Macbook Keyboard Rivets

Removing a broken MacBook keyboard

TLDR: can’t remove rivets; glue the new keyboard in with a medium thickness cyanoacrylate

The spilled coffee on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) disabled only one key on the keyboard. Unfortunately, it was the power button. I confirmed that my MacBook Pro wasn’t completely dead by shorting the pads on the system board that I found on insidemylaptop.com.

The top case (which includes the keyboard and trackpad) of the MacBook Pro can be replaced, with new parts on eBay that cost about $100. I also found that the just the keyboard can be purchased on eBay for about $20.

I used iFixit’s MacBook Pro 15″ Retina Display Mid 2012 Upper Case Assembly Replacement guide to disassemble the computer, then found some YouTube videos detailing ripping out the old keyboard.

MacBook Pro Retina keyboard rivets

The problem for me was when I pulled the old keyboard away from the top case, the rivets remained in the case. I later thought that pulling on the keyboard very sharply when I removed it would have pulled the rivets out too.

There were screws included with my replacement keyboard but the now the problem was how to remove the rivets from the top case. I found various solutions that included drilling them out, using a screwdriver and hammer to pry them out and removing the rivets by pulling them out with diagonal flush side cutters. The latter seemed like the best solution, except that I didn’t have that tool.

It then occurred to me that Apple reparability scores were always very low because they glued everything together. So, I decided to glue the keyboard in using a medium cyanoacrylate glue.

Working from one side of the keyboard to the other, I used less than a drop of glue on top of each of the protruding rivets. The glue (use a medium thickness cyanoacrylate) ran down around the rivet and under the keyboard mounting plate, fastening it to the top case. I pressed down on the keyboard for a few seconds to hold it flush with the top case until the glue set.

When I put the computer back together, I felt that gluing the keyboard in worked as well as the screws. Typing on the new keyboard felt completely solid and I saved a lot of effort in not having to remove the rivets.

I Dropped My Macbook Pro

isaligned display, MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)

I dropped my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012) on it’s corner. It didn’t cause any internal damage – the computer worked normally – but the the lid (with the display) became misaligned.

Display scraping, MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)

The misalignment made the lower right corner of the display scrape against the base of the computer whenever the display was opened. I thought if I could loosen the screws that held the display, I could realign the display with the base of the computer.

Loosen 6mm T6 Torx screws , MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012)

I used iFixit’s MacBook Pro 15″ Unibody Mid 2012 Display Replacement (by Andrew Optimus Goldberg (and 5 other contributors) as a guide to remove the lower case and to get to the six 6mm T6 Torx screws holding the display (there are three in each corner).

The repair is fairly straightforward. The only tools that I needed were a Phillips 00 Screwdriver and a T6 Torx Screwdriver.

1. Remove the lower case. (10 Phillips screws)

2. – Note: the links to the following two iFixit links are to illustrate the location of the screws – the screws shouldn’t be removed.

Slightly loosen (do not remove !) all six (three on the left corner and three on the right corner) 6mm T6 Torx screws holding the display to the upper case.

3. Close the lid and move the display so it properly aligned with the computer base (the part that has the keyboard).

4. Tighten the six 6mm T6 Torx screws

5. Reattach the lower case.