Model A1419 / Late 2012 / 2.9 & 3.2 GHz Core i5 or 3.4 GHz Core i7 Processor, ID iMac13,2

209 Questions View all

Replacing the Apple HDD with a non Apple bought HDD


I have a 27" iMac (late 2012) with an i7 and Apple's Fusion Drive system. The iMac came with a 128GB SSD drive and a 3TB HDD.

We are replacing the Apple HDD that came with the computer with the same Seagate HDD model number but it is not purchased from Apple.

Its Seagate ST3000DM001 Barracuda 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5

Are there issues with using the exact same HDD, not purchased from Apple?

Thank you,


Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

Is this a good question?

Score 1


Why are you doing this? Is the current HD dead? If it is I would first bring the system into an Apple Store to see if they can replace the drive under warranty.


Hi Dan, we did. Unfortunately, we live in Tanzania, Africa. I did not pay for a warranty because I do not trust the Apple technicians here and because I have to fly to get to them.

They didn't even know what a fusion drive was and could not locate it in the machine.

They were able to get the machine running after 2 days with the help of my business partner researching solutions on the internet.

They installed a few programs on my computer to test. Programs opened and were able to save. when clicking on safari, the colored wheel would spin and spin. The computer froze, restart, freeze, restart, freeze.

We are taking a risk, but have no alternatives.

I don't want the old HDD anyway. It had failed me so I would like a fresh one. Also, I am prepared that it could be something else.

The same drive from Apple is hundreds of $100's more.

Even with warranty, it takes 6 weeks to receive + a trip back.




Wow! It's quite beautiful there, between the all of the wild animals, landscapes and Maasai art. I've seen pictures always wanted to visit.


See below for some ideas


Yes, I actually live on the island of Zanzibar. You should google pics on it. It is stunning...but oh what a hard place for computers.


Show 1 more comment

Add a comment

1 Answer

Chosen Solution

Different series of the system have different issues. This series of system is one of the harder units to open. Here's the IFIXIT guide: iMac Intel 27" EMC 2546 Hard Drive Replacement

Here's another little writeup on HD upgrading: "Tapered Edge" Aluminum iMac Q&A - Updated July 27, 2014.

As far as the replacement HD with the exact same drive: Apple uses custom firmware so one can't just drop in what appears to be the same HD. While there are newer HD's now available which are compatible you will need to make sure it's one that is compatible.

Your other option here is getting a converter adapter. Here you can use anyones HD. OWC makes such a device OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for iMac. While their guides show this is for the '11 model it in fact will work for all of the newer models. The only issue here is making sure the new HD does not push your systems temp higher than your older HD (review the HD spec sheets),

Since you have a fusion setup you can't disconnect the HD without effecting the SSD. You will need to break the fusion setup first. I strongly recommend you make a complete backup of your data before you do anything (otherwise you could loose something). I also recommend you setup an external USB thumb drive as a bootable drive with the OS installer. You may want to get a Thunderbolt or USB external case, or instead a SATA to USB adapter to connect your new HD so you can prep it up first before opening your system.

Was this answer helpful?

Score 2


Thank you very much Dan. Your reply has helped me in a round about way.

My partner was insistent that he can do this, and he might well be able to. Although I've discovered issues (such as the inline digital sensor) that he did not notice.

Your reply took it further to express the complications of a DIY without sufficient expertise.

I contacted the Apple support so many times, and after this comment...made one last attempt and they are finally helping us. They are working with us to see if they can assist us in trouble shooting to try one more attempt at fixing without purchasing a HDD.

If it fails, then we will refer to your guidance above.

Thanks so much.



If you can try creating a bootable USB thumb drive (or external HD) as reference: Starting from an external USB storage device (Intel-based Macs). Copy the installer App to the drive while your at it. Now press the C key when the system starts up, refer to this Apple TN: Startup key combinations for Intel-based Macs you should be able to select the USB drive. Now locate in the Application folder on the USB drive the Utility folder to launch Disk Utility. Here you can check your fusion drive. But before you do any repairs make sure you have a full backup of your apps & data. Let us know what it tells you.


Thanks Dan! We are working on the mac today and I will pass this on to my partner and get back to you:)


Add a comment

Add your answer

Marija will be eternally grateful.
View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 1

Past 7 Days: 5

Past 30 Days: 30

All Time: 3,066