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General Best Practices

Even if you have plenty of experience taking apart computers, it can’t hurt to take a moment to review some common-sense suggestions to keep in mind while working on Macintosh hardware:

  • Consider making a full backup before attempting any significant hardware change.
  • Always properly shut down the Macintosh computer before opening its case.
  • As you remove screws, take care not to lose them. Place them in a small ESD-safe container or stick them on a strip of duct tape in the order they’re removed as an aid for reassembly. Some Macintosh computers have “captive” screws that can’t be removed; take care not to strip these.
  • If you don’t have a printed reference to guide you, take your own pictures with a digital camera to remind you of the proper placement and orientation of components.
  • Wearing eye protection and a nose and mouth filter, use a can of compressed air to clean dust from the interior of the Macintosh computer. Every Macintosh with a fan inside draws air through it to keep the components cool, but this can also suck in a lot of dust. That dust coats the components like a thin blanket and clogs air vents, causing the interior to operate at higher-than-ideal temperatures.
  • Be gentle. If a part to be removed is stuck, wiggle it back and forth. If you’re trying to install a part and it appears not to fit, don’t force it. Double-check the orientation, look for alignment tabs, and make sure you have the right part.
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