802.11ac Upgrade Documentation

Disclaimer: You are responsible for opening your computer and making modifications to it. Subtle Design will not be held responsible if you damage your computer. If you are not comfortable working on your computer, a computer shop near you would be glad to help!

Note: iFixit has great photos and guides on how to work on MacBook Pros: https://www.ifixit.com/Device/MacBook_Pro.

Installation Instructions

Estimated Time: 10 minutes

Step 1: Shut down the computer and remove the bottom lid.

Step 2: Unplug the battery and disconnect the antennas and flat flex cable from the original AirPort card. To disconnect the flat flex cable from the AirPort card, you will need to peel back the black EMI tape that covers the top of the connector. Discard the EMI tape, as it’s not needed. Be very careful! The antenna and flat flex connectors are fragile; it is best to use a blunt plastic ‘spudger’ tool to unplug these connectors.

Step 3a: Remove the original AirPort card and bracket. You will not re-use the original bracket to complete the upgrade.

Step 3b: For 13″ MacBook Pro owners only, install the included bracket that came with your order in the location where the original AirPort bracket was secured to the chassis. Use the two screws from the original AirPort bracket to secure the new bracket to the MacBook Pro’s chassis. This bracket serves as a fastening point for one of the screws for the bottom lid. To secure the subwoofer, you can place a thin piece of double-sided tape underneath the end of the subwoofer where the two holes are located to secure it to the optical drive.

Step 4: Gently plug in the flat flex cable into the new 802.11ac card.

Step 5: Place the card down on top of the optical drive where the original AirPort card was located. You can now secure the card using thin tape to the optical drive to keep the card from moving around.

Step 6: Plug the three shortest antennas into the new 802.11ac card and plug the battery back in. Note: If your MacBook Pro came with four antennas, simply tuck the longest one out of the away, as this is not needed anymore because the Bluetooth antenna is integrated into the wireless card itself.

Step 7: Making sure not to pinch any wires, reinstall the bottom lid and enjoy faster wireless speeds and macOS Continuity features!

If you have issues using the Apple Watch unlock or Handoff features, make sure that ‘Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices’ is checked in System Preferences > General. Additionally, please sign out of iCloud and then sign back in.

If you have other issues, please make sure to first update macOS to the latest available version, and also reset both the SMC and PRAM/NVRAM.