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How to Replace the Airport Card on Your Macbook

written by: normaking•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 5/8/2011

Every Mac user who has ever been a Do It Yourself person at heart has wanted to know how to replace the Airport Card on their MacBook. Here I go into the precise steps that are required so that once you read it, you're "in the know."

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    Should You Replace Your Macbook's Airport Card?

    Step5 Unless you’ve got a pretty good reason to do so, there is no point in fidgeting around with your MacBook’s Airport Card. Before you get all set to open up your MacBook, you should know that the Airport Card is not considered to be a user serviceable part which means that Apple never intended for the Airport Card to be replaced or repaired by anyone who wasn’t a Certified Apple Engineer. The only user serviceable (read as interchangeable or user upgradeable parts) on your MacBook are the RAM as well as the Hard Disk Drive. Even the batteries on the new sealed Unibody MacBooks are designed to be replaced by an Apple Certified technician.

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    Buy What if I Really Want to Replace My Airport Card?

    Well, first of all you need to check to make sure that you MacBook isn’t covered under AppleCare. If it is, then your problems with replacing the Airport Card are solved straight away because Apple will replace your Airport Card free of charge if your MacBook is under warranty. Trying to replace your Airport card yourself when your laptop is under warranty will void the warranty! If you're laptop is under warranty send it in for repairs.

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    Be Absolutely Sure That You Need to Replace the Airport Card on Your Macbook

    So no AppleCare warranty and you still want to do the replacement yourself? Well, then you need to make sure that there is something actually wrong with your MacBook’s Airport Card. The thing with the Airport Cards on the MacBook line is that they are notorious when it comes to getting unseated — basically the connection that the card has on your motherboard comes loose. In this case, all you need to do is open up your MacBook using the following instructions and re-seat the Airport Card back into it’s place.

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    The Deed!

    Step14 Doing the replacement is pretty easy as long as you have the right set of tools. You’ll need: a penny, a set of Torx screw drivers as well as a Phillips screw driver.

    1. Turn the computer upside down and take out the battery with a penny if you have the old white MacBooks. If you’ve got the new Unibody MacBook (evident from the “rubbery base" that runs the entire face of the bottom) then you’ll need to break out your Torx screw driver and get busy. Make sure that you take note of which screws are being pulled out from which side. I personally prefer using an empty ice tray, but you could use anything that has compartments in it.

    2. For the Unibody MacBooks, you remove the Bottom cover while for the old white MacBooks you’ll need to take the battery out and then unscrew the L-bracket which lines the edges of the battery bay. While gaining access to the internals of the Unibody computer may seem hard, it is actually a lot easier because of the fact that there are no screws on the side that need to be removed like it is with the old MacBooks.

    3. For the Unibody MacBooks, lift the bottom cover out and then pull the grey and black cross that is connecting the antennas out. For those of you with old white MacBooks, you’ll need to pop out the keyboard/trackpad ribbon before you get a chance to see your MacBook’s innards.

    4. Replace the Airport Card with a new one and plug in both the antenna cables.

    5. Follow steps one to three in reverse to get your MacBook back to its pristine state!

    If you're still having issues when it comes to figuring out how to replace Airport Card on MacBooks, then have a look at The Quick MacBook Airport Card Troubleshoot article and this article if your MacBook's Airport card keeps on disconnecting.

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    References

    1. http://www.bukisa.com/
    2. http://www.apple.com/
    3. http://www.ifixit.com/
    4. Author's own experience.