go ahead and do that.
Now that all those tiny little cables are disconnected and de-routed, I am going to
go ahead and remove the screws that are holding the airport card and the speaker in place.
Now we can lift these things up and actually have access to the screws that are holding
the optical drive in place. So I will go ahead and do that, and then I can remove the optical
Now that the optical drive is free, the next step is to remove the speakers and then we
can get to work on separating the upper case from the display assembly. So as I am removing
the screws from the hinges, I am going to go ahead and leave one in each side. That
way when i do begin to separate the two, they don't just fall apart. I can have a little
more control over it. I am going to go ahead and stand it up on its side. Open it up just
a little bit, so it is more stable, hold it with my hand so it does not fall over.
Then I will remove the remaining two screws. So now that all screws out, carefully separate
the two pieces minding any cables that might get caught along the way.
So, a very last thing you might think about is that if you need you transfer your track
pad over to your new upper case, you are just going to remove the screws that are holding
it in place, and transfer the track pad over.
Obviously it is a big repair, with lots of little pieces to keep in order, but if its
extends the life of your macbook pro, I totally think it is worth it.
Of course you can find all the parts and tools for this and many other repairs at,and
if you run into any problems during your repairs? There are a lot of solutions in the macbook
pro repair guide on our site. If you are watching this on youtube don't forget to subscribe
to out youtube channel and follow us on twitter at
Thanks for watching and happy repairing!