How To: Intel iMac Hard Drive Replacement

Whether you’ve filled your hard drive, or
it’s just plain dead, swapping out the hard drive in your iMac is not as difficult as
you might imagine. And while the lack of obvious screws might make it seem impossible to do
yourself, It’s actually not that tough. Hi, I’m mj with iFixit, and today I’m
going to show you how to replace the hard drive in an aluminum Intel iMac. I’m just
going to give you an overview of the process, so when you’re performing your repair, as
always, make sure you follow the step-by-step instructions in the repair guide on our site.
Also, the instructions will be different for each version of iMac, so make sure to use
the correct repair guide for your iMac by entering it’s EMC number on our site. The
EMC number is printed on the base of the iMac, but If you can’t find yours, head to the
ID your Mac page on our site. A quick word of warning, if you have a late
2009 or later iMac. You are going to need to buy the same brand of hard drive that you
computer initially shiped with. Apple switched to a new kind of hard drive cable that uses
the hard drives internal temperatures sensors. So before you go buy that new hard drive head
to about this mac and then the serial ATA section and see what kind of hard drive you
currently have. The machine I’m repairing is EMC number
2210, and I’m going to upgrade its original 250 GB hard drive for a much larger 2 terabyte
hard drive. Here’s what I’ll need for this repair:
a spudger, a set of heavy-duty suction cups,
a Phillips #1 Screwdriver, a T6 Torx Screwdriver,
a T8 Torx Screwdriver and of course, your new hard drive.
Rather than buying each driver individually, I’d opt for something like our 54 piece
bit driver kit, that way you’ve got almost all the bits you’d ever need and you shouldn’t
need to order another screwdriver again. Also, you’ll want to have some screen cleaner
and a soft cloth handy. All of these things are available at Now that I’ve got all of my parts and tools
laid out, I can get started. Before I do anything at all, I’m going to lay my iMac backside-down,
and make sure there’s nothing on my work surface that will scratch the aluminum on
the back. Removing the glass is my favorite part, but
before I can do that I’ve got to remove the RAM access door. The screw won’t come
out of the door, so once it’s loosened, just lift the whole door off. Now, using my suction cups, I can lift the
glass off the iMac. I don’t know why I enjoy this part so much, but hopefully you do, too.
You just press them on there, flip the handles over, and once they’re both sealed, lift
the glass directly upwards. The glass is held on by magnates, so it should come off fairly
easily. With the glass removed, we can see all of
the screws holding the bezel in place. I’ll switch to my 18 Torx bit and remove all of
those screws. Now that all of the screws are removed, I’m
going to life the bezel off of the computer, starting at the top and working my way towards
the bottom. Once the bezel is free you’ll notice that the it’s still attached to the
iMac by the microphone cable, so I’ll disconnect that so I can set the bezel aside. The next big step is to remove the LCD, and
to do that I’ll need to disconnect a couple of cables and remove a few more screws. Once everything is disconnected and the screws
are removed, I’m going to carefully lift the LCD from the left side, and rotate it
towards the right side. Again, it’s still attached to the iMac by its inverter cables,
so I’ll have to disconnect those first. This is probably the trickiest part because
you’ve got to support the LCD while disconnecting the cables. You could use something to keep
it propped open, or you could ask a friend to hold the LCD for you for a second while
you disconnect those cables. The LCD is free, so I’m going to set it
aside. Be very careful where you put your LCD. You don’t want it getting dinged or
scratched or dusty. Before I remove the hard drive I’ll disconnect
its thermal sensor. To remove the hard drive, you’ll have to push down on its bracket
pretty hard, so don’t let that surprise you. Once it’s free, I’m going to disconnect
the SATA power cable with my spudger. The SATA data cable you can
just disconnect with your fingers. Finally, the last thing I’ve got to do is
remove everything from the old hard drive that is going to be transferred to the new
hard drive– the EMI foam, thermal sensor and the bracket. Once all of those bits are
removed, I’ll attach them to my new 2 TB drive and reassemble my iMac. I’ve got a couple of pointers on reassembly.
Don’t forget to clean the LCD and glass thoroughly before you reinstall them; you
don’t want to put all of those screws back in only to find that there are fingerprints
all over the inside of the glass panel. Also, before you put the bezel back on, don’t
forget to reconnect the microphone cable. It’s easy to rush through the reassembly
and forget that one. And of course with any new hard drive you
will need to format it before use. We’ve got a great OS X install guide to get you
up and running on our site. Of course, you can find the parts and tools
you’ll need for this and many other repairs at And if you run into problems
during your repairs, there are lots of solutions in the iMac repair guide on our site. Thanks for watching, and happy repairing!

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