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MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement

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  1. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement, Access Door: passo 1, immagine 1 di 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 - Replica

    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 - Replica

  2. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 2, immagine 1 di 1
    • The access door should now be raised enough to lift it up and out of the Unibody.

  3. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement, Battery: passo 3, immagine 1 di 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.

    Great tutorial ! great step !

    Leo Etcheverry - Replica

    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 - Replica

  4. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement, Lower Case: passo 4, immagine 1 di 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 - Replica

    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 - Replica

    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 - Replica

    I used the Phillips #00 tip from my Pro Tech Toolkit, and it worked well enough. But yes, maybe #000 might have been better on the lower row of screws. Note to myself: Always read the comments first.

    Les Kitchen -

    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 - Replica

    I followed my usual process of putting in all the screws loosely, then tightening them gradually in distributed pattern, to help ensure that the panel settles in place evenly. But maybe some orders are better.

    Les Kitchen -

  5. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 5, immagine 1 di 1
    • Using both hands, lift and remove the lower case off the upper case.

    Thanks for the guide!

    It's implicit in the two photos, but worth mentioning because it blocked my progress in this step for a bit: You have to put the release latch back into its horizontal, closed position before you can lift off the lower-case panel.

    Les Kitchen - Replica

  6. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement, Optical Drive: passo 6, immagine 1 di 1
    • Using the flat end of a spudger, pry the subwoofer connector straight up off the logic board.

    • On some models, the subwoofer connector is soldered to the logic board and will break if you pry it off. If you need to replace the speaker/subwoofer, you can pull back the foam padding on the connector and remove the red and black wires to disconnect. You will need to reinsert the wires from the new speaker to reconnect.

    • If you are only removing the optical drive and not replacing the speaker/subwoofer, you do not need to disconnect this connector.

    Me, too, broke the subwoofer connector from the motherboard. I'd suggest removing the padding first so that you can see what kind of connector it is, then pry it loose (insert spudger where the cables enter the connector).

    petterwolff - Replica


    You can complete this guide without doing step 6 just BE CAREFUL as you already should be.

    kenneth rhem - Replica

    The subwoofer cable is NOT removable on some models, attempting to remove it, brakes it off the circuit board and them you are @@%#$$, like me. Thanks iFixit. Also it is not necessary to remove it to replace the optical drive.

    todd - Replica

    Oops, I followed Step-6 and my subwoofer connector came off from the motherboard!!! Please suggest me what needs to be done now?

    Srinivasan - Replica

    Happened the same to me ... step 6 is a @%#$$. You should put now a way to repair the damage done. I just have four small tin marks on the board ...

    stratorick - Replica

    Happened the same problem to me ... step 6 is a @%#$$**%%#. You should put now a way to repair the damage done. I just have four small tin marks on the board ... and looking to sky for help

    Badruddin Hisbani - Replica

    Just “4 small tin marks” is what the the motherboard half of the subwoofer connector looks like.

    Bill Cole - Replica

    There are two variants of this connector. In one, there are pins that come up from the motherboard and the connector can be pried directly up without damage.

    The other variant of the connector that everyone commenting here has is soldered to the motherboard. To repair this type, first pull off the small square of foam padding on top of the connector. Then gently pull out the four black and red wires, leaving the soldered connector attached to the logic board. After you have installed the new speaker and subwoofer, you will remove the connector on the replacement component and carefully feed the red and black wires into the connector that is still attached to the motherboard (paying careful attention to their correct order). Then replace the square of black foam.

    If you have removed the soldered on the connector, your two options are to solder it on yourself or to find a repair shop that can do that for you. There are instructables online for soldering tiny components that can help you.

    bike - Replica

    Reading all of these comments prior to beginning the work, I didn’t even try to investigate the type of connector my laptop had. I just DIDN’T attempt removal of this connector, worked around it, and as others have mentioned, it is truly unnecessary to remove this connector. You can move the subwoofer (after removal of its other screws) out of the way just enough to slip out the old drive and slip in the new drive.

    Henry Kim - Replica

  7. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 7, immagine 1 di 1
    • Disconnect the camera cable by pulling the male end straight away from its socket.

    The lack of warning “Be careful not to pull up on the cable as you remove it from the socket.” here, as is displayed on a similar step on the “MacBook Unibody Model A1278 AirPort Card Replacement” guide, has caused me to break the cable. My WiFi is not working anymore. How can I replace only this cable? Thank you.

    Ismael Neiva - Replica

    Bonjour J’ai eu le malheur de toucher à ce câble et depuis je n’ai plus de retro-éclairage sur mon écran. Est-ce lié ?

    Hello I had the misfortune to touch this cable and since then I have no more backlight on my screen. Is it related? (but the computer works fine when I plug in a screen)

    christophe.arnaud - Replica

  8. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 8, immagine 1 di 1
    • Use a spudger to pry the optical drive connector straight up off the logic board.

  9. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 9, immagine 1 di 1
    • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the subwoofer to the upper case.

    • The longer of the two screws is on the right.

    Longer screw was on the Left for me.

    amiller770 - Replica

    Left: 3.7 mm

    Right: 4.0 mm

    As I measured with a vernier caliper.

    nickjg - Replica

  10. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 10, immagine 1 di 1
    • The subwoofer is still connected to the right speaker, so don't completely remove it just yet.

    • Lift the subwoofer off the optical drive, and set it above the computer.

  11. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 11, immagine 1 di 1
    • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the camera cable bracket to the upper case.

    • The leftmost screw may remain captive in the camera cable.

    This step is not necessary. Drive can be released without removing the screws.

    mcbohdo - Replica

    If you’re replacing the subwoofer, you DO need to remove the left screw but not the right screw. This is fortunate, because if you are stuck with a Phillips #00 instead of a JIS #00 screwdriver, you may well strip the heads of these screws.

    Bill Cole - Replica

  12. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 12, immagine 1 di 1
    • Remove the three 2.5 mm Phillips screws securing the optical drive to the upper case.

    The lower left screw hole of the replacement drive purchased from iFixit doesn’t align with the screw hole of the body of the computer. Doesn’t seem to be a problem as the drive seems to be quite stable with the other 2 screws, and the “fit” within the drive area.

    Henry Kim - Replica

  13. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 13, immagine 1 di 1
    • Lift the optical drive from its right edge and pull it out of the computer.

    • The hard drive cable may become disconnected from the logic board when removing the optical drive. Ensure it is connected during reassembly.

  14. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement, Optical Drive: passo 14, immagine 1 di 1
    • Remove the optical drive cable by pulling it straight away from the optical drive.

    • This connector is particularly deep, so be sure to pull away from the drive at the center of the connector.

    • If you have a CD or any other object jammed in your optical drive, we have an optical drive repair guide.

  15. MacBook Unibody Model A1278 Optical Drive Replacement: passo 15, immagine 1 di 1
    • Remove the two black Phillips #0 screws securing the small metal mounting bracket. Transfer this bracket to your new optical drive or hard drive enclosure.


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

Altre 108 persone hanno completato questa guida.

8 Commenti

I ruined my laptop because of this guide.

The step 6 says it's a connector that comes of (sub-woofer), mine was welded, I broke it, I cannot fix it.

i am frustrated, and I know I should only blame myself for following blindly that guide.

But at least I thought I should let people know : be careful when removing that sub-woofer connector!!!

Thomas C - Replica

I also broke the sub-woofer connector away from the board, the connection to the board is very fragile, however I managed to solder the connector back on with a very fine soldering iron, (tricky). but it worked. I don't think it is really necessary to disconnect the sub-woofer cable to remove the optical drive, I'll find out when I get a new one to replace the old broken one. To remove the subwoofer cable it would be necessary to hold the connector in place while the plug is very carefully prized up from the lead side without moving the connector socket.

John Chinnery - Replica

Completed this one successfully. Now running OCZ 256 GB SSD in main bay and WD Black 320GB in optical bay.

Daniel Reyes - Replica

PLEASE change Step 6 to not blindly pop the subwoofer cable off of the logic board. I also have broken this connection by following the instructions. The comments do not print out/are not shown on the pdf! Some people (like me) may never see these comments until too late.

Jonny - Replica

My computer had a different optical drive than shown. Instead of the screws going through the body of the drive, it was secured by two screws at the corners opposite the screw by the connectors (i.e, along the wall where the CD slot is). In addition, in order to repair the drive, black tape sealing the unit had to be peeled back in order to open it (and the screws underneath the tape were placed slightly differently).

italtrav - Replica

Fixed my optical drive my Mac book runs great

victor generalao - Replica

Just a small tip: I wanted to replace my optical drive that I took from my older MB (A1181) with the broken optical drive in my newer-but still old- MB (A1278). But the drives aren't the same. The connectors don't fit and you can't replace them. So don't try to do this, if you planned to do it.

mofo - Replica

I broke the connector, too. Thanks to this guide. why don't they change the step 6?

akira maeda - Replica

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