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Use this guide to replace a broken trackpad.

  1. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement, Access Door: step 1, image 1 of 1
    • With the case closed, place the Unibody top-side down on a flat surface.

    • Depress the grooved side of the access door release latch enough to grab the free end. Lift the release latch until it is vertical.

    This is not a a1278 unibody MacBook Pro. A1278 MacBooks backs are one solid metal piece not two separate pieces. This guide is for a different MacBook Pro.

    Brad Burgeson - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    This guide isn’t for a pro; it’s a MacBook unibody.

    Nicholas -

    So, it turns out that Apple used the model code A1278 for quite a few different Mac models, including both Pro and non-Pro versions! This guide is for the non-Pro Macbooks. There’s also one for the Pro models with the same A1278 identifier.

    tempelmann - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  2. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 2, image 1 of 1
    • The access door should now be raised enough to lift it up and out of the Unibody.

  3. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement, Battery: step 3, image 1 of 1
    • Be sure the access door release latch is vertical before proceeding.

    • Grab the white plastic tab and pull the battery up and out of the Unibody.

    Even though it’s specifically stated, you have to make sure the access door latch is vertical or the battery won’t be removable.

    Henry Kim - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  4. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement, Lower Case: step 4, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the following eight screws securing the lower case to the chassis:

    • One 3 mm Phillips screw.

    • Three 13.5 mm Phillips screws.

    • Four 3.5 mm Phillips screws.

    On my model, it seemed the top-left was 3.5mm and the bottom 4 were 3 mm.

    Jim - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    Make sure you have a good quality Phillips screwdriver. Mine had removable tips and had a small play at the connection. As a result I didn't have a good feel and damaged my screws (those securing the fan and the top left in step 23). Game over for me installing new thermal paste...

    Be very carefull with your screws! Especially those on the inside.

    Nickolas Michelinakis - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    You can get away with a Phillips #00 for many of the screws involved but the 4 at the bottom case split are likely to strip if you don’t use a JIS #00 or, in a pinch, a Phillips #000.

    Bill Cole - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

    When replacing these screws, the order to replace them in is as follows:

    1, Top left

    2. Top right

    3. Top center-left

    4. Top center-right

    5. Bottom center-right

    6. Bottom center-left

    7. Bottom right

    8. Bottom left

    I hope this information is helpful.

    facebook - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  5. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 5, image 1 of 1
    • Using both hands, lift and remove the lower case off the upper case.

  6. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement, Mid Wall: step 6, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the four 10.3 mm Phillips screws securing the mid wall to the upper case.

  7. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 7, image 1 of 1
    • Lift the mid wall out of the upper case.

  8. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement, Trackpad: step 8, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement, Trackpad: step 8, image 2 of 2
    • Remove the two 5 mm Phillips screws securing the keyboard flex bracket to the upper case.

    • Lift the keyboard flex bracket out of the upper case.

  9. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 9, image 1 of 1
    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the trackpad connector straight up off the logic board.

  10. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 10, image 1 of 1
    • Remove the six 1.4 mm Y0 Tri-point screws securing the trackpad to the upper case.

    These screw heads/slots are nasty small! I ordered the special screw driver with the trackpad because I didn’t have it, but it really doesn’t seem to be small enough to do the job properly. I guess I’ll blame Apple for the screws, but be warned that it is a stretch to get these screws out with the driver. I stripped 2 of the screws and had to drill the heads off them. Fortunately I had 4 left to reassemble the trackpad! Maybe iFixit should provide some of these screws, since they are so easily damaged.

    Stephen Wagner - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  11. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 11, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 11, image 2 of 2
    • Carefully dislodge the edge of the trackpad closest to the keyboard from its recess in the upper case by pushing it away from the brackets attached to the upper case.

    • De-route the trackpad cable through its slot cut into the upper case.

  12. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 12, image 1 of 1
    • Pull the trackpad away from the outer edge of the upper case.

    • Remove the old trackpad and set it aside.

    Immediately after step 12, it is possible to replace the two brackets that secure the upper edge of the trackpad in the top case of the MacBook (from which the six 1.4 mm Y0 tri-point screws were removed in step 10). My replacement trackpad was supplied with spare brackets, so I was able to replace one that was bent out of shape.

    John Cashman - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

  13. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 13, image 1 of 2 MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 13, image 2 of 2
    • Carefully insert the cable from your new trackpad through its slot cut into the upper case.

    • Use one hand to hold the trackpad cable in place as you insert the two retaining tabs on the outer edge of the trackpad under the lip on the upper case.

    • Pull the trackpad cable as you seat the trackpad into its void in the upper case.

  14. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 14, image 1 of 1
    • Insert a 1.4 mm Tri-point screw into each of the outer holes drilled into the trackpad (two screws total).

    • You'll install the rest in a bit.

    • Tighten the screws all the way, then back them out about a quarter turn to aid in aligning your trackpad during the next few steps.

  15. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 15, image 1 of 1
    • Before tightening, make sure that the trackpad is freely moving up and down. If you feel stiffness, try to very gently adjust it so that in its untightened position the lower part easily moves up and down.

    • While continually trying to click your trackpad, gently tighten the Tri-point set screw until the clicks return to their factory "feel".

    • You can tell when the screw is tightened just right by the noise it makes when the trackpad clicks. If the set screw is too loose, the trackpad will have excessive play before it clicks. If it is too tight, the trackpad will click too easily and won't make the characteristic loud mouse clicking noise.

  16. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 16, image 1 of 1
    • Next, flip your upper case over so the keyboard side is facing up.

    • Align the trackpad so it is centered in its hole cut into the upper case.

  17. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Trackpad Replacement: step 17, image 1 of 1
    • Tighten the outer two screws along the inner edge of the trackpad and check the alignment of it on the outer side of the upper case.

    • If its alignment looks good, install the rest of the Tri-point screws along the inner edge of the trackpad.

    • Before reassembling your machine, verify that the set screw is still installed in a position so the mouse will click correctly.

    Overall this helped me alot. I was using the iFixit tool kit to make this repair. The Y-drive in this kit (only one in kit) was too small for the battery removal screws. I also made the mistake of tightening the trackpad screw too tight (Step 15) the first time and then had to take it apart and reassemble again. Overall very good descriptive procedure. Our A1278 was a 2011 model and had a few holders and guides that were slightly different than these directions but it still was very informative. Cheers and thanks. Peter V.

    Peter Veverka - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

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

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Walter Galan

676,612 crwdns2915208:0crwdne2915208:0

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The one thing I would be interested in: Where can I get the screwdriver this person is using in step 15? By this I am not referring to the low quality tools that are advertised alongside the tutorial.

--> can answer my own question. This is it: crwdns2913318:0IF145-072-1crwdne2913318:0

chris - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Is there a key to getting the front edge of the trackpad (side away from the keyboard) to sit up flush with the body? The trackpad is slightly recessed at the front edge of the unibody, but nice and flush near the keyboard. Any suggestions are appreciated.

domsmith - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Before going to the trouble and expense of removing the trackpad make sure you don't just have a problem with the battery. My trackpad was giving me fits by not responding or needing excessive pressure, etc. The only problem was that the battery was swollen and putting pressure up on the trackpad. Replaced the battery and the problem was solved.

Rich M - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

I agree with Rich M - check the battery first! Swollen battery will impede the trackpad.

John Scott - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

awesome instructions, thank you!

Fred Oliff - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

The Y0 bit included in the ifixit Pro Tool Kit was too large to remove the 6 screws holding the trackpad in place. Otherwise the guide was spot on.

lakway - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

please help me:

in the guide there are 6 "six 1.4 mm Y0 Tri-POINT screws " and 1 big " 1.2 mm Y1 Tri-WING screws "

but after some steps, the six triPOINT, become TRI-WING

so i don't understand: which tools should i buy to dismantle the trackpad?

ruben - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

If these are 1.4 mm Y0 Tri-POINT screws in step 10, I'll eat my hat. They are significantly smaller than the 1.2 mm Y1 Tri-WING screw (which is correct) at the bottom of the pad.

Kris Cole - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Moin,

mein Vorgänger sollte seinen Hut essen, derY0 Tri-Point passt einwandfrei!

Es ist eine großartige Anleitung, ich habe lediglich eine halbe Stunde benötigt!!! Vielen Dank!

Bernd Biegel - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Spot on guide. Thank you. Just used it to replace my trackpad.

Had to wait a month for a Y screwdriver though ... it was quite a bumper

lantinian - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

If you have a Harbor Freight Tools near you, they carry a kit that includes the Y0 Tri-Point:

http://www.harborfreight.com/electronic-...

Granite - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Great guide - took me about 25 minutes to replace my trackpad. I didn't follow step 13 as I simply kept the existing Y1 tri-point screw in place without any adjustment and the click felt fine. Routing the cable through the slot in step 14 requires a little care to avoid damage but isn't too tricky. At step 15, I noted that my trackpad was well aligned, so I replaced and fully tightened all of the screws and skipped steps 16 onwards, simply re-assembling all the other components in the order I took them out.

John Cashman - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

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