Replacing failed trackpad on MacBook Air

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MacBook Air trackpad replacement

In this guide I show how to replace failed trackpad on a MacBook Air 13-inch or 11-inch laptop.

In my case the trackpad started working erratically. The cursor was jumping all over the screen and moving on its own even if the trackpad wasn’t touched.



TIP: if your trackpad stopped clicking, check the battery. It’s likely the battery is swollen and blocking the trackpad from moving freely. If the trackpad clicks properly with the battery removed, you’ll have to replace the battery.

STEP 1.

Place the laptop upside down and remove ten P5 Pentalobe screws securing the bottom cover.

Remove the cover.

NOTE: two screws I marked with yellow circles are longer than screws marked with red circles.

Remove bottom screws

STEP 2.

Pull the battery cable out of the connector on the logic board.

Disconnect battery cable from logic board

STEP 3.

Remove five T5 Torx screws securing the battery. Three screws on the top (yellow circles) are longer that two screws on the bottom (red circles).

Remove the battery.

Remove battery



STEP 4.

Now you can access the trackpad.

In the following steps I’ll show how to disconnect the trackpad cable (red arrow) and keyboard cable which is hidden (yellow arrow).

Trackpad and keyboard cables connected

STEP 5.

On the following picture the trackpad cable connector shown in the locked state.

Trackpad cable connector locked

Open up the connector by lifting up the locking tab. You can use tweezers or your fingernail.

The locking tab will open up at a 90 degree angle.

Unlock trackpad connector

Carefully pull the trackpad cable out of the connector.

Remove trackpad cable

STEP 6.

The keyboard plugs in into the connector which is hidden under the flex cable.

On the following picture the keyboard connector shown in the locked state.

Keyboard connector locked

Open up the connector by lifting up the black tab in the shown direction. You can use tweezers for that.

Unlock keyboard cable connector

Pull the keyboard cable out of the connector.

Disconnect keyboard cable

STEP 7.

When all cables are disconnected, we can start removing the trackpad.

Remove six screws securing brackets to the laptop case.

You will need a very fine PH00 Phillips screwdriver.

Remove six screws securing trackpad brackets

Start separating the trackpad from the laptop case.

Lift up trackpad

Remove the trackpad. Now it’s ready for the replacement.

Remove trackpad from laptop

STEP 8.

It’s likely that your new trackpad will not have metal brackets installed.

In this case you’ll have to transfer them from the old one. Each bracket is secured by three screws.

Move brackets to new MacBook Air trackpad

STEP 9.

Start installing the new trackpad. Position the lower side (red arrow) first.

Install trackpad back into laptop case

STEP 10.

Install only two screws but do not tighten them completely.

Secure trackpad with two screws

STEP 11.

Adjust position of the trackpad. Make sure it’s seated evenly and gaps on each side are equal.

After that you can tighten the brackets and install remaining four screws.

Adjust position of the trackpad

TIP: if the trackpad doesn’t click properly, you can try adjusting the screw. In most cases it’s not necessary.

Adjust trackpad click screw

STEP 12.

Insert the keyboard cable back into the connector.

Insert keyboard cable

There is a white line on the keyboard cable. Make sure the cable goes all the way down into the connector and the white line levels with the connector.

Close the locking tab (yellow arrow).

Lock keyboard cable connector

Finally, connect the trackpad cable back in place and assemble the laptop.


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