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Use this guide to replace a broken hard drive cable. The hard drive cable also contains the sleep LED and the IR sensor.

  1. Remove the following ten screws:
    • Remove the following ten screws:

    • Three 14.4 mm Phillips #00 screws

    • Three 3.5 mm Phillips #00 screws

    • Four 3.5 mm shouldered Phillips #00 screws

    • When replacing the small screws, align them perpendicular to the slight curvature of the case (they don't go straight down).

    How much weight can I save by removing the optical drive?

    gunes314 - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    You can save a lot of weight if lets say your installing a solid state drive or putting in a second hard drive but if you know that you use the CD/DVD disc drive a lot then you might just want to leave the drive alone.

    Marshall WahlstromHelgren -

    Tip: Use one of those weekday pill holders to have a cheep way to store screws you remove and each day of the week can be for different sizes or parts. It has been handy to have (much less expensive than the magnetic mat.

    Robert Wacker - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Hello, where can I buy the screws I need in case I lose one of them?

    taylornya - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    I have one stripped screw... How opening without drill it?! Any suggestions please?

    rodrigosady - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    I also stripped a couple screws. I wasn’t able to open it up without drilling. After drilling the heads and removing the cover it was easy to hacksaw the tip and unscrew with a standard driver.

    Michael Wilkens -

    My top tip - make sure you buy good quality Phillips screwdrivers and a magnetic holder. Cheap screwdrivers won’t get the screws undone safely. Without a magnetic holder you have no chance of getting the tiny crews in and out safely.

    jeremyyoung - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    A good Phillips 00 is your friend here. Also, when reinserting the screws, gently start anticlockwise and you wil feel a click at the start of the thread. This tells you you’re in the right place and less likely to cross-thread through force in the wrong place.

    Iain Boyd - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  2. Use your fingers to pry the lower case away from the body of the MacBook near the vent. Remove the lower case.
    • Use your fingers to pry the lower case away from the body of the MacBook near the vent.

    • Remove the lower case.

  3. Use the edge of a spudger to pry the battery connector upwards from its socket on the logic board. It is useful to pry upward on both short sides of the connector to "walk" it out of its socket. Be careful with the corners of the connectors, they can be easily broken off.
    • Use the edge of a spudger to pry the battery connector upwards from its socket on the logic board.

    • It is useful to pry upward on both short sides of the connector to "walk" it out of its socket. Be careful with the corners of the connectors, they can be easily broken off.

    Is this step of removing the battery connector required?

    manodh - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    yes - as with disassembly of any electronic component you have to remove any power source. You don't want to accidentally turn the Mac on

    khull -

    Prying the battery connector off does not take much force. I did exactly what the guide suggested (walked it off back and forth) with the spudger without any problems. Just be very gentle, much like with anything inside laptops, they are very fragile and need to be worked with carefully. A+ instructions, battery replacement was a success.

    aekinaka - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Be patient on disconnecting this one. It worked for me step by step, little by little.

    Phil Wagner - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  4. Bend the battery cable slightly away from its socket on the logic board so it does not accidentally connect itself while you work.
    • Bend the battery cable slightly away from its socket on the logic board so it does not accidentally connect itself while you work.

    I put some tape between the connector and socket while working on the drive.

    Stephen Smith - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    That's a good tip

    Anrothan -

    Great tip, I did that too

    Ahmed Mahran -

    One other note: The screw heads fit flush with the curvature of the case -- which means that they aren't exactly horizontal. In other words, they aren't perpendicular to the table that the computer is resting on. Don't try to force them straight in vertically, because you'll risk cross-threading them. (nearly ruined one screw hole myself!)

    lelandjordon - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    On my MacBook Pro, the connector seems to be an integral part of the battery.

    Jerry South - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  5. Remove the two Phillips screws securing the hard drive bracket to the upper case.
    • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the hard drive bracket to the upper case.

    • These screws will remain attached to the hard drive bracket.

    These were Philips #0 screws in my computer.

    Church Tucker - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    FYI my used Mac didn’t have the bracket or screws. 3D printed the bracket someone did (it’s on Thingiverse), M2x10mm screws were short but worked.

    sbierly - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  6. Remove the hard drive bracket.
    • Remove the hard drive bracket.

    • The hard drive bracket may be firmly seated against the upper case.

    Don't miss this step: I almost did and of course couldn't get the disk out until I looked at the video !

    francistasset - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  7. Use the attached pull tab to lift the hard drive out of the upper case.
    • Use the attached pull tab to lift the hard drive out of the upper case.

    • Don't try to completely remove the hard drive just yet. It is still attached to the hard drive cable.

  8. Pull the hard drive cable away from the body of the hard drive. Remove the hard drive.
    • Pull the hard drive cable away from the body of the hard drive.

    • Remove the hard drive.

    The hard drive cable is a recalled part on these machines. You may need to replace it before your drive will be read correctly. The Apple Store will replace your cable for free if it's problematic.

    Eric March - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  9. Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector up from its socket on the logic board.
    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable connector up from its socket on the logic board.

  10. Remove the following four screws:
    • Remove the following four screws:

    • Two 3 mm Phillips screws

    • Two 9.7 mm Phillips screws

    I have a mid-2009 MBP. Removing the 3mm screws was nearly impossible. I read that Apple uses loctite glue to secure the screws. Someone recommended touching the hot tip of a glue gun (minus the glue, of course) to the screw head. Doing so heats the screw and loosens the loctite. It worked well for the first one, I rushed the second and striped it so badly that I had to use a drill to bust up the screw head. I didn’t have a bit small enough to breakup the entire the screw, but I was able to pulverize the head so that the mounting surface was flat, which enabled me to install the new cable. At the moment, my cable is held in on that side by just the one screw and the weight of the hard drive. I’d like to replace the missing 3mm screw but I’d have to drill out the rest of the broken screw to have hole to put it in. Not exactly looking forward to that….perhaps if I just use some electrical tape to secure it down? On the upside, the new cable is working and my mac is up and running again.

    Jo

    jojojo5683 - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Replacement screws can be bought on Amazon - search 3mm laptop computer screw kit

    jojojo5683 - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  11. Carefully peel up the thin IR sensor/sleep LED ribbon cable from the adhesive securing it to the upper case.
    • Carefully peel up the thin IR sensor/sleep LED ribbon cable from the adhesive securing it to the upper case.

  12. Pull the front hard drive bracket containing the IR sensor/sleep LED away from the front edge of the upper case.
    • Pull the front hard drive bracket containing the IR sensor/sleep LED away from the front edge of the upper case.

  13. Remove the hard drive cable.
    • Remove the hard drive cable.

    • Your replacement part may come with several adhesive foam bumpers. These are to ensure a snug fit of both bracket and hard drive. Apply only as needed.

    The replacement cable comes without the sleep led attached. Thus you have to remove the flat cable of the sleep led from the socket of the old hd cable. Take your fingernail and lift the side of the socket opposite to the cable. It's really tiny! Afterwards insert the new cable and push gently on the part lifted up before.

    Skyynet - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Hi. What is the purpose of the 5 black rubber pads that are shipped with the cable kit?

    coffeenow - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Step 13 has the note: "Your replacement part may come with several adhesive foam bumpers. These are to ensure a snug fit of both bracket and hard drive. Apply only as needed." - This would be if the drive width had a gap and allowed it to move "sideways" in and out of the torx post holes. I didn't need them.

    prall -

    You can get the cable with or without the bracket and IR sensor assembly. Opt for with the bracket, makes it much easier.

    ** Note to iFixit, the install of the new cable would be much easier if the cable was pre folded where it bends up from the bottom where the two 3mm screw holes are. Thanks.

    Damian Holland - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  14. Your replacement part may or may not come with the front (sensor) bracket. If it does not, you'll need to transfer it to your new cable. Use the tip of a spudger to flip the "lever" of the ZIF connector (left side in first photo) on the hard drive cable. The connector does not come off, see next instruction. Gently pull the yellow sensor bracket cable out of the ZIF connector (to the right, in the second photo).
    • Your replacement part may or may not come with the front (sensor) bracket. If it does not, you'll need to transfer it to your new cable.

    • Use the tip of a spudger to flip the "lever" of the ZIF connector (left side in first photo) on the hard drive cable. The connector does not come off, see next instruction.

    • Gently pull the yellow sensor bracket cable out of the ZIF connector (to the right, in the second photo).

    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive cable up off the sensor bracket to which it is adhered.

    • Remove the adhesive backing from your new hard drive cable, stick it onto the sensor bracket, and connect the sensor bracket cable.

    • Many fixers cover the length of the thicker cable in the pair with sections of electrical tape on both sides because it can rub the tiny ridges inside the aluminum case causing a short to the case itself or simply breaking the connection.

    Very nice set of close up photos of the hard drive cable IR sensor ZIF connectory are here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/708...

    Mark Mikofski - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    I would recommend using tweezers that come with the ifixit tool kit to properly insert the sensor bracket cable back into the sensor bracket. I had trouble with my computer in which the solution was that this step was not executed properly in my repair of the hard drive cable installation. I encourage everyone to make sure the bracket is fully and properly put back in the bracket otherwise the hard drive will appear to malfunction.

    chasethomas642 - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Thanks for this - yes, the final little detail about getting the yellow ribbon in is tricky indeed, I feared I’d bend it too many times and end up breaking it. Also, as there is no way to know if it’s placed far enough in, a bit of guess work. But, 3 mins to re-assemble, and hit power - booted up like immediately, perfect. Cheers - Pat

    Patrick Sgro - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Great thumbs up for very hi-res photos for this section. This thing was THE hardest in this guide. If you haven’t got courage to do this, just buy the one with bracket. Even if you have - zoom into the picture. It will save the day.

    If you have hard time putting the cable back into the ZIF connector, try gently pushing the cable down against the bracket while pushing it into the connector. Simply pushing the cable into the connector doesn’t seem to work well.

    Collapsed PLUG - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    I just did this step and I’m concerned I might have bent the little yellow cable or not seated it far enough into the connector. More will be revealed.

    My suggestion might be to re-insert the cable before sticking the hard drive back onto the bracket. It might provide more flexibility and a better angle at getting the sleep LED cable back in the ZIF connector.

    This is just for the sleep LED? and the IR sensor? right so if we don’t care about the LED for sleeping hard drive and never use the IR sensor then it doesn’t matter, right?

    Adam Hechler - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Good guide, great, thanks! It simply works like a charm.

    I’d extend Adam’s suggestion: insert the LED cable into the connector before glueing the connector plate onto the holder. This way you can use both hands, find the correct angle and fiddle the little thingy into place. If you do it behind a magnifying glass it’s even easier.

    Grix - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Thanks for this useful guide that enabled me to do this job myself. I found the last step was the trickiest one, so much so that even though I was careful I managed to break the ZIF connector as I was trying to put it back in after also having some difficulty figuring out how to disconnect it. Part of the problem was that I stuck the new cable to the base of the holder before I tried to plug the ZIFF connector back in and did not manage at first attempt to get it close enough to the white housing to be easily within reach of the ZIFF connector that I think is why it broke when I tried to put it back in. It was not a nice surprise but fortunately when I completed the reassembly the hard disk started working again with no problems that was my reason for changing the cable, so losing an LED light and some sleep (pun intended) was worthwhile.

    hundredmeterskoven - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

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

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Phillip Takahashi

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Excelente guia todo muy bien detallado.

Joel Fuentes huchin - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Hi, My mac, I bought in late 2011 (december), doesn't work on internal harddrive( I replaced it to SSD, year agao), but when i use SATA cable externally, it works perfect. I get the circle and slash sign when I try to boot with internal drive cable, but SATA works fine. Do I need to replace my internal cable?

Raj - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

that probably means the cable is done. Just replace it and find out. It worked out that way for myself. If its not the cable, well it was going to cost more to bring in to a repair shop anyway.

Joshua Decosta -

Having almost got to the stage when i was going buy a new macbook - I found this, and decided to give it a go, having had the death folder and my computer not responding to any of the so -called fixes and recoveries. Hey presto after 30 minutes of being an IT engineer, thanks to be the above guide, I am now up and running and not having to buy a new one - good saving and more confidence of how to fix my mac thanks to the clear directions and pics - superb

Pete M

Pete Markham - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Thanks very much for this precise and well described guide. Looked like my son’s MacBook HDD was dead until I found a lot of talk on the forum about the hard drive cable being a common fault. Took the chance of replacing the cable first and could not have done so without this guide. Pleased to say the hard drive was actually fine and having successfully replaced the cable he’s now up and running again. Thanks

Robert Ball - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

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