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

  • 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?

  • Mathew Birkin

    You dont need to remove the screen. Once the wires are out of the way you can gently flex the plastic back by inserting a small screw driver up the length just enough to expose the torx screws on each end then clip it back into place. Then just tighten the easy to get to ones as normal. All in all about a 3 minute job start to finish. :)

  • Andrew McAllister

    great instructions – however when I put everything back together the display (and Apple logo) failed to work. I made sure the display data connector is in correctly, and still no luck. any advice?

  • Thanks so much! I just used this guide to fix the wobbly screen on my Mid 2012 15” MacBook Pro retina. The wobbly screen was driving me nuts and I didn’t think there would be a way for me to fix it myself it was so bad. I brought it to the Apple store and they said that it wasn’t possible to “tighten” the screen and that i would have to purchase a whole new screen, for $800.00. Ya right.

    Went back home and found this post. I ordered this toolkit from Amazon (it had everything I needed to complete this)

    Once I received the toolkit, I pulled up this post and completed the job in under an hour. Put everything back together and my screen feels like new. *Note, the only different part for me was the plastic cover on the screen hinge. I actually had to snap it off and it broke 2 small plastic pieces (one on each end). I was then able to remove the hinge cover and tighten the screws (which were also in difference places than your photos on my model). The 2 small plastic pieces I broke didn’t matter, as once the computer is put together it holds itself in place. It only matters when the screen is disconnected from the computer (which isn’t important).

    Thanks again. You saved me $800 :)

  • ShelleGA

    Ha! That’s exactly what they told me, on a laptop I’d had for 2 weeks that came like that. Fortunately, it’s still under warranty, and I’m going to make them fix it when I’m off work and can do without it that long – they told me they’d have to send it away. I’ve replaced Mac hard drives and iPod Logic boards, so I’m not afraid to tear it apart, but since it’s only 9 mos. old, I don’t want to risk voiding the warranty, in case the crap really hits the fan.

  • Hraefn

    Thank you! I was able to replicate this fix with a Macbook Pro Retina 13″. I followed the iFixit instructions to remove the screen. The black plastic sleeve on the Retina has two little end-caps that snap on, otherwise the fix was very much the same.

  • Daniel Berardi

    Hey Jason Schock, I wanted to thank you for this repair guide. I’ve searched high and low with no repair guide for this issue in sight. That was until I stumbled upon your website. I wanted to confirm that you can also apply this repair guide for the 2012 Macbook Pro’s 13 inch unibody as well. So I assume it will work for all unibody Macbook Pro’s from 2008 through 2012. Once again thank you and Toronto, Canada says hi.

  • Asher Black

    Successful on early 2013 retina 13″. One caveat. One of the antenna connectors broke, and I reattached it. Will do a better repair on it later, but it’s actually getting -better- signal now, so I think I essentially made it better. Thank you for all this. Really love that the hinge is tight. I used this as my guide for initial disassembly: Noticed 2 differences: 1. from the ifixit guide: I didn’t need to peel anything back to get to the battery connector. 2. from shock guide: the screws were on top under the black hinge cover not on bottom. Other notes: there are 2 end caps on the black hinge connector (not the rubber ones that cover the first 3 hinge screws on each side. They get bent back out of the way when sliding the hinge cover, but they’re fairly resilient. Scariest parts were the antenna connectors (fragile) and the screen connector. The ifixit guide is essential. The tekton toolkit made all the difference: and so did the SE Head Magnifier:

  • Andrew

    Thanks a lot to you and the people wrote in the comments. It wasn’t easy with the black plastic cover. At the end the satisfaction is guaranteed. Fixed my Macbook Pro Retina 15 Late 2012 in just 40-50 minutes.

  • Roger OBrient

    This conversation thread is old probably old hat, but I recently “resurrected” an old 2012 MacBook Pro for a spare computer (it even runs Mac Sierra). I followed this guide, and it was helpful. Some of the screws in mine were completely loose. Once additional idea is that I added some spring washers on the offending screws. I used thread-lock as well, but given that those screws were originally thread-locked and it didn’t work, it seems that I needed something extra. Lock-washers should work well, and there was room to fit without mechanical or electrical issues.

  • Vincent Ranger

    is there an updated guide to this?

  • land_baron

    Its been nearly five years since you wrote this guide and it still comes in handy to this day (actually this morning). Thanks!

  • jasonschock

    Cool, glad you find it useful. Nice to have all these helpful commenters adding their own tips, too.

  • jasonschock

    Thanks for the feedback and sharing your tips, Levi. 👍

  • Edouarturia

    Hi !
    Do you have a trick not to break those little plastic pieces ?
    I ready to give it a go but would rather not to break those parts if possibe…

  • Damian Slocum

    I fixed the wobble but I didn’t know about the power needing to be off so now my screens not working at all. I hooked all the stuff back up but it won’t turn on at all (the screen)
    The wobbles fixed but I now have a worsen problem.

  • Chris Ryan

    This worked for me, although my black plastic bit was pretty beaten up already so it’s not clipped back in correctly but saved removing the screen. Will get a new piece I think, only a few £
    Really enjoying how repairable these Macbook Pros are, there is just about any spare part you could want available on eBay/Amazon, makes a change to working on a PC based laptop sourcing spares etc.

  • LJ

    Ok I took it apart.. fixed it.. now how do you put it back on..?

  • Peter Newman

    All great tips thanks Spelly

  • Peter Newman

    Well written and informative guide thanks Jason. Nothing worse than a wobbly screen and 95% of the time it is these screws that come loose, not the hinge to top case ones