MacBook Air Creaking? Check for Loose Screws

Oct 1, 2011 - 9 Comments

Pentalobe screws in a MacBook Air

My MacBook Air 11″ has been creaking a lot lately when I pick it up, the noise has gradually increased and I finally discovered the reason why: loose screws. I’m not sure what caused the screws to become loose, but I do bring my MacBook Air almost everywhere with me so this could be a gradual loosening from constant use and movement.

The solution is obviously to tighten them up again, but Apple now uses a more unique screw type, the pentalobe, which prevents your average household screw driver from working. Luckily you can buy a Pentalobe screwdriver on Amazon for $5 to a buck and considering they work on the iPhone 4 and MacBook Air, it’s not a bad purchase. The expense is further justified by the fact that it’s very hard to replace a single screw, so if you lose one you’d have to have to spring $50 for a full set from a company like iFixIt, who also sells the Pentalobe screwdriver for about $13 (image up top is from them too).

Moral of the story here: if you hear creaky sounds and squeaks coming out of a MacBook Air when it’s picked up, check the screws.

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Posted by: AJ in Mac, Troubleshooting

9 Comments

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  1. The size of the pentalobe screwdriver needed for the iPhone and for the MacBook Air are not the same size, by far.

  2. Thomas Pindelski says:

    I would suggest removing the screw and puytting a very small drop of blue Loctite on the threads, then reinstalling. Don’t use red or green or you will be drilling the screw out!

    The Loctite will resist loosening from vibration.

  3. not quite says:

    I have had a creaking MBA for months, in the lower left hand corner.

    A couple of weeks ago, I re-installed the screws, the creaking stopped :-)

    A day later of use, the creaking came back :-(

  4. roberto says:

    Hey- looks like you guys ripped off the Pentalobe picture from iFixit.com.. You should give them credit if that’s the case.

  5. Jay says:

    I bought that $1 screwdriver and found that it’s not the right size. Please edit this post, no matter how old it is. The first person who commented pointed it out, but I didn’t read it. Good thing I chose the cheap one!

    iPhone pentalobe screws are smaller!

  6. Antoine says:

    I think what caused the screws to loosen is that the Macbook Air is very pliable. So if you apply pressure on one of the ends you can notice that it will not longer sit straight on a plane surface. When this happens, the screws become loose, and there is a creaking sound. At least, that what I think. I’m getting it checked on Monday.

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