How to fix a loose hinge on an Aluminium Powerbook

If you’ve got an Aluminium Powerbook, (either the last of the G4 models or the new intel mac pro models) they are a great machine (the 15 inch is my favourite) but after a few years the hinge can get loose. Thankfully this is not like the old Titanium powerbooks where the hinge was broken, it is just a matter of a few screws that need to be tightened! Here’s how to do it.

1. First of course is power it down and remove the battery. Then you need to find two screws like this, one each side, and undo them with a torx size 6 screwdriver.
2. Now carefully prise the back of the lid apart like this. Be VERY CAREFULL when prising the back off the screen not to damage the plastic, or apply too much pressure, or force anything. There are little lugs, and you need to prise the plastic over those lugs and back to get it off. The plastic comes off the back with the case that has the apple logo on it, so you pry between the plastic and the aluminium surrounding the LCD screen like this.

When you have worked your way up the sites, and over the top, the lid will pretty much fall off like this.
These are the screws you need to tighten, there are 4, and the ones on the left are covered by a little piece of yellow sticky tape you need to remove and then replace after you are finished.

pbreadytogo.jpg left-screws.jpg pbrightscrews.jpg

The tightening!


That’s it, now carefully put the sticky tape and lid back together, and replace the two screws. It should take about 1/2 hr to an hour.


34 responses to “How to fix a loose hinge on an Aluminium Powerbook”

  1. Josh

    How do you get to the first two srews. They seem impossible to undo since you cant get a good angle at it. Thanks.

  2. Andre

    ditto. how’d you get to the screws on the front? Any special tool?

  3. Josh

    Do you check these comments ever?

    I might go to apple and ask what type of tool they use.

  4. If you read the article, it says to use a torx size 6 screwdriver.”
    Yes the angle is a bit hard, but it can be done easily if you tip the lid right back like in the photo.

  5. Jeremy

    My powerbook just had one of its hinges come loose, but I am not sure if this procedure would fix it. Basically the screen can move a lot more from the computer, like the besel comes loose a bit and wobbles. Is that what yours was like when it was loose? Thanks!

  6. The aluminium square strop along the screen comes loose from the screen, and so the screen can rock back and forwards, without the hinge actually moving at all, so the screen it is quite loose and floppy, even though the hinge is still stiff.

  7. Will

    Thanks for posting this, just completed this on a faithful old PowerBook, good as new now! for those having trouble accessing the 2 hex screwheads, I used a ball-ended allen key like this…

    made it relatively simple to remove the screws.

  8. Matt

    Another way to get at those screws is to remove the hinge bolts inside the case as in..

    It involves a lot of screws, but isn’t particularly hard. I had to replace a hard drive and so was taking it apart anyhow.

  9. arebee

    heya – thanks for the best guide ive found for this loose screen problem.

    my additional findings are that once these alu books are attacked by a metal object , they scar for life!, i ruined the front of my dvd slot by foolishly using a screwdriver to ‘repar’ a zone there…….NOW I RECOMMEND – AN OLD CREDIT CARD for prising off the screen back cover. plastic on plastics just not gonna scar the shell like any harder tools will.

    peace y’all.

  10. arebee

    i wrote this as it had occurred to me, but the reality is…………..perfect!

    yep i strongly suggest anyone with an old credit card, squeeze the corner of the card in towards the bottom right and lft sides of the screen, and firmly yet carefully push-prise its way up to the corners of each side first, then use both hands holding the bottom, softly coax the whole shell up off the top edge lugs.

  11. Wil


    I just bought a used powerbook 5,6 and I was concerned about the loose back. Thanks to your post I was able to fix it in under 15 minutes. One tip for you guys out there.
    I bought a larger precision screwdriver set from harbor freight for a few bucks. It has some hex tip drivers in it that worked perfectly for those 2 hard to get to screws.
    Thanx for you post!

  12. How to Get Six Pack Fast

    Hey, cool tips. I’ll buy a bottle of beer to the person from that chat who told me to visit your blog :)

  13. ScottJ

    A credit card was too thick to fit in the crack in my case, but a plastic, picnic-style knife worked perfectly. Thanks for the tips!

  14. joe

    That’s brilliant thanks very much! I was getting a bit worried about the screen actually as I know someone who had this happen to them and the screen eventually broke off! And the credit card trick is also brilliant as the outer casing looks as good as new…so thanks very much again!

  15. james

    yea how did u get the first two screws off my phillips head wont do it …. ??? ??

  16. john

    Does anyone have any instructions on replacing the inverter on these Powerbooks? It seems like it would be right in these steps somewhere.

  17. Buck

    What size/type screwdriver did you use on the screws on the inside? I can’t get them to tighten at all. The credit card method worked great to removing the back — I used an expired Starbucks gift card.

  18. Glynn

    This was so much easier than any other way that I’ve come across. The credit card was a piece of cake?? Maybe that should be an official tool for working on Macs. I used the same technique to take the front bezel of MacBooks.

    The rear screws are T8 torx Fry’s electronics for $2.50 US.


  19. […] How to fix a loose hinge on an Aluminium Powerbook | Macintosh How To […]

  20. George

    Your local Sears carries a lot of this small tools in the Craftsman line: individually or in a set. They have torx down to T4

  21. Adonis

    As someone else noted (if I read it correctly) there’s ANOTHER kind of “loose screen problem” that’s not fixed by the above method. This my case: the screws on the body of the laptop are super-tight, the screws that this article shows are also super-tight, yet there’s still “play” when you touch the screen. The problem is a set of screws (from what I can see 3 or 4) per side (left/right) that are inside the U-shaped bottom of the screen that has the inverter inside. I haven’t figured out how to get to them yet, but those tighten the axial connector/pipe/metal thing which is what pivots the screen.

  22. Phil

    Wow, what a great tip. It took me all of 15 minutes to complete. It’s like new, I guess I don’t need to upgrade just yet. I used a spurge tool to open the seam enough to slide a credit card in.

    Thanks so much.

  23. Edub

    Great post, took me about 15 minutes as well, the torx screws were not very tight on the lid so it was easy to loosen them to get the cover off. I figured if I can get a few more years out of my PowerBook I will.


  24. metric hex bolts

    This a very nice guide. To those who wanted to fix their powerbook on their own, this is the guide for you.

  25. Alex

    Thanks for the nice and accurate guide. Fixed my moms old mac…

  26. Lopaka Schultz

    The procedures were flawless – and it even solved an intermittent video problem when the screen was moved.
    Probably had to do with the stresses put on the ribbon cable. Mahalo!

  27. John

    This does not fix the moving display ????

  28. Miranda Welsummer

    I realise that this was posted a long time ago, but I have a PowerBook G4 which I bought new in 2004, my first computer, and, although I use a MBP and Mac Mini for day to day computing now, I like to keep my old PB in good working order. This tutorial was exactly what I needed to fix a wobbly lid.
    Thank you.

  29. Rob Moody

    Hi there Wayne, thanks for your website. I do like the personal aspect of the articles; responding to problems that you have encountered.
    I have a A1138 PowerBook 15” myself and the screen is having the ‘wobble’ issue that sounds like your case; hinge opens and closes strongly but the screen clearly has a bit of ‘play’ between the metal bezel and the long ‘tunnel’ grey plastic surround (covering the hinge area) running along the bottom of the screen display.
    I have a parts unit which i tried a test run on;I had to remove the keyboard top panel, then the bolts holding the hinges in place in order to lift the screen up a bit to access the two hex bolts at the bottom the the bezel (otherwise I couldn’t get any of my hex tools to fit in the small space) I managed to prise apart the bezel up from the bottom right to just past the screen latch but from that point it seemed that it wouldn’t come away, risking snapping of clips.
    I was just wondering if you had any tips about your disassembly of the screen (other tools used; how you got the clips/bezel apart without damage; also if the bezel/screen clipped back together as it was before?) that could help me before I tackle the actual Powerbook screen I need to repair.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Ooh that was a while ago!
      I can’t remember. I still have that computer, I could have another go.
      But pretty much it was just that one little screwdriver, the main thing was to wedge the back of the screen out as well as back, there are little hooks that the back of the screen need to get around the outside of.

      If you have it from one side to the latch you are halfway there! You just have the right technique.
      Just do exactly the same thing from the other side.
      Yes it all just snapped back together perfectly.

      1. The top of the lid was more secure, with aluminium clips not plastic, so go up from each side till the top can then lift slightly.

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