In the following guide I explain how to disassemble a MacBook Pro 15″ (Mid 2010) in order to remove and replace the keyboard.
In my case something sticky was spilled on the keyboard and it stopped working completely. In fact, the laptop didn’t even start with the damaged keyboard connected to the motherboard.
I confirmed that this is just a failed keyboard by turning it on using the power-on pads.
The keyboard is attached to the internal side of the top cover assembly. In order to remove and replace the keyboard the entire MacBook Pro (MBP) has to be disassembled.
The serial number can be located on the bottom case or memory slot.
For this repair you’ll need the following tools:
– T-6 torx screwdriver.
– PH000 Phillips screwdriver.
– 1.5 mm slotted screwdriver ( I used it for removing battery screws).
MBP has a very small screws. I recommend using only high quality precision screwdrivers. I prefer Wiha screwdrivers.
Before you start the disassembly process make sure the computer is turned off.
Also, keep track of all screws (they are all different). Make notes, pictures, etc… This will make your life much easier during the reassembly process.
Remove ten screws securing the bottom cover.
Separate the bottom cover and remove it.
Under the bottom cover you can access the following internal MBP components:
– Memory modules.
– Optical drive.
– Cooling fans.
– Hard drive.
– Notebook battery.
– Motherboard aka logic board.
The battery is secured by three special screws (tri-wing screws). I was able to remove them using a small 1.5mm slotted screwdriver without any problem.
Be careful, using a wrong screwdriver can easily strip the screw.
Lift up the battery and unplug the battery cable from the motherboard.
Remove the battery. New replacement batteries available here.
Unscrew two screws securing the hard drive mounting bracket.
Lift up and remove the hard drive bracket.
Carefully lift up the hard drive and disconnect the hard drive cable.
Remove the hard drive.
Upgrading this regular 2.5″ SATA hard drive to a 2.5″ SATA solid state drive will improve laptop performance significantly.
Remove both memory modules.
Spread latches on both sides of the memory slot. The top memory module with pop up at a 30 degree angle. Pull the top memory module from the slot.
After that pull the bottom memory module.
This laptop can handle up to 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1066 SODIMM memory modules.
Remove six screws securing the cooling fans (three screws per one fan).
Disconnect both fan cables from the motherboard.
Remove both cooling fans.
Remove two screws securing the keyboard and trackpad connectors shield.
Remove the shield.
Disconnect 10 cables from the motherboard.
Be very careful with connectors 6 and 8. I’ll explain how to unlock different types of connectors in the following pictures.
Unplug the video cable (connector 10).
Here’s how to disconnect the keyboard backlight cable (connector 6).
Carefully lift up the left side of the connector retainer with a small screwdriver.
The retainer will open up at a 90 degree angle.
Now you can pull the keyboard backlight cable from the connector.
Remove the keyboard cable (connector 8) the same way.
First, lift up the connector retainer.
After that pull the keyboard cable from the connector.
Lift up and disconnect the speaker cable (connector 4).
Lift up and disconnect the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth assembly connector. Unlock connectors 1,3,5,7,9 the same way.
Unplug the camera cable form the connector on the motherboard.
Remove nine screws securing the motherboard and MagSafe board.
Start removing the motherboard from the left side.
Lift up the left side and work the right side of the motherboard out of the notebook case.
Note: you can leave the MagSafe board connected to the notebook case but in this case you’ll have to unplug it from the motherboard.
I found it easier to remove the motherboard with the MagSafe board attached.
Remove the motherboard.
Remove two screws securing the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth assembly.
Move the the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth assembly aside.
Remove three screws securing the optical drive.
Lift up and remove the optical drive.
Remove two screws securing the mounting bracket.
Remove the mounting bracket.
The keyboard almost ready for the removal and replacement.
Carefully separate the trackpad cable from the keyboard assembly.
Now you can start separating the keyboard backlight from the keyboard.
The backlight has a few layers. Do not separate them from each other.
Be careful if you plan to use the backlight with a new keyboard.
I purchased a new keyboard WITH backlight so I didn’t care much about the original backlight.
Remove the keyboard backlight.
Now remove about 70 very small screws securing the keyboard.
Remove two screws securing the display cable mounting bracket.
Lift up and remove the bracket.
Remove two screws securing the power button.
NOTE: the power button is permanently attached to the keyboard. It’s part of the keyboard.
Start removing the keyboard.
While removing the keyboard pay attention to the power button.
There is a metal ring (spring) located under the power button. Do not lose it. Do not forget to install this spring back in place under the new power button.
After the old damaged/failed keyboard removed you can install a new keyboard.
New replacement A1286 keyboards available here.
Install a new (or old) backlight on the keyboard and assemble the laptop following all steps in the opposite direction.
By the way, If you have damaged keys it might be not necessary to replace the entire keyboard. In some cases it’s possible to fix individual keyboard keys.