Apple MacBook Air 13” laptop keyboard repairs
In this repairs, we will show you process of replacing a keyboard on an Apple MacBook Air 13” laptop.
This is a common repairs on Apple MacBook Air laptop, usually occur as result of liquid spill or any keyboard damages that cause the keyboard to malfunction.
First remove 10 screws on the back cover of the laptop. These screws are pentalobe screws and they are fairly small.
Make sure you have the correct screwdriver for this and do not force it with a phillips screwdriver to avoid stripping the screws.
Now you will see internal components of the MacBook Air: battery, IO board, IO cable, speakers, flash storage drive, screen connector, Airport card, logic board.
The touchpad is hidden under the battery. The keyboard is buried underneath all of these parts.
To get to the keyboard, you will have to remove most of these parts (without damaging any of them), doesn’t sound easy does it?
First thing first, disconnect the battery and remove it. You will need a torx screwdriver for this.
Next we will remove the flash storage drive, slide it out gently from its socket.
Then IO cable
Then the fan needs to be removed
Next, we will disconnect the IO board and logic board and remove it.
You won’t need to remove the Airport card, but disconnect its antenna cables.
The speakers need to be removed, use a flat tool to slide underneath them and pry it up.
Now we will remove the logic board, one of the most expensive parts of this Apple MacBook Air laptop.
Make sure all cables are disconnected from the logic board before removing the logic board from the laptop.
There you will see the left over parts: touchpad, keyboard and its backlit unit.
Gently peeling away the keyboard backlit. You may tear parts of it during this process, do your best to keep it intact.
In the instance of liquid spill, this process could be difficult to keep this backlit unit intact.
It is recommended to have a replacement backlit unit handy in case it gets torn too much.
Now, finally after removing all other parts, you will see the keyboard.
But, do not get too happy just yet, all you have done so far just to get to this keyboard was actually the easiest part of this repairs.
Yes you heard it right, the hardest part of this repairs is removing this keyboard from its aluminium frame.
This keyboard was made in a way that it was rivet’d into the alluminum casing. There are some screws at the outter layer but most of it was integrated into the keyboard upper alluminum frame.
This was not the case in the older Apple MacBook Pro unibody laptops, but it is now a trend across all new Apple MacBook Air, MacBook Pro Retina Display, MacBook Pro Retina Display with Touch Bar laptops.
That does not make the repairs easier at all.
If you have not had any experience replacing keyboard for this MacBook Air in the past, we suggest you stop your DIY process now before you ruin the rest of the computer.
But if you are determined to fix your computer, read on.
First use a precision phillips screwdriver to remove all small screws that you can see on the keyboard. It is recommended to put packing tape on the inner part of the keyboard so when you remove it, the rivets will not fall off everywhere to your desk.
Using some super glue may help removing the rivets but this definitely will not help removing most of the rivets from the keyboard frame.
At this point, you will need to grab a plier to grip onto the keyboard, and then slowly rip the keyboard off from the its frame.
The edge of the keyboard is sharp and it may give you a nasty cut if your hands get it the way, so be careful.
I’ve got a cut on my fingers before when the sharp edges sliced into my finger.
Now you have the keyboard ripped off from the frame, but there will be lots of small rivets that were still stuck in the frame.
You must remove these rivets, this process is important. Make sure it is done properly so you can properly install the new keyboard.
Use a small cutting plier to remove the remaining stuck rivets. You should have at least 80% of rivet screw holes to install new rivet screws for the new keyboard.
Now it is time to put in a new keyboard and install new rivet screws for it.
The rest of the repairs is in reversed order of this repair guide, until you have reassembled the laptop. Test out the new keyboard to make sure it’s working.
And wait, what if it does not fix the problem or there is a fault with the new keyboard?
You are in bad luck, there is no turning back, the old keyboard is now completely ruined and you cannot put it back, repeating the whole process is difficult and very time consuming.
This repairs is a difficult one that you cannot afford any mistake.
Apple iMac 21.5” computer hard drive repairs
Hard drive failure is a common fault with most computers. A consumer-graded hard drive generally lasts 3 to 5 years and gradually fails.
When hard drive fails, your Apple Mac computer will often freezes, become slow, non-responsive, often has spinning wheel and slow to boot, slow to open apps.
The facts is. every single hard drive will eventually fail, thus replacing hard drive is one of the most common repairs for computers.
Testing and identifying hard drive fault
Before you start any repairs, it is the most important that you make sure that you have identified the correct fault with the computer and replacing the correct part.
With easy Internet access at home and on smart phones, you can do research online to see what other people say about a similar problem that they are having with their computer, so that you can try the same fixes on your own computer.
However it is important that you are reading the right information from the right people. Most computer users are not the experts and presuming that their computers are having the same problem from what they are reading.
The truth is, it is not always the same problem. There is small differences between computer problems that only highly experienced computer technicians can spot.
We will give you an example (this one could be quite odd and difficult to tell the difference for an average computer user, but we have heard it before): your ASUS laptop cannot start Windows, you hear some clunky noise from the computer and the computer turned off itself randomly, then it goes to start-up repair mode where it says “dianogsing your PC”.
You do you research and another person (say his name is Anthony) mentioned that he had the same problem.
Anthony’s HP laptop also had clunky noise inside the laptop, the computer turned off and restarted itself and gone to start-up repair mode but it never boots to Windows.
Naturally you would presume that Anthony is having the same problem as yours, and you will try what Anthony suggests to fix your computer.
However, in this example, Anthony and you might actually have 2 completely different problem here. Anthony’s laptop has a failing hard drive which caused the laptop unable to boot to Windows and gone to start-up repair mode.
Due to the faulty hard drive, Anthony’s laptop restarted itself and he heard a clunky noise from inside the computer.
However the noise he heard came from the failing hard drive. It came together with the fan noise from his laptop fan that has collected dust from years of use in a dusty environment.
While your laptop actually did not have a faulty hard drive, the clunky noise you heard was from the broken fan inside your laptop, not from your ASUS laptop hard drive.
Since the fan was damaged, your laptop randomly turned off itself as it has been over-heating.
Once it has turned off without a clean shutdown, it will automatically goes to start-up repair mode in the next boot.
The 2 problems that you and Anthony are having sound very similar, but very difficult for an average computer user to tell the difference.
Thus, whatever Anthony is suggesting (or whatever he was suggested) will not fix your ASUS laptop fan problem, simply because he does not have the same problem as yours.
The difference here is that the noise from his HP laptop is a different noise from your ASUS laptop.
As an average computer user, you have not heard different types of noises from many computers, it is impossible for you to tell the difference between computer noises.
An experienced computer technician can spot this difference, and use his own tools to test the computer to identify the correct problem.
For Apple Mac computers, there is a built-in Disk Utility that you can use to do a quick test on hard drive through First Aid tool.
However First Aid tool does not always provide an accurate assessment of hard drives.
Many faulty hard drives will actually pass First Aid tool in Disk Utility. The facts is, no hard drive testing tool is 100% accurate, they should be used as advisory only.
Keep in mind that, in some rare situations where everything is pointing to a hard drive fault, it may still turn out to be something else.
For example, we have, for a couple of times, seen hard drive errors in HP, Lenovo and Apple laptops that was indeed not caused by faulty hard drives, but instead was caused by a faulty connector or controller on the motherboard.
In these instances, we had replaced the suspected hard drives with different new drives, but the computer eventually still returned with the same problem, which further testing had confirmed that the actual fault was with the motherboard instead.
You never really know for sure until you have tried it out.
Preparing your tools and OS installation media
To fix your Apple iMac computer, you will need some special tools that are designed for Apple Mac.
Apple Mac computers do not just come with phillips screws, they have torx screws that require torx screwdriver to remove.
You don’t want to disassemble your computer half way through and then realise that you do not have the correct screwdriver to continue the work.
Preparing OS installation media kit is another important part of the repairs. You won’t be able to complete your repairs without having all the right tools ready.
Most people see repair guide online and on YouTube, it looks so easy because the person who wrote the guide and posted the YouTube video had edited his instructions to make it look easy, to attract more clicks and more subscribers.
The truth is it is not always a smooth process, before you start a repairs, you should have all of your gears ready first, you should also expect unexpected issues along the way.
To prepare a Mac OS X or Windows installation media, you will need to user another computer to download ISO image from manufacturer to create installation USB flash drive.
While Mac computers have Recovery Mode, it may take you back to an older version of Mac OS X and not the latest one.
Replacing Apple iMac 21.5” hard drive
First, turn off the iMac and disconnect its power cord to make sure there is no power to it. You can have it stand or lie down on your desk.
For this 21.5” iMac, you can use a suction tool such as one from your GPS that mounts onto your car windshield, or simple use your finger nail to slowly pull out the front glass. Be careful not to break this glass.
You will need to remove 8 torx screws from 2 sides of the screen. Then slowly lift up the screen panel. You must take caution here and do not lift it up too high as you will damage the LCD connector on the logic board.
Mistake can happen and we have seen this LCD connector ripped from the logic board due to bad DIY attempt before.
Disconnect the screen from the logic board, backlight board. You should be able to remove the screen completely from there.
Now you can see the hard drive in this Apple iMac 21.5” computer to remove it. To install a new hard drive, simply transfer all screws and bracket from the old drive to the new one.
This process of replacing the hard drive is not the most difficult part though, and it is only a third of the repairs.
Once you have fully reassembled the iMac. Use the installation media that you created previously to reinstall Mac OS X on the iMac. Then it is ready.
This repairs sound simple enough. We have seen mistakes during DIY attempts before.
It is very important that you diagnose the computer correctly first before taking the computer apart to replace the hard drive.
Avoid damaging the screen connector on the motherboard while removing the screen panel, this mistake is costly and will require a full logic board replacement if you damage the LCD connector.