Replace MacBook Screen – A Tutorial
A client of mine sent me a MacBook with a broken screen. It was his daughter’s computer, and she had accidentally broken the screen. I told him I couldn’t help him repair the screen, and he should look to Apple to make the repair for him. I turns out that the repair is 90% of the cost of the computer itself.
He decided to buy a new MacBook, and asked me to transfer the data from old computer, to new. I agreed, and for my services, I inherited a new MacBook; albeit one without a usable screen. We here at Tweak pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve when it comes to DIY attitudes (especially with computers). So, I consulted with some of the other editors about my dilemma.
To be sure, I was trying to change the screen of a complicated piece of sophisticated machinery. I was attempting brain surgery, and failure mean the death of my patient, the computer.
After Derek did some research, I felt compelled to make the impossible happen, and replace the screen on the computer. I purchased a new screen from an eBay vendor in Taiwan for a meager $200, plus $30 shipping. Interestingly enough, the original screens are manufactured in Taiwan. I won’t speculate as to how my supplier came across the screens he was selling, except to say I’m grateful he sold mine to me!
What follows is a step by step recollection of how I successfully replaced the screen on my MacBook:
Here is the screen before I did anything …
Obviously, that’s pretty broken. I had managed to use the machine for a while with an external monitor plugged into it.
In order to start the disassembly of the machine, it was first necessary to acquire an exceptionally small phillips-head screwdriver. Again, Derek came to my rescue. I started with the first 3 screws on the bottom of the computer, as shown below:
After that was complete, I unscrewed the screws located on the side of the device, followed by the screws on the inside of the battery location.
INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT NOTE!!!!! – Nearly every screw in the MacBook belongs to a unique location. Think about this a minute. This is not like computer repair you may have done in the past. Not all screws are created equal. I dealt with this issue by carefully laying out each screw in a pattern equivalent to how the belonged in the computer itself. However you may tackle this issue is your business, but you have been warned!
Once all of the screws were removed from the outer locations of the computer, I was able to remove the keyboard assembly from the device. This assembly covers all aspects of the internal workings of the MacBook. Afterwards I was able to recognize that I still needed to disconnect the display from the motherboard. This proved to be a complicated feat, since the delicate cables connecting the monitor to the mainboard were looped underneath more delicate internals like DVD ROM connections, as well as HD connections to the motherboard.
Those connections weren’t just cable plugs, but physical, screwed in connections as well.
Once I had all of this disconnected, I was able to disconnect all display connections from the motherboard quite easily. After I accomplished this feat, I re-centered my attention at removing the broken display from the computer.
Below, you see me trying to remove the old screen from the casing. This is delicate stuff, so don’t get impatient here!
Something else to note: you’ll need a special screwdriver to take apart your macbook. Home Depot sells them pretty cheap. Thanks Derek
Now, for the dis-regarded broken display (Hans Solo):
And now for installing the new screen:
Believe it or not, after all of that work, when I finally got the macbook running, I noticed the screen was awfully dim. I had forgotten to plug in the backlight for the display. Yeah, and a few days later, I noticed that I couldn’t use the CD drive. I had misplaced a part underneath the CD / DVD drive. So, the lesson is: Take your time, and do your frankenstein work on a clean white surface, not on the carpet.