Introduction

Use this guide to replace your mini's hard drive cable. A new hard drive cable will also give you a new hard drive cable thermal sensor.

Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: 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.
  • 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.

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Image 1/1: Remove the bottom cover and set it aside.
  • 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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Image 1/1:
  • Remove the two 11.3 mm T6 Torx screws securing the fan to the logic board near the antenna plate.

There are actually 3 T6 screws securing the fan. The third screw is out of the screenshot, just below the RAM.

inferno10 - Reply

Nope, that third screw is actually just a post that the rubber grommet attached to the fan body slips over. Step 4 shows how the fan comes off of it. When you go to remove the fan, you simply remove the two screws closest to the antenna plate and then lift the fan off this post. The screw you are talking about is removed in Step 14 and does not need to be removed until this point.

Andrew Bookholt -

Successful install completed, but I had some trouble getting the fan reinstalled. When I removed the fan from the "Step 14" post, the rubber piece stayed on the post. When attempting to reinstall the fan, it was impossible to get the loop to go back over that rubber piece. So, I had to remove the post (again), and with the help of the spudger and some patience, worked it through. Then installed the fan using the 2 screws and the post. I think it may have saved some time and trouble if I just removed all 3 in the first place, leaving the post in the fan.

meag -

On mine I needed to remove the 26 mm T6 Torx standoff during this step rather than step 12

philipashlock - Reply

on my mid-2011 mac mini, that 3rd T6 post/screw had to be removed to get the fan out. It goes right through a hole in the fan housing. No way the grommet is slipping over anything without wreaking major havoc.

Derek Shaw - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Lift the ear of the fan nearest the RAM up off the standoff secured to the outer case.

Whats a standoff? Is that a screw?

brzmn - Reply

A standoff is like a screw extender. It screws into a screw-hole, and its head has a screw hole on it. When you attach something to a standoff, it makes that something stand off the original screw-hole surface.

cityzen -

Pulling on the ear didn't do anything, so I removed the whole screw at this step. The screw stayed fixed on the fan and I didn't have to remove it at the step where you remove the logic board screws.

Probably I didn't want to use too much force .. but it worked

Alexander Kogler - Reply

This is the approach I used. no way was the "ear" pulling over the head of the standoff without breaking something. The standoff simply unscrewed from whatever is under the logic board and stayed with the fan assembly. WAY safe

Derek Shaw -

Loosen the fan standoff from the motherboard using a T6 driver.

bobcloninger - Reply

When I pulled the fan ear off the standoff the rubber grommet stayed on the standoff. That's fine, but it makes it difficult to put the fan ear back on during reassembly. So I just pulled the rubber grommet off the standoff and put it into the hole in the fan ear. Then I was able to push the fan ear onto the standoff with out trouble during reassembly.

dhein - Reply

It seems easiest to just remove this screw now. It comes out in Step 12 anyway. This way you don't have to mess with the rubber grommet.

moecastleton - Reply

Image 1/1: Carefully pull the fan cables upward to lift the fan connector up out of its socket on the logic board.
  • 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.

I was a bit too rough in unclipping the fan and broke off the connector on the board?

Is my only option to replace the board?

Anthony DeFreitas - Reply

You may be able to use something like Macs Fan Control to adjust the fans manually (or tell them to use another sensor to adjust the speed).

maccentric -

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the single 3.5 mm T6 Torx screw securing the cowling to the heat sink.

This is a screw into the head of another screw below it that holds the main board. When I took out the fan, the top screw AND the longer 26 mm screw came out together so when I was putting my mini back together I thought for a moment I had lost a screw.

info - Reply

Mine is stuck together too, but with a twist. They are not coming off. It starts to "jump" in the end, probably because the cover is pushing inwards the metal case. Any suggestion?

douglaslondrina - Reply

Image 1/1: Rotate the cowling away from the outer case and remove it from the mini.
  • 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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Image 1/1: Two 6.6 mm T8 Torx screws
  • 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 will work)

The red circled screws are T9 in my Mac mini (not T8).

Sven Harmstorf - Reply

ditto here - the 6.6 mm screws that anchor to the HD (now SSD) are T9

Derek Shaw -

I have tried several times but I have been unable to get all four holes to line up when replacing the antenna plate. I can get the two closer to the center of the mini just fine but no matter how I align the plate, one of the screws closer to the edge of the mini will be so far out of alignment that I cannot get the screw to go in. I had to leave one screw uninstalled. The plate is not distorted in any way. It is installed the same way it was before I removed, as far as I can tell. I am baffled! Has anyone been through this?

GalvanicMacPro - Reply

Galvanic, it pops in.

bkbkbk -

I had a really hard time with this. I was able to resolve it though: secure the other three screws first. Then I pushed my precision screwdriver into the hole and levered the wayward tab into position: it wedged in with an audible snap sound! Then I was able to fasten the final screw.

Aaron Vegh -

I have trouble with this step every time I repair one of these minis. Aaron, your tip worked perfectly for me, thanks. -Anne

DA IT Department -

The antenna plate assembly is a tongue and groove type. The plate has a "groove" and the rim of the outer case is the "lip". You have to slide it in and align the parts ant it fits perfectly .

jvilella -

To solve this, just pick on the plate on the semi circle side and with the tool "open" just slighter the space where the semicircle have to fit

Pedro -

Had the same problem - the reason was the replacement drive I used - it is thinner than the original one. So I could not get the far side of the drive correctly into the holes for the notches mounted on the drive; that is - the drive was always a little bit too far to the center of the mac case. Everything works fine until you try to install all four screws.

I found a simple solution: I attached some adhesive tape temporarily to the drive cover. By pulling on the tape while pushing the drive in its space the notches slipped into their holes. After this installing the antenna was no problem any more.

Erwin Sommerauer -

I had a similar problem with getting the antenna cover to fit back into place. I tried putting 3 screws back in and levering the 4th, but it did not work in my case. Finally, with three screws in place,, I carefully placed a thin pair of forceps into one of the holes in the cover and levered the entire cover upwards. That worked for me.

Don - Reply

Pulling up on the cover worked for me too. I found that the best place to pull up on the cover is at about "true north" in the picture ... near the black dot used to indicate lid-is-closed. I did it before installing any screws and all four screws went in fine.

Fred Cat -

As others have noted, the hardest part of the whole process is getting the holes lined up in reassembly. I ended up stripping one of the short screws, but it fits well enough to engage the slots in the circular plastic cover. If you leave a short screw out, I don't know how the bottom cover would fit securely. I would carefully note how the antenna cover fits while you remove it. The longer screws go into the actual hard drive, so I think alignment of the hard drive is part of the problem.

Steve Dollar - Reply

I had same problem..! U tried EVERTHING, and what worked PERFECT for me, and with very little effort is what "x10target" described here (scroll about half way down): Difficulty in re-installing Antenna Plate

Mikey Marvel - Reply

To replace the antenna plate, you need to patiently align the sides of the antenna and slide it in. I had similar problems as described above but, instead of using force, I resorted to patience. The plate's fit is very snug, just a little bit off the straight line and it won't sit properly. And when it sits, it really sits tight, you don't even need to hold it in place while screwing the screws back in.

Eric Schneider - Reply

Image 1/2: Carefully pull the antenna plate straight away from the circular rim of the outer case. Image 2/2: Do not remove the antenna plate yet. It is still attached to the AirPort/ Bluetooth board.
  • Slightly lift the antenna plate from the end closest to the RAM.

  • Carefully pull the antenna plate straight 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.

When I tried to do step 9 and disconnect these connectors, I found that not only the cable/connector but the receptacle tore off the logic board -- momentary panic! This happened to both connectors.

Left on the logic board were two tiny fragile gold pins (per connector). Fortunately they were pretty straight, and upon re-assembly, I was able to gently slot the receptacles back into the tiny pins. Upon reassembly, everything's working fine (no crazy fan noise) so I guess I got lucky...maybe VERY lucky. :)

Thanks iFixIt for a fantastic guide. I've got a replacement drive in there and it's definitely going to extend the life of my Mini for another season.

David Das - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Use the tip of a spudger to carefully pry the antenna connector up off the AirPort/Bluetooth board.

I broke the connector on the bluetooth board when trying to remove the antenna when I tried to replace the hard drive. Currently, the exact replacement bluetooth board 607-6509A is very hard to find or otherwise, expensive. Instead, I was able to use a cheap replacement that can be found on eBay: Apple Macbook Unibody A1342 Airport Bluetooth Module 607-6771A. There is a black plastic sheath at the back of the 607-6771A. Just cut out the part that cover the 2 holes, you are good to go.

millicurie77 - Reply

Good info, thanks

maccentric -

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the antenna plate from the mini.

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Image 1/1: One 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screw (either will work)
  • Remove the following three screws:

    • One 5.0 mm T8 Torx or 2.0 mm Hex screw (either will work)

    • One 16.2 mm T6 Torx screw

    • One 26 mm T6 Torx standoff

On mine I needed to remove the 26 mm T6 Torx standoff during step 3

philipashlock - Reply

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Carefully pull the wires for both hard drive thermal sensors upward to lift their connectors up and out of their respective sockets on the logic board.

BEWARE! Gently pulling one thermal sensor wire up from its logic board connector caused wire to rip loose from connector, leaving connector still in logic board socket. Using spudger on other connector caused same result. Even after wires ripped lose, it was impossible to get connector out of logic board socket (using spudger and needle nose pliers the connector came away in pieces). Connectors almost seem glued/fused into sockets and the wires will apparently break lose before the connector will release. What a terrible design. Here's hoping the mini will run without HDD thermal sensors :( I am experienced with repairing laptops and am kind of ticked because I am sure this damage was not due to incorrect/rough handling during attempt to disassemble.

emcnally - Reply

Followup Note: Ending up with disconnected HDD thermal sensors due to breakage apparently causes the main system fan to run at full speed all the time. This is extremely loud and pretty much defeats the purpose of the Mini form factor. Going to have to try to rig something up with actual solder or adhesive tape.

This is just stupid. A computer where logic board connections get broken while replacing a frickin HDD. All in an attempt to do something about the pathetic and feeble hard disk the vendor includes with their crap hardware (50MB/s transfer--what is this 1998?). Last Mac Mini I will ever buy. Slow, yet expensive and fragile.

emcnally -

Not sure what emcnally is talking about but mine came off fine. I have a 2010 mac mini and just upgraded to a 500 gig WD drive. Everything worked went great and was easier than I thought. My connectors pulled right off with no damage.

Dave - Reply

tell the people to remove the superdrive’s thermal sensor as well! i just broke mine.

Simon Meisinger - Reply

WARNING! Remove superdrive thermal sensor as well from the connector, or it will break in step 16.

Laszlo Nyirfa - Reply

The plastic part broke for me. Barely putting any pressure on the connector and the thin plastic covering the metal connectors broke and the wires came out leaving the plastic connector in place. I was able to get the connector out without any more damage. Can I purchase a new thermal connector for this? I can't find the part listed anywhere.

In the meantime I'm going to try and get the wires rigged to the board some how. Super glue them to the connector maybe. But I'm not sure if there is a polarity concern. Can the wires go to either pin on the board?

Darrel Tenter - Reply

I was able to get the plastic connector back in place, and fit the wires into it. Polarity is needed. First time I got the fan running full. Switched the wires and now I think the fan is running normally.

But I don't trust this connection over and time would like to find a replacement hard drive thermal sensor wire assembly.

Darrel Tenter -

Each of the hard drive temperature cable connectors have tiny little tabs on the sides. I found success using a small needle to carefully push under and pop the tab out.

Leon Roy - Reply

Thanks, that's a nice way, works really well for me. Just try to stick a needle on the side and lift it up, if it has come up a little you can gently pull the cable and it will come off with very little force on the cable.

gertjan -

These connectors are fairly easy to unplug. You can pull up on the wires GENTLY to remove them. I used a wooden spudger to pry gently and the connectors popped right out. Putting them back in is easy just make sure they are right side up and they snap right back in.

info - Reply

This is where I got in trouble too. No problems on the first of my Minis, but this time one of these sockets had poor soldering and just came off the board. Basically no solder connection to the posts that are there to hold the socket in place. I ended up using a pin to pry the rest of them off, in case the others were also poorly connected. The outside of the socket is U shaped, with 2 small tabs at the lower end of the U. I inserted a pin next to these tabs and it let me lever the connectors out easily. Now I get to practice my soldering!

moecastleton - Reply

I used a pick (like a fine ice pick - available at Harbor Freight) to pry up the plastic clips while gently pulling at the wires with tweezers. They pull straight up. There are tiny tabs on the sides that kind of lock them in. I would not try just pulling on the wires. Everything is tiny and yrying to fix wires pulled out of the connectors would be very difficult.

Steve Dollar - Reply

The pin method is definitely better. I used the pin to slightly spread the "wings" of the connector on the board. Then I levered out the part that is attached to the wires. All done with the aid of a magnifying loop.

Fred Cat - Reply

I broke mine as well, did not replace the thermal sensor for the HDD, fan runs at full speed and is noisy. Went ahead and downloaded software fan control to reduce fan speed.

Harish Ananthakrishnan - Reply

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both the hard drive and optical drive connectors up out of their sockets on the logic board.

I skipped this step as well as step 15 and 16.

What I did, was just wiggle the drive out of the pc. Just pull it a little bit up and towards. Might need a little bit of force. But it should come out. Then, just remove the tape from the sata connector and then remove the sata connector from the hdd. Then you can replace the hdd like mentioned in this tutorial.

And I removed only the left thermal sensor. The right one can stay on unless you need more room.

gertjan - Reply

Image 1/3: Inserting instruments into any logic board holes other than the ones highlighted in red may severely damage the logic board. Image 2/3: Insert a Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool into the two holes highlighted in red. Be sure it makes contact with the outer case below the logic board before proceeding. Image 3/3: If you don't have a Logic Board Removal Tool handy, you can use two tools having a maximum diameter of 2.5 mm instead. Just insert one into each of the highlighted holes.
  • For enough clearance to remove the hard drive, the logic board must be slightly removed. To accomplish this, two cylindrical rods must be inserted into the holes highlighted in red.

  • Inserting instruments into any logic board holes other than the ones highlighted in red may severely damage the logic board.

  • Insert a Mac Mini Logic Board Removal Tool into the two holes highlighted in red. Be sure it makes contact with the outer case below the logic board before proceeding.

  • If you don't have a Logic Board Removal Tool handy, you can use two tools having a maximum diameter of 2.5 mm instead. Just insert one into each of the highlighted holes.

  • 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.

One MASSIVE hint to do this step: DON'T pull the tools towards you; rather, lever the top ends of the tools towards you, at and angle (so that the bottom of the tools don't move). Took me a while to figure this out!

jon jon - Reply

Didn't have that special tool. Used iPhone repairset screwdriver. Worked fine with sticking it in to the holes verticaly and then push it towards me a bit, then changing holes and repeating that step.

Alexander Kogler - Reply

I suggest to pull the wires for the cd drive thermal sensor and and the infrared sensor upward to lift their connectors up and out of their respective sockets on the logic board ((highlighted in red in the third picture of step 16).

Riccardo Zulian - Reply

Two 3/32" drill bits work great at replacing the tool. Place the shaft of the bits into the holes.

iceman - Reply

I had to watch a youtube video to see how this works. Then I realized you are just using the tools to pull the main board out toward the back of the mini.

info - Reply

A couple of small screw drivers will do. Just make sure they go far enough into the hole to be able to lever against the bottom as you pull them towards you. Without this I started to damage the logic board slightly.

David Jackson - Reply

How much pressure is necessary? Is it hard? Mine seams stuck.

douglaslondrina - Reply

Image 1/3: Pull the I/O board/logic board assembly out of the outer case a maximum of 5 mm. Pulling the assembly out further may damage the IR sensor connector (highlighted in red in the third picture). Image 2/3: Pull the I/O board/logic board assembly out of the outer case a maximum of 5 mm. Pulling the assembly out further may damage the IR sensor connector (highlighted in red in the third picture). Image 3/3: Pull the I/O board/logic board assembly out of the outer case a maximum of 5 mm. Pulling the assembly out further may damage the IR sensor connector (highlighted in red in the third picture).
  • 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 slightly away from the outer case.

  • Pull the I/O board/logic board assembly out of the outer case a maximum of 5 mm. Pulling the assembly out further may damage the IR sensor connector (highlighted in red in the third picture).

I found that when removing the logic board out a bit that the IR sensor was not so much of a problem as was the HDD temperature sensor located next to the IR sensor.

My logic board accidentally popped out rather quickly and pulled out the sensor for the HDD.

I don't know why it's not mentioned in the earlier step to just use the spudger to pop this cable off. Since it is mentioned in other guides for removal when replacing other parts.

This would have been really helpful and most likely I would not have been left with loose cables and now looking for a new sensor cable.

So fo any others out there replacing/upgrading your HDD and have some what of a hard time getting the logic board to budge just a bit, use the spudger to pop the cable off, it's not hard and pops back on as easily as the others. That's just an FYI and a preventative measure.

tdowse1 - Reply

Ifixit note, Mac mini mid-2010 step 16

@tdowse1 I agree completely. I take issue with this guide because I believe it has an error. With just one of two changes I wouldn't have destroyed my ZIF sensor connectors:

1) Issue the warning BEFORE or even with the instruction. Following the instructions step by step and not reading a step ahead, you don't realize you can damage your cable irretrievably. Even if you read the entire guide first, you can't be expected to memorize all warnings BEFORE you act on the instructions.

2) Instruct the user to disconnect ALL of the ZIF cables first. This is truly the only safe thing to do.

LelandHendrix - Reply

Image 1/2: When reinstalling the hard drive, be sure the two T8 Torx lugs on its far end are inserted into the two rubber grommets highlighted in red in the second picture before sliding the logic board back into place. Image 2/2: When reinstalling the hard drive, be sure the two T8 Torx lugs on its far end are inserted into the two rubber grommets highlighted in red in the second picture before sliding the logic board back into place.
  • Lift the hard drive from the edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the mini, minding the RAM socket and any cables that may get caught.

  • When reinstalling the hard drive, be sure the two T8 Torx lugs on its far end are inserted into the two rubber grommets highlighted in red in the second picture before sliding the logic board back into place.

The new drive, being thinner than the old one, was a bit tricky to get seated into the rubber grommets. I found that temporarily screwing a couple of screws into the top mounting holes on the drive helped with getting a grip on it. This, and standing the unit up on its end so that the drive would "fall" into the rubber grommets, worked OK for me.

Fred Cat - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the strip of tape connecting the hard drive cable to the hard drive.

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Image 1/1:
  • Remove the hard drive cable by pulling its connector straight away from the hard drive.

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Conclusion

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

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