Mac Mini Mid 2011 Hard Drive Replacement

Replace your Mac Mini's Mid 2011 hard drive for more storage space.

Use this guide to completely replace your mini's hard drive.

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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 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • 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.

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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  ¶ 

  • Simultaneously push the two plastic clips on the far left and right sides of the I/O board toward the middle of the I/O board and pull the I/O board away from the outer case.

  • Only pull the logic board assembly out of the outer case until the edge of the I/O board is about .5" away from the edge of the aluminum outer case.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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

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Edit Step 18 Hard Drive Cable  ¶ 

  • Remove the strip of tape connecting the hard drive cable to the hard drive.

  • Remove the hard drive cable by pulling its connector straight away from the hard drive.

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Edit Step 19 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 6.2 mm T8 Torx screws from the side of the hard drive.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Carefully peel the hard drive cover off the hard drive.

  • Hard drive remains.

  • If you are installing a new hard drive, we have an OS X install guide to get you up and running.

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

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

Required Tools

TR8 Torx Security Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$9.95 · 25 In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Related Products

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Recommended Tools

Universal Drive Adapter

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Inspection Scope

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Frictionless Ratchet

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Just a note, the OS X Install Guide is for 10.5 Snow Leopard. Maybe also include a install guide for 10.6 Lion?

Sherman, · Reply

That's right, steps 10-11 and 13-16 are not necessary.

It suffices to rotate the antenna plate out of the way without detaching its cable.

And after disconnecting the hard drive you can wiggle it out of the enclosure

without dealing with the logic board. Muc less hassle, and much less intimidating.

machobbes, · Reply

Very useful guide. Keep up the good work ! I have replaced the hard drive on my Mac Mini mid-2011 with a Vertex 3 SSD, and to my surprise I did not have to mess with the logic board (step 13 onwards) to slide-in the new drive. So it took me less than 20 minutes to do the whole thing. After that, recovering the whole system from Time Machine was a breeze.

Fabio, · Reply

I should have read the comments first. I thought it should be possible to take out the drive without removing the whole board.

Bolla, · Reply

If you have a Mac Mini with two hard drives, you need to add a few steps from the dual hard drive kit...

Mathieu Brassard, · Reply

What would be the process to install the OS if you don't have an external DVD drive?

Is there a way to clone the current HD into the new SSD with a USB -> SATA adapter?

Uzi Kilon, · Reply

The only hard part was reconnecting the antenna. It is a small connection in a fairly tight space. So, if you can avoid disconnecting it, I would recommend it.

bmangus, · Reply

As others have said, it is possible to remove the HDD without moving the logic board. And the antenna board can also just be rotated out of the way.

However, I found it impossible to reseat the new drive (a Crucial m4 SSD) into the correct location without moving the logic board out a little anyway. I just couldn't get the bumper screws lined up in the top slot. This is on a mini i5 with a single HD (now SSD). In the end I got it done, but this step was much more difficult than I expected. Perhaps it is easier when there are dual drives?

I also initially caused the SSD connector to disconnect from the logic board when tightening the Antenna screws back up (step 8). So take care and do this slowly and check everything is aligned!

M4tt, · Reply

Do i need T8 with security bit or the simple T8 will work ?

Hammad Abbas, · 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

You can remove the hard drive by lifting out after step 9, it's not necessary to disconnect the wireless, nor remove the system board.

Zinger z, · Reply

I did not remove the IR sensor. I attempted to and it was very difficult, (I felt like I was going to snap or damage the logic board). I would advise skipping this part since it's not necessary to removal of the hard drive, and it seems like a number of people have damaged their logic board while trying to disconnect the IR sensor. Skip.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

That third screw on the lower right hand side should be removed in the beginning when you remove the fan.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

The 26 mm T6 Torx standoff is actually part of the the third fan screw which was removed earlier in order to get the fan out.

Craig Foster, · Reply

You may not find it necessary to push out the logic board in order to slide in (or out) the hard drive. It helps to have the extra room to maneuver, but it can be done without.

FinnCrisp888, · Reply

I had read all the comments thet said the HDD can be taken out at step 12, besides I'm in France, so I hadn't bought the special tool. when I realised I had to remove the logic board after all, I managed without the tool but I'm not doing it again. I inserted 2 screwdrivers in the holes and tried to move them both simultaneously. It worked but instead of sliding out slowly, the I/O board came out all the way with a noise! The clips from step 16 had unclipped by themselves, causing the noise. For a second I thought I had broken everything. I really don't recomment doing this without the tool.

Elica, · Reply

Instead of the removal tool it is also possible to use two metal pins with 2,5mm diameter.

Martin Born, · Reply

steps 10 11 13 14 15 16 not necessary …

radioman, · Reply

Be careful when replacing the HD/SSD in this step. If you are not careful, you can mess up the rubber shock absorbers by misaligning the posts. If that happens, you will have a hard time getting the screws to line up when putting the perforated grille back on (wifi antenna grill).

wattmagner, · Reply

I have macMini (late 2012) and buy a Samsung SSD 850 PRO 256GB to replace original 500GB Apple HDD. Your guide is OK, but in step 17 I have a big problem. HDD in my Mini was securing with two screws. So first I need to remove logic board and unplug the power connector. Then remove two screws from HDD side.

Roman Pucko, · 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

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