Mac mini Model A1176 Hard Drive Replacement

Upgrade your hard drive for more storage capacity.

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Edit Step 1 Top Housing  ¶ 

  • You can skip this step if you bought your putty knife from iFixit. Putty knives purchased from iFixit come with pre-ground edges.

  • You'll need a putty knife in order to open the case. A 1.5 inch thin putty knife will work well, but you'll want to grind the edge down. Rub the putty knife's short edge back and forth on a sheet of all purpose rough grit sandpaper (100 grit will work fine) until it attains a beveled edge.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Carefully insert a putty knife into the crevice in between the top cover and bottom housing. Start on the left side first. Push the blade down until you meet firm resistance (roughly 3/8 of an inch).

  • Gently enlarge the existing crevice by prying the handle of the putty knife downward and away from the mini.

  • It helps to start in the middle, then work along the edge until the bottom housing pops up slightly.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Next insert the putty knife into the crevice on the optical drive slot side of the computer.

  • Pry the putty knife downward while working along the edge of the mini until the bottom housing further separates from the top housing.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Repeat the same procedure as the past few steps for the right side of the mini.

  • At this point, there should be a noticeable gap between the bottom and top housing around the perimeter of the mini.

  • Turn the mini over.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Gently lift the top housing straight up off the mini and set it aside.

  • It may be necessary to wiggle the top housing while lifting it off the bottom housing. If any of the tabs get stuck on the top housing, use the putty knife to free them.

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Edit Step 6 Internal Frame  ¶ 

  • Later in this guide you will remove several recessed Phillips screws. Bit drivers are generally too large to fit in the recesses, so be sure to have a thin shafted Phillips screwdriver on hand.

  • First remove the AirPort antenna (the larger of the two), located near the power button.

  • Slightly squeeze the two retaining arms toward each other and lift the AirPort antenna off its post.

  • Squeezing the two posts excessively will surely break them off the internal frame. Work delicately.

  • During reinstallation, you will have to slightly squeeze the two posts together so they fit into the openings on the AirPort antenna board.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Use the tip of a spudger to slightly lift the left side of the ZIF cable lock up from its socket.

  • The ZIF cable lock will lift about 1 mm and stop. Do not try to completely remove the ZIF cable lock.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Lift the audio board ribbon cable up out of its socket.

  • If it refuses to lift from its socket, the ZIF cable lock is not fully released. Make sure it is evenly lifted about 1 mm from the socket on the interconnect board.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Rotate the mini so that the SuperDrive slot loading mechanism is facing you.

  • Use a pair of tweezers to lift the hard drive thermal sensor cable connector up off its socket on the logic board.

  • Use tweezers to grab the connector (as seen in the picture), not the wires.

  • The connector is located under the optical drive opening, next to the PRAM battery.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • In the next few steps, you will remove the four Phillips screws securing the internal frame to the bottom case. Included in each step is an overview picture showing the general location and a closeup showing the actual screw.

  • Remove the recessed Phillips screw near the power button securing the internal frame to the bottom housing.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Remove the recessed Phillips screw near the sleep light securing the internal frame to the bottom housing.

  • This screw is the longest of the four screws securing the internal frame to the bottom case.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Remove the Phillips screw from the internal frame near the Bluetooth antenna.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Remove the Phillips screw near the audio ports securing the internal frame to the bottom case.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Gently lift the internal frame up from the bottom housing, minding the AirPort antenna and any other cables that may get caught.

  • It may be necessary to pull up near the interconnect board to separate it from the logic board.

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Edit Step 15 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the side of the hard drive to the internal frame.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Remove the two Phillips screws securing the bottom of the hard drive to the internal frame.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Use your thumbs to slide the hard drive toward the speaker, disconnecting it from the interconnect board.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Maneuver the hard drive out of the internal frame.

  • During reinstallation, it may be helpful to move the cables away from the SATA connector and to hold the internal frame upside down (while supporting the hard drive) to help seat it in its connector.

  • Don't forget to transfer the foam padding to the new hard drive.

  • 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 Model A1176 device page.

Required Tools


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

1.5" Thin Putty Knife

$6.95 · 50+ In stock


$6.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

The foam on the harddrive is attached with an adhesive tape - be careful to peel up the tape from the harddrive, rather than the foam from the tape.

robert, · Reply

I seemed to succeed - until I discovered my optical drive had broken. Disks do not mount, after some tries they eject. There was a LOT of dust inside my Mini, I think some got in the optical drive. A cleaning DVD and compressed gas didn't fix it. I wonder if it would be wise to seal the opening to the optical drive -- certainly before cleaning.

This was a failure for me, even though the memory and drive change went well.

John Faughnan, · Reply

Can't fault this guide.

* if you don't have a putty knife & you don't mind some scratches, a thin butter knife will do the trick for getting the case off.

*if you plan to replace hdd with an ssd - you may need to rejig some of the internal wires that run around the edges of the hdd/ssd: after I installed the ssd, and returned the wires to the tight track around the side and socket port end of the ssd, and turned the machine back on, there was a high pitch interference noises coming out the internal speaker every time the drive was active.

The solution: make sure the speaker wire isn't where it's *supposed* to be! There are three sets of wires, include the speaker pair. I reversed the positioning of these with respect to the SSD, i.e. I moved the speaker pair to be furthest away from the SSD, and *didn't* tuck them back in under the plastic lip beside the ssd connector port. I turned it back on, and no more high frequency whining whenever the drive is active

Rodders, · Reply

I upgraded my 2007 A1176 Mac Mini with a 2 TB M9T drive that I broke out of Seagate Backup Plus Ext. HD and increased my RAM from 2 GB to 3 GB! Success!

Toshi Tazawa, · Reply

I used a tool for opening the back of watches to replace the battery (the type that have the non screw-on backs). Worked fine!

Mike Haines, · Reply

IMHO there are many steps not necessary. The guide is very good but i can't find the reason for steps 7-15. It is all about freeing the internal frame. As far as i know it is enough to remove the antennas and the 4 screws holding the optical drive?!?!

Markus Obdenbusch, · Reply

For reassembly, test your Mini before replacing the cover. This could save time, should the test reveal problems.

Steve, · Reply

Now also lift the right side of the ZIF cable lock up from its socket.

chriZ, · Reply

Hmmm... what if I didn't read this before and I removed the cable and the lock sort of broke?... what would happen... would I experience problems? I can still put the cable back in place and push the lock back down with the spudger.

Dan O, · Reply

Same. I totally removed the lock , the edges are busted and won't stay in place, How can I get the cable to stay? what's the fix?


does any one know, where to get the connector from zhe ZIF Cable?

someone, that preowned my mac broke the holder!

julian gmeiner, · Reply

Julian, did you ever find where to get a replacement lock for the Zip Cable. Mine is also broken..


This is not my first memory replacement in a Mini and I got over-confident and stupidly fully removed the audio cable ZIF lock and assumed I had broken something. But, now that I have read this guide more carefully, I am not sure. I sure would love to hear some detailed instructions for putting a ZIF lock back on.

Is it possible that I have removed it without having broken it? If I have broken it, do I have to buy a new cable? Just a new ZIF lock? A new audio board? This is a 2.0 GHz A1176.


Michael Tyler, · Reply

Michael, Mine seems to be broken. I bought & tried the Kapton Tape that was suggested & still no sound.


Managed to leave this connected by flopping back the drive rather than totally removing

pglock, · Reply


separated one of the wires from the connector very easily. i would have preferred to use a spudger at this step. the tweezers in effect snipped the wire!!

mklsvg, · Reply

As my experience you should definitely use angeled tweezers as shown in several pictures. To avoid stripped cable deflash sharp edges of the tweezers a little bit. I never experienced problems when using that kind of tool carefully.

Timpetou, · Reply

I've had to remove a few of these connectors on iBooks and other small Apple devices ... I've found that, with careful and gentle pressure (working first one side and then the other) using a small flat-headed jeweller's screwdriver is best.

Mike Haines, · Reply

Note where the airport antennae connecting wire comes out from the interior along the top. When reassembling, it has to be routed the same way, or it won't reach its install position.

robert, · Reply

If your fan runs at high speed after you complete this project, you have forgotten to reconnect the thermal sensor.

Curt, · Reply

Before removing any of these screws, there is another step needed which is not here:

On the front of the optical drive, right side as you look at the slot-load, is a small blue board attached by a single black screw. This needs to be removed before the optical drive can be taken out.

Mike Haines, · Reply

On reassembly, if you don't have a magnetic screwdriver, a tiny dab of grease at the tip of your screwdriver will help hold the screw on the driver so you can lower it into the recessed slot.

pfbloom, · Reply

At this point be careful that you don't pull out the Airport antenna ... but if you do, just check that it is back before re-assembling.

Mike Haines, · Reply

During re-assembly, the internal frame has to go in at an angle ... the back of the optical drive goes in first.

This means that you can seat the fan cover correctly, but more importantly, there is an interconnect board on the back of the optical drive that must be firmly pushed back into its housing on the logic board.

Mike Haines, · Reply

Reassembly: Before slipping the main frame back into its place, refer to earlier photos, ensuring proper routing of the WiFi cable.

Steve, · Reply

I thought I needed to reload the OS starting with the system disks which came with my mini. The problem I had was that the OS at that point would not recognize the new hard drive. The Snow Leopard disks did just fine.

Curt, · Reply

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