How to clean or replace Apple MacBook Pro memory (RAM)

As with any circuit board component, the gold contacts at the bottom of your laptop computer’s RAM modules must be clean and free of debris in order to maintain a solid connection. If the RAM sticks are dirty, the laptop might not recognize that they’re installed and may sometimes show a blue screen.

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Warning: The internal components of your MacBook Pro can be warm. If you have been using your MacBook Pro, wait ten minutes after shutting down the computer to let the internal components cool before continuing.

Step 1: Remove the bottom case

  1. Shut down your MacBook Pro. Disconnect the power adapter, Ethernet cable, USB cables, security lock, and any other cables connected to the MacBook Pro to prevent damaging the computer.
  2. Turn over your MacBook Pro and remove the ten (10) screws that secure the bottom case. Because the screws are different lengths, note the screw lengths and locations so you can replace the screws correctly. Put them aside in a safe place. Lift off the case and place it to the side.

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Touch a metal surface inside the computer to discharge any static electricity from your body.

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Step 2: Remove existing memory

  1. Push the levers on the sides of the memory module in an outward direction to release the module from the memory card slot. The memory pops up at an angle. Before removing it, make sure you find the half-circle notches. If you don’t, try pressing the levers outward again.
  2. Hold the memory module by its notches and remove it from the slot.
  3. Remove the other memory module.
    Important: Hold the memory modules by their edges, and do not touch the gold connectors.

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Clean the contacts using a cotton swab slightly moistened with rubbing alcohol. Set the RAM module aside and allow it to dry completely. Blow out the empty RAM bay with canned air. While you’re at it, you might also want to dust the entire case out at the same time.

Step 3: Reinstall memory

  1. Align the notch on the gold edge of the module with the notch in the lower memory slot.
  2. Tilt the card and push the memory into the slot.
  3. Use two fingers with firm, even pressure to push down on the memory module. There should be a click when you insert the memory correctly.
  4. Repeat this procedure to install an additional memory module in the top slot. Press down on the module to make sure it is level.

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Note: Make sure you install the memory according to this illustration, with the gold contacts inserted almost completely into the connector.

Step 4: Replace the bottom case

Replace the bottom case. Replace and tighten the ten screws you removed earlier, making sure to put the different length screws in their proper locations.

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