2021 MacBook Pro 14″ A2442 | Keyboard Replacement Guide

Reinserting the keyboard of a 14 inch MacBook Pro

Use this guide to replace the keyboard in your 2021 MacBook Pro 14″ A2442. That’s the computer we used for this guide (and accompanying video), but this guide also works for the 2021 MacBook Pro 16″ A2485. There are other models that are very similar, but the A2485 is an identical process.

This repair requires you to take your entire computer apart. Everything except for the battery and the LCD must be disassembled in order to swap the keyboard.

This includes the Touch ID sensor as well as the logic board, and it is imperative that you are careful with your Touch ID sensor in doing this repair. Your laptop’s Touch ID is permanently linked to your logic board, and if you damage that Touch ID cable you will not be able to replace it without also replacing the board.

This blog post accompanies a video we released on YouTube documenting this whole process. If anything here is unclear, watching the YouTube video should clear things up. (The video is broken into chapters for quick access to the parts you’re confused about.)

All required parts and tools are linked for purchase below.

Required Parts and Tools

Before you begin: Power off your laptop

Step 1: Unfasten/Remove Lower CaseA2442 removal of the back panel

  • Use a P5 Pentalobe driver to remove the eight screws securing the lower case
  • Pull the panel up and towards yourself to release the panel from the clips securing it in place
  • Tip: You can use a suction cup to gain leverage over the lower panel, but it’s not necessary

2: Disconnect Trackpad

  • Remove the two T5 screws on the trackpad plate
  • Peel back the trackpad cable
  • Tip: Don’t lose these screws, as you will need them to re-fasten the trackpad

3: Disconnect Daughter Battery Cable

  • Use your plastic spudge tool on the top and bottom of the cable
  • Pull away from the computer once disconnected

4: Unscrew and Disconnect Battery Connection

  • T5 screwdriver to free the connection
  • Plastic spudger to lift connection up to remove power source from the device

5: Unscrew Logic Board and Wifi Bracket

  • T6 screwdriver for the two screws on the left hand top side AND for the screw in the right top side
  • T5 screwdriver EVERYWHERE else on the logic board
  • T5 and T3 for the wifi bracket
  • Tip: Don’t forget the four screws hidden underneath stickers on the interior sides of the two cooling fans (T5). Don’t lose any screws

6: Unscrew Retention Bars to Logic Board ConnectionsUnscrewing the retention bars MacBook Pro 14 Inch 2021

  • Use a T3 screwdriver to unscrew all brackets along the edges of the frame
  • Remove each bracket and screw and place somewhere safe in order to remain organized for reassembly
  • Tip: You can go in any direction you’d like, but we go right to left

7: Unclip Cable Connections to Logic BoardDisconnecting the cables to the logic board MacBook Pro 2021

  • Work your way around the edges again and disconnect all cables connected to the logic board
  • Tip: We use a plastic spudge tool for this, but you can do it how you like

8: Remove the Logic BoardLogic Board Removal MacBook Pro 2021

  • Bend back the rubber grommets at the top of the board
  • Free and remove the board slowly with your hands
  • Tip: The board is wedged in tightly, so it’s best to work from the middle and try to free the side closest to you first, slowly

9: Remove the Cooling FansRemoval of cooling fans MacBook Pro 2021

  • Use a T5 for the top, exterior screw on both fans, and a T3 for all remaining screws
  • Once all screws are removed, lift the fans out with your hands
  • Tip: Don’t lose these screws, as you will need them to re-fasten the cooling fans

10: Remove Exposed Keyboard ScrewsRemoval of Exposed keyboard screws MacBook Pro 2021

  • Use a PL1 screwdriver to remove the exposed screws along the edges of the keyboard backlight
  • Tip: Don’t lose these screws, as you’ll need them for reassembly

11: Remove Keyboard BacklightRemoval of keyboard backlight MacBook Pro 2021

  • Remove the glued on backlight (the black covering)
  • Tip: This backlight is very delicate. Go slowly and be careful not to tear the plastic. As long as you get the edges unstuck, the middle should come out just fine.

12: Remove Remaining Keyboard ScrewsRemoval of keyboard screws underneath the backlight MacBook Pro 2021

  • Use the PL1 screwdriver to remove the now-exposed keyboard screws along the edges of the keyboard
  • Tip: Don’t lose these screws, as you will need them to fasten the replacement keyboard

13: Peel Away the Keyboard

  • Lift the keyboard off of the bottom using your plastic spudge tool
  • Once possible, peel the keyboard off of the chassis using your hands
  • Tip: There are metal rivets attaching the keyboard to the chassis. You just have to rip the keyboard away. There really isn’t a better way to do this. You don’t have to be gentle.

14: Insert Your Replacement KeyboardKeyboard insertion MacBook A2442

  • Make sure the keyboard lies flat against the chassis, the same way your old keyboard was sitting
  • Tip: It’s easiest to begin by working on the top right corner of the keyboard, then working your way around

15: Screw/Fasten Your Replacement Keyboard Inscrewing in keyboard MacBook 2442

  • Affix your replacement keyboard in the same fashion as your old keyboard, using your P1 screwdriver
  • Work your way around the board and make sure things are lined up correctly
  • Tip: Use a cross pattern in order to maintain even pressure around the perimeter of the keyboard

16: Re-attach the BacklightReattaching Backlight Macbook 2442

  • Re-fix your backlight to the back of the keyboard
  • Put the backlight connector back where it was
  • Tip: Do not cover your microphone array cable with the backlight, as you’ll have to remove the backlight and try again if you do so. Do not cover any of the flex cables that will need to be available for reassembly.

17: Re-attach the Cooling FansReattach Cooling Fans MacBook A2442

  • Line your cooling fans up with the visible brackets, in the same fashion as they were originally attached
  • Use a T5 screw to affix the upper-outside corner of each fan, and a T3 everywhere else

18: Re-insert the Logic BoardReinserting logic board MacBook 2442Finding exterior connections MacBook 2442

  • Start with the left side and work your way across, as shown in the above photo
  • Tip: Make sure you don’t cover any of the connections or the rubber grommets at the edges of the board. Fish them out if needed with your spudge tool, as pictured.

19: Reconnect all Flex Cables and ConnectionsReconnecting flex cables MacBook 2442

  • Affix all of the flex cables at the edges of the board to their proper connections
  • Tip: Sometimes the tape from the cables will slide down onto the connections after being detached. Just peel that tape away from the connections to re-attach them and to make sure they are fully seated.
  • Tip: The wifi antenna can be difficult to plug in. We recommend going from the bottom upwards.

20: Replace the Various Connection BracketsReplacing brackets on connections MacBook 2442

  • Place all of your brackets and covers back on their respective connections at the edges of the board
  • Use your T3 screwdriver to screw them back in place
  • Tip: You can work in any direction you’d like to, but we go left to right.
  • Tip: Tighten your screws for each bracket in pieces, going back and forth between screws to ensure even pressure

21: Screw in the Logic BoardRe-screwing in logic board MacBook 2442

  • Use a T3 screwdriver to screw in the two T3s in the center-bottom of the board
  • Use a T5 screwdriver to screw in the many T5s in the center-top and edges of the board
  • Tip: Don’t forget that the two top-left and one top-right screws require T6 screws/screwdriver

22: Reconnect Battery/Daughter CableReconnecting Battery Cable MACBOOK 2442

  • Affix the Daughter Battery Cable at the bottom, daughter board side as pictured
  • Then, re-screw in the battery connection
  • Finally, re-attach the Daughter Battery Cable to the main board

23: Plug in your Trackpad Cable

24: Screw in the Trackpad Retention Bracket

25: Re-attach the Bottom Case

  • Slide the case in from the bottom
  • Re-screw the appropriate (side-dependent!) screws
  • Tip: The longer screws go hinge-side

26: Test Things Out!

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