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I really regret not getting a CTO 2012 macbook pro before they went to the retina only. I was wanting a different keyboard on a MacBook Pro that has an nvidia 650 GPU and a 1680x1050 monitor.

Once when I took my computer in to an Apple store the genius bar guy offered to switch my keyboard to a US keyboard; so, that would imply that it is possible. So, does anybody know definitively if I can just get a MacBook Pro with a US keyboard and then just find the appropriate top case and keyboard with the language I want and then switch them out or should I just keep hoping one shows up refurbished?

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Please, do not attempt this yourself! A top case replacement requires moving EVERY component from one top case to the other and in some cases this includes the trackpad. I am a certified technician and this is something that is best done by someone skilled and in an ESD-safe environment. Go to the Apple Store and let them replace it for their fee or find an AASP that might be cheaper.

Should you still want to try it yourself be warned, ESD damage is very likely plus there is no guarantee on the part you purchase. You really do have to be careful with this because trying the wrong one could mean the parts won't fit or the keyboard isn't compatible with the logic board connector. Having the work done by someone with direct access to the Apple part means that the work and part are guaranteed so should there be an issue with the replacement or the repair you are covered! Cheers

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  • Sadly, the apple store won't do it. They say they only fix broken things. I did find a place that will do it. It took me an hour on the phone with apple to verify that my applecare won't be impacted by swapping the keyboard to a language of my choice before I ordered the refurbished laptop. I had to make absolutely sure since the place I contacted seemed to think that it would void the warranty. $400 is the expected cost, but I guess that's better than it being impossible.
    – user71473
    Mar 6 '14 at 18:03
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I have done it on a PPC 17" MBP equivalent and also on 2011 15" MBP. It needs plenty of time and care. Say 24 hours for first time. Look on iFixiT for "how to s" and read them through carefully two or three times. My original reason to do so was to change keyboard from Spanish to GB English.

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It's possible, sure. Having poked around inside of the unibody-MacBooks a bit over the years, I wouldn't say that it falls into the "easy to do" category.

I haven't done it personally but when I first got my '08 Unibody MacBook Pro, the keyboard keys were crooked. I went to an Apple-certified repair shop and they replaced the keyboard with a brand new one.

AFAIK you buy the keyboard as a kit that you can then install instead of the current one.

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