Upgrading a MacBook A1181

We were handed a white MacBook A1181 by one of our clients to repair and upgrade for their son to use to learn how to code.

The laptop had 1Gb RAM, 120Gb hard drive, a battery that wouldn’t charge, the trackpad button was stuck down and it was running Mac OS X Leopard (eight years old!).

Where to start?!?


To speed the computer up and to be able to install a newer version of MacOS X, this machine would need to have more than 1Gb RAM. We recommended 4Gb but 2Gb will also make a difference.

Hard Drive

A new hard drive will increase capacity, speed and battery life. We recommend an SSD hard drive which are more reliable, extremely fast and require less power to run.


A new genuine Apple battery can be quite expensive and you should always purchase genuine Apple batteries in case the alternative product is inferior, or worse, faulty! If the battery isn’t holding a charge at all and you can’t afford a new one, it’s probably best to remove it altogether.

This will mean that you will need to be extra careful when using the laptop as it will turn off completely if the power cable disconnects but at least the battery won’t be constantly trying to charge unsuccessfully.

Which brings us to …

Faulty Trackpad Button

As soon as the battery was removed, the trackpad button was released and functioned as normal again! It turns out that worryingly, the battery had expanded and was pressing up on the trackpad causing the fault!


If the MacBook had an older “Intel Core Duo” then MacOS Snow Leopard would be the newest operating system available but luckily this was an “Intel Core 2 Duo” so MacOS Lion or newer can be installed.

We chose Lion as the client opted for just 2Gb RAM.

The resultant laptop runs much faster!