Installing Mac Mini Mid 2011 Dual Hard Drive Kit

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Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

Install a second hard drive in your mid 2011 or late 2012 Mac Mini.

Use this guide to install iFixit's Dual Hard Drive Kit in your Mid 2011 Mac Mini.

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Edit Step 1 Bottom Cover  ¶ 

  • Place your thumbs in the depressions cut into the bottom cover.

  • Rotate the bottom cover counter-clockwise until the white dot painted on the bottom cover is aligned with the ring inscribed on the outer case.

    • You do not need to apply much downward pressure while turning.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Tilt the mini enough to allow the bottom cover to fall away from the outer case.

  • Remove the bottom cover and set it aside.

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Edit Step 3 Fan  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 11.3 mm T6 Torx screws securing the fan to the logic board near the antenna plate.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Lift the ear of the fan nearest the RAM up off the standoff secured to the outer case.

  • Removing the standoff screw is not necessary to remove the fan. You need only raise the fan enough to lift it off the standoff screw.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Lift the fan out of the mini for enough clearance to access its connector.

  • Carefully pull the fan cables upward to lift the fan connector up out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Remove the fan.

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Edit Step 6 Cowling  ¶ 

  • Remove the single 3.5 mm T6 Torx screw securing the cowling to the heat sink.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Lift the cowling from the end nearest the antenna plate.

  • Rotate the cowling away from the outer case and remove it from the mini.

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Edit Step 8 Antenna Plate  ¶ 

  • Remove the following screws securing the antenna plate to the mini:

    • Two 6.6 mm T8 Torx screws

    • Two 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screws (either screwdriver will work)

  • When putting back together:

  • It can be difficult to get the hard drive seated correctly such that the antenna plate fits in place correctly. If the screw holes don't line up with those on the hard drive, make sure that the two pins that are in the back of the hard drive are properly seated in the holes at the back of the case, above the housing for the second hard drive.

  • The antenna attaches directly to the hard drive (red markers), therefore attaching the antenna can move the hard drive around and loosen the connection of the hard drive cable to the logic board.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Slightly lift the antenna plate from the end closest to the RAM.

  • Carefully pull the antenna plate away from the circular rim of the outer case.

  • Do not remove the antenna plate yet. It is still attached to the AirPort/ Bluetooth board.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to carefully pry the antenna connector up from its socket on the AirPort/Bluetooth board.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Remove the antenna plate from the mini.

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Edit Step 12 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the hard drive connector up from its socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to lift the IR sensor connector up and out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Make sure to pry up from beneath the wires and not underneath the socket.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Remove the following three screws:

    • One 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screw (either screwdriver will work)

    • One 16.2 mm T6 Torx screw

    • One 26 mm T6 Torx standoff

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • To remove the logic board, the two cylindrical rods of the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool must be inserted into the holes highlighted in red. Inserting instruments into any logic board holes other than the ones highlighted in red may destroy the logic board.

  • Insert the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool into the two holes highlighted in red. Be sure it makes contact with the top side of outer case below the logic board before proceeding.

  • Carefully pull the tool toward the I/O board. The logic board and I/O board assembly should slightly slide out of the outer case.

  • Cease prying when the I/O board is visibly separated from the outer case.

  • Remove the Mac Mini Logic Board Removal tool.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Pull the I/O board/logic board assembly out of the outer case enough to access the power connector.

  • Use your fingers to disconnect the DC-In cable from the logic board.

  • Pull the power cable connector toward the front side of the mini.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Carefully slide the logic board assembly out of the mini, minding any cables that may get caught.

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Edit Step 18 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Pull the hard drive away from the front edge of the mini and remove it from the outer case.

  • During reassembly, there are two pins on the inside edge of the hard drive that fit into the case. The holes have rubber grommets around them, so it may be difficult to tell when you have seated the hard drive correctly.

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Edit Step 19 Power Supply  ¶ 

  • Remove the 7.9 mm T6 Torx screw securing the power supply and hard drive tray to the outer case.

  • During reassembly, ensure the cables that run alongside the hard drive are tucked under the power supply. This will ensure the hard drive is properly seated. In addition, the antenna screw holes will not line up if there are cables in the way.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Pull the silver metal AC-In socket retainer away from the side of the outer case and remove it from the mini.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Rotate the AC-In connector 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Slide the power supply out of the mini, minding any cables that may get caught.

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Edit Step 23 Hard Drive Tray  ¶ 

  • Remove the 7.9 mm T6 Torx screw securing the hard drive tray to the outer case.

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Remove the hard drive tray from the outer case.

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Edit Step 25 Dual Hard Drive Kit  ¶ 

  • The following steps will guide you through installing a second hard drive in your Mini.

  • In the next few steps you will be installing the grommets in the holes located along the brackets boxed in red.

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Edit Step 26  ¶ 

  • While working from the inner side of the bracket, push the grommet through the hole in the side of the bracket.

  • Be sure the grommet is seated nicely in the bracket as seen in the third picture.

  • Repeat the process for the remaining three grommets on either sides of the brackets.

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Edit Step 27  ¶ 

  • The bracket with all four grommets installed should look like the bracket shown in this picture.

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Edit Step 28  ¶ 

  • Bend the ribbon cable along the dotted lines to help the connectors remain seated in their sockets.

  • Bend the ribbon cable 90 degrees at the SSD connector so that it is parallel to the connector.

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Edit Step 29  ¶ 

  • Use the edge of the SSD connector to put a 45 degree downward bend in the cable along the first large dotted line.

  • Bend the ribbon cable back up 45 degrees along the second large dotted line.

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Edit Step 30  ¶ 

  • Hold the ribbon cable on either side of the first small dotted line and bend it up 90 degrees.

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Edit Step 31  ¶ 

  • Bend the ribbon cable down 90 degrees along the second small dotted line.

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Edit Step 32  ¶ 

  • Attach the cable included in the kit to your second hard drive. In our case, we are using an SSD.

  • If your cable came with a small piece of black tape with rounded corners, you can install it over the hard drive cable connector to to secure the connector to its socket on the hard drive. The piece of tape is not required and not installing it will have no adverse effects on your machine's performance.

  • Before attaching the cable to your hard drive make sure it has been properly folded along the dotted white lines. This will help the cable attach and stay in-place.

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Edit Step 33  ¶ 

  • Use a T6 Torx screwdriver to install two of the set screws on the side of the hard drive closest to the end of the hard drive cable that attaches to the logic board.

  • Tighten the screws until they contact the end of the threaded holes in the side of the hard drive. They are shown correctly installed in the third picture.

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Edit Step 34  ¶ 

  • In the next two steps, you will install the hard drive into its bracket.

  • When inserting the hard drive, be sure to place it in its bracket cable side up with the SATA connector closest to the bulge in the bracket seen in the third picture.

  • Push the set screws into the grommets in the bracket and install the hard drive up into its bracket as seen in the second picture.

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Edit Step 35  ¶ 

  • Use a T6 Torx screwdriver to install the remaining two set screws through the grommets and into the side of the hard drive.

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Edit Step 36  ¶ 

  • Install the second hard drive assembly into the outer case.

  • Be sure that the mounting holes line up with the threaded holes in the outer case as seen in the second picture.

  • When the logic board is installed, simply connect the second hard drive cable to the free socket on the logic board.

  • The second hard drive cable should lay flat between the two hard drives.

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Edit Step 37  ¶ 

  • When you start up your machine, you'll see both drives are recognized by the Mini.

  • Xbench scores show that if you install hard drives in either the top or the bottom position, their speeds will remain the same.

  • To minimize the amount of work necessary when adding an SSD to be used as your primary drive, we recommend installing the SSD like we did in this guide and leaving the stock platter drive in its original bottom position (closest to the antenna plate). After reassembly, boot the Mini into Lion Recovery and use disk utility to erase your SSD. Then install Lion on your SSD. After rebooting, go into system preferences>startup disk and choose your SSD as the startup disk.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the Mac Mini Mid 2011 device page.

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Comments Comments are onturn off

When adding second drive, be sure that the power supply cables are secured out of the way to allow drive to be seated correctly. If cables are in the way, screw holes do not quite line up with antenna plate.

tjod, · Reply

When re-inserting the power supply make certain the left side screw is seated in the secondary drive tray and

fulled secured to the metal casing frame then turn the entire housing upside down and slide the power supply into

place (careful of cables etc.)

There are two metal anchor points on the power supply, one on the very tip

that is inserted into the Mac Mini housing and the other is on the right side of the power supply that sits

into a plastic slot up against the side of the metal housing. Tried everything to get the points home so the right

secondary hard drive tray screw holes would line up with the power supply anchor holes. This worked the first try.

lyn, · Reply

This didn't go so well. I did manage to assemble everything according to the manual, but it was one !%!$ of a fight, and now the machine boots, but the SSD I installed is nowhere to be found.

One thing I noticed is that the cable supplied to connect the second drive to the mainboard, is slightly too long. I had to bend it quite a bit so that it would line up with the connector on the mainboard, otherwise the cable would extend about 5 mm into the mainboard and not line up. I'm afraid now that I might have broken some of the wired on the adapter while bending it. However, without bending it there was no way to attach the connector.

What to do?

nh3, · Reply

Apparently the first hard disk connector I was sent was defective (see my comment from January 6 above). Ifixit staff was very helpful and sent me a replacement that traveled from the US to Germany in just two days. I repeated the installation with the new cable, and it works. Thanks, Ifixit!

BUT—I have to add that I found this installation to be quite demanding. This is by far not the first time I've opened sensitive electronic devices to install parts or fix something, but still, there was a lot of sweating and swearing. Unless you have good nerves, I would actually NOT recommend you attempt this. The Mac Mini is packed VERY tightly and parts and connectors are really small; you definitely need tweezers and steady hands.

The second time I attempted this installation, I was actually afraid I had bricked the Mini, but fortunately it still works.

Some comments: the (very tiny!) connectors for the fan and IR sensor must be pulled UP to remove them, not to the side. (cont'd)

nh3, · Reply

Comments, cont'd:

… it does say so in the manual (pull them up), but mine wouldn't move when pulling them, so I tried forcing them out towards the side. I nearly destroyed one of the connectors while figuring out that up is the only way they can move. Be careful.

* Step 3: My Mac Mini needed has three (not two) T6 screws on the fan that need to be removed. Apparently, Apple slightly changed the hardware design. I edited the guide to add this. (see also benjamin's comment from January 12).

* Step 11: I found it easier to remove the harddisk after this step, instead of removing the logic board first.

* Step 14: The screw marked yellow is no longer there if you removed three screws in step 3. (see above)

* Steps 15+16: When removing the logic board using Ifixit's special tool, there is a horrible crunching noise that made me cringe, but that seems to be normal; the board is okay. No worries :)

nh3, · Reply

Comments, cont'd:

* Step 20+21: Took a lot of jiggling and pulling and lots of force until the power supply would come loose. I was always afraid I was breaking something.

The hardest bit was re-assembling the Mini. I found it VERY hard to replace the original (factory) hard disk. Its outer two grommets should slide into two shallow holes on the inside of the casing (hard to see), but I found it nearly impossible to achieve that, because when it appeared to be in place, the screw holes on the antenna plate would not align with those on the drive. In the end, I found it easier to attach the drive to the antenna plate first, and then slide drive plus antenna plate into the casing. Still, this needed a lot of jiggling and pushing and never seemed to fit properly. In the end, I kind of gave up and just forced the whole thing in. It worked, but it didn't feel right.

nh3, · Reply

Comments, cont'd:

Another issue: the connector on the cable for the second hard disk did not properly align with the socket on the logic board, at least with my Mac mini. It reaches about 5 millimeters too far into the logic board (behind the socket), and a bit towards the right of the socket. So I had some pushing and bending to do before I could finally secure the connector onto the socket (always afraid of breaking the cable).

So, this wasn't easy, and for me, it needed two attempts (first time with a broken cable).

Be aware of this and don't get too frustrated when you do this installation.

nh3, · Reply

I found the guide to be spot on . . . I have now taken it apart and put it back together 3 times, as the cable that came with my kit does not work. Once installed in the upper bay, I booted up and the drive was not found. So I took it all apart and hooked the new drive to the lower bay, and the old drive to the upper bay. This time when I turned it on (using recovery media) the mini only recognized the new drive which I was able to format and partition. I ended up switching back to the original configuration and it all works just as it used to, but I don't have the SSD installed and am hoping that iFixit will send me a replacement cable. So far I have not heard from them. The mini is an amazing piece of design and engineering, and very easy to take apart and reassemble. The first time it took me about and hour and the second and third got much quicker.

Paul Gibson, · Reply

I had a bit of hard time, but eventually I succeded. One thing: the screwdriver in the kit is quite rubbish! Luckily I had another one. Be careful when re-assembling original drive: I did it twice, because I did not undestand how to secure it the first time. Remember to note the two holes hidden inside the aluminium body...

Alberto, Italy

abragaglia62, · Reply

I debated this for a long time (dual ssds in software raid0, just replace hdd with ssd to minimize heat distriubtion). After a lot of research I did as iFixit said, and left the hdd alone and added a 240 GB ssd, a sizeable investment (found a great one for 255). With my brand new mac mini, I took a Saturday morning and over plenty cups of coffee, I successfully installed the ssd with nary a hitch. I see others have complained about various aspects of this guide or the kit they bought but I can only speak from my experience that everything went flawlessly. I'm glad because I had a hard time justifying the price of the kit, when I had a torque set and could get the SATA cable for $20. Without the other small pieces however, and having a kit that replicated the guide, it would have been a nightmare. Hats off to iFixit!

jcknows0, · Reply

I could not get this to work, same as Paul Gibson. The adapter cable did not work, and the replacement cable that iFixit sent me did not work either. At least I suppose it's the cable because the drive works flawlessly and the Mac mini is fine. The dual-drive kit has completely failed for me. I've now exchanged the original internal drive with my SSD and put the original drive in an external USB enclosure (to be used as a Time Machine volume). So far, no problems, but it's not what I wanted. :(

nh3, · Reply

At my first run into this guide my cable was defective, but iFixit quickly send me a replacement that arrive in 4 days in Sao Paulo-BR and voilá, everything works like a charm. Thanks to iFixit and I recommend to everyone this fix 'cause extra storage is always good!

kinen, · Reply

When adding an OWC 6G SSD to my Mini, I found that I had to swap the drives in order for it to work; it didn't like the SSD drive in the second bay (couldn't reliably read or write). Once swapped, the dual drives worked perfectly.

Glenn Eychaner, · Reply

QUESTION: Is there an ideal physical size for using dual SSD configuration?

For example, do two 7mm drives, such as the Samsung 840 Pro, fit better or worse than two 9mm drives, such as the OCZ Vertex 4?

I'm concerned that in a space so small using two 9mm drives may not fit. Or, likewise, using two 7mm drives may leave too much room and potential for vibration noise.

Anyone have experience in this matter?

Chad, · Reply

Great set of instructions and dual drive kit - my Mac Mini now has a 240G SSD plus 1TB HDD.

detv, · Reply

I really liked the package with all the tools. The howto on the web was perfect very easy to follow and the result is perfect. I mounted two SSD disks and they work perfectly together so I thank iFixit very much for make it easy for all of us.

Thanks!

maclaes11, · Reply

Just a question to be sure I understood everything correctly.This tuto shows how to install two discs into a Mini. On step 32 we see the new SSD; how is the other disc, the former one, installed ?

Thanks

Raoul LAPOULE, · Reply

Deconstruction guide good (with exception of having to remove fan screw in step 4).

Rebuild: I was surprised how quickly I forgot how bits fitted together! ENSURE iFixit supplied cable goes BETWEEN hard drives!!! Step 36 was easier once I'd tipped MacMini on it's front & lowered the original hard drive into the lug holes in the casing (easier than pushing it in flat).

The cable that supplies the board with power (black multi-strand - next to PSU) got caught up between hard drives and the PSU making logic board hard to fit. Once I'd pushed the cable down between the drives with spudger all OK.

Finally I had a moment of panic when I thought logic board was misaligned. The black plastic cowel (semi circular piece with single screw) didn't seem to align! Push it just a bit further & it's fine, but I ended up taking it apart again to find this out!!

A fairly simple procedure taking me about 45 minutes, so thanks iFixit!

TIP: Take your own detailed macro photos to refer back to if you're uncertain!

warrencox, · Reply

essential guide for this extremely tricky task. Thanks!

paul martin, · Reply

A few general notes from my successful effort; I'll leave step specific comments where applicable.

First, the kit is overkill IMHO, in that I already owned a suitable multi-piece Torx driver. I'd like to see the kit offered as parts only sans tools; however, the current sale price (as of this writing) does make the inclusion of the tool kit a good deal.

Second, "pay attention" to how your Mini is set up both before and after. I was using the "Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI Adapter" to connect an Apple 30" Cinema Display. Before I started, both the mini DisplayPort and USB ends were connected to the Mini. When I finished, I overlooked the USB end and then proceeded to have my own personal "doh!" moment trying to figure out why I wasn't getting any video. To make a long story short ("too late"?), after re-connecting the USB end I had video again (and an audible sigh of relief).

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

Thanks ! awesome guide, great parts, (mid 2011 mac mini) Unfortunately the logic board tool was not shipped with the "mac mini dual drive kit". I made another from a coat hangar.

took me about an hr. I took it slow and re read every instruction after seeing some one stuffed a cable. Thanks again

dan, · Reply

Finished in less than an hour thanks to all those who went before. I was especially gratified by those who commented on the "too long" second drive cable. I just can't understand why the guide has not been updated to make it clear that that first fold(closest to the drive connector) should actually be a Z fold to take up the excess length due to the DEFECTIVE cable manufacturing. Guys, I just can't figure out why you have not fixed this issue by now. Thankfully, alerted by others' comments, I was aware of that and quickly identified that my "45 degree" folds, per the guide, were inadequate to take up the slack so I only had to perform a short REdisassembly to refold the second drive cable. Also, the cable I got did not have any fold lines on it but had been thoughtfully pre-folded but not in an adequate fashion as I describe above.

droolinggeezer, · Reply

Contd .. The other addition I have to offer concern removing the power supply: You must slightly displace the power supply away from the side of the case as there is a positioning bracket against which you will force the power supply if you attempt to use a simple "press and slide: approach from the accessible side of the power supply.

As several others noted, I had a struggle to get the antenna assembly reinstalled with proper alignment on all of the holes (disk and case). Part of the problem is that the back (curved) part of the antenna assembly must be slightly pried up so it can fit in the shallow recess on the outside of the case, otherwise the assembly will not slide back far enough for everything to line up. The rest of the problem I think was the "lump" of folded drive cable between the two drives due to the folding issue I described above. I was ultimately successful by slightly loosening all of the screws so there was a bit of wiggle space to get it pushed back into place.

droolinggeezer, · Reply

Contd..

In general, the instructions were very good and I had no "do overs" except as I note above concerning the cable. As I have observed on other iFixit projects, reassembly often presents different challenges than the disassembling and I remain unclear why the otherwise excellent guides don't yet include discreet steps for that as well. just sayin'.

droolinggeezer, · Reply

Up and running in less than an hour. Straight forward task. Accurate guide - no surprises. Thanks!

KrazeyNKrusty, · Reply

I do a lot of hardware repairs and hacks. This manual made the process very easy. The whole process took about 30 minutes. I formatted my new drive USB cable before starting so when I hooted up the mini the new drive was mounted and ready to go.

Hint: if the power supply cables are in your way, double check the power supply and use your spudger to tuck them behind the new drive.

Hint 2: when installing the original drive, slide the drive over the new one then hold the Mac right side up as you guide the drive back into its holes. Then before letting the drive rest double check the drive cables are fully connected. Mine kept popping out until I got the old HD inserted just right.

armand, · Reply

This took a lot of force on my Mac mini. A lot.

nh3, · Reply

I agree. It took a crap ton of force from my thumbs to twist the bottom off.

sleeve,

I accidentally broke the little things that hold the cover to the case. Is there a cheap replacement to the cover? Those clips are held onto it very weakly.

Jacob Halton, · Reply

Don't just use your thumbs... Use your whole palm to twist it, with maybe a thumb in one of the recesses, applying slight downward pressure.

markbart, · Reply

On my mini, the fan has a 3rd screw on the bottom right of its housing just out of sight on the step 3 photo. I believe it was in the hole later referred to as the 26 mm T6 Torx standoff in step 14.

benjamin, · Reply

Remove a third screw at the opposite end of the fan near the DRAM

Craig Foster, · Reply

I needed a T7 for this, and had to remove all three screws before I could take the fan out.

mackrell, · Reply

The fan has in fact, 3 screws that need to be removed before you can lift it out.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

The 3rd screw needed a T5, for me.

Martin Cleaver, · Reply

Contrary to the instructions, I had to remove the fan screw

radonr, · Reply

Same for me, couldn't get it to move without feeling it was going to break so I just removed the screw.

warrencox,

You actually don't need to disconnect the fan. You can just let it hang on the side while working. I accidentally killed my connector trying to pry it loose. It's being held together now by some tape, after spending hours trying to reconnect it and figuring out pin outs.

Nick Michielsen, · Reply

Be careful to LIFT UP on the fan connector cable. Using a spudger tool helps here. I mistakenly thought that the connector would slide off the logic board and tried to remove the connector this way. I ended up lifting the connector off of the logic board, thus ruining my logic board and requiring a $350 logic board replacement at the genius bar. The second time I did a HD/SSD replacement, everything worked fine.

wattmagner, · Reply

That's probably the must tricky part of the replacement. I did the same thing, i just pull on my cables and the connector stays on the board. Tried many times to switch cables into but any order i try is not the good one.

The avoid this, now, when i want to pull out my fan, i just use a plate screwdriver and lift up the connector. That's work perfectly.

ayottepl, · Reply

in Step 6 — Cowling ; " Remove the single 3.5 mm T6 Torx screw securing the cowling to the heat sink", does it mean that it is the same T6 Torx screw for the cowling and the heat sink ?

In fact at the end, I mess this T6 Torx screw !

cegondaireun, · Reply

Uhh I can't get this to go back in? Not sure what is going on...

David Inman, · Reply

When reassembling this aerial plate, it may take a very strong force to align the side lips with the screw bays. The circular edge on the body is meant to slot into the plate by less than 1mm. I followed the rule of thumb, which is, if it takes an unusual force, stop and think it out to avoid a disaster! Then, I hit on using a paper clip to get around this problem. Make a paper clip L-shaped to loop through a hole close to the edge of the plate, where the slotting is not deep enough. Gently lifting the paper clip, slide and push the aerial plate in place. This worked like a charm without using a strong force.

al dente, · Reply

My only real problem in the whole process was putting back the antenna plate. Couldn't get both side screws to align. Ended up leaving one out but might try the paper clip trick now

andrewarwas, · Reply

I had a similar experience, but when I realized the two 5.0mm T8 Torx screws were 2 of a set of 3 that also served to hold the cover on, I wasn't comfortable with only securing the cover with 2.

UNSC Jon 117,

DO NOT BRUTE FORCE the reinstallation of the plate. In my case, the top lip of the antenna plate has a notch which aligns with the edge of the opening was preventing the perfect fit. All I did in my case was use the spudger to pry open the notch a little more to give me a little bit extra space so that edge of the aluminum enclosure fits into that notch on the top of the antenna plate. Hope that helps. :)

chicosy, · Reply

I was installing an SSD in my mini and when I got to this step, an issue came up. The two 6.6mm screws on the antenna plate screw into one side of, and secure, the hard drive. The problem was the SSD was thinner than the original hard drive, so when I tried to reassemble, the hard drive sat too low for the screws to reach it.

Here's how I got around the problem. I loosely attached the antenna plate to the hard drive, leaving plenty of wiggle room between the plate and the drive. I also left the two stand off screws on the logic board off to give me more wiggle room there.

With the SSD attached to the antenna plate, I carefully connected and stowed the Bluetooth cable. Using the antenna plate as a handle, I was able to guide the SSD into the hard drive mount. Once in place, I tightened the 6.6mm screws more, which raised the SSD to the proper level.

After insuring that the screws all lined up, I installed and tightened the logic board, then the other antenna plate screws.

yourgenius, · Reply

The "engineering tolerances" are definitely tight for the AirPort antenna plate. I would recommend trying to replace it as soon as it's removed for the first time, in order to work out the (precise) alignment of it.

Nothing I tried (including the suggestions here) seemed to help me during reassembly. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get the holes for the two 5.0mm T8 screws to line up. Eventually, I had to resort to CAREFULLY and SLIGHTLY re-bending the curved edge of the antenna plate.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

REATTACHING grate - al dente's trick helped me.

The tiny perforations on the grate rest ON TOP of the lip of the case, while the remainder of the grate slides UNDER the lip. It is very hard to see - I used a magnifying glass.

To get it into place, create a tiny hook on the end of a paperclip. Moving along the edge of the grate, lift a perforation with the hook to help it slip into place. Keep moving along the edge until entire grate is shifted into place.

Chris 1000, · Reply

I had several 2-terminal connectors that went to what appeared to be temperature sensors on several components including the hard disk and optical drive. I accidentally pulled the wires out of one of these connectors. Lucky for me, they came out clean and I was able to just re-insert them into the connector

Kyle Jurick, · Reply

On a Mini bought Jan 2014, Red screws were T-9 and orange were 2mm Hex, T-8 didn't work in either one. T-9 didn't work in orange.

michael, · Reply

As everyone else has noted during re-assembly, seating the antenna plate is tricky. For me, what ended up working was to attach the hard drive screws first. After this, with just a little wiggling of the plate, the 2 5mm screw holes lined up perfectly.

jonathansturges, · Reply

Aligning the drive holes with the ones on the antenna grate was easy – just take the pointy end of the spudger. Also, for getting the circular part of the grate set correctly, I had to bend down the outermost part a tiny little bit and then used curved tweezers to lift the grate once it was near its final position to get it slide in the last millimeter. Frustrating at first, but it worked after a few tries.

Julian, · Reply

steps 10 11 13 14 15 16 not necessary …

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 17 only needed to change hard drive …

radioman, · Reply

Step 10 is different for late mini Mac 2012

The antennaplug is different (round)

Josse, · Reply

I skipped steps 10 and 11 but had to do the rest to get the drive out. My system had a second drive so that may be why the logic board had to be removed to have enough room to get the drive out past the DIMM sockets.

Craig Foster, · Reply

On the Late 2012 model the antenna connector is hidden under the case, so unlike as indicated in step 10 you can not see the connector and definitely not remove it until the Logic Board has been eased out an inch. Note how the cable makes a loop under the case as it is removed. Remember to reconnect the same way with the loop and connected before the logic board is pushed in all the way.

Indy, · Reply

The antenna connector is underneath a black flap. I just lifted the flap slightly with a spudger and used my fingers to disconnect.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

...in the latest delivery of the mac mini they had changed something. The antenna plug is hidden under a plastic cover and some tape on it.

You have to push up the cover and remove the tape...not really difficult, it was formed so you can put up easilly.

Tom, · Reply

If your machine came with a 7mm drive and you are replacing with a 7mm drive you do not need to move the logic board. I installed an Intel 335 240GB drive which is a 9.5mm drive and to get that drive in I did need to bump the logic board out to clear the memory slot brackets. I did not need to remote any other wires or connections as the logic board only needs to move maybe an 1/8" to get the drive to clear the memory bracket.

klaubscher326, · Reply

There's no real need to disconnect the antenna. You can just lay the grill gently on its side and leave it connected.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

That is true if you do not need to remove the logic board (i.e. you are only replacing the drive in the original slot position).

anonymous 3693,

You can leave the antenna plate attached and remove the logic board if you're careful while removing the motherboard.

Dan Wilson, · Reply

It may just be my own experience, but the hard drive connectors appear to be "sensitive" to ANY pressure, even when (re)connected properly. I found that I had to repeatedly re-seat them when re-installing the drive, AirPort antenna, and cowling. I would recommend holding off on putting the screws back for the AirPort antenna and cowling until both are in place, and re-checking the hard drive connectors before installing/tightening those screws.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

This board component is very delicate, I screwed up my Mac Mini IR receiver and HDD led light by doing this wrong. PLEASE take your time to do this delicately.

lcba813, · Reply

Hi, I can't remove the yellow screw, I don't even see it (it look like more like on this picture: http://static.macgeneration.com/img/2012...)

So I don't know what to do, I don't want to damage the tread (if there is actually one..) and I can't move the logic-board..

Do you hav any idea?

broussesimon, · Reply

The "yellow screw" depicted in this picture doesn't exist in the Mac Mini late 2012, at least in mine. Well, to be more precise, it exists but was already removed when the fan was unscrewed (it was actually in the fan).

Jeff Evans,

I found the same as Jeff.

Martin Cleaver, · Reply

If you're in a pinch and don't have time to order the removal tool, you can use two 2mm hex wrenches.

philomathius, · Reply

You can pull the board out about 1cm with the wires intact.

Martin Cleaver, · Reply

In April, I purchased a late 2012 mini (MD387LL/A) - 2.5Ghz i5 with 500MB hard drive.

It looks like Apple now secures the drive to the tray with 3 screws. 2 on back side and one on front. This means the entire drive tray has to come out to remove the drive - it no longer just "lifts out" as in step 18. In order to remove the drive tray, you have to remove the power supply (step 22).

Gary Leatherman, · Reply

During reassembly, watch the power harness and connector from the power supply when reinserting the logic board assembly into the case. When the board is close enough for the connector to reach, re-attach it before inserting the board the rest of the way. I found that if the connector is lined up properly, it almost attaches itself.

Also be careful of the hard drive and IR sensor connectors.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

Speaker trademark? Is it a sony, or a Bose...

I think it is a bad quality speaker.What do you thick?

Hugo BURGUILLOS, · Reply

During reassembly, after putting the "lower" drive back, test fit the AirPort antenna to make sure the two holes in the antenna plate line up with the two holes in the drive. If not, check that the power harness from the power supply is routed correctly. If the power harness is next to the power supply, go back and re-route it properly.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

Before I started this ifixit I read a lot of people talking about the antenna not going on properly and problems with the hard drive. I found that the problem is the two grommets inside the front of the casing. These grommets are where the two screws on the existing or upper most (when the case is inverted) hard drive should go into.

I was placing the hard drive flat against the second hard drive I'd added which ment the two screws weren't in the grommets and we instead pushing on the outer casing. This meant the hard drive was in the wrong position and if I had continued with the rest of the reassembly the antenna definitely couldn't have fit correctly. I spotted this and made sure the hard drive was in the grommets, leaving enough room for the power cables to sit between the two hard drives.

With the hard drive sitting correctly you should find everything goes back together very easily. If you get to the end and nothing seems to fit this is probably the reason why!

Martyn, · Reply

I bought my mini in late June 2013. My hard drive was not mounted as indicated, it was in the lower slot. I had to insert the grommets into the upper holes. You need to use a non metal flat edge to get them in, my fingers had no leverage when reaching into the aluminum shell. I also waited until I had removed everything from the case before inserting them to minimize the risk of harming an internal component.

rob545, · Reply

This is one case where having the actual reassembly instructions would be helpful. When I put my drive back in the upper position, I thought it was in the right place, even tried to move it and it seemed like it was locked into the holes, but it wasn't, so I had the issue with the antenna plate not going back on. It was so close. It seemed like it should work, but nope.

So, after disassembling again, I played with it some and the best, most surefire way to get it to line up is to hold the unibody upside down when inserting the drive. It has to be essentially at the top to catch the holes. Thin drives make it even more of a problem.

Once I did this, it fit in great and stayed in with no need to hold down, and there was now another 1/8" between the motherboard and the drive, which doesn't seem like much, but in this tight case, its everything. The antenna plate then went in perfectly, all 4 screws were in with no issues at all and the connectors for the two drives stayed on with no issue.

Sherifftruman, · Reply

Like others, I found with my November 2013 purchased Mac Mini, Apple had installed the internal hard disk in the bottom location (bottom when working on the unit upside down as detailed in this guide).

I found that it was best to remove that drive, and install the SSD in the bottom location, but use

* 2 of the rubber grommets and screws (that came with the ifixit kit) on the front edge of the drive

* that let me use 2 of the screws from the original mac mini on the back top HDD as they are larger screws than came with the kit

That way the HDD didn't rattle in the top location.

I also

* Installed the SSD in the bottom location with the original apple cable

* Installed the spinning 1TB drive into the top location (which made it easier for the top wifi screws to screw into

* But I had to reshape the cable (that came with the ifixit kit) quite a bit to get it to line up with the connector on the logic board.

brian, · Reply

During reassembly I had the reported problems of getting the original drive in the right spot. You should note that there is a gap on the left side. My drive slid in (twice) so it was right up against where the connectors are on the left side. Slide it right so there is a gap.

mikeubell, · Reply

Careful when reassembling. Don't make the same mistake I did by attempting to screw in the hard drive bracket without having the power supply re-inserted and aligned. Otherwise the screw will end up in the piece attached to the bottom of the case (where it's not supposed to be) and you will have no choice but to pry the glued part off the case to remove it. If you start to hear a "crunchy" sound when screwing, stop immediately because it's probably a glued part coming off.

anonymous 3693, · Reply

When putting it back, make sure that it's both in the correct place and fits properly; otherwise, it may come loose. After reassembly, if you hear what sounds somewhat but not quite like a loose screw rattling around in the case, it's probably this clip.

Don't worry: it's only 20 steps to get back to it. I hate this metal clip. ;-)

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

For the late 2012 model at least, when re-assembling, make sure the edges of the plug are lined up with the innermost grooves in the case (there appears to be another set that is closer to the outside of the case).

anonymous 3693, · Reply

Specifically, note the power harness and connector, and that it's routed "above" the inner edge of the power supply ("below" when viewed from this angle). That power harness needs to be in the same position when replacing the power supply during reassembly. If the power harness ends up next to the power supply instead, the "lower" drive won't fit properly and the AirPort antenna won't line up correctly.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

With virtually everything removed from the outer case, this is a good time to look toward the front of the case to notice the two locations where the standoffs from the "lower" drive normally fit. You'll want to be aware of this when reinstalling that drive later.

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

My MacMini (bought late 2013), had the HDD installed in the upper bay, so a complete teardown was required in order to change the driver.

However, if you are planning just to add a second driver, there is no need for the doubler kit (only a new lower flex drive).

Antonis Spanakis, · Reply

The spudger is very handy at this point.

Martin Cleaver, · Reply

The ribbon cable with my kit was already bent correctly when I received it. Not sure if it was just that one or if they're all going out like that now, but it saved me a few steps (and worries about ruining the cable). Thanks! :-)

UNSC Jon 117, · Reply

I bought my mini in late June 2013. My internal hard drive had the same cable as the one in the iFixit kit. I had to position the cable for the upper drive on top and not in-between the drives as indicated. I also had to bend the ribbon in the opposite directions. Be careful. The ribbon can be adjusted but due to the location of the sata connectors on the mainboard the cable for the upper hard drive does not lay flat against the drive. There is room for it under the vent that the wireless cable is attached to if you have the upper drive seated correctly in the grommets but it is not pretty.

rob545, · Reply

90 degree bends :), not 45.

Christer, · Reply

When re-installing the original hard drive (aka - inner hard drive), be sure that this drive's two side pins fit exactly into their rubber mounts that are deep inside the Mac Mini.I achieved a nice fit by turning the Mac Mini on its side so gravity would align the pins with their respective holes with ease.

jeffchambers, · Reply

Yes, I struggled until I spotted this. When I finally got these pegs in the holes, all was much easier

andrewarwas, · Reply

Same here. I basically had to turn the Mac Mini completely upside-down (hence, "right side up" from the normal operational standpoint), then gently move the drive pins into place against the side of the case. Once they went in, then the antenna plate screws lined up nicely.

anonymous 3693,

I suffered the same with this. In the end I sat the Mac Mini on it's end and lowered the originally fitted hard drive into the pin lugs on the casing. Once the logic board was in place it stopped it from falling forward / out of position.

warrencox, · Reply

I installed an OWC Mercury Extreme 6G SSD into my Mac Mini. Comparing this SSD to others it is almost 1 mm wider and the screw holes are not quite as deep. Because of this it does not fit very well into the upper HD space. I recommend swapping the stock drive into the upper spot and putting this SSD in the lower slot. It fits much better.

chris, · Reply

Thanks guys! It works perfectly (mac late 2012 i7)! :)

I had to install again Mac OS from the web on my Vertex 4 SSD and after my mac automatically has enabled the SSD as primary disc. It's really fast! :) Wow! :)

P.S. I have switched my HD positions. So the SSD is on the bottom now.

Alexey, · Reply

I would appreciate seeing another photo or two to differentiate the two drives in place-- I dont see the difference between the original hard drive location-- the old one-- and the new one. The end of the guide mentions installing the 2nd drive to the outer case, but thats confusing.

Can someone post some clearer photographs?

jacob, · Reply

I have followed the good advice here on upgrading a 2013 Mac Mini (500GB) to SSD.

However, on step 37 I disagree. What happened:

- I had OS X Maverick on the original 500 GB HDD

- installed the SSD in the "Upper" position, as in the figure

- left the original 500 GB drive in its original, "Lower" position (meaning upper when the Mac is upside down)

- followed the steps in 37

- install was terribly slow, ~6 hours; there was some data corruption, the SSD would not boot; I tried to fix permissions, disk etc, no help; benchmarks showed slow read with normal write speed; after a while there was an error about the SSD could not be repaired and it disappeared (unmounted)

- at some point I've seen some complaint about Fusion drive. Then l realized that is it possible Maverick tried to treat the SSD + HDD as a single fusion drive?

- switched the positions of the HDD and the SSD, so now the SSD was in "Lower" position. Also moved the protecting/insulating sheet to the SSD.

- Now everything works. So, position matters!

Zoltan, · Reply

Just realized that many people had the same problem. If I read the comments too, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble :). But at least we have a plausible reason for the described behavior: the position matters, and OS X may try to handle the 2 drives as one Fusion drive (and somehow fails at that). Maybe it's a setting issue, or just has not been tested this way. Consumers should not upgrade to SSD by themselves :).

Zoltan, · Reply

After connecting the new SSD to the empty bay I tried to follow the steps that recommend making a fresh install with Lion internet recovery. This process got stuck the 3 times I tried. So I googled for other options and found that I you clone your former HD with Carbon Copy Cloner, fix the permissions with disk utility and then make the SSD the bootable drive, everything goes fine. I used this tutorial: https://discussions.apple.com/message/22...

gillagher, · Reply

Everything worked like a charm for me, with the exception of my new drive needing to be formatted! Thanks a million for the guide (and the extra comments attached to most of the steps)!

SugeKNice, · Reply

To avoid the SSD becoming a fusion driver follow this

http://blog.macsales.com/15619-special-n...

Vip, · Reply

Zoltan I had a very similar experience as you yesterday, I installed a Samsung 840 evo SSD into the upper position and kept the original 1TB HDD in the same place, according to the guide. Then I encountered lots of weird issues trying to partition the SSD with disk utility. Not to mention its slow and sometimes the disk even unmount by itself. I spent many hours and figured out swapping the positions of the two drives might help, then it worked!!! I hope I read the comment here earlier.

POINT IS: Better to put the SSD in the lower position and move the original disk to upper position, you may or may not have issue following the guide, but apparently lots of people have run into performance or stability issues .

Anyway thanks for the great kit and the guide!

JiaJing WANG, · Reply

Hi

You are right, install an ssd in the upper position make the mini think that a Fusion drive is installed and try to configure itself as fusion while the twin has not the proper firmware, while with the ssd in the lower position do not fool the system.

Marco Mazzocchi

Marco Mazzocchi,

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