Image 1/1: Your iMac should now look like the picture to the left, with the User Access plate facing you and the Apple logo upside down. This also places the door for the Optical Drive facing down.
  • Turn your iMac so that it faces away from you and lay it, Display Panel down onto a soft cloth or other soft surface.

  • Your iMac should now look like the picture to the left, with the User Access plate facing you and the Apple logo upside down. This also places the door for the Optical Drive facing down.

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Image 1/1:
  • Loosen the (4) Phillips screws securing the User Access Plate to the iMac's Bottom Housing. the screws are captive and not removable.

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Image 1/1: Make sure to ground yourself by touching the metallic portion of the bottom housing before touching the memory module or venturing any further into your iMac.
  • Remove the User Access Plate and set it aside. you now have access to the external memory module and Airport Extreme Card (if installed).

  • Make sure to ground yourself by touching the metallic portion of the bottom housing before touching the memory module or venturing any further into your iMac.

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Image 1/2: CAUTION! On reassembly of the Bottom Housing, these Torx screws must be fastened securely. Tighten them FIRMLY but do not force them. This will ensure that the heat pipe for the CPU is in direct contact with the Upper Housing heat sink. On reassembly you will make an application of Thermal Paste to the heat pipe mating surfaces. This will become evident as you proceed through the next steps. Image 2/2: CAUTION! On reassembly of the Bottom Housing, these Torx screws must be fastened securely. Tighten them FIRMLY but do not force them. This will ensure that the heat pipe for the CPU is in direct contact with the Upper Housing heat sink. On reassembly you will make an application of Thermal Paste to the heat pipe mating surfaces. This will become evident as you proceed through the next steps.
  • Remove the 4 Torx screws securing the Bottom Housing with a T15 Torxdriver.

  • CAUTION! On reassembly of the Bottom Housing, these Torx screws must be fastened securely. Tighten them FIRMLY but do not force them. This will ensure that the heat pipe for the CPU is in direct contact with the Upper Housing heat sink. On reassembly you will make an application of Thermal Paste to the heat pipe mating surfaces. This will become evident as you proceed through the next steps.

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Image 1/2: CAUTION! If you are following this guide to disassemble an earlier model iMac G4, you will encounter an entirely different situation when removing the Bottom Housing. On those models, there will be a fixed connector that will disconnect as you separate the Bottom Housing from the Upper Housing. That connector will be on your left or Airport Card side of the computer. Use extreme caution, making sure to apply your removal pressure evenly so that you don't twist the Bottom Housing open and bend the pins on the fixed connector. Image 2/2: CAUTION! If you are following this guide to disassemble an earlier model iMac G4, you will encounter an entirely different situation when removing the Bottom Housing. On those models, there will be a fixed connector that will disconnect as you separate the Bottom Housing from the Upper Housing. That connector will be on your left or Airport Card side of the computer. Use extreme caution, making sure to apply your removal pressure evenly so that you don't twist the Bottom Housing open and bend the pins on the fixed connector.
  • Grasp the Bottom Housing by the left and right edges and slowly wiggle it out. There will be some resistance, but it will come. Only pull it out enough, at first, to get a peek inside at the connectors and wire routing. Do not put undue strain on the connectors or you may pull them off the logic board!

  • CAUTION! If you are following this guide to disassemble an earlier model iMac G4, you will encounter an entirely different situation when removing the Bottom Housing. On those models, there will be a fixed connector that will disconnect as you separate the Bottom Housing from the Upper Housing. That connector will be on your left or Airport Card side of the computer. Use extreme caution, making sure to apply your removal pressure evenly so that you don't twist the Bottom Housing open and bend the pins on the fixed connector.

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Image 1/2: Begin by using a Spudger or your finger to peel back the tape that holds the Optical Drive data cable to the bottom of the Optical Drive. Image 2/2: Gently swing the Bottom Housing out a bit farther and remove the Optical Drive data cable connector from the logic board by holding its outer edges and carefully wiggle it out evenly to avoid bending the pins. Do not pull directly on the ribbon cable, only on the blue plastic connector.
  • Open the right side of the Bottom Housing slowly. The idea is to be able to swing the Bottom Housing out of the way to the left, only enough to be able to remove the Drive Carrier that houses the Optical Drive and the Hard Drive.

  • Begin by using a Spudger or your finger to peel back the tape that holds the Optical Drive data cable to the bottom of the Optical Drive.

  • Gently swing the Bottom Housing out a bit farther and remove the Optical Drive data cable connector from the logic board by holding its outer edges and carefully wiggle it out evenly to avoid bending the pins. Do not pull directly on the ribbon cable, only on the blue plastic connector.

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Image 1/2: You should now be able to swing the Bottom Housing out enough to disconnect the Hard Drive Data Cable. Again, only pull on the blue plastic connector, not the ribbon cable. Image 2/2: There is no need to remove the remaining connectors from the logic board.
  • Remove the 22mm power cable ground screw with a T15 Torx screwdriver.

  • You should now be able to swing the Bottom Housing out enough to disconnect the Hard Drive Data Cable. Again, only pull on the blue plastic connector, not the ribbon cable.

  • There is no need to remove the remaining connectors from the logic board.

  • Prop the Bottom Housing up so that it does not put strain on the remaining cables and connectors. Let it rest vertically, perpendicular to the Upper Housing.

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Image 1/1:
  • Your iMac should look like this.

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Image 1/1: Pay very close attention to and make notes of the wire routing through the following steps. It would be easy to inadvertently pinch wires between the drive carrier and the Upper Housing on reassembly.
  • Release the Airport and Bluetooth cables from the white plastic clip, mounted to the upper left edge of the Drive Carrier. Just push down on the clip and it will open.

  • Pay very close attention to and make notes of the wire routing through the following steps. It would be easy to inadvertently pinch wires between the drive carrier and the Upper Housing on reassembly.

  • Before proceeding, check once more that there is no strain on cables and connectors.

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Image 1/2: Then remove the (4) 19mm Torx screws that mount the Drive Carrier to the Upper Housing with a T10 Torxdriver. 2 of the screws are located on the right side of the Drive Carrier near the center and 2 screws are located on left side, near the upper and lower corners. Image 2/2: Then remove the (4) 19mm Torx screws that mount the Drive Carrier to the Upper Housing with a T10 Torxdriver. 2 of the screws are located on the right side of the Drive Carrier near the center and 2 screws are located on left side, near the upper and lower corners.
  • Remove the (2) 9mm Torx screws securing the Faraday cage (looks something like a cheese grater) to the Upper Housing, with a T10 Torxdriver.

  • Then remove the (4) 19mm Torx screws that mount the Drive Carrier to the Upper Housing with a T10 Torxdriver. 2 of the screws are located on the right side of the Drive Carrier near the center and 2 screws are located on left side, near the upper and lower corners.

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Image 1/2: The fan assembly of your iMac is now exposed. This is a great opportunity to blow the dust out of your machine! Image 2/2: The fan assembly of your iMac is now exposed. This is a great opportunity to blow the dust out of your machine!
  • Before you remove the drive carrier, take note of the wire routing, especially of the red, yellow and black drive power cables. Hold the Drive Carrier from both sides and pull it straight toward you. It is a tight fit and may require some wiggling to get it out.

  • The fan assembly of your iMac is now exposed. This is a great opportunity to blow the dust out of your machine!

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Disconnect the Hard Drive's Data and Power Cables, Pulling the Data Cable connector by its white plastic tab (not the cable itself), and the Power Cable by its outside edges. These connectors can be very tight. Don't get discouraged. Patiently wiggle them back and forth so that they release evenly to avoid bending any pins.

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Image 1/2: Remove the (4) 6mm Torx screws that hold the Hard drive to the Drive Carrier with a T10 Torxdriver. there are (2) screws located on each side. Image 2/2: Remove the (4) 6mm Torx screws that hold the Hard drive to the Drive Carrier with a T10 Torxdriver. there are (2) screws located on each side.
  • Remove the white plastic protective film from the Hard Drive and save it for your new drive.

  • Remove the (4) 6mm Torx screws that hold the Hard drive to the Drive Carrier with a T10 Torxdriver. there are (2) screws located on each side.

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Image 1/1:
  • Your Hard Drive is free!

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Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Important information for reassembling your iMac. You must clean and apply thermal paste to the mating surfaces of the CPU Heat Pipe and The Upper Housing, indicated by the yellow squares in the 2 photographs. Follow iFixit's excellent Thermal Paste Guide How to Apply Thermal Paste.

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Conclusion

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

26 other people completed this guide.

randy3833

Member since: 04/19/2010

988 Reputation

1 Guide authored

10 Comments

Is the protective film necessary to the function of this iMac? I got one without an HDD/film.

Ethan Reeves - Reply

Hi Ethan, I'm so sorry that I didn't see your question until now. It doesn't seem to me that the protective film is highly critical. By now I'm sure your iMac is back up and running. Hope all is well.

Randy

randy3833 -

Thank you for creating this. Very helpful!

nelagremlap - Reply

You're welcome! I'm glad that it is still useful.

randy3833 -

Thanks for the guide!

I am putting an ssd with an ide adapter in mine. I am not able to use a standard 2.5 to 3.5 mount because the ide adapter sets off to one side more cause the drives assembly to not fit properly. I think I will forgo the mount and just use double sided foam tape or several strips of velcro to hold the drive in place. It will also need some electrical tape or insulator behind the ide board cause of exposed contacts.

I hope to finish up later today.

George Tedrick - Reply

Update: Foam tape secured the drive above the DVD drive. I had to lengthen the hard drive power cable about 4"s.

Thanks again!

George Tedrick -

I'm so glad that the guide was helpful for you, George! Thanks for letting me know.

Randy

randy3833 -

Oh, and good I provision on the cable!

randy3833 -

Ah! Auto correct. Meant to say good improvising.

randy3833 -

Auto-corrupt is the worst, but still solid info; thanks.

Harry Solter - Reply

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