Apple and their Tamper-Proof Screws

As with any electronic device, you can only hope to complete repairs if you are well equipped with the tools necessary to open and diagnose each range you may encounter.

As we at TheBookYard have encountered nearly every Apple product range, I thought i would shed some light on the somewhat more difficult to identify or source tools that are needed for some ranges.

This is not aimed at being an exhaustive list of the tools used in all Apple ranges by any stretch of the imagination, but rather a look at some of the more specific tools that a typical tech savvy individual would not have in their tool repertoire for iOS devices and the Unibody Macbook/MacBook Pro ranges.

Pentalobe Screw

Pentalobe Screw

Tri-lobe or Tri-wing screws

Tri-lobe or Tri-wing screws

Starting with some of the more recent generations, they have started using Pentalobe and Trilobe screws, which are variations on Torx and Philips, which are more standard screws.

Torx differs from Pentalobe because it has 6 points and Pentalobe only has 5. Tri-lobe also differs from philips because it only has 3 wings instead of the typical 4.

In Apple devices to date (early 2014), the pentalobe screws are used in 3 different sizes.

(Please see the links below for the tools on our store)

Used on the second revision of iPhone 4, all iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 ranges, as well as the iPhone 5C and 5S.

These screws are only used on the bottom of the devices to hold the digitizer unit in place, so are not used elsewhere within the phones, but you cannot open the units without this tool. (the first revision of iPhone 4 used standard philips screws)

Used on the bottom cases of the following MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina models.

Macbook Air 11″ and 13″ Late 2010, Mid 2011, Mid 2012, Mid 2013

MacBook Pro Retina 13″ and 15″ Late 2012, Early 2013, Late 2013

These screws are only used on the bottom case for the above models, so you cannot open them without this tool. Internally they use standard Torx tools, but use T5 widely, which is typically not found in standard Torx sets (they usually go down to T6)

Click here for the T5 screwdriver if you don’t already have one

Used on the following ranges to attach the battery to the top case unit. (The bottom cases use standard #000 philips screws to gain access to the internal components)

15″ Unibody MacBook Pro Mid 09

The Tri-lobe tools come in a number of different sizes and are typically either used as an alternative to the 1.5mm pentalobe to hold the battery in (some just use philips), or as an adjustment screw for the trackpad unit (some just use T7 torx)

For removing the batteries and/or trackpad on the following models, we recommend the value #00 tri-lobe, but there is a premium version available that is of better quality for more continuous use. The following tools will do the job.


13″ White MacBook Unibody Late 2009, Mid 2010

13″ MacBook Pro Unibody Mid 2009, Mid 2010, Early 2011, Late 2011, Mid 2012

15″ MacBook Pro Unibody  Mid 2010, Early 2011, Late 2011

17″ MacBook Pro Unibody Original 2009, Mid 2009, Mid 2010, Early 2011

For adjusting the trackpad on the following models, we recommend using a slightly larger #0 or #1 Tri-lobe screwdriver.


13″ MacBook Unibody Late 2008

15″ MacBook Pro Unibody Late 2008

for the full Tri-lobe premium set (including #1,#0,#00,#000) see the link below

There are a number of other special tools needed for ranges such as the PowerMac G5 (pre-intel model) and the Mac Pros (intel model), but  we’ll not delve into this quite yet. If you have any ranges that you are working on and are unsure of what tools you need, drop us an email and we can add the details here. We even have tools and techniques for opening the displays on the Unibody ranges, as well as iPads, which some find to be rather difficult. if we get enough interest, I can do a post about how to open a Unibody display.

I hope this proves useful when dealing with some of Apples later ranges. if you use the wrong tool, you risk stripping the head and damaging the screw. If this happens you can try going to a slightly larger tool size and gently notching a new groove, or you may need to drill it out, which is not an easy process. So please ensure you are using the correct size tools for the range you are working on.


About nojboy715

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1 Response to Apple and their Tamper-Proof Screws

  1. James says:

    Please update the Apple and their Tamper Proof Screw page, IF, any information has changed or when new Apple products get released. Thanks.

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