the screen on my macbook air has broken, It is only hanging on by a couple of wires and it lights up but doesn't do anything else. I want to sell it for parts but obviously want to get all my data off first. I have an external cd drive with the restore cd in but when I press C on boot I obviously can't see anything. Can I somehow connect it to an external monitor? Or is there another way of doing this?


  • what is the model of your MacBook Air?
    – user6124
    Jun 29, 2011 at 11:25
  • it says model number is A1237
    – user7533
    Jun 29, 2011 at 11:41

3 Answers 3


You should be able to connect it to an external monitor. All you need to do (in principle) is this:

  1. Close lid, let computer go to sleep
  2. Connect both the power supply and external monitor

About a second after you connect the external monitor, it should wake up and direct all output to the external monitor. (It will only do this if the lid is closed, external power is connected, and something is connected to the video output port.)

Note that depending on the speed of your computer and other factors, it may take a little while for anything to show up on the screen. Give it at least a minute if you don't see anything at first, before assuming something didn't work.


Remove the hard drive from the MacBook Air and then put it into a hard drive enclosure.

See this for information on how to remove the hard drive. However, the hard drive enclosure needs to be of a special type (ZIF 1.8" like this one)

  • what if the disk is an SSD of the new kind?
    – Agos
    Jun 29, 2011 at 21:39
  • 1
    @Agos the OP's MacBook Air uses the old one
    – user6124
    Jun 30, 2011 at 1:53

To complete the trifecta of answers, you can also network boot the Air to another mac running deploy studio.

It's some work to set up the deploy studio, but you can easily automate the erase process with a few known single key commands. Once you have the erase option figured out, you don't need to see the screen, just a working keyboard.

The other downside is if an error pops up, you might not be able to read it.

This is less easy than removing the drive or hooking an external monitor, but once set up, it's useful software to have around.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .