How to fix a wobbly Macbook Pro screen

Have a loose or wobbly Macbook Pro screen?

My 2008 unibody Macbook Pro has a loose screen. Loose and wobbly and drunken at times. It’s been chugging along loyally for over three years, and in Internet time, it’s like a Regis Philbin. But as we all know, old folks can get wobbly. No shame in that — but it happens.

The whole screen/monitor (the part that flips up) developed about 2 cm of back-and-forth play, and it felt like perhaps the hinge was loose. Still usable, but definitely putting a dent in my Macbook’s sexy. Google didn’t proffer any good solutions, so I decided to dive into the unknown and try exploratory surgery on my Mac.

It turns out the fix is pretty straightforward. You just need the right tools and about an hour.

HEY: Attempt this at your own risk. Don’t try it if you suck at fixing stuff.

1. Remove the screen using the iFixit guide

The first step is to remove the screen from the Macbook body. Unless you’re a mafia hit man, your confidence in performing this kind of traumatic dismemberment might be lacking.

But never fear! There’s a great guide for doing this on iFixit. This should help you for the bulk of the dismemberment/rememberment(?) process.

Before you start, make sure you have these tools:

Hint: I found a cheap hobby kit that has both the tiny screwdriver and Torx bits you’ll need. iFixit sells their own (nicer) kit for a bit more. There are many other kits for sale at various price points.

2. Tighten the hinge screws

Once you’ve separated the screen from the body, we can get at the little bastards causing the wobble.

Check out the black plastic sleeve that covers the hinge stuff. You don’t need to remove it completely, but to loosen it, slide it to the right. That sort of unlocks it, and you can then pry it up a little to see the hinge screws.

Opening the sleeve to access Torx screws

The two silver Torx screws you’ve exposed love freedom and have worked themselves loose in an attempt to escape the burdens of life inside a hot-ass laptop. With your T6 Torx, show them your oppressive nature with a good tightening. For extra credit, terrorize those screws with some thread lock.

The loose offending screws

On the other side of the hinge thingy, there is an identical pair of Torx screws that will also require tightening. Pull up the black plastic sleeve and crank those down, too.

3. Replace the sleeve and reassemble

Replace the black sleeve  by working it back into place, and sliding it left so that it locks as before. You’re now ready to replace the screen and reassemble your laptop. Follow the iFixit instructions in reverse to put Humpty Dumpty back together.

4. You got your sexy back

BAM! Your Mac feels tight and sexy again, like when it was in its computer twenties. Good job (unless you screwed something up).

Did this work for you? Got additional tips? Leave some comments or other helpful info for others.

  • Akiba

    Great article, really helped! Was a bit confusing at the dis-assembly stage, cause I couldn’t find a tutorial for how to remove the screen on a early 2011 Pro 13″, so I had to work my way down, trying to remember what went where. Was a little bit of connectors that had to go loose, like what seemed like the WiFi antennas. Thanks a lot!

  • jvh

    Followed this for my Early 2011 13″ (starting with the iFixit display removal guide for that model first) and the flapping hinge problem I was enduring has now gone away! Thanks :-)

  • suresh chitmil

    Thanks it’s work

  • AveSatan

    It actually worked well for my Mac, even though it has only one hinge left (I’ve managed to break the other one). Useful tutorial, thanks! :)

  • Nick

    Thank you, this was extremely helpful

  • mac

    this is a similar design to the 2012 version of mac?

  • Gman

    Successfully did it on a mid 2012 13″ Pro (using appropriate guide from iFixit), thank you very much for the guide!

  • Raj

    Great! This worked perfectly!

  • Brendan

    Fucking broke my macbook, display stopped working

  • KAM

    Appreciate your post, this has been the only accurate and effective solution I have found online!

  • Mitchell

    Will I void my warranty if I do this?

  • SW

    I took my laptop to Apple and was told it was from my laptop case I had on it and they said they tightened it but didn’t work and I needed to replace the screen that is attached to the hinges?!

  • Ama Rose

    Thanks! I used a newer guide for my late 2012 mac ( I’ve never done anything like this and both their steps and yours walked me through it perfectly!

  • massimo

    u should say how hard is to put back the plastic to make it fit perfectly and explain how to.

  • Pak Arcom

    That’s what the Genius told me this afternoon. “Only” $600 to replace the lid.

  • Brad Anderson

    You show two screws on the bottom of each hinge, but there’s one on top as well. The round thing between the two screws in your last pic is the tip of the screw coming from the top down. Need to get that one too. Mine was just as loose as the two on the bottom.

  • jacob miranda

    Hi, I have been experiencing recent wobbles with this same exact computer.. 2008 with the fliptop battery. My question is, could this wobbling have an effect on the LED screen itself. It seems I have on and off again 2″ margin to the RIGHT of my screen that is (pixalted , discolored, with black thin and thick horizontal lines.) When I screen shot it, it doesn’t show as pixalted, just had to try. If I find the sweet spot, it goes away, sometimes it just stays too, and disappears. Anyone shed some light? Should I get it looked at?

  • Gary Schiltz

    You, sir, are not only a geek, but a great comedian!

  • Dan Claudiu

    Great article! Do you think it would work on an 11 inch macbook air mid 2013? I tried removing the lid and tighten those 4 screws but I did not notice any change. I wonder if removing the screen all together and tighten the screws located on the lid itself would do the trick :)

    What would you guys recommend?