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MacBook Pro LCD Panel Replacement

  • Post published:November 23, 2020

When the LCD panel gets cracked or otherwise fails, replacing the LCD panel is the most economical option. The whole display assembly can be replaced, but all the other components of it can be reused. Replacing the LCD panel is a difficult repair which takes several hours, however, when done properly it will be impossible to tell that a replacement has been performed. Click here to set up an LCD repair for your MacBook Pro

Here is a video outlining the procedure. The steps are identical for all 13″ MacBook Pro models from 2016 -2020, including A1706,  A1708, A1989, A2159, A2159, A2289 and A2338. For 13″ MacBook Air models A1932, A2179 and A2337, the steps are very similar.

Here are the steps taken to replace the LCD, with details for the trickier bits.

1. Remove the LCD Assembly

There are many screws that hold back the display assembly. You will need a T3, T5, T8, 0.8mm pentalobe and 1.2mm pentalobe screwdriver.

2. Remove the plastic bezel

Use a thin flexible tool to wedge under the plastic, saturated with alcohol. I use a 0.12mm metal tool and 99% alcohol. The bezel cracks very easily so it’s important to work slowly and prevent the bezel from bending too much.

3. Remove the rubber trim

The rubber trim can be pulled at, but as soon as there is a bit of resistance, I use tweezers to wedge under the trim and push it up rather than pulling on it, to minimize strain on the rubber. If the rubber is stretched too much, it will deform and remain slightly lengthened. Start from a bottom corner and work around the LCD. The rubber trim has little tabs: 1 each on the sides halfway between the corners, 2 on the top positioned at thirds, and 2 on the upper corners.

4. Remove the cover spring

There are 6x T3 screws at the bottom of the assembly. If you haven’t already, unscrew the cowlings on the TCON board, unplug the cables then tape them down to the back of the assembly to keep them out of the way. If these cables are damaged it is very difficult to replace them without blemishing the backlight diffuser.

5. Unscrew the metal bracket

There are 8 T3 screws holding down the metal bracket which are adhered to the LCD. The 2 T3 screws on the edges are rounded.

6. Unstick the LCD panel

It’s best to keep the LCD panel from cracking since it becomes a lot harder to remove. If it crack, try restarting from the opposite corner

Alcohol seepage and accidentally cracking the LCD are the two biggest risks. Work slowly and be patient.

  1. Start at the bottom right corner. Lift the metal tab slightly by wedging tweezers underneath. This applies upward pressure to the LCD panel.
  2. Use a very thin tool lightly coated in isopropanol and slide it under the LCD. I find even 0.1mm too thick, I use a tool that is 0.05mm thick.
  3. Work up to the top right corner. Don’t push the tool in too far; it may scratch the diffuser or contaminate it with alcohol. It’s okay if the innermost portion of the adhesive is still stuck down.
  4. Start along the top side. There is wider adhesive along the top so put more of the tool under the LCD. Be careful not to damage the camera or ALS.
  5. Unstick the LCD cables at the bottom
  6. Lift the bottom up and unstick the adhesive again, pull off the LCD.

8. Remove the adhesive

A combination of tweezers and a flat blade are the best way to remove the adhesive. Be careful not to touch the diffuser with the tool or let the adhesive get on it. Even fingerprints can leave faint marks on the diffuser.

9. Prepare the new panel

  1. With a fine-tipped black permanent marker, mark the borders of the smaller TCON board on to the metal bracket. If the smaller TCON board is not correctly positioned, backlight bleeding and irregularities may occur.
  2. If the metal bracket is not included, remove it from the old panel and stick it to the new one. Align the bracket with the ⊕ symbols on the corners
  3. Stick the small board down to the underside of the LCD panel. If the board is not precisely positioned such that it rests in the groove of the assembly, it will cause the bottom of LCD panel to be raised and not sit flush with the assembly. Align it so that the part just outside of the innermost two bracket screws are flush. This means that in some areas the board sticks out from underneath the bracket and is normal. Use the old panel to confirm positioning if the bracket did not need to be removed.

10. Reinstall the rubber trim

Using the small round tabs on the rubber trim, align it to the frame and position it. The rubber trim may have become a bit stretched from removal, but usually it can be eased into place.

11. Prepare the assembly

Use black adhesive, which prevents stray light hitting the ALS (ambient light sensor) on the top and sides. Don’t remove the adhesive backing, instead leave a “tail” of backing off the ends such that the backing can be removed out from underneath the LCD panel.

  1. The top needs a 10mm width tape. Use two strips on either side of the camera and extend the tails out ~2cm to the right and left side. Use a blade to cut the adhesive to the corners.
  2. The top needs two 2mm width tapes around the camera. For the tape under the camera (near the screen), I layer two pieces of tape which will increases the thickness, preventing light bleed to ALS. I have had instances where 1 piece of tape is not enough, causing the keyboard backlight to not activate until the screen brightness was fully dimmed due to stray light hitting the ALS.
  3. The sides need a 2mm width tape. A strip starts on the top corner and extends out to the bottom. The inside strip starts under the diffuser tabs and also extends out the bottom. Do not put adhesive on the diffuser tabs in case you need to remove it.

12. Test the LCD panel

  1. Ensure that the panel sits flush along the bottom and the ⊕ symbols align with the bracket
  2. Ensure that the panel sits flush along the sides and that the rubber trim is properly positioned
  3. Connect the backlight to the TCON and the assembly to the laptop’s MLB to test the LCD panel. Ensure there are no intermittent connection issues.
  4. Test the ALS and the camera, and make sure the camera is clear

Once the LCD is stuck down there’s no going back (without redoing everything, and the LCD often cracks during removal)

13. Prepare for LCD panel placement

Clean the diffuser again and remove the film on the underside of the LCD. To clean the diffuser, the best method I have found is to use polyamide tape (or any other tape that does not leave residue) and use the sticky side to gently brush away any dust. I have found even q-tips to be too abrasive. Any method involving a solvent will cause blemishes to appear.

14. Place the LCD panel in place

Slide it into position from the bottom first so that the bracket clears the hinge, but stick it down by sliding the display as far upwards as it will go to press against the rubber trim. This keeps the gap at a minimum and also minimizes backlight bleed. Ensure there aren’t any issues

15. Remove the adhesive backing

• Do not press down on the LCD until all the adhesive is off

• Start with the adhesive on top of the camera, then the two strips at the top, then the side strips

• Ensure the rubber trim is properly in place

• Fully adhere the LCD to the assembly by pushing it up into the top, then pressing down on the adhesive

16. Install the metal bracket

Reinstall the 8 T3 screws. I would recommend testing the LCD panel at this point as there may be minor backlight inconsistencies at the bottom if the alignment is not perfect. If so, then selectively loosening certain screws can alleviate uneven pressure and mitigate backlight bleed.

17. Install the cover spring

Push the cover spring back in place, being careful not to crack the LCD. Reinstall the 6 T3 screws.

18. Re-adhere the plastic bezel

Apply some more adhesive onto the bezel, it needs a 10mm width tape in total. I use 2 strips of 5mm, since the edges are uneven. Align the bezel with the ends of the rubber trim and stick it down.

19. Reinstall the display assembly

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