iMac Intel 17" Logic Board Replacement

Like brain surgery? Use this guide to replace your logic board.

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Edit Step 1 Access Door  ¶ 

  • Loosen the two captive Phillips screws securing the access door to the iMac.

  • Remove the access door from the iMac.

  • Before beginning the repair, unplug the computer and press and hold the power switch for 20-30 seconds, to discharge internal capacitors.

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Edit Step 2 Front Bezel  ¶ 

  • Remove the following four screws:

    • Three 6 mm T8 Torx.

    • One 8 mm T8 Torx.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Flip your iMac over and lay it stand-side down on a flat surface.

  • To lift the front bezel off the iMac, simultaneously:

    • Use your thumbs to press in the RAM arms and hold the iMac down.

    • Use your index fingers to pull the small bridge of material on the front bezel toward yourself.

    • Pull the Front bezel up with your index fingers.

  • Once the small bridge of material has cleared the RAM arms, lift the front bezel by its lower edge just enough to clear the bottom edge of the rear case.

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Re-orient your iMac so it sits upright on the stand.

  • Insert a plastic card up into the corner of the air vent slot near the top of the rear case.

  • Push the card toward the top of the iMac to release the front bezel latch.

  • Pull the front bezel away from the rear case.

  • Repeat this process for the other side of the front bezel.

  • It may be necessary to apply several layers of duct tape to the top of the access card to aid in releasing the latches.

  • If the bezel refuses to release, try pressing the lower edge back onto the rear case and repeat this opening process.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Lay your iMac stand-side down on a table.

  • Lift the front bezel from its lower edge and rotate it away from the rest of your iMac, minding the RAM arms that may get caught.

  • Lay the front bezel above the rest of the iMac.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • If necessary, remove the piece of kapton tape(it is ok to toss this) wrapped around the microphone and camera cables.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Disconnect both the camera and microphone cables.

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Edit Step 8 Display  ¶ 

  • Peel up the lower EMI shield from the rear case.

  • It is only necessary to peel the shield up from three sides. Leave it attached to the display.

  • We have found it helpful to tape the EMI shield against the display to keep it out of the way.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 4.8 mm T6 Torx screws securing the display data cable to the logic board.

  • Grab the display data cable connector by its black tab and pull it straight up off the logic board.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Inverter cable on 24inch iMac pulls off to the left.

  • Pull the inverter cable connector straight up off its socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Peel back the aluminum EMI tape from the two vertical edges of the display.

  • During reassembly, it is helpful to use several small strips of tape to hold the EMI shielding along the left and right edges of the display footprint out of the way before lowering the display into the rear case of your iMac.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Allow the EMI shield to hang down from the display.

  • Remove the four 8 mm with 2 mm thick head coarse-thread T10 Torx screws securing the display to the rear case.

  • These screws are recessed, so a thin screwdriver such as this is essential for removal. Bit drivers tend to be too short for this application.

  • It is strongly recommended to use a magnetized screwdriver so the screws won't fall into the iMac.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Lift the display from its lower edge and pull it toward yourself to peel off the EMI shield attached to its top edge.

  • Be mindful of any cables that may get caught during removal.

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Edit Step 14 Speakers  ¶ 

  • Remove the 30 mm T10 Torx screw securing the left speaker to the rear case.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Remove the 17 mm T10 Torx screw from the right speaker.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Pull the SATA data cable connector away from its socket on the logic board.

  • The SATA connector on most iMacs tends to stick in its socket on the logic board. If you are having trouble disconnecting the SATA cable, insert a metal spudger or any other thin tool into the gap between the SATA connector and its socket and twist the spudger's shaft to safely separate the two pieces.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the CPU fan by pulling its connector up off the logic board.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the hard drive power cable by pulling its connector up off the logic board.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the AirPort Extreme antenna connector up off the AirPort Extreme card.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • If necessary, remove any tape covering the left speaker cable.

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Edit Step 21  ¶ 

  • Lift the left and right speakers out of the rear case.

  • The speaker cables are still attached to the logic board.

  • The right speaker cable may be routed under the power button cable or the CPU fan cable (or both). If so, disconnect both cables by pulling their connectors away from the face of the logic board.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the speaker cable connector by pulling its connector away from the socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the connector parallel to the face of the logic board.

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Edit Step 23 Logic Board  ¶ 

  • Pull the power button cable connector up off its socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 24  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the ambient light sensor by pulling its connector up off the socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 25  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the following four connectors by pulling them straight away from their sockets:

    • Camera cable.

    • Microphone cable.

    • Optical drive fan cable.

    • Hard drive fan cable.

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Edit Step 26  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the optical drive thermal sensor cable from its socket on the logic board.

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Edit Step 27  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 7 mm fine thread T10 Torx screws securing the optical drive clip to the logic board.

  • Remove the optical drive clip.

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Edit Step 28  ¶ 

  • Squeeze the two optical drive bracket ears together while pulling the drive up toward yourself.

  • It may be helpful to hold the logic board down near the optical drive connector when pulling the drive toward yourself to avoid both components lifting together.

  • Pull the optical drive away from the side of the rear case and remove it from the iMac.

  • If your optical drive is particularly stubborn to remove, try the method used in the optical drive guide from the A1144 G5 iMac.

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Edit Step 29  ¶ 

  • De-route the bundle of power supply cables from behind the hard drive bracket.

  • Some logic boards can be removed without taking out the hard drive.

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Edit Step 30  ¶ 

  • Press the hard drive bracket down to free it from the rear case, then rotate the top of the drive toward yourself.

  • Pressing the top of the hard drive bracket down to release it from the rear case requires a substantial amount of force, so we recommend laying your iMac stand-side down on a table to avoid knocking it over.

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Edit Step 31  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive (with cables attached) straight up off its lower pins and remove it from the rear case.

  • Be mindful of the hard drive cables, as they may catch on the logic board during removal.

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Edit Step 32  ¶ 

  • Unplug the power supply cable bundle from the logic board by simultaneously depressing the locking mechanism (toward yourself) with a spudger and pulling the connector away from its socket.

  • The locking mechanism faces the rear case.

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Edit Step 33  ¶ 

  • Remove the following six screws securing the logic board to the rear case:

    • Three fine-thread 7 mm T10 Torx.

    • Three coarse-thread 7 mm T10 Torx.

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Edit Step 34  ¶ 

  • Be sure to touch the chassis before proceeding to discharge any static.

  • Grab the logic board from its left edge and rotate it out from the rear case, using your other hand to press the RAM arms in enough to clear the rear case.

  • Be mindful of the ports attached to the rear of the logic board as they may stick to the rear case.

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Edit Step 35  ¶ 

  • Pull the logic board straight out of the rear case, minding any cables that may get caught.

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

For more information, check out the iMac Intel 17" 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 · 29 In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

That is a really, really unnecessarily complex way of fitting a new hard drive. Thanks, but no thanks...

annax, · Reply

Quote from annax:

That is a really, really unnecessarily complex way of fitting a new hard drive. Thanks, but no thanks...

annax, if you can suggest a simpler way we're all ears!

Jake Simmonds, · Reply

I found this guide to be very useful. The installation was super easy, especially since I've never opened my iMac before. I was able to skip steps 6, 7, 9, 10 and 14. Wish I had one of those long skinny magnetic torx screwdriver's though. I had to use duct tape to hold the screws on the end of the bit for step 12.

I used this opportunity to vacuum out the dust with mini attachments. Much needed after 3 years ;0)

Awesome site!!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and saving me time and $$$!

Eric Patten, · Reply

Yes I did it! thanks for this very good manual

Philippe d Anfray, · Reply

T8's on the MA590LL 17" iMac.

Endareth, · Reply

8mm screw is 2nd from left - useful when reassembly

Stefano Speriani, · Reply

Apple uses a powerful magnet to release these latches, but the official tool is not available. If you have access to a few failed hard drives, you can take out the magnets from those, and stack them up to have a magnet strong enough to easily open these latches.

Simply place the magnet on an upper corner of the machine, and when you hear a click, gently pull the corner of the front case forward. Repeat the process for the other upper corner. Use care not to pull on the iSight cables.

Note: Use care when handling the hard drive magnets, they are powerful, and you don't want them to snap together on your fingers. OUCH!

Zaphod, · Reply

You can use a credit card. Mine survived, though it did get a little bent.

David Bendory, · Reply

I used two credit cards for extra thickness and the latches released very easily.

James French, · Reply

The magnetic latches are about 2-3 cm from the left and right edges right at the top edge of the case. I just ran a rare-earth magnet over the from of the bezel in this area. You can hear it click when it disengages. RadioShack has these kind of magnets for $3, the call them "super magnets".

James, · Reply

I was able to skip Steps 6 & 7 entirely. The microphone and camera cables had enough slack to flip the front cover off and lie it flat above the rest of the computer.

Carly Hobeef, · Reply

Step 4 is completely unnessecary. Just lift the bezel up and wiggle it until the metal clips let go. Then lift the bezel straight up.

Cloudsurfer, · Reply

Make sure the white wire is on the same side of both parts of the connector before reconnecting.

It is possible to reconnect the microphone cable in the wrong/reversed orientation with the connector. The microphone will still work but will be muted and result in a "tinny" sound on the receiver's end.

creecher, · Reply

Can anyone ID these connectors (at least the camera connector) so that I may make an extension (to move the camera out and re-house it myself). I probably have the gear to do the mic already.

Is the camera connector some standard I can order M & F versions online to terminate to an extension cable?

hutchwilco, · Reply

The inverter connector had a different location for me. It was situated next to the top left corner of the right speaker, just under the display. I didn't figure this out until I actually lifted the display off the computer.

Cloudsurfer, · Reply

My 17" iMac also has the inverter cable. It located in the upper right just below the display.

Clinton, · Reply

I couldnt get this cable off, so I skipped this step. If you have this problem, just proceed; when you get to step 13, lift the display carefully as this cable will still be attached. You'll now easily be able to grip the connector and remove it.

David Bendory, · Reply

Only peel back the black EMI tape that overlaps the edge of the display, not the silver tape on the display itself.

Odesseus, · Reply

The above note sounds as if one should peel the aluminum-foil colored tape back from the frame. Do NOT do this; instead, peel the BLACK-colored aluminum tape back from the display frame to reveal the crevice between the display and the case and the mounting screws you are about to remove.

Byron Bray, · Reply

I didn't actually need to peel anything at all. The screws would have been visible had I looked more carefully.

David Bendory, · Reply

To put the T10 screws back, you'll need a magnetic head T10 screwdriver or a long, tweezer-like device found in a good set of computer tools. The screws are WAY down there and it is difficult if not impossible without the right tools.

Monkee, · Reply

If your thin torx driver is not magnetized, you can hold another, magnetized, driver against it as a temporary solution.

Si Brindley, · Reply

If you really want to tackle it without proper tools: with a non-magnetised thin torx loosen the screw till its ready to come out, then wrap a little bit of duct tape (sticky side out) around the head of a spare thin screwdriver, gently push the duct taped screwdriver on top of the loosened screw. The magic tape will lift the screws out.

When re-assembling, it's also a good way to fish out the screws that missed the holes completely when your expert fingers skills are classed as clumsy.

Mark, · Reply

You must have a magnetized Torx 10, 2 to 3 inches in length to safely get these screws out. Fortunately if you have the T10 you can magnetize it with your iMac.

Inside the front bezel are two magnets that hold your apple remote to the case, simply tap the T10 to the larger magnet 3 or 4 times and test it's strength in holding a weighty screw. You are good to go. I did this and the scary lose a screw into the iMac was diminished with a firm hold in both removal and install.

rwpete63, · Reply

If you don't have a magnetic screwdriver or they are aluminum screws, you can use this old mechanics tip: Use a small piece of paper or celophane tape on the head of the screw, then press the screwdriver into it, this creates a nice snug hold so you can reinstall the screws.

Greg Olson, · Reply

Steps 14 & 15; If you remove the top screw, and just loosen the bottom screw you can rotate the optical drive clip out of the way, tighten it, then screw the top screw back in to hold the logic board down for later trying to remove the connector. You also save three more parts kicking around on the desktop.

dentoni, · Reply

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