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Converting Internal MacBook Trackpad to External USB Trackpad

Hi there,

I have a "Apple MacBook Genuine A1278 MB466LL/A MB466 Silver Touchpad & Cable 821-1254-A."

It's the internal trackpad from a modern MacBook Pro. It has some kind of 22-pin connector on the end of the cable. Does anyone know if it would be possible to convert this trackpad into a standalone USB mouse that could be used on another computer?

Here's a similar hack for older model Macbook Pros:


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Yeah I would Love to have a Tutorial or Guide for that, too.

So hoping for this to be possible.

Please, somebody help US....

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@mayer, not to be too ignorant, but I fail to see how the link to that trackpad helps anything. Is it to verify the model?

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I changed the icon to the correct machine. Then added the link so people would know exactly what was being talked about.

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I am also looking to achieve this mod. In my research I have found others used the test points on the older macbook pro touchpads as solder points for the data and power cables in USB. I cant see these at all on the newer A1278 models so will be sacrificing a known bad part to attempt to find them. Unfortunately this could be the only feasible option as the cables I the flex connector and cable are so %#*@ small. If I am successful will put it up for others to see.

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Yes you can! Mac trackpads and keyboards are just USB (1?) devices!

If you have a dead MacBook (Pro/ Air) you’ll still be able to convert its KYBD and trackpad to a genuine and original (although a bit steampunk) Mac KYBD & trackpad array. Apple itself, nor other brands IMHO have no KYBDs combined with trackpads on the market, So, get original!

Excellent addition for an iMac, for example.

You’ll need a soldering iron & some tools, as well as a simple USB A cable to spare.

USB 2 connections are very simple: Common, +5V, Data+ and Data -. Just 4 soldering connections to do.

The easiest Apple model to recuperate from I find is the 2007 MBP Core2 Duo with the defective NVIDIA 8600 M GT in it.

To be had for free, mostly.

Unrepairable, but the KYBD & trackpad may be salvaged. Internal flatcable may be defective (another generic defect with this model), but this in no way defeats our purposes.

If you want a more capable trackpad, a more recent Mac wreck will do. I hope some other iFixit members will chip in with the USB board pinout.

As for the present: see these:

Happy DIY!

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Of what Mac Mobo I don't know, but here goes:

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I just did this with my 2008 MBP - different board layout:

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I was able to turn my old MBP keyboard/trackpad into a functioning USB device after seeing the YouTube linked above. I had a 2008 MBP with a different board layout. I looked carefully at the tiny traces and found DP, DN, 5VO, and poked around to find ground (it wasn't hard - you can see the ground-plane floods on the board).

Here's what mine looked like, and it works great - both trackpad and keyboard, including the special keys like brightness, play/pause, volume and mission control (on a Mac). [ edit - the trackpad does NOT work on linux incl RPi, but the keyboard does ]

FYI, the solderpoints are TINY and you need a steady hand to avoid hitting any components -- it was not easy and I definitely needed a magnifier and tweezers.

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Hi, has anyone managed to do this? I’d like to try myself

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I got a macbook but forgot the password how can i fix

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If it can be fix how much do it cost

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I got a hold on the new style of trackpad (started in 2016, I think) and the board schematic for a matching macbook pro. It looks like they moved to SPI for the trackpads, so I think you’d need to add another controller to convert it and at that point I don’t think you get the driver support.

Here’s some info for anyone that wants to pick up from here.

Interesting chips on the trackpad:

  • BCM5976C1 - There’s 2 and I think this is the digitizer and I think it’s i2c
  • STM32F103C8I6 - Arm Cortex-m3, capable of USB but IO is software controlled I think

Here’s the pin out for the trackpad connector on the logic board (I think you can ignore the KBD stuff since the keyboard uses a different connector):

  1. SMC_LID
  6. KBD_INT_L
  8. KBD_I2C_SDA
  9. GND
  10. GND
  12. KBD_I2C_SCL
  23. SMC_VIBE_L

then everything else is power or ground (5v, 3v, 0v - active gnd, 12.6v on a fuse)

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Hi guys,

I also looked for info about this mod

I would like to do this on the touchpad and keyboard of a 2011 macbook pro 17.

Were you able to do it?

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I got a broken 2011 MBP for cheap and did that "conversion". You need the original motherboard for this and the keyboard and trackpad work as follows for me:

Long story short: It works in Windows (as "mouse" only, no gestures on the trackpad). In MacOS and Linux (tried Ubuntu) all gestures work out of the box as well. On Android_x86 it works if you connect it BEFORE booting Android (including gestures), if you plug it in after booting, the trackpad will not work.

On Android phones/tablets I can't get the trackpad working AT ALL (if anyone could help me I would be super grateful!)

Someone did it with a mid 2012 MBP (like a guy on hackaday) who described everything in greater detail:

If you also get a 2012 MBP that could be enough, if you get a different year model it's probably better to get the schematics online (somewhat easy to find on Google) like I did. Hope this helps you.

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