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Well, any competant iBook user should know that if you look between the F4 and F5/Num lock keys there is a small notch. Actually it's a transparent screw over the Num lock LED. Turn it clockwise to lock the keyboard. Great for schools.

Anyway, it's still hard to steal RAM, it is covered by a plate requiring the removal of 3 screws, not to mention the optional airport card on top of it.

Powerbooks have the same, though it's between the F5 and F6 keys.

Stealing RAM out of brand new iBooks that are still in the stores is a great way to make some extra cash. Or to top out the RAM your own iBook.

Here is how to do it, without any chance of getting noticed whatsoever (YMMV)

Tools you will need:

What to do

First, use the Dremel / bolt cutter or metal saw to remove any of the bars or bolts or wires that they have locked the iBook in place with. Usually this is done with a bar of metal across the keyboard, or a Kensington Mobile Locking device (basically a steel wire with a lock that goes into the computer). It is a good idea to do this while store detectives are looking another way, and when no clerks are around.

Secondly, you will need to disassemble the computer (new ibooks are sold without optional RAM or Airport cards installed - the ram you are stealing is soldered to the motherboard):

  • Remove the battery from the computer
  • Remove the 7 Torx screws from the bottom of the computer
  • Take the keyboard by turning the little screw in the top-middle of the keyboard, and pulling the latches holding it down.
  • Unscrew the plate holding the RAM holder down, using your Philips screwdriver
  • Unscrew all the Torx screws under the plating.

You should now be able to lift off the upper body shell of the iBook, and we are getting closer to the RAM chips

  • Unscrew and lift out the harddrive
  • Remove the little fan
  • Remove the metal frame that stretches across your motherboard.
  • Eject and unscrew the CD / DVD drive
  • Lift out the motherboard

Now it is time for some soldering

Make sure you have enough light, and that your soldering iron is resting comfortably in your hand. You may want to ask a store detective or clerk to clear some space for you on a desk or something.

Locate the RAM chips - they are likely to be marked with a major brand in RAM chips, such as Mitsubishi, Aspacer or Kensington, depending on what model iBook you are holding.

Make sure your soldering temperature is less than 260°C, and then carefully heat each bar of the RAM chip feet. Use some way to remove the tin that comes loose (either one of those vacuum pumps, or just use soldering thread). Finally, you will want to up your soldering temperature a little, put a tiny aluminium plate across all the feet, and heat the plate, so the remaining tin melts. You should be able to lift the RAM chip out. Repeat until you have all the RAM chips.

How to get away with it

Remember to put the machine back together, or somebody might spot a half-assembled machine just as you are walking out the door, and you will be caught. That is not good. Also, you might want to weld the metal bar and / or metal wires back on the unit, so nobody notices anything is missing.

When all of this is done, make your way casually towards the exit. It may be a good idea to purchase something - some paper, or perhaps some batteries, to seem less inconspicuous as you are leaving.


As you see, timing is quite important here. You can do this operation in about 45 minutes - 20 minutes if you have a lot of practice - so make sure that the store clerks and detectives are out of the way. Tripping the firealarm may help you to do this, but that may also have consequences.

Good luck.

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